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17 Aug 22. Boeing expands Australian space manufacturing partnerships. Boeing has identified several Australian companies to manufacture parts for its JP 9102 defence satellite communications program.
The aerospace giant announced that it will be selecting a number of Brisbane-based companies to be involved in its supply chain process, in a further investment into the Australian space manufacturing industry.
This is in addition to the manufacturing companies that partnered with Boeing back in February. These companies include Quickstep, Cablex, Ferra, Nupress, Crystalaid and Lovitt.
“In February, Boeing announced a $5 million development program to build Australian space capability and we’re now actively evaluating Australian suppliers for their compatibility to support satellite production for Boeing’s operation in El Segundo, California,” said Kathryn Burr, Boeing Defence Australia’s JP 9102 program manager.
As part of the process to identify suitable companies to join Boeing’s JP 9102 program as manufacturers, Boeing examined the companies’ staff, facilities, procedures, equipment, parts management, processes and quality controls.
“This investment is being made ahead of the JP 9102 down-select decision with a view to building Australia’s broader space manufacturing capability and potentially open doors to Boeing’s global supply chain,” said Burr.
One of the companies selected to work with Boeing in February, Quickstep, has already begun to strengthen the partnership, recently visiting Boeing headquarters in the US.
The trip was used “to get a deep understanding of capital, tooling and materials to perform test work for space parts along with intellectual property transfer requirements,” said Burr.
Quickstep CEO and managing director Mark Burgess said that Boeing’s JP 9102 program was a significant manufacturing opportunity for the Australian industry and would provide a range of benefits to Quickstep and other Australian manufacturers.
“Boeing’s proposal is directly aligned to the requirements of the National Space Manufacturing roadmap and would create more than 50 jobs at Quickstep and, as important, create the capability for Australian industry to build and test satellite structures locally,” said Burgess.
Boeing anticipates further engagement in the Australian space manufacturing industry, with hopes to create a large supplier base within Australia.
“Space manufacturing is a relatively new industry for Australia, so most of the manufacturers we are speaking to are eager about the opportunity to begin building space products,” said Burr.
“We are continually working to identify Australian suppliers who have the capability to develop a range of space products from complex bus, payload and solar array composite structural assemblies to circuit card assemblies, harnesses, and various mechanism and machine part assemblies.” (Source: Space Connect)
18 Aug 22. US Army hands satellite missions over to Space Force. The control of the Army’s satellite ground stations has officially been transferred to the Space Force.
The Aug. 15 transfer of authority means that the U.S. military’s newest branch now has control of the Wideband Global SATCOM and Defense Satellite Communications System’s fleet of satellites, which share data across the armed services, the State Department and even serve the White House.
“This transfer will mark the first time all Department of Defense military satellite communication functions have been consolidated under a single military service,” the Space Force said in a news release.
Included in the transfer was also about $78 million moved to the Space Force’s 2022 budget to cover the cost of operating five satellite operation centers and four regional support centers that were previously under Army control.
About 500 military and civilian personnel from the Army’s Space Delta 8 unit will also transfer over to Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado.
Delta 8 is responsible for not only operating the main military communications network but also the GPS constellation and other systems, including those used to provide Secret-level global communications capabilities to the U.S. military and with allies such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The Army will, however, maintain its 1st Space Brigade, based at Fort Carson, Colorado. The brigade uses space operations to support missions across the globe.
Approved by the Pentagon last year, this move represents the DoD’s ongoing effort to consolidate space programs under the Space Force. However, the head of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler said the Army will not be completely removing itself from the U.S.’s efforts in Space.
“Space is a joint team sport,” Karbler said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium this August. “Each service with their unique mission sets must leverage the space domain and apply it to service-specific execution, command and control.”
(Source: Army Times)
16 Aug 22. NASA’s giant U.S. moon rocket emerges for debut launch. NASA’s gigantic Space Launch System moon rocket, topped with an uncrewed astronaut capsule, began an hours-long crawl to its launchpad Tuesday night ahead of the behemoth’s debut test flight this month.
The 322-foot-tall (98-meter) rocket is scheduled to embark on its first mission to space – without any humans – on Aug. 29. It will be a crucial, long-delayed demonstration trip to the moon for NASA’s Artemis program, the United States’ multibn-dollar effort to return humans to the lunar surface as practice for future missions to Mars.
The Space Launch System, whose development during the past decade has been led by Boeing Co (BA.N), emerged from its assembly building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida about 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT) on Tuesday and began a four-mile (6-kilometer) trek to its launchpad.
Moving less than 1mph (1.6kph), the rollout will take roughly 11 hours.
Sitting atop the rocket is NASA’s Orion astronaut capsule, built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N). It is designed to separate from the rocket in space, ferry humans toward the moon and rendezvous with a separate spacecraft that will take astronauts to the lunar surface.
For the Aug. 29 mission, called Artemis 1, the Orion capsule will launch atop the Space Launch System without any humans and orbit the moon before returning to Earth for an ocean splashdown 42 days later.
If bad launch weather or a minor technical issue triggers a delay on Aug. 29, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has backup launch dates on Sept. 2 and Sept. 5. (Source: Reuters)
15 Aug 22. Software-defined Satellite Enters Commercial Service. Europe’s first commercial satellite capable of being completely reprogrammed while in space is now in commercial use.
Satellite operator Eutelsat has sold six of its eight beams – used for data and mobile communications – to organisations including governments and other users. It is expected that the entire satellite capacity will be sold in the coming months.
The satellite – called Eutelsat Quantum – was launched on 30 July 2021 by an Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana.
The satellite offers unprecedented mission reconfiguration capacity. Its beams can be reshaped and redirected to provide information to people on moving planes, trucks and cars in close to real time.
Eutelsat Quantum is a collaboration under an ESA Partnership Project between Eutelsat and satellite manufacturer Airbus, with significant support from the UK Space Agency. Its cutting-edge technologies were developed and manufactured in the UK and in Spain, with additional contributions from companies based in Canada, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.
Elodie Via, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “ESA’s Partnership Projects help to federate industry around large-scale programmes that have a demonstrable economic impact. This satellite commercialisation represents a major milestone for this successful ESA Partnership Project, creating jobs and prosperity across ESA’s Member States.” (Source: ASD Network)
16 Aug 22. Rocket Lab to Launch 150th Satellite on Upcoming Mission for Synspective. Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) today announced its upcoming 30th Electron launch will deliver its 150th payload and 300th Rutherford engine to space. The mission is a dedicated launch for Japanese Earth-imaging satellite constellation operator Synspective.
“The Owl Spreads Its Wings” mission is scheduled to lift-off from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand during a launch window opening in mid-September. The mission is the second of a bulk buy of three Electron launches by Synspective to deliver their StriX satellites to low Earth orbit. StriX-1 is Synspective’s first commercial satellite for its synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation to deliver imagery that can detect millimeter-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, independent of weather conditions on Earth and at any time of the day or night. “The Owl Spreads Its Wings” will be Rocket Lab’s third mission for Synspective after successful launches in December 2020 and February 2022.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says “From launching Synspective’s first demonstration spacecraft to now helping to build their SAR constellation with this launch of their first commercial StriX satellite, it’s an honor to once again be the trusted launch partner for Synspective. As the sole payload on this dedicated Electron launch, Synspective are able to build their constellation to a specific LTAN (Local Time of the Ascending Node) that couldn’t be achieved if StriX was launched on a rideshare mission with other satellites – a highly important differentiator when building a new satellite constellation.”
The mission for Synspective will mark a series of company milestones for Rocket Lab.
30th Electron launch
“The Owl Spreads Its Wings” mission will be Rocket Lab’s 30th launch of its Electron rocket. From its first launch in 2017, Electron quickly made regular and reliable launch to space accessible for small satellites. As the United States’ second most-frequently launched rocket, with this mission Electron will have successfully launched to orbit more times in 2022 than all other small launch providers combined.
150th satellite to orbit
The single StriX-1 satellite manifested on this Electron launch will bring Rocket Lab’s tally of satellites delivered to orbit to 150 – a quarter of those delivered to space in the past three months alone, including the CAPSTONE satellite to the Moon for NASA and spacecraft conducting Earth-imaging, technology demonstrations, marine monitoring, space junk removal tests, and internet connectivity.
300th Rutherford engine
This mission will see Rocket Lab reach 300 Rutherford engines launched to space. Designed and built by Rocket Lab, Rutherford is the world’s first 3D-printed, electric pump-fed rocket engine. Rutherford engines are used as both first and second stage engines on Electron and have been integral to the rocket’s success as the industry’s premier small launch vehicle. Developed in 2013 and first test fired within the same year, Rutherford’s unique design was driven by Rocket Lab’s desire to create a reliable and high-performing rocket engine that could be produced in high volume, reliably, and efficiently.
“The Owl Spreads Its Wings” launch details:
- Launch Window Opens: mid-September, 2022
- Launch vehicle: Electron
- Customer: Synspective
- Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad B
- Mission type: Dedicated
- Payload: StriX-1
(Source: ASD Network)
12 Aug 22. UK seeks new GEO satellite for Skynet. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking a Narrowband Satellite System (NSS) for the Skynet Enduring Capability (SKEC). A Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), published by the MoD on 10 August, outlined a requirement for a narrowband ultra-high frequency (UHF) geosynchronous (GEO) satellite and its control system for SKEC. A deadline for expressions of interest has been set for 20 September. The satellite must also meet NATO STANAG 4681 Ed 2 and/or MIL-STD-188-100 standards.
The SKEC space segment comprises two separate procurements, the first of which involves the acquisition of a GEO NSS. The second one seeks multiple medium-sized GEO satellites with X and Mil Ka-band payloads, which will help meet a wideband requirement, the MoD detailed.
It is expected that SKEC will provide the MoD with a next-generation satellite communications (satcom) capability. It is anticipated that the satellites will be in service until at least 2040, the MoD disclosed. The MoD also hopes to have the capability to monitor and control the platforms. (Source: Janes)
09 Aug 22. TriSept satellite security solution experimental mission payloads to be launched by RocketStar. TriSept Corporation has completed the integration of two experimental mission payloads running the company’s new TSEL satellite security operating software for a suborbital test flight aboard RocketStar’s launch vehicle that is set to liftoff from the Koehn Lake Bed in the Mojave Desert.
TriSept has teamed with RocketStar and its 40-foot-tall, aerospike-powered Cowbell rocket to further lower barriers to space for commercial, government and experimental missions, such as the payloads the University of Central Florida and Brigham Young University will launch and study in September.
“This is the first in a series of suborbital flights aboard our RocketStar Cowbell launch vehicle, with each mission powered by the Aerospike engine designed to achieve more altitude and flight data as we build toward our first orbital insertion mission on our larger launch vehicle in 2023,” said Chris Craddock, RocketStar CEO. “RocketStar is thrilled to partner with the experienced TriSept launch and integration team, as we roll in our portable launch facility and throw open the door even wider to affordable and reliable smallsat access to space.”
A small team of UCF students will be closely studying their payload mission, which will simulate asteroid particle activity in space during the 13 minute flight. They will examine a collection of colliding particles inside a device they’ve named the entrapulator, after a similar payload the university has flown on the International Space Station and other vehicles.
The UCF mission aims to shed more light on collisions in the protoplanetary nebula and the evolution of loose materials or regolith on the surface of asteroids during such an impact. Brigham Young University’s College of Engineering students have designed a sensor package dubbed Motron II that will measure motion, acceleration and vibration aboard the launch vehicle and help mission operators better understand and design for launches of small payloads.
In addition to the rich scientific and technical data both university teams expect to harvest from their missions, they are also excited to explore the valuable findings from the first suborbital tests of TriSept’s new satellite security operating system.
“This experiment is providing a new batch of students the chance to interface and gain invaluable real-world experience with seasoned engineers in the space industry,” said Dr. David Long, an Engineering Professor with the BYU Center for Remote Sensing. “We are excited to work with TriSept and RocketStar to put our flight motion payload to the test and to work with flight-grade security software on its maiden voyage in space.”
“Our students are always thrilled to launch a mission into space. TriSept opened the door to this great opportunity for our students to participate in the integration and launch of our payload aboard the RocketStar rocket,” said Josh Colwell, a UCF Physics Professor whose students at the Stephen W. Hawking Center for Microgravity Research and Education have developed the mission studying asteroids. “We are also incredibly excited to be among the first involved in the milestone tests of new satellite security software that could help pave the way to a new level of protected missions in space.”
“TriSept is passionate about opening up safe space access to everyone, including students who often can only dream about getting their experimental missions aboard a rocket and launched into space,” said Jason Armstrong, TriSept’s Director of Launch and Integration Services. “Our focus will be on supporting two experimental missions and the inaugural flight of our new TSEL satellite security operating system running on both university payload missions. It’s another step toward securing small satellite operations with a new protection solution that is now commercially available.”
The TriSept Secure Embedded Layer (TSEL) operating system, capable of detecting, tracking and eliminating known and emerging vulnerabilities on conventional and small satellites, will undergo a series of environmental and operational tests during the thirteen-minute mission to the edge of space.
“This is an exciting collaborative and multi-faceted mission for two innovative companies determined to transform space access, making it simpler and more affordable for small sat missions looking for both shared and dedicated rides into orbit,” said Rob Spicer, TriSept Founder and CEO. “It’s a historic launch of firsts – the inaugural RocketStar launch vehicle carrying a pair of experimental missions and TriSept’s TSEL operating system is on the verge of making satellite missions and the company’s depending on them more secure from this day forward.”
TriSept’s TSEL was developed to meet rising demand across the satellite industry for a managed cybersecurity solution that secures an embedded device much like a terrestrial server is protected. TSEL offers a series of automated mechanisms and updates that deliver far more detailed audit data, near-real-time security analysis and patch updates along with “zero trust” verification layers that protect against hackers and provide an accurate account of what’s happening aboard the satellite at all times.
A rising number of attacks on critical infrastructure across the U.S. and the world have shown just how vulnerable spacecraft can be, especially as the vast majority of small satellites launched into orbit are ill prepared to protect themselves in the event of adversarial threats.
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.