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08 Sep 22. Network Innovations Announces Collaboration Agreement With hiSky, a Satellite IoT Network Connectivity Company.
Network Innovations, a global leader in providing critical communications solutions and services, today announced the formation of a collaboration agreement with hiSky, a company devoted to providing innovative technology to IoT and voice satellite communications.
hiSky’s low data rate (LDR) network, which ideally targets Industrialized Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, uses a proprietary technology to transmit LDR over high frequency Ka/Ku-band networks, enabling low-cost satellite solutions for end users.
Andrew Burdall, President of Network Innovations, Americas, commented, “We are pleased to be entering into this agreement with hiSky as it demonstrates our continued commitment to our customers to provide the best value connectivity options available. hiSKy’s range of terminals are ideally suited to complement regions that are lacking terrestrial connectivity. We look forward to this mutually beneficial partnership.”
Shahar Kravitz, CEO of hiSky stated, “From early discussions onward, we were excited about partnering with Network Innovations. Their commitment to helping their customers succeed regardless of the mission or location is a perfect fit with hiSky. Our unique satellite network will offer Network Innovations’ customers the opportunity to digitize and automize their operations for maximum efficiency and productivity.”
About Network Innovations
Since 1989, Network Innovations has grown to be a global leader in connecting people, places, and things with always available solutions. Our dedicated specialists have the depth of training and experience to design, build, and execute the most successful technology solutions for the unique needs of government and defense, public safety, oil and gas, media, mining, utilities, maritime and recreation and leisure. We are a trusted partner empowering our clients to Succeed. Anywhere. www.networkinv.com
hiSky is the leader of satellite agile IoT networks, enabling businesses, people, and machines the freedom to connect from any device, anywhere, always. We provide a reliable and affordable satellite IoT and MSS network with an easy-to-use cloud-based management platform that includes monitoring, alerting, and billing capabilities. Companies benefit from our proven connectivity to cover every terrain, establish private commercial satellite IoT networks, gain insights from high-volume secure data, and more. hiSky’s agile network comprises of satellite terminals, hub base stations, a mobile application, IoT/M2M interface, and application servers. The network operates using GEO and LEO satellites. True global connectivity starts with our vision: Making agile IoT connectivity accessible to everyone, everywhere. www.hiSkySat.com
(Source: PR Newswire)
08 Sep 22. Dynetics team celebrates successful launch of Lonestar satellite payload. Dynetics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos, announced the successful launch and checkout of the Lonestar tactical space support vehicle for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC). Lonestar, a technology demonstrator designed to provide space-based situational awareness directly into the hands of the tactical warfighter, lifted off from Mojave Air and Space Port as a payload aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne two-stage orbital air-launch vehicle in summer 2022.
“The successful contact of our satellite in orbit is a substantial milestone for our team and the years of work supporting critical national security missions in space,” said Leidos Dynetics Group President Steve Cook. “This will enable further development for our growing satellite capabilities and accelerate our customer’s national security mission in space.”
Dynetics completed the on-orbit satellite and payload checkouts with the USASMDC payload development laboratory on the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. The laboratory provides ground systems for command and telemetry to the satellite. The payload is operational and ready to support the situational awareness mission for the warfighter.
Dynetics developed, tested, integrated and delivered the tactical space support vehicle (TSSV) through the Design, Development, Demonstration and Integration (D3I), Domain 1 task order for $9m including a one-year on-orbit demonstration. The company’s expertise in space systems and high-performance signal processing applications enabled a rapid development. Using hardware-in-the-loop testing and simulation, the Lonestar team verified the payload mission software through a series of tests that ensured functional operation of the payload flight hardware. Work on this program took place at both Redstone Arsenal and the Dynetics campus in Huntsville.
Certain statements in this announcement constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These statements are based on management’s current beliefs and expectations and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. These statements are not guarantees of future results or occurrences. A number of factors could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results to be different from the results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the “Risk Factors” set forth in Leidos’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and other such filings that Leidos makes with the SEC from time to time. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Leidos does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect the impact of circumstances or events that arise after the date the forward-looking statements were made.
Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, provides responsive, cost-effective engineering, scientific, IT solutions to national security, cybersecurity, space and critical infrastructure sectors. Our portfolio features highly specialized technical services and a range of software and hardware products, including components, subsystems and complex end-to-end systems. (Source: PR Newswire)
08 Sep 22. Iridium Announces Ninth SpaceX Launch. Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced that it has reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch up to five of the company’s remaining ground spare satellites from the Iridium® NEXT program, on its Falcon 9 rocket. Known as Iridium-9, the launch is planned to take place at Vandenberg Space Force Base in mid-2023. Earlier this year, Iridium celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first launch in Iridium’s history, which also took place from Vandenberg on May 5, 1997. That first ever launch also carried five Iridium satellites to orbit on a Delta II rocket.
Iridium-9 will be Iridium’s second rideshare with SpaceX. Previously, SpaceX conducted eight Iridium launches between January 2017 and January 2019. These launches delivered 75 satellites to LEO as part of the Iridium NEXT campaign, replacing the company’s original satellite constellation. Since completion of the launch campaign in 2019, Iridium has 66 operational satellites, nine on-orbit spares and six additional spares on the ground. Up to five of those six ground spares are planned for launch as part of Iridium-9. All satellites in the upgraded Iridium constellation were built by Thales Alenia Space and carry the Aireon® hosted payload, which provides truly global, real-time surveillance of aircraft around the world.
“We have always said that when the right opportunity presented itself, we would launch many, if not all, of our remaining ground spares, and just such an opportunity came about,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “Our constellation is incredibly healthy; however, the spare satellites have no utility to us on the ground. We built extra satellites as an insurance policy, and with SpaceX’s stellar track record, we look forward to another successful launch, which will position us even better to replicate the longevity of our first constellation.”
Since the completion of the upgraded Iridium network in early 2019, Iridium’s customer base grew by more than 730,000 subscribers in just three years and has more than 1.8 m today. With that subscriber growth came several new Iridium products and services, including the Iridium Certus® specialty broadband platform, Iridium’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, Iridium Global Line of Sight® service for uncrewed and autonomous systems, and over 150 new Iridium narrowband and specialty broadband products brought to market by our partner ecosystem.
Iridium remains the only commercial satellite constellation with truly global coverage, offering weather-resilient L-band service from pole-to-pole. The constellation is divided into six polar orbiting planes that each include 11 operational crosslinked satellites. The satellites from Iridium-9 will be launched into a parking orbit, and after initial testing will be drifted to their assigned spare orbits. (Source: PR Newswire)
08 Sep 22. First Imaging Satellite in Meteosat Third Generation Fleet in Final Integration Phase Prior to Departure for Kourou. Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), as prime contractor for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites, is currently carrying out the final integration phase on the MTG-I1 satellite. The MTG-I1 will soon depart for the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, where its launch is scheduled for the end of 2022 onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
MTG-I1 is the first imaging satellite in the Meteosat Third Generation program, which aims to improve weather forecasting in Europe and Africa. Designed as a follow-on to the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) series, the MTG program is a collaborative venture between the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT to ensure the continuity of high-resolution weather monitoring beyond 2040. Built by Thales Alenia Space in cooperation with OHB, the MTG satellites will operate in geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the Earth and will have a life span of 8.5 years.
The MTG program comprises six satellites: four imaging satellites (MTG-I) and two atmospheric sounding satellites (MTG-S) capable of providing 3D maps of the atmosphere — a major technological breakthrough.
The MTG-I1 satellite is equipped with a flexible combined imager (FCI), a technological gem that can provide a full image of the Earth every 10 minutes (versus 15 minutes for the previous generation) and includes a fast mode capable of providing images of Europe every 2.5 minutes. With a spatial resolution of 0.5 to 1 km, the satellite will improve the reliability of weather forecasts over a timescale of minutes to hours.
The MTG-I1 is also equipped with an extremely sophisticated lightning imager (LI), the first of its kind in Europe. Developed by Leonardo, the LI, made of four cameras, will be able to detect cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground flashes in all potential scenarios (for example during both night and day). This unique instrument will further our knowledge of how lightning is generated and improve emergency population warnings as well as weather nowcasting, traffic control safety and climate change awareness.
This first satellite in the MTG series will become operational in orbit during 2023 and will be joined by three other imaging satellites and two sounding satellites between 2024 and 2030. Together, they will form a geostationary constellation operated by EUMETSAT that will represent a big step forward in terms of the monitoring of extreme weather.
“The Meteosat Third Generation constellation will revolutionize weather forecasting and deepen our understanding of the climatic changes taking place today. By integrating spectral and lightning imagery data, the MTG program will enable earlier prediction of severe storms and other significant weather events, which pose a growing threat to communities” commented Pierre Armand, MTG Program Director for Thales Alenia Space.”
The MTG-I1 imaging satellite will leave the Thales Alenia Space site in Cannes in late September 2022. Special means will be deployed to transport the four-tonne satellite and its container to the Fos-sur-Mer port for shipment. The satellite is scheduled to be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou before the end of 2022, onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
Increasingly accurate weather forecasts
European meteorology has become increasingly accurate over the decades. With the first-generation Meteosat satellites, images were updated every 30 minutes, a figure reduced to 15 minutes on the second generation. MTG will further reduce this refresh rate to just 10 minutes in full disk mode and 2.5 minutes in fast mode for Europe, making weather forecasts even more reliable.
Thales Alenia Space has been prime contractor for the Meteosat satellites on behalf of ESA for more than 30 years. The company delivered into orbit seven first-generation Meteosat satellites (the first model was launched in November 1977) and four second-generation Meteosat satellites (MSG), two of which are still in service today. It is currently building the six Meteosat Third Generation satellites, in partnership with OHB. Thales Alenia Space is also contributing to the development of the ground segment for EUMETSAT, by designing and building the component for first-level image data processing (IDPF). Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), is also involved in the ground segment – both for data acquisition and for satellite command and control – and will supply EUMETSAT with launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) services for two satellites, with an option for a third.
Meteosat satellites have been the main source of meteorological data for Europe and Africa since 1977. The data from these satellites is one of ESA and EUMETSAT’s key contributions to the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Observing System. (Source: ASD Network)
07 Sep 22. Australia and UK deepen space industry ties. British company Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is set to open an office at Lot Fourteen, the innovation and space industry hub in South Australia.
The announcement comes shortly after bilateral talks were held on 2 September between Australia and the UK on measures to strengthen the economic and trade ties between the two countries.
SSTL’s decision to open an Australian office is a timely example of the kind of tighter links between UK and Australian industries that the trade talks hope to forge.
The company is a veteran within the smallsat industry, developing and building small satellites for over 40 years. They have supported more than 20 countries to develop their own sovereign space capabilities.
SSTL has full operational in-house design and manufacturing capabilities for their smallsats, in addition to payloads subsystems and other critical equipment.
Boasting 14 current operational satellites controlled from their operations centre located in Guildford, England, as well as 40 successful launches from nine different international locations, SSTL possesses a wealth of industry experience.
Now they hope to bring that experience to Australia, with a vision to foster further development of Australian sovereign space sector capabilities.
SSTL managing director Phil Brownnett spoke about the company’s expansion to Australia.
“We will bring our world-renowned expertise, technology and know-how to Australia to support local companies to develop sovereign capability.”
SSTL will be joining the likes of the Australian Space Agency, Fleet Space, Inovor Technologies and a range of other industry players at Lot Fourteen.
Heading up the company’s Australian operations will be Clive Oates, SSTL’s head of Five Eyes nations’ relations (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US).
The move by SSTL to expand to Australia is indicative of the growing space industry ties between the UK and Australia since the signing of the “Space Bridge” agreement in February last year.
The announcement of the expansion was welcomed by the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne Marie Trevelyan.
“Our ambitions for the development of the UK space industry are as limitless as space itself. The opening of Surrey Satellite Technology’s first office in Australia shows the real-world impact of the ‘Space Bridge’ partnership with Australia we launched last year.”
“The UK-Australia Space Bridge opens new trade, investment, research and collaboration opportunities for our space sectors,” said Trevelyan.
(Source: Space Connect)
07 Sep 22. New Space Sector Outlook published to mark Space-Comm Expo. A new Space Sector Outlook published today provides an overview of the space sector in the UK and its growing contribution to UK prosperity.
The outlook has been produced by ADS (the UK trade association for aerospace, defence, security, and space organisations), with input from UKspace and support from the UK Space Agency.
The outlook highlights that in 2021, the UK space sector’s contribution to the United Kingdom was:
- £16.5bn in turnover
- £5.3bn in exports
- £6.9bn in value add
- 47,000 direct employees
- 2,300 apprentices
As well as capturing the space sector’s contribution to the United Kingdom, the outlook identifies new business opportunities for 2022 and beyond which include: in-orbit servicing and manufacturing, earth observation, and UK launch. We also highlight the most important policy priorities for the sector, noting several key government strategies launched in the last two years including the National Space Strategy and its ten-point plan, the UK Defence Space Strategy and the Government’s plan for Space Sustainability.
The outlook shows how ADS, UKspace, and industry are working with government stakeholders to represent the views of members and ensure space remains a key strategic focus for the UK and the exciting strategies launched over the last two years are implemented to fully utilise and leverage the UK’s innovative capabilities.
Commenting on the outlook, ADS Chief Executive, Kevin Craven said: “The UK’s space sector continues to flourish with many exciting opportunities for UK businesses. The UK is recognised as a world-leader in the space arena consistently using its space capabilities to improve everyday lives and better understand our planet. Working collaboratively with UKspace and the UK Space Agency, the 2022 Space Sector Outlook captures not only the important contribution of the UK, but also its strengths and opportunities as it continues to develop. ADS looks forward to working with government stakeholders and industry partners to ensure space remains a key strategic focus of the UK.”
UKspace Chair, John Hanley said: “UKspace was pleased to work with ADS to produce this outlook report which clearly demonstrates the vibrancy of the UK space sector, and covers some of the significant priority business opportunities spanning In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing, Earth Observation and Launch, supported by a policy landscape that should facilitate further growth around the entire United Kingdom. As an organisation, UKspace is working closely with all our members, as well as with stakeholders in government and academia, to ensure the whole sector’s value is recognised and invested in, allowing further strengthening of our position as a global leader in space.”
07 Sep 22. SWOT satellite all set to depart for United States. After more than a year in assembly, integration and testing at Thales Alenia Space’s facility in Cannes, France, for the French and U.S. space agencies CNES and NASA, the SWOT satellite (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) is making final preparations to depart for its forthcoming launch from the United States.
SWOT is a joint mission of CNES and NASA, with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA). It is dedicated to measuring surface water levels in lakes and rivers and river discharges, and to acquiring highly precise and detailed data on ocean dynamics. SWOT features a number of unprecedented technological innovations and is based on a major disruptive technology, namely the wide-swath KaRIn interferometer designed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). CNES and Thales Alenia Space built the radio-frequency assembly for this instrument. KaRIn has two Ka-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antennas separated by a 10-metre boom that will enable it to view a 120-kilometre swath with a horizontal resolution on the order of 50 to 100 metres, configurable on either side of the satellite’s ground track.
SWOT will also be carrying a Nadir module comprising the same instruments as the Jason series of satellites, including the Poseidon dual-frequency altimeter built by Thales Alenia Space. This module will also carry the DORIS precise orbit determination system, built by Thales, an Advanced Microwave Radiometer (AMR), a GPS Payload (GPSP) and a Laser Retro-reflector Array (LRA) developed by JPL.
SWOT promises to revolutionize oceanography and land surface hydrology as the latest in a long line of missions accomplished in partnership by CNES, NASA and Thales Alenia Space, beginning in 1992 with the launch of the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite and continued through the series of Jason satellite missions. SWOT will be the first satellite to be decommissioned at the end of its lifetime by making a controlled atmospheric re-entry, in compliance with the French Space Operations Act (FSOA) geared towards tackling space debris, which took effect in 2020.
Designed to study ocean topography and surface waters, SWOT has a two-pronged mission covering oceanography and hydrology. The satellite will observe ocean circulation in 2D with a tenfold gain in resolution. This will help us analyse and better understand the effects of coastal circulation on marine life, ecosystems, water quality and energy transfers to improve modelling of atmosphere-ocean interactions. The hydrology part of the mission will assess variations in water levels in wetlands, lakes and reservoirs, as well as river discharges. SWOT is thus set to deliver key innovations in a sector where the strategic, economic and societal stakes have never been higher.
SWOT is now primed for its planned departure to the United States in early October, bringing to a close a year of unstinting efforts on the part of French and U.S. teams at Thales Alenia Space, the world leader in satellite altimetry. Over the last 12 months, the science payload supplied by JPL has been integrated with the spacecraft bus developed by Thales Alenia Space for prime contractor CNES. After these assembly operations, the teams conducted a series of functional and environmental tests on the satellite and its instruments to verify their ability to withstand the harsh conditions of launch and space.
A U.S. Air Force C5-Galaxy freighter aircraft will be deployed specially to fly the two-tonne satellite and its shipping container from Nice Airport to Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) for a launch no earlier than 5 December atop a Falcon 9 vehicle operated by SpaceX.
At the press briefing at Thales Alenia Space on 6 September, Thierry Lafon, CNES’s SWOT project leader, said: “The completion of SWOT’s integration in France illustrates our nation’s desire through CNES and the PIA future investment programme, and that of its international and industry partners, to pave the way for new generations of observation systems built around disruptive technologies like interferometric radar altimetry. This pioneering mission will be the first to conduct a systematic global survey of Earth’s water, marking a giant leap towards managing this resource more efficiently. It holds out a lot of potential for our space industry as well as for future users of its data. The international scientific community is eagerly awaiting these new data to gain a closer insight into the global water cycle and enhance their understanding of the ocean’s role in climate change.”
“SWOT is an emblematic mission not only because it seeks to address international climate stakes, but also because it will serve what is one of our most critical shared resources, Water,” added Christophe Duplay, SWOT programme manager at Thales Alenia Space. “The satellite will allow us for the first time to survey the entire water cycle from lakes and rivers to seas and oceans. For the teams at Thales Alenia Space, this programme is the continuation of its longstanding partnership with CNES and NASA in the field of satellite altimetry since the successful Jason missions that have enabled operational oceanography to be deployed worldwide.”
CNES is the government agency responsible for shaping France’s space policy and implementing it in Europe. Its task is to conceive and orbit satellites, invent the space systems of the future and nurture new services to aid us in our daily lives.
Founded in 1961, it is the initiator of major space projects, launch vehicles and satellites, and the partner of choice for industry, supporting exports and fuelling innovation. CNES is working in infinite fields of applications in five core areas of focus: Ariane, science, Earth observation, telecommunications and defence.
CNES is a key player driving technology research, economic development and industrial policy for the nation. It also fosters scientific collaborations and has forged numerous international partnerships.
France, represented by CNES, is the leading contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA), which conducts Europe’s space policy on behalf of its 22 member states. www.cnes.fr (Source: ASD Network)
07 Sep 22. BAE Systems is set to launch its first multi-sensor satellite cluster into low Earth orbit in 2024 to deliver high-quality information and intelligence in real time from space to military customers. Known as AzaleaTM, the group of satellites will use a range of sensors to collect visual, radar and radio frequency (RF) data, which will be analysed by on board machine learning on edge processors to deliver the resulting intelligence securely, anywhere in the world while still in orbit.
Following the acquisition of In-Space Missions last year, BAE Systems is one of a small number of British companies with the capability to design, build, launch and operate satellites. The expertise brought by In-Space Missions complements the Company’s existing advanced technologies and will become an integral part of its multi-domain capability. AzaleaTM will also boost the UK’s ability to understand the threats and hazards in, from and through space.
The AzaleaTM cluster will deliver timely, actionable intelligence, essential for military operations and disaster response. Comprising four highly resilient satellites which, together, are capable of gathering, analysing and communicating Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), optical and RF signals. Unlike conventional, single-purpose satellites, the cluster can be fully reconfigured whilst in orbit in the same way a smartphone installs a new app; this ensures it can deliver future customer missions and expands the lifecycle of the satellites.
The programme supports the UK Government’s Defence Space Strategy, published earlier this year, which named Earth observation as a priority area to help protect and defend UK interests, a sovereign capability which AzaleaTM could provide.
BAE Systems is working with Finnish firm, ICEYE, to combine its own expertise in sensor technology with ICEYE’s advanced SAR technology to be included in the cluster. SAR provides high-resolution imagery of the Earth’s surface, day or night and in any weather conditions. This persistent monitoring makes it easier to detect instant physical changes, such as the movement of hostile ships or aircraft or the location of people at risk during natural disasters, such as floods and forest fires.
Existing space-based sensors require multiple terabytes of data to be transferred to Earth before being processed and distributed. The traditional transfer process can take many hours and is reliant on intermittent RF links and the availability of suitable ground stations. The AzaleaTM system saves valuable time by combining and analysing data in space. It will be able to identify activities of interest and directly communicate with users on the ground within moments of detection – securely delivering assured data, in a useful timeframe, directly to the hands of decision makers.
Dave Armstrong, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business said: “The AzaleaTM satellite cluster will process data in space to provide swathes of digital intelligence wherever it’s needed. We understand how important space-based intelligence is to every domain, whether that’s informing strategic command, alerting an in area warship, or providing real-time intelligence to forces on the ground. The launch of AzaleaTM in 2024 will be a major step forward for the UK’s sovereign space capability.”
Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE, added: “ICEYE helps to solve problems using data. There is a clear advantage for governments and organisations to receive accurate information when they need it, regardless of weather conditions – this is what ICEYE brings. By combining our SAR technology with the security expertise of BAE Systems and the other data sources in the cluster, we can help decision makers make the right choice at the right time.”
Doug Liddle, Chief Executive and co-founder of In-Space Missions, said: “We’re working together to create a step-change in military intelligence and capabilities. Our technology will monitor adversaries, but will also provide substantial civil benefits by helping humanitarian response missions.”
07 Sep 22. UK built Prometheus 2 imaging and monitoring cubesats on track for UK launch. Airbus jointly designed Prometheus 2 cubesats in final environmental and vibration testing ready for Cornwall launch.
The Prometheus 2 satellites, which have been jointly designed by Airbus and In-Space Missions, are on track for their UK launch from Newquay, Cornwall, later this year with environmental testing complete and vibration testing ongoing.
The Prometheus 2 cubesats are owned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). They have been co-funded by Airbus Defence and Space with In-Space Missions Ltd leading the construction.
The two cereal box sized Prometheus-2 cubesats will operate in low Earth orbit, at around 550km and will provide a test platform for sophisticated imaging, and monitoring radio signals including GPS. The satellites will support MOD science and technology (S&T) activities both in orbit and on the ground through the development of ground systems focussed at Dstl’s site near Portsmouth. The cubesats will each have separate equipment installed to test future concepts in support of the MOD’s ISTARI programme for future space-based intelligence and surveillance. The Airbus payloads will support company internal R&D projects targeted at future LEO operations, ISR mission concepts as well as external third party customer R&D needs.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space UK said: “Achieving this crucial milestone further demonstrates the value of government and Airbus collaborative investments working alongside SMEs to achieve fast results in orbit and also to help support and develop the UK space industry ecosystem. Engineering the first UK launched small satellites, designed and built in the UK, is a great achievement for all those involved in this successful collaboration and builds on the success of the Prometheus 1 payload launched last year.”
Incorporating modern Software Defined Radio technology, these payloads will also enable third-party organisations to use the Prometheus 2 constellation to research signal gathering, inter-satellite communication, in-orbit data processing, space domain awareness and position, navigation and timing or geolocation capabilities. Access to this research capability will be available through Airbus Defence and Space Ltd. The satellites are research demonstrators and will not be used in defence intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
The lessons learnt from this mission will be used to de-risk key technologies, generate the next wave of collaborative experiments, enhance international partnerships and support Dstl’s own satellite operations.
Prometheus 2 is set to launch on Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl, an adapted Boeing 747, later this year and is scheduled to operate for three years.
07 Sep 22. BAE Systems muscles in on satellite space with defence cluster. British aerospace and defence giant BAE Systems is set to unveil a satellite cluster later today.
The cluster, made up of four satellites, will be focused on earth observation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and be rented out to businesses and allied governments alike.
Much like the smartphone, the satellites will be able to download different applications, such as alternative sensing and camera abilities, which are requested by the customer.
BAE System’s new satellite plans, which form part of its Azealia program, follows the acquisition of British satellite manufacturer In-Space last year and is the “culmination” of the firm’s expertise in security, head of space strategy Liz Steward told City A.M.
“A key part of the UK’s defence space strategy is to have a national earth observation capability so that’s definitely where our focus is. Supporting the UK customer,” she added. “Countries around the world are all stepping up their space commands. That’s really the driving force behind what we’re doing.
“The idea is with one cluster you cover the whole Earth every few days but if a customer wanted it to be much quicker than that we would be able to launch more clusters,” she explained, adding that with over 100 clusters of four satellites, customers could cover the entire Earth in just 15-minutes.
The London-listed defence firm has been leveraging space within its digital intelligence division.
“We’re talking to lots of potential customers but at the moment they’re still potentials,” Steward continued.
BAE Systems are currently finalising the design phase, and will start production in the UK and Iceland in 2024, with plans to launch that same year.
Liz added that the cluster will probably be launched in the US on a SpaceX rideshare, “but future missions certainly could launch form the UK if the UK’s vertical launch rockets develop as we hope they will.” (Source: Google/CITY AM)
06 Sep 22. Scotland’s space sector set to become greenest on Earth. Ambitious plans unveiled to reduce sector’s environmental impact with publication of new Scottish Space Sustainability Roadmap
Scotland’s space sector today declares its commitment to reducing its impact on the environment through the publication of a new sustainable space roadmap, the first of its kind on Earth.
The new roadmap sets out the steps needed to achieve the long term goals of Scottish space missions, which are to be space debris neutral, zero emissions created from on-the-ground activities, and for Scotland to gain global recognition as a leader in sustainable space.
National and international expert interviews, in-depth study into other sustainability initiatives and consultation with the space industry informed the roadmap contents, which addresses areas such as the environmental impacts of building, fuelling, and launching satellites, as well as the importance of promoting satellite data for environmental monitoring.
Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland’s space industry has enormous growth potential and is rightly recognised as a key new market opportunity within the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Last year, the Scottish Government and partners set out our collective ambition for Scotland to become Europe’s leading space nation, taking a £4 bn share of the global space market and creating 20,000 jobs by 2030.
“The Scottish Government recognises the key role of space in the global fight against climate change. The Scottish space sector shares this collective responsibility and is already innovating through the use of greener fuels, lightweight materials, smart design and reusability. The Scottish Space Sustainability Roadmap is the next step in helping the sector reach net zero by 2045 and in setting an example for other nations.
“These are exactly the kind of actions necessary to help boost productivity, create sustainable jobs and position Scotland in the vanguard of responsible users of space across every part of the industry.”
Developed in collaboration with Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force and funded by Scottish Enterprise, the roadmap has been produced by space strategy firm AstroAgency in partnership with Glasgow-based Optimat.
Jane Martin, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “It’s almost a year since Glasgow hosted COP26, where world leaders gathered to address climate change and the global action needed. This roadmap represents another historic moment in our journey towards net zero and is further proof of Scotland’s commitment to take positive environmental action.
“By working together industry, academia and the public sector can find solutions to the worldwide challenge of making space more sustainable, helping to protect the Earth and space for future generations.”
Kristina Tamane, Space Sector Business Development Lead at University of Edinburgh and Environmental Task Force Co-Chair, said: “The work behind this roadmap is unique because it is centred in action and leading the way globally in terms of sustainability of the whole space sector.
“Key colleagues across the UK, enabled by the Environmental Task Force, will proactively and consistently build a space sector that is sustainability focussed by design – working collaboratively and internationally to achieve this ambitious goal. This is a truly historic document which I am positive will lead to an environmentally conscious space sector development, led by Scotland.”
As one of the early actions identified in the roadmap, Scottish Enterprise, together with partners Scottish Government and The Data Lab, has launched a £300,000 innovation challenge to fund innovative solutions using space data to aid Scotland’s transition to net zero. Successful applications will secure funding of between £20,000 and £30,000 with the fund closing for applications on 26 September 2022.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Scotland is a vital part of the UK’s growing space sector, which employs 47,000 people and generates an annual income of £16.5 bn. We welcome the new sustainable space roadmap, which is a strong statement of intent to reduce environmental impact.
“The UK is taking a global lead on space sustainability. We’re developing new missions and capabilities to improve how we track objects in orbit and accelerate technologies such as active debris removal, while setting new standards and working closely with international partners to keep space open for future generations.
“We’re also backing missions to help monitor and tackle climate change, such as the UK-built Biomass satellite, which will measure carbon stored by the world’s forests, and the new FORUM mission, which will provide unique measurements of our planet’s infra-red energy to improve our understanding of our climate.”
Scotland’s ambitious space sector is identified by the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies as a key opportunity for future economic growth. The Scottish Space Strategy, published last October, aims to create 20,000 jobs and secure a £4bn share of the global space market.
With this growth comes an accompanying responsibility to mitigate the environmental impacts of the space sector, and in 2019 industry group, Space Scotland, established an Environmental Task Force working group, comprising around 20 representatives from the space sector, to better understand the true impact of the space industry on both Earth and Low Earth orbit.
Last year the Environmental Task Force ran an initiative to gather environmental challenges for space to solve from schools, environmental groups and government agencies. The initiative led to an online showcase of how space could contribute to net zero ambitions
Today’s roadmap announcement comes ahead of two major industry events, Space Comm in the UK and International Astronautical Congress in France where a deep dive of the roadmap will be presented to an international audience. Space Scotland will be looking to energise the debate and collaborate, with the support and endorsement of the UK Space Agency, to engage with international partners and leaders to ensure sustainability is at the forefront of growth.
Scotland has a space industry estimated to generate £880M GVA for the Scottish economy in 2017/18 with a sustained annual growth rate of 12% Scotland has seen an increase in employment of almost 10% since 2016
Scotland’s space sector covers a wide range of specialisms, from satellite and rocket manufacturers to launch facilities and research and data analysis.
The number of space businesses in Scotland has increased by more than 65% since 2016 and the sector proportionately employs over twice as many people in Scotland as the rest of the UK.
05 Sep 22. Third Artemis 1 launch weeks away. The second attempt to launch Artemis 1 was scrubbed again on Saturday following a liquid hydrogen leak. NASA is currently unsure whether any repairs will require the rocket to return to its assembly building but nonetheless believes it will be weeks before a third attempt can be made.
It comes a week after the first blast-off was aborted due to what it called critical cooling issues on one of its four engines.
Artemis 1 is the first stage of NASA’s plan to return humans to the moon by 2025. It will use the same Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft as for the return to the lunar surface, but instead undertake a three-week uncrewed mission.
The new issue involved a breach in the liquid hydrogen propulsion lines that feed into the rocket’s core stage fuel tanks.
“The team is now going into the cut-off procedure after being unable to resolve a hydrogen leak,” said Derrol Nail, NASA’s launch commentator.
“The vehicle is safe … we are a scrub for today,” he added.
The problems arose shortly into the complicated fuelling process, which involves the core stage’s tank being loaded with 2.4 m litres of liquid hydrogen at minus 252 degrees and 891,000 litres of liquid oxygen at minus 182 degrees.
At the point where the liquid hydrogen supply line feeds into the tank, a cavity opened up. NASA used three separate pressurisation tactics to mitigate the problem but all failed.
With the launch hours behind schedule, the decision was taken to scrub the attempt.
It’s currently unclear what repair work can be done on the pad, and what will require the rocket to be moved. However, the next attempt is unlikely to occur until later this month or early October.
NASA’s Artemis mission manager, Mike Sarafin, insisted the blast-off would only happen “when we’re ready” and stressed this was still the first test flight where teams were learning how to operate the vehicle.
Space Connect earlier reported how NASA had shortlisted 13 potential landing regions for its Artemis III mission that will take humans back to the moon in 2025.
The sites are all near the lunar South Pole and were chosen to enable multiple launch windows throughout the year.
Teams also evaluated the locations based on lighting conditions and how easy it would be to communicate with Earth.
“Selecting these regions means we are one giant leap closer to returning humans to the moon for the first time since Apollo,” said NASA’s Mark Kirasich, an associate administrator for Artemis.
“When we do, it will be unlike any mission that’s come before as astronauts venture into dark areas previously unexplored by humans and lay the groundwork for future long-term stays.”
All of the regions are within six degrees of latitude of the lunar South Pole and feature diverse geologic features. However, the sites are closely tied to the timing of the launch, meaning NASA has chosen 13 to enable multiple launch windows. (Source: Space Connect)
05 Sep 22. Rocket Lab USA, Inc has successfully test fired a reused Rutherford first stage engine for the first time – a significant technical achievement in the Company’s efforts to make its Electron launch vehicle the world’s first reusable orbital small rocket. Rocket Lab conducted the full duration, full-thrust test fire of the refurbished Rutherford engine earlier this week at the Company’s engine test facility. The engine was previously successfully launched from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on May 2, putting 34 satellites into orbit, and returned to Earth during Rocket Lab’s recent recovery mission, ‘There And Back Again’. The mission was the first time Rocket Lab attempted a mid-air capture of Electron’s first stage, using parachutes on the rocket to slow its descent from space. At 6,500ft Rocket Lab’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter rendezvoused with the rocket stage and captured it. But the pilot detected different load characteristics then previously experienced in testing and offloaded the stage for a successful splash down. The Electron stage was ultimately collected by a boat and returned to Rocket Lab’s production complex. The refurbished Rutherford engine passed the same rigorous acceptance tests Rocket Lab performs for every engine, including 200 seconds of engine fire and multiple restarts. Data from the test fire shows the engine produced full thrust of 21kNs within 1000 milliseconds of ignition and performed to the same standard as a newly-built Rutherford engine. This Rutherford engine will now continue as an engine life-leader for future Rutherford development. Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said: “Being able to refly Electron with minimal refurbishment is the ultimate goal, and so the fact that the recovered components on this engine performed on the test stand with minimal rework is further validation that we’re on the right path. If we can achieve this high level of performance from engine components recovered from the ocean, then I’m optimistic and incredibly excited about what we can do when we bring back dry engines under a helicopter next time.” Preparation for Rocket Lab’s next recovery mission, which will include an attempt to catch Electron with a helicopter again, but this time fly it back to land, is continuing at pace and is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. (Source: Rumour Control)
05 Sep 22. New Zealand announces space policy review and new space strategy. New Zealand’s government said on Monday it would be reviewing the country’s space policy and launching an aerospace strategy as part of an effort to grow the sector. New Zealand has a small but growing space industry, which produced estimated revenue of NZ$1.75bn ($1.06bn) in the 2018-19 financial year, according to a report commissioned by the government in 2019.
The most well known company is launch firm Rocket Lab USA Inc (RKLB.O), which launches rockets out of a small town on the country’s east coast.
The country’s clear skies and diversity of geography make New Zealand an ideal location for aerospace activity, Associate Transport Minister Kieran McAnulty said in a statement.
“The Government’s aerospace strategy will make sure that regulations remain fit for purpose, and advanced aviation technology is integrated into transport networks without disadvantaging those who use the airspace.”
McAnulty said he had heard from the sector that there needs to be a well-resourced regulator with the ability to keep up with the fast-moving sector. The government is providing NZ$3.7m to the Civil Aviation Authority to establish a programme that will in part increase their regulatory capacity. ($1 = 1.6437 New Zealand dollars) (Source: Reuters)
31 Aug 22. SpaceX’s 46 Starlinks successfully launched from Falcon 9.
On Tuesday, August 30 at 10:40 p.m. PT, SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 launched 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. This was the seventh flight for this Falcon 9 first stage booster that previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and now five Starlink missions. The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and four Starlink missions.
Following stage separation, the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship stationed in the Pacific Ocean so it can potentially be used again. (Source: Satnews)
29 Aug 22. Maritime Launch Services initiates construction of Spaceport Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia, Canada, is a step closer to becoming a global destination for commercial space launch, as Maritime Launch Services (Nova Scotia) Ltd. has been approved to start construction of Spaceport Nova Scotia, Canada’s first commercial spaceport.
“This is historic. Nova Scotia is the safest and most globally competitive location to launch satellites into space and today we are closer to realizing this potential,” said Stephen Matier, President and CEO, Maritime Launch. “We are grateful to the team of global experts in design, construction, environmental protection and spaceport operations who have been working with us every step of the way to develop a world class launch site with a focus on safety and environmental stewardship. Space launch from Nova Scotia will position Canada as a global leader in low earth orbit satellite communications while creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the province.”
This approval confirms that Maritime Launch has satisfied the conditions related to construction of Spaceport Nova Scotia within the Environmental Assessment approval granted in 2019. The launch facility will be built on crown land in accordance with a 20-year lease of approximately 335 acres near the rural communities of Canso, Little Dover and Hazel Hill, Nova Scotia. The lease includes an option for a 20-year renewal based on compliance with terms and conditions.
With geotechnical exploratory work complete, Maritime Launch will now begin construction activity on the site.
Spaceport Nova Scotia will create many jobs, education and partnership opportunities while boosting the province’s economy. With the development of Spaceport Nova Scotia, Maritime Launch expects that other national and international space companies will decide to establish a corporate presence in Nova Scotia to be near the Company’s commercial launch facilities.
“Today’s announcement is the result of extensive consultation and engagement with local communities, the Mi’kmaq, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Province of Nova Scotia,” said Matier. “Our local host communities, the Mi’kmaq and all Nova Scotians can be confident that we will build and operate the spaceport with a focus on safety and environmental stewardship. This was our focus when we began the initiative years ago and it remains our commitment for the future.” (Source: Satnews)
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