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21 Aug 18. USAF next GPS satellite ready to boost accuracy, anti-jamming capabilities. Lockheed’s Martin second GPS III satellite has passed all of the U.S. Air Force’s technical and safety tests and is ready to be launched, likely in 2019, according to a company statement Aug. 21. The statement marks the formal designation that the satellite is “available for launch.” The first GPS III satellite was available for launch in September 2017 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and is set to liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida before the end of 2018. The next satellite will launch aboard a rocket from United Launch Alliance. The new satellite constellation is expected to be a significant improvement over the current generation of satellites. According to Harris Corp., the company that provides Lockheed Martin with the satellites navigation payload, the next-gen satellites are equipped with “a Mission Data Unit (MDU) with a unique 70 percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters.” This allows for signals three times more accurate than those on current GPS satellites, the company said. In addition to being more accurate, the satellite is also eight times more resistant to jamming. This model also adds and maintains signals to ensure compatibility with Global Navigation Satellite Systems and provide stronger signal integrity. Harris also unveiled an upgraded payload in November 2017 to be used for the Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, which will begin with the 11th GPS III satellite. This next-gen payload will grant the clock signal for a new GPS III Search and Rescue (SAR) payload, and extend the satellite’s service life. Lockheed Martin is expected to be the prime contractor. In June, the third GPS III satellite completed thermal vacuum and environmental testing to simulate how the satellite will hold up in the space’s unforgiving environment. (Source: Defense News)
21 Aug 18. Satcom Direct Brazil, the regional headquarters for business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider SD, appointed São Paulo-based Avionics Services as the first SD hardware dealer and installer in Latin America during LABACE 2018. The deal gives Latin American business jet owners and operators a single, local, source for purchasing, installing and supporting SD equipment for executive aircraft and rotary machines. SD customers operating in and around Latin America also benefit from enhanced customer support as immediate access to full SD hardware maintenance and installation expertise is now available through Avionics Services. Latin America is a growing market for SD, and as the range of products and services continues to expand the need for local installation partners and dealers is significant. “It is essential for our clients that they can easily call on reliable, responsive, experienced technicians, that literally speak their language,” said SD Brazil Managing Director, Ewerton Libaino. “We have customers using and needing a range of connectivity, from basic data link services through to Inmarsat’s high-speed Jet ConneX technology, and we want to ensure a seamless purchasing, installation and maintenance experience for them. Avionics Services provides us with that solution.”
“It really is a milestone for us to work with SD to provide improved business aviation connectivity options in Latin America. It heralds a new era as regional owners and operators will now have the confidence to install these complex systems, knowing they have a local business with extensive avionics experience to support them. We are excited for the possibilities,” says João Vernini Filho, Sales and Marketing Director, Avionics Services.
During LABACE the SD team promoted the new arrangement, along with its full product and service portfolio including the latest enhancements to its digital flight operations platform SD Pro®. A new Advanced Connectivity module enables users to generate a predictive connectivity map for each flight which graphically highlights network coverage, and any associated issues along the route. The feature aims to prevent loss of connectivity as it highlights dead zones and regional areas where data may be at threat from intrusion. The latest SD Pro Threat Monitoring module upgrade gives flight departments more visibility into the types of threats identified, as well as the ability to view and sort threats by category. Data analysis enables flight departments to make better informed connectivity decisions about user behaviors and security policies and stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities. Combined with SD hardware, SD Pro gives users more insight and control over onboard connectivity and how it is functioning.
“As connectivity becomes increasingly important we are innovating and adding new products to our suite of services. Our enhanced SD Pro technology, the signing of the new Avionics Services agreement, and our growing local-language training portfolio adds real value for our local customers and represents a strengthening SD presence in the region. It exemplifies our commitment to giving the best customer connectivity experience in Latin America,” concludes Libaino.
21 Aug 18. As the first Lockheed Martin-built (NYSE: LMT) GPS III satellite prepares to ship to the launch pad, the U.S. Air Force has declared that the second GPS III satellite is complete, fully tested and ready to launch. The Air Force’s “Available for Launch” declaration is the final acceptance of Lockheed Martin’s second GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV02) – declaring it technically sound and ready to launch. GPS III SV02 will bring new capabilities to U.S. and allied military forces, and a new civil signal that will improve future connectivity worldwide for commercial and civilian users. GPS III SV02 now awaits official call up for launch in Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility clean room in Denver. In June, the Air Force officially called up its first GPS III satellite for launch.
“The first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, was declared ‘Available for Launch’ in September 2017. It is now being prepared for shipment to Cape Canaveral, Florida for a launch before the end of the year,” said Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for Navigation Systems. “With two GPS III satellites now ready for launch, and the third GPS III expected to be ready by early next year, we’re building strong momentum. These satellites will soon begin modernizing the current GPS constellation with new capabilities and more advanced technology.”
GPS III will be the most powerful GPS satellite ever on orbit. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems. Lockheed Martin is now in full production on ten GPS III satellites at its GPS III Processing Facility near Denver. In June, GPS III SV03 completed Thermal Vacuum testing, strenuous environmental trials simulating operations in the harshest space environments. In May, the antenna deck was added to GPS III SV04, fully integrating it into a complete satellite ready to begin environmental testing.
Right behind GPS III SV04 on the production line, the fifth, sixth and seventh GPS III satellites are in component build-up. The fifth satellite already has its navigation payload and is expected to be fully assembled later this summer. To date, more than 90 percent of parts and materials for all 10 satellites under contract have been received. In April, the company submitted a proposal to the government to build up to 22 additional GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites which would bring even further enhanced capabilities to the GPS constellation’s more than four billion users.
21 Aug 18. DST and UNSW satellite mission a success. A satellite jointly developed by UNSW Canberra Space and the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group has been operating on-orbit successfully for more than nine months. The Buccaneer Risk Mitigation Mission cube satellite was launched into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November, 2017. UNSW Canberra Space director Professor Russell Boyce says the mission has achieved its key objectives.
“Shortly after the launch, the satellite was successfully commanded from Australian small satellite ground stations at DST and UNSW Canberra Space, which have shared daily communication with the spacecraft over the subsequent months,” he said.
DST mission supervisor Dr Coen van Antwerpen says the satellite has successfully deployed its three-metre, X-shaped antenna that is part of the novel DST Group-developed and designed payload and one of the core pieces of technology, which will be used in future Buccaneer missions.
“Now that the flight operations and experiments planned for the main part of the mission have been successfully completed, the mission is moving into an extended operations phase to obtain additional valuable information on the ongoing performance of the spacecraft,” Dr van Antwerpen said.
Professor Boyce says the team has worked to test and characterise the performance of the satellite’s various sub-systems in the space environment, including the UNSW Sydney-developed GPS and a UNSW Canberra camera used to monitor the performance of the antenna.
“Following that, experiments have been conducted that extend the state-of-the art for small satellite space situational awareness and test key technologies in preparation for a follow-on mission, in which DST will perform calibration research for the Jindalee over-the-horizon operational radar network,” Professor Boyce says.
“The Buccaneer mission has been extremely successful from the perspective of a partnership to climb the space mission learning curve, as Australia accelerates its momentum in space activity exemplified by the Australian Space Agency commencing last month.”
DST research lead Dr Nick Stacy said small, affordable satellites like Buccaneer provide a unique opportunity to support Defence capabilities and develop the Australian space industry.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper highlights space research and space systems as an important part of Australia’s Defence capability and national security,” Dr Stacy said.
Buccaneer is one of a number of funded satellites at UNSW Canberra Space, with a further three currently in early development. The satellites will play an important role in gathering data and demonstrating space-based capability ranging from remote sensing to secure communications, to help meet Australian and international needs and opportunities on the ground. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Aug 18. Russia says will not deploy arms in space first – Ifax. Russia does not plan to put weapons in space first and considers this to be an important signal that Washington should not ignore, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Monday. The United States last week voiced suspicion over Russia’s pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an “abnormal” way. (Source: Reuters)
14 Aug 18. Satellite Innovation — THE Meeting Place for Satellite Executives and Professionals. In session from October 8th to 11th, 2018, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the annual Satellite Innovation will be addressing and updating a number of emerging technologies for the space and satellite market segments. New for 2018 — Satellite Innovation will host brief, intensive updates on important new and advanced technologies. These concise presentations will offer an opportunity for attendees to expand their technical horizons, while ensuring there will be ample time for a full and comprehensive program.
New Propulsion Systems
Presenter: Natalya Bailey, CEO & Co-Founder, Accion Systems
During her studies in propulsion at MIT as a Ph.D. candidate, she invented the world’s first working prototype of an ion engine. Natalya’s vast knowledge of the diversity of emerging technologies in this field is impressive and will provide stimulating commentaries for the attendees.
Phased Array Antennas
Presenter: Chris Baugh, President, NSR – Northern Sky Research
Chris is the director of a global team of 25 analysts who focus on SATCOM and the latest information regarding Phased Array Antennas. His varied expertise and his in-depth analysis are well respected in the industry.
Software Defined Networking and Machine Learning
Presenter: Brian Barritt, Technical Lead / Manager, Loon (formerly Google X)
Brian’s position is at the forefront of the development of Google’s latest technologies in the SATCOM market, enabling him to achieve market-leading optimization with the transfer and use of data. Additionally, Brian’s perspectives and experience in delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to organizations will result in extensive overviews of this crucial technology for SATCOM professionals.
Robotic Space Applications
Presenter: Kiel Davis, President, Honeybee Robotics
Kiel is recognized for his various roles involving groundbreaking robotic space missions for more than 20 years, including NASA’s Mars Rover and Lander. Currently, he oversees the operations as well as leads the implementation of strategies for Honeybee, including innovative technology that enables NewSpace business models.
Join these industry subject-matter experts, as well as more than 120 additional industry leaders, all of whom will be providing presentations that explore the innovations that are disrupting today’s satellite market. Register today at satinnovation.com. (Source: Satnews)
13 Aug 18. Goonhilly Earth Station Collaborating with Spacebit for Application of Blockchain Technology. Goonhilly Earth Station is collaborating with space blockchain technology pioneers, Spacebit, to develop the use of blockchain technology for space-based data applications and mission deployment. Blockchain technology has the potential to introduce new techniques to accelerate space exploration by creating an ecosystem that fosters access to space data. The partnership is seeking to lower the barrier to entry to access to space communication and application networks. The Goonhilly-Spacebit collaboration will result in applications using tokenized ground station and spacecraft data, blockchain-based data management, new communications protocols for security and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as advanced data provenance systems using distributed ledger technology (DLT). Blockchain technology will allow Goonhilly to create new business models using a decentralized data management system for communicating between spacecraft and ground stations. The creation, management and easy access to data, whilst maintaining security and a historical record of each data transfer, will accelerate the development of commercial space activities.
Blockchain-based systems allow data to be distributed, or decentralized, while maintaining highly accurate records of movement, thereby removing the possibility of data tampering. Whether it is used to automate complex sequencing of data in support of spacecraft launches, solving GPS issues or creating systems for inter-space and earth-to-space communication, blockchain creates the founding principles upon which solutions can be built and accessed at a lower cost by private and public organizations or individuals.
Ian Jones, CEO of Goonhilly Earth Station said that exploring the new commercial opportunities in space requires new ways of thinking. Many of the underlying techniques used in blockchain technology have strong parallels in existing secure communication technology. Goonhilly looks forward to working with Spacebit to discover innovative use cases and business models for blockchain-enabled space communications and showing how these might be applied to projects.
Founder of Spacebit, Pavlo Tanasyuk, added that Goonhilly shares the company’s passion for exploration, and a disruptive, entrepreneurial approach to business. Today’s partnership is targeted at driving forward new economic models around space communication. Spacebit firmly believe space exploration should be available to everyone; blockchain lies at the heart of that ambition and will galvanize the new space economy by laying the building blocks for the automation of space communications and democratizing access to space data and satellite communications. (Source: Satnews)
13 Aug 18. Es’hailSat Acquires Full Ownership of Satellite. Eutelsat has sold their interest in the EUTELSAT 25B satellite operated at 25.5 degrees East to the co-owner of the satellite, Es’hailSat, for a consideration of 135m euros. Eutelsat’s share of the satellite generated FY2018 revenues of c.16m euros in the video application. The divestment of this non-core asset is in line with Eutelsat’s strategy of optimising its portfolio of businesses in the context of its policy of maximizing cash generation. This sale has no impact on Eutelsat’s revenue objectives, which are at constant perimeter and will be absorbed within the Group’s EBITDA margin target. The discretionary free cash flow objective excludes the impact of the disposal. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions 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.