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29 Sep 22. Southern Launch enters ‘sharing’ agreement with US Space Command. Southern Launch will be the first Australian launch provider to sign a space situational awareness agreement with the US Space Command.
The agreement means that Southern Launch will notify the US Space Command prior to any of its launches to ensure that the trajectory of its rocket will avoid any space objects already in orbit identified by the Space Command.
The US Space Command has one of the largest space situational awareness databases in the world, currently tracking over 47,000 space-based objects including satellites, space hardware and debris orbiting Earth.
In addition to its tracking capabilities, the US Space Command also has extensive launch collision avoidance systems. It is these systems that Southern Launch will be leveraging as part of the deal in order to keep its launches safe and collision-free.
The agreement signed between Southern Launch and the US Space Command is only the beginning of the working relationship between the two parties.
They plan to work together in future on several deorbiting and re-entry projects, as well as end-of-life deorbit support for failing satellites and spacecraft. The intention of the projects is to reduce the amount of space debris that is orbiting Earth.
Space debris is a serious problem for launch companies and satellite operators, who have to be extremely careful to avoid the large amounts of debris orbiting Earth while operating their spacecraft and launching new satellites into orbit.
Lloyd Damp, the CEO of Southern Launch spoke about the deal and emphasised its importance for the commercial space sector in Australia.
“Southern Launch continues to set the standard in Australia for safe, sustainable commercial space launches. Our agreement with the United States Space Command further strengthens the commitment we have to Australia being a responsible user of space,” he said.
Southern Launch recently secured further funding for its Whalers Way spaceport and launch complex located on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula.
The company is one of several companies propelling the South Australian space sector to new heights. Richard Price, chief executive of Defence South Australia and the South Australian Space Industry Centre, spoke about the deal between Southern Launch and US Space Command.
“South Australia is committed to supporting Australia’s national space strategy, with space situational awareness and debris monitoring one of seven national civil space priorities. Collisions in space pose a risk to both assets and life and this agreement is an excellent initiative to ensure launches undertaken in South Australia are done using a safe and considered approach.” (Source: Space Connect)
29 Sep 22. Kanyini satellite will integrate HyperScout 2 camera instrument. SmartSat SRC has announced that South Australia’s Kanyini satellite will launch with cosine’s HyperScout 2 camera on board.
The HyperScout 2 is a three-in-one flight model instrument that combines hyperspectral and thermal imaging with AI processing capabilities.
HyperScout 2 will go to space aboard the Kanyini satellite, which is a 6U CubeSat being launched as part of the South Australian Space Services mission.
The mission represents a $6.5 million investment by the South Australian government and will be Australia’s first state-launched satellite.
SmartSat SRC has been tasked with leading the mission and performing application prototyping for the mission. Several other Australian companies are also contributing to the mission, with Inovor Technologies designing and building the satellite, and Myriota responsible for the operation of internet of things services in space.
The Kanyini satellite will provide crucial data for several use areas, including water usage, disaster and hazard management as well as climate policy.
HyperScout 2 will be instrumental in collecting and analysing this data. The instrument is capable of hyperspectral imaging in the visible and near-infrared, which allows it to analyse the composition of the Earth from space.
Its thermal camera can also process data in three thermal infrared bands which provides significant data about temperature distribution. This capability opens up the number of Earth observation applications that can be performed with the data significantly, which is a major boon to cosine’s customers.
Kanyini’s mission director at SmartSat, Peter Nikoloff, spoke about the broad benefits the HyperScout 2 would provide the Kanyini mission with.
“The spectral range of HyperScout 2 enables an extremely detailed analysis of land cover, supporting research into crop health, forests, inland water and coasts. The thermal infrared imager will provide vital information on heat generators in South Australia.”
“We needed a compact imaging payload that gave us a nuanced Earth view,” he said.
Dr Marco Esposito, the managing director of the company behind the design of the HyperScout 2, cosine Remote Sensing, also discussed development process of the instrument.
“We have completed all the necessary activities for the delivery of the HyperScout flight model, and we now look forward to supporting our customer during the next project steps. We are proud to provide the core sensing device for this top-level Australian mission.”
The development of the HyperScout 2 was modified specifically for use on the Kanyini mission, with the team needing to adapt the instrument to fit within the small dimensions and volume of the Kanyini satellite. (Source: Space Connect)
27 Sep 22. Airbus to open office at Lot Fourteen. Airbus has today announced that it will open an office later this month at Lot Fourteen, the growing space and defence industry hub in South Australia.
The news comes following Airbus’ announcement that it would establish a major satellite manufacturing facility at the upcoming Australian Space Park in Adelaide.
The office will be located in the “Defence and Space Landing Pad” section of Lot Fourteen, a purpose-designed area to bring together international defence and aeronautical companies in South Australia.
Airbus’ office at Lot Fourteen will be home to the RMS STaR Shot program and missions, which will see Airbus working with the Australian Defence Force to develop sovereign capabilities in future space operations.
The facility will be Airbus’ first dedicated office for space activities in Australia.
RMS STaR Shot aims to supply the ADF with significantly increased access to secure and comprehensive satellite communication, intelligence gathering methods and surveillance services.
The $40m STaR Shot deal will also involve extensive research on new satellite technologies and includes the purchase of two Airbus Arrow 150 satellite buses with a value of over $20m.
Richard Franklin, the managing director of Airbus Defence and Space UK spoke about the decision to establish the new office space at Lot Fourteen.
“South Australia’s diverse and vibrant industrial ecosystem makes it a natural choice for us to establish our space centre. We look forward to working closely with the innovative start-ups and scale-ups in South Australia to help further build a sustainable sovereign Australian Space sector,” he said.
The chief executive of Defence South Australia described the Defence and Space Landing Pad facility as a “one-stop shop” and said that it was encouraging to see another global leader in the defence and space industry open its doors in South Australia.
South Australia’s space industry has been undergoing rapid growth, with a flurry of announcements of major developments in the recent months.
“The expansion of Airbus into South Australia is a major boost to the state’s space capability and a testament to the collaborative, supportive and innovative environment building at Lot Fourteen,” said Susan Close, Deputy Premier of South Australia.
“South Australia’s space industry is on an exciting trajectory and I’m proud to welcome Airbus and the opportunities they will bring to advance our mission to build a thriving and enduring space ecosystem.” (Source: Space Connect)
27 Sep 22. Saber partners with ATLAS Space. Saber Astronautics has announced that it will partner with US-based ATLAS Space Operations to provide more robust satellite services.
The partnership is an expansion of Saber’s Responsive Space Operations Centre (RSOC) program, which is a mission control program that offers access to satellite operations as well as space traffic management.
Saber already has RSOC mission control centres in Colorado and Australia and provides constant coverage for a significant number of satellites.
The deal with ATLAS will increase the network coverage by adding ATLAS’ network of 30 antennas into the RSOC program.
One of the main drawcards of Saber’s RSOC system is that it incorporates an open marketplace for satellite communications, meaning that satellite owners and customers have the options to choose a service that matches the scale of their needs.
The addition of the ATLAS network to RSOC will increase the choice of scale offered to satellite owners, which will improve the customisation potential of the service even further.
An increase of 30 antennas will bring the total available number of dishes in the RSOC network to 160.
CEO of Saber Astronautics, Dr Jason Held, spoke about the deal with ATLAS.
“We’re delighted to add ATLAS Space Operations to the RSOC family. Atlas has an exceptional reputation in the SATCOM community, I can’t wait to work with them in upcoming missions,” he said.
This deal is the latest of several moves that have deepened Saber’s links to the US space industry. With one RSOC mission control centre already established in Boulder, and a recent TACFI deal with the US Space Force to provide half a million dollars in funding for their “Space Cockpit” software, Saber’s expansion into the US market has been strong.
ATLAS Space Operations has a strong presence in the space domain awareness (SDA) field in the US, recently securing a phase two Small Business Innovation Research grant to further develop their space SDA capabilities.
Vice president of commercial sales at ATLAS, Matt Schmidt, commented on the partnership with Saber.
“We appreciate the opportunity to be recognised as a partner in Saber’s comprehensive satellite operation services portfolio. This partnership is a building block to creating a strong ecosystem surrounding mission operations and communications — and we’re looking forward to building that with Saber.” (Source: Space Connect)
26 Sep 22. National Space Industry Hub expands international links. The National Space Industry Hub has announced that it will work with French aerospace hub Aerospace Valley after the two signed a memorandum of understanding.
The memorandum comes after Cicada Innovations, the company responsible for running the Space Industry Hub, announced a similar deal with Indian aerospace incubator mach33.aero in late July.
Aerospace Valley is an industry community with over 830 member companies, and works on facilitating collaborative R&D projects, assisting members to gain funding and providing advice on how to develop and grow the businesses that are part of its community.
The deal represents a significant step forward for bilateral space industry relations between France and Australia. France has a strong sovereign space industry and is heavily involved with the European Union’s space activities.
Aerospace Valley and the National Space Industry Hub share similar goals in the development of their national space industries through the provision of incubator services to assist budding space industry entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The National Space Industry Hub only kickstarted earlier this year, and has already made great strides in the Australian space industry, attracting interest from over 100 aspiring space entrepreneurs.
The Space Hub provides businesses with a shared physical space, business and technology mentoring, networking and commercialisation programs.
The CEO of Cicada, Sally-Ann Williams, spoke about the deal with Aerospace Valley and the importance of international collaboration.
“To achieve success in Australia, we need space ventures to build strong relationships with overseas customers, governments, and investors. Likewise, we must be able to attract international space companies to collaborate and work with the Australian space industry.”
“By working alongside an organisation like Aerospace Valley, we hope to open doors both in France and internationally for Australian space start-ups by providing them with a landing pad and networks into local markets,” said Williams.
To further cement the alliance between the Space Industry Hub and Aerospace Valley, an official trade mission led by Business France is set to visit Space Industry Hub in October to facilitate stronger connections between French space businesses and interested Australian organisations.
Businesses and researchers involved in the Space Industry Hub will also now receive a warm welcome not just in Bengaluru from mach33.aero, but also in the Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions of France under the roof of Aerospace Valley.
An example of this kind of international collaboration has already been demonstrated, with company Extraterrestrial Power, a Cicada space resident, being welcomed and supported by mach33.aero to collaborate with its Indian partners. (Source: Space Connect)
26 Sep 22. Swedish Space Corporation to develop an advanced ground network for Lunar missions. As humankind is returning to the Moon, the global demand for lunar missions is expanding at a rapid pace. To meet the industry’s new and ambitious requirements for lunar communications capabilities, Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) expands its worldwide network of Lunar Exploration Ground Sites (LEGS) by adding two new locations in Australia and Chile. Together with French satellite tracking equipment manufacturer Safran Data Systems, the company is set to offer the world’s first, global ground network that meets the new standards for lunar exploration.
As part of this deployment, SSC has teamed up with French satellite tracking equipment manufacturer Safran Data Systems who will deliver a set of large, high-power, antenna systems to upgrade the company’s ground stations in Chile and Australia. The systems are based on Safran’s patented, concentric feed, an ultra-accurate “design for Ka” (26 GHz) pedestal and on the Cortex modem series. These systems will enter in operation next year.
“With our long experience from lunar missions and a legacy that dates all the way back to the Apollo missions, SSC is well equipped for future missions to the Moon. SSC has been selected to provide advanced ground station support by 4 of the 5 Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) primes which have won missions to the Moon, and these ambitious missions require advanced ground station capabilities,” said Nicholas Priborsky, SSC President of Satellite Management Services. “For example, NASA has set a number of new requirements for ground station support for missions such as the Artemis program. For SSC, it is only natural to continues to expand our stations accordingly and we aim at becoming the first commercial company to offer such capabilities for lunar exploration missions.”
“It is a great honor to be awarded the contract for the deployment of SSC’s LEGS network. Safran and SSC have been working as partners for decades. Over the recent years, we have developed a full portfolio of satellite tracking antennas, from small to very large, addressing all market segments including lunar applications,” said Jean-Marie Bétermier, Safran Electronics & Defense Space Director and President of Safran Data Systems. (Source: Satnews)
18 Sep 22. Gilmour Space reveals their first rideshare mission launch to LEO. Gilmour Space Technologies will launch a dedicated rideshare mission into LEO in late 2024. The venture-capital-backed company is developing Australian rockets that will deliver a variety of spacecraft into LEO and is expecting to launch its first Eris vehicle from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in Queensland, Australia, early next year.
Caravan-1 customers will also have the option of using a standard 15-inch adaptor port, and/or leveraging on Gilmour Space’s modular satellite platform, called the G-Sat, for individual payloads. (Details available on request at .)
“Called Caravan-1, this mission will provide affordable access to new space customers looking to launch into a mid-inclination orbit at the end of 2024,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space. “Caravan-1 will launch in 2024 on our upgraded Eris Block 2 rocket (pictured), which will have a lift capacity of one tonne or 1,000 kilograms to LEO — a significant upgrade in launch capability and capacity for our customers. The next few years are going to be a very exciting time for the global space industry, and these missions will help us play our part in supporting and growing the next-generation of satellite and in-orbit technologies that will benefit humanity on Earth and beyond.”
Gilmour Space Technologies is Australia’s leading ,venture-backed ,space manufacturer of launch vehicles and satellite platforms. Headquartered on the Gold Coast in Queensland, the company is developing, manufacturing and launching Australian-made rockets and satellites that will provide affordable access to space to global customers. Since starting its rocket program in 2015, Gilmour Space has developed a real sovereign capability and ecosystem for launch in Australia. It is proud to be backed by some of the country’s biggest investors, including venture capital firms Blackbird and Main Sequence, the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), superannuation funds HESTA, Hostplus and NGS Super; and international investors such as Fine Structure Ventures and 500 Startups. (Source: Satnews)
20 Sep 22. The Dawn Aerospace Mk-II Aurora spaceplane completes 48 test flights and is now ready for rocket power. Dawn Aerospace has completed 48 flights of their spaceplane technology demonstrator, the Mk-II Aurora, over the last 13 months to complete Phase One testing of the vehicle using surrogate jet engines — tests of the vehicle under rocket power are expected before the end of the year.
Phase One demonstrated all non-rocket systems on the spaceplane, such as low speed aerodynamic performance, pilot controllability, reliability and general airworthiness. The spaceplane was flown as fast as 200 knots (370 km/h) and 9,000ft altitude, although high speed and altitude were not primary goals.
In Phase two of the test program, the Mk-II Aurora will be fitted with a rocket motor that will allow for flights to over 100 km. altitude and 3,500 km/h. If achieved, it would be the first vehicle to ever to reach space twice in a day – “a Wright Brothers moment for reusable spaceflight” said Stefan Powell, CEO.
Photos of the Mk-II Aurora test flights, courtesy of Dawn Aerospace.
The Mk-II is intended to prove the core technology needed for a fully and rapidly reusable, first stage booster. Once the Mk-II Aurora is proven under rocket power, a much larger Mk-III vehicle will be built, with the capability to deliver a 250 kg. satellite into orbit using a second stage released at high altitude.
“Rapid reusability is the key to cost effective spaceflight,” said CEO Stefan Powell, “Operating under aviation law, and with a vehicle that is an aircraft first, and a rocket second, allows us to unlock the powers of fleet economics. We can replace an entire rocket factory with a few aircraft that operate daily.”
Phase One test flights were conducted under aircraft certification, specifically Civil Aviation Authority Part 102. As of September, all test goals were achieved, including a “pseudo-rocket powered flight” where the aircraft was flown at full thrust and a high pitch angle to moderate altitude before having the engines intentionally set to idle, mimicking main engine cut-off.
Thereafter, the aircraft was brought into land using only maneuvers and air brakes to control airspeed, similar to what will be done after re-entry from high altitude. Glide landings were repeated several times as part of the team’s final flight training before the spaceplane will be fitted with a rocket motor. In addition to substantial simulator testing, these tested served as confirmation that the team is ready for rocket powered flight. Phase one also demonstrated key operational aspects of the spaceplane, including rapid reusability, up to four flights in a day, and flights under aviation law.
The Mk-II rocket engine is a liquid propellant rocket motor, developed by the company, and uses the non-cryogenic fuels hydrogen peroxide and kerosene which are aircraft storable, unlike typical rocket fuels such as liquid oxygen. The engine, which is in the final stages of qualification, is designed for rapid restarts without the replacement of igniters or other maintenance. Test flights of the Mk-II under rocket power are anticipated before the end of the year.
“This test phase has shown that the basic design is extremely capable, but above all, safe. It was also a key step to show that the team is ready to take on the challenge of rocket-powered flight,” CFO and Mk-II Chief Engineer, James Powell, said. “As a clean sheet design, there were naturally many aspects that were unproven. The combination of simulation and real testing is critical in achieving a safe and successful campaign. We are on the path to revolutionizing how we access space. The ability to rapidly reuse a launch vehicle reduces costs by 90 per cent, hence it has always been the holy grail of affordable, frequent space flight.“ (Source: Satnews)
26 Sep 22. UK builds leadership in space debris removal and in-orbit manufacturing with national mission and funding boost. Two UK-based companies are designing missions to clear hazardous space junk alongside the launch of a new programme to back cutting-edge space technology.
Two UK-based companies are designing missions to clear hazardous space junk alongside the launch of a new programme to back cutting-edge space technology, the UK Space Agency has announced.
ClearSpace and Astroscale have been awarded £4m from the UK Space Agency to design missions to remove existing pieces of space debris, working with a consortium of industry partners. Once the designs are complete, the teams, along with other UK space companies, could receive further funding to see the UK’s first national space debris removal mission launch in 2026.
The projects will directly support the creation of 70 new jobs, with further opportunities to increase growth in the wider UK space sector, which already supports 47,000 jobs and generates an income of £16.5bn each year.
The UK Space Agency has also announced a new Enabling Technology Programme (ETP), with up to £15m to support innovative space research and develop emerging space technologies across the UK.
The first of six calls for funding from ETP opened today and will include technology for in-orbit servicing and manufacturing, which can extend the lifetime of satellites, building resilience and reducing space debris. Future calls will focus on emerging technologies to support the UK’s contribution to future space science missions.
Orbital congestion and space debris is one of the biggest challenges facing the global space sector and the UK Space Agency has committed £102m, over the next three years, to deliver capabilities to track objects in space and reduce debris. The UK is also leading on global regulation and standard setting to make space activities more sustainable, in line with the government’s National Space Strategy.
There are estimated to be more than 130 million pieces of space debris orbiting Earth, from tiny flecks of paint from spacecraft, to old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts. This debris can stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to satellites and the public services that they deliver, from communications and navigation to environmental monitoring.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:
As our reliance on space technologies increases rapidly and the UK becomes a global hub of satellite design, manufacturing and launch, we are committed to leading efforts to make space more sustainable.
With 1,700 satellites launched last year alone, the need to safeguard the space environment for the benefit of everyone on Earth has never been more pressing.
By catalysing investment, backing innovative new technologies and supporting a national mission to remove space debris, we can keep space open for future generations and protect the important satellite services that modern life depends on.
ClearSpace UK, based in London, and Astroscale Ltd., based at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire, were chosen after completing feasibility studies of the missions to remove derelict objects from space earlier this year.
Rory Holmes, ClearSpace UK Managing Director said: “ClearSpace is honoured that the UK Space Agency is continuing their support to the CLEAR Mission. Space is getting more and more congested with defunct satellites, rocket bodies and other fragments – we have to act now to ensure this precious environment remains usable for future generations.”
The CLEAR Mission is a vital step on the path to making the removal of space debris a reality, and will allow us to develop state-of-the-art space technologies, such as complex robotics and AI-based algorithms, within the UK. We cannot solve the challenge of space debris alone, and we are proud that 9 cutting-edge UK-based space companies – Alden Legal, AstroAgency, Critical Software, Deimos, MDA, Orbit Fab, Satellite Applications Catapult, University of Surrey – will work with us to address this issue.
Astroscale Ltd. has been awarded £1.7m to design a satellite servicer that is capable of removing multiple retired or defunct satellites in a single mission. The Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture (COSMIC) will harness Astroscale’s rendezvous and Remote Proximity Operations (RPO), and debris capture capabilities.
Astroscale most recently proved their magnetic capture and RPO capability in-orbit during the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) satellite mission launched in 2021.
The COSMIC servicer will be a technological progression of Astroscale’s Sunrise programme ELSA-M servicer – a commercial partnership between the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency and OneWeb, the global satellite operator. The ELSA-M multi-client debris removal space servicer will be launched ahead of the UK’s Active Debris Removal mission in late 2024.
Nick Shave, Managing Director, Astroscale Ltd, said: “We rely on space in so many areas of our lives, yet without the rapid development of the in-orbit servicing market we cannot start removing the hazardous debris that threatens our societal dependence on satellites. We are very pleased and honoured to have been selected by the UK Space Agency for this Active Debris Removal Mission Study award. Astroscale, working closely with expert UK partner companies, will design a national robotic capture capability that can safely remove two defunct UK-registered satellites in Low Earth Orbit. With our proven space mission heritage and strong industrial partnerships, we can deliver the UK government’s ambitious plans to develop a sustainable space economy for the benefit of future generations. Our goal is to make in-orbit debris removal and satellite servicing routine by 2030.”
The government recently unveiled its Plan for Space Sustainability to tackle the growing volume of debris in space, which is both environmentally and commercially unsustainable. The plan includes action to clean up the Earth’s orbit as well as to ensure future projects minimise their footprint, for instance through in-orbit servicing and manufacturing to prolong a satellite’s life or recycle satellites in orbit, as well as retrieving satellites and mitigating debris.
The UK has previously provided funding for the implementation of the UN Office for Outer Space Activities (UNOOSA) guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space. To achieve a safe and sustainable space environment, the UK is playing a leading role alongside UNOOSA in the adoption of these guidelines, which set out how countries and companies can help preserve the outer space environment for future generations.
The UK is also the leading contributor to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Safety programme, which provides collaboration and funding opportunities for UK scientists and industry. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
23 Sep 22. Astroscale Forges Ahead with UK Active Debris Removal Mission with Support from UK Space Agency. Astroscale Ltd., the UK and European subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), has received a £1.7m funding boost from the UK Space Agency to continue developing its technology and capability to remove defunct satellites from Low Earth Orbit. This latest mission phase of The Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture (COSMIC) will harness Astroscale’s Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) and robotic debris capture capabilities to remove two defunct British satellites currently orbiting Earth by 2026.
“As our reliance on space technologies increases rapidly and the UK becomes a global hub of satellite design, manufacturing and launch, we are committed to leading efforts to make space more sustainable,” said Dr. Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency. “With 1,700 satellites launched last year alone, the need to safeguard the space environment for the benefit of everyone on Earth has never been more pressing. By catalysing investment, backing innovative new technologies and supporting a national mission to remove space debris, we can keep space open for future generations and protect the important satellite services that modern life depends on.”
Astroscale has selected a small number of potential UK satellites currently in congested orbit to capture and remove, two of which will be identified for removal during this latest Phase B of the COSMIC mission. Further space situational awareness data will inform this final selection.
“We’re delighted to be building an in-orbit servicing economy in the UK, which will help us to deliver the UK government’s ambitious plans to develop a sustainable space environment that will support the many essential services that space enables for our society,” said Nick Shave, Managing Director of Astroscale Ltd. “Astroscale’s COSMIC UK Active Debris Removal Mission Phase B programme will define an efficient, national robotic capture capability to safely remove two defunct UK-registered satellites in Low Earth Orbit. With our proven space mission heritage, and strong industrial partnerships across the breadth of the UK, we can make in-orbit debris removal part of routine satellite operations by 2030.”
The COSMIC mission will be developed in collaboration with 10 UK-based partner companies in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland including: MDA UK, Thales Alenia Space UK, Nammo, GMV-NSL, NORSS, Goonhilly, Satellite Applications Catapult, Willis Towers Watson, and other advisory and industrial partners.
“Astroscale is pleased to be able to continue our commercial service developments through the COSMIC mission,” said Dr. Jason Forshaw, Head of Future Business Europe for Astroscale. “We will create new capability, minimise development costs and bring excellent value for money to the UK Space Agency and the taxpayer. COSMIC will leverage the ELSA-M supply chain, which is spread over the breadth of the UK, supporting the levelling-up agenda. We look forward to working with our 10 selected partners, advisors and suppliers, all of whom are world leaders in spacecraft mission technology, payload development, and specialist support services.”
Astroscale’s team combines extensive systems engineering, Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC), mission operations and ground segment capability. The company is partnered with MDA, renowned robotics and satellite systems pioneers, to harness their expertise on capture robotics including robotic operations experience.
“MDA is proud to be part to be working with Astroscale and the UK Space Agency on this important project to assess, study and ultimately develop solutions to protect and preserve the space environment” said Anita Bernie, Managing Director, MDA UK. “As we explore and expand space further than we ever have before, we all have a role and responsibility to play in ensuring that we do so safely and sustainability.”
Industrial partner Thales Alenia Space, leader in space propulsion in the UK, will focus on the propulsion system of the Astroscale mission study and on-orbit refurbishment aspects such as refuelling; they will also support the assembly, integration and verification of the main satellite servicer spacecraft.
“Thales Alenia Space is extremely proud to contribute to this important UK led Mission, working towards a more responsible use of space for everyone,” said Andrew Stanniland, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in the UK.
Astroscale most recently proved their magnetic capture and RPO capability during the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission in 2021-2022. During this mission, the team performed a series of complex manoeuvres to align, release and capture a demonstration satellite with a servicer spacecraft using relative navigation and on-board systems.
The COSMIC debris removal servicer will be a technological evolution of Astroscale’s Sunrise programme End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-Multi-client (ELSA-M) servicer – a commercial partnership together with the European and UK Space Agencies and OneWeb, the global satellite operator. The first ELSA-M debris removal space servicer will be launched ahead of the UK’s Active Debris Removal mission in 2024.
“The UK ADR mission provides an opportunity for Astroscale to harness our technological innovations, rapidly expanding UK capability, and unwavering commitment to develop a world-class debris removal service,” said Nobu Okada, CEO and Founder of Astroscale.
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.