Sponsored By Viasat
11 Oct 22. ViaSat-3 Satellite Completes Mechanical Environmental Testing.
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global leader in satellite communications, announced today the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite has completed mechanical environmental testing. This is a significant milestone that is designed to verify the satellite can endure the rigors of launch and continues the momentum for launch later this year.
During mechanical environmental testing, the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite was subjected to simulations of the vibration and acoustic environments it will experience during launch. The satellite had already successfully completed thermal vacuum testing that simulated vacuum and extreme hot and cold conditions of space where the satellite will operate during its expected 15-year lifetime.
“The completion of the mechanical environmental testing, coupled with the earlier successful completion of thermal vacuum testing, confirms that the first ViaSat-3 spacecraft can withstand the extreme environments from launch through in-orbit operations,” said Dave Ryan, president of Space & Commercial Networks at Viasat. “The combined Viasat, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman teams have done an outstanding job in progressing through environmental testing with very successful results.”
The ViaSat-3 Americas satellite now moves into post-environmental deployment testing, where the solar arrays, reflectors, radiators and thrusters are tested to ensure they can survive launch conditions and properly deploy on orbit.
The ViaSat-3 class of Ka-band satellites are expected to provide the best bandwidth economics in the industry with substantial flexibility to move and concentrate that capacity virtually anywhere there is demand – whether it is on land, in the ocean or in the air. The first two satellites are planned to focus on the Americas and on EMEA, respectively, and the ViaSat-3 EMEA satellite is undergoing integration with spacecraft partner, Boeing. The third ViaSat-3 satellite is now undergoing final payload integration and testing at Viasat’s Tempe, Arizona facility and will focus on the Asia Pacific region, completing Viasat’s global service coverage. (Source: PR Newswire)
12 Oct 22. Amazon shifts prototype internet satellites to ULA rocket for 2023 launch. Amazon (AMZN.O) will launch its first two prototype satellites for a planned internet-from-space constellation in early 2023 using a new rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed (BA.N)(LMT.N) joint venture United Launch Alliance, the companies said Wednesday.
Rocket development delays with launch startup ABL Space Systems, which was initially poised to launch the two Amazon satellites by late this year, prompted Amazon to hop aboard ULA’s new Vulcan rocket instead as a secondary payload.
That mission, the debut orbital flight of a new rocket that will compete with launchers from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is set for the first quarter of 2023.
The prototype satellites will be the first to launch as part of Amazon’s Kuiper network, a planned constellation of 3,236 low-Earth orbiting satellites designed to beam broadband internet to remote parts of the world.
The company has vowed to invest $10 bn in the project, aiming to catch up with SpaceX’s fast-growing Starlink network which is already offering internet service to thousands of customers in dozens of countries.
Amazon’s last-minute switch to ULA’s Vulcan rocket will be a convenient trial run with its partner ULA, ahead of the 38 future Vulcan launches it bought from the launch company in 2021 to help deploy the bulk of its operational satellites.
Amazon has not said when it plans to launch those first operational satellites. U.S. communications regulators require the company to deploy half its constellation by 2026.
The company’s other contract for at least two launches with the startup ABL is still valid, although Amazon is unsure what satellites it will use those rockets for, a spokesman said.
ABL built a custom launch adapter and finished other custom work for the Kuiper satellites earlier this year, the company’s president Dan Piemont told Reuters in an email.
“That work is continuing for future Kuiper launches,” he added. (Source: Reuters)
12 Oct 22. Virgin Orbit, Spire Global partner for multiple satellite launches. Satellite launch firm Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc (VORB.O) and Spire Global Inc (SPIR.N) entered into a deal under which the satellite operator will purchase multiple launches over several years starting 2023, the companies said on Wednesday.
Spire Global, which is looking to boost its space services business, said that the deal provides flexibility and control over launches instead of it relying on the rideshare market where satellites will launch with others on a large rocket.
Cannacord Genuity analyst Austin Moeller said Virgin Orbit’s inaugural November launch from British soil is also highly convenient for Spire, which builds its satellites in Glasgow, Scotland.
Earlier in January, Virgin Orbit – on its first successful mission since going public – carried satellites for Spire, the U.S. Defense Department, and the Polish company SatRevolution. Virgin puts satellites into orbit using a rocket, LauncherOne, that is mounted on a modified Boeing CO (BA.N) 747 jumbo jet. (Source: Reuters)
12 Oct 22. UK MoD satellites scheduled for UK launch in November.
Two UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) CubeSats – Prometheus-2 and Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) – will be launched in November, Virgin Orbit said on 11 October.
The satellites will be launched onboard Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl aircraft as part of the company’s ‘Start Me Up’ space mission.
The confirmed launch date has not been specified.
Start Me Up involves a total of nine individual satellites, including Prometheus-2 and CIRCE, which will be launched from UK soil – the first orbital satellite launch in the country’s history.
Prometheus-2 is a CubeSat intended as a test platform for monitoring radio signals including Global Positioning System (GPS), conducting sophisticated imaging, and paving the way for a more connected space-based communication system, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said at the Defence Space 2022 conference in London. A three-year mission, the CubeSat was developed in collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), In-Space Missions, and Airbus Defence and Space. Dstl owns the satellite. (Source: Janes)
12 Oct 22. NGC Australia Integrates End-to-End Control Segment into Parallax Labs. Northrop Grumman Australia (NYSE: NOC) has recently integrated a Dynamic Satellite Simulator and Spacecraft Command and Control (C2) system into its state-of-the-art systems integration, advanced mission visualization and demonstration facility, Parallax Labs. This complex integration demonstrates the high level of technical readiness of Northrop Grumman Australia’s end-to-end control system in preparation for the Defence Joint Project 9102, which will provide the next generation sovereign satellite communication component of the Australian Defence Force’s Satellite Communication (SATCOM) System. Parallax Labs leverage Northrop Grumman’s 60-year space heritage of designing, developing, delivering and operating mission specific space systems.
“Using our trusted C2 system significantly reduces technical, integration and scheduling risk,” said Christine Zeitz, general manager, Northrop Grumman Asia Pacific. “Through knowledge sharing, collaboration and partnering with global and Australian leaders in space communications, Northrop Grumman can deliver a cost effective, scalable and timely response to the Defence SATCOM requirement.”
Incorporating the full control system within Parallax Labs facilitates the integration of MILSATCOM components, especially from local Australian companies. This system will connect with the Defence MILSATCOM Service Planning and Network Management System, to be delivered under JP2008 Phase 5B2, enabling simulated control of both ground and space segments.
Parallax Labs brings together a distributed systems and software development, integration and test environment with cutting-edge mission visualisation and demonstration capabilities. This delivers ongoing scalability and extensibility to other functions and pursuits across all domains. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Oct 22. ULA Sets Path Forward for Inaugural Vulcan Flight Test.
- Next generation rocket to transform the future of space launch
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is nearing completion of the development of the next-generation Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle and sets path for its first launch early next year.
“We could not be more excited to be this close to seeing Vulcan lift off on its inaugural flight,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “Vulcan’s high energy design coupled with innovative technology provides one scalable system for all missions and will transform the future of space launch.”
ULA is proceeding to a first flight of Vulcan 1st quarter 2023 to align with a request from its payload customer Astrobotic, who will be flying its Peregrine lunar lander to the Moon for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.
This commercial mission is part of ULA’s requirement to meet the U.S. Space Force certification of its new launch vehicle. Mark Peller, vice president of Major Development, stated “We are committed to ensuring we fly the first certification mission and stay on schedule to achieve U.S. Space Force certification of Vulcan in advance of our first national security space mission in 4th quarter 2023.”
In addition to the Astrobotic and Celestis payloads, Vulcan will carry two demonstration satellites for Amazon as part of its Project Kuiper.
The first Vulcan launch vehicle is nearing completion in ULA’s factory in Decatur, Alabama and is awaiting installation of its BE-4 engines. We expect to ship the completed vehicle to the launch site in November.
Once at the Cape, Vulcan will undergo a final series of tests to verify its readiness for flight consisting of multiple tanking tests and a wet dress rehearsal, culminating in flight readiness firing in December, which will be the final step prior to launch. Following the successful final testing, Astrobotic and the other payloads will be installed on the launch vehicle.
“This has been an incredible journey to get to this point and I am so proud of the development team,” said Bruno. “We look forward to the first flight as Vulcan offers all customers higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability.”
Leveraging a legacy of 100 percent mission success launching more than 150 missions to explore, protect and enhance our world, ULA is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider with world-leading reliability, schedule confidence, and mission optimization. We deliver value unmatched by any launch services company in the industry, a tireless drive to improve, and commitment to the extraordinary. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Oct 22. Virgin Orbit, Spire Global Sign Multilaunch Agreement.
- Spire Global has committed to purchase multiple launches from Virgin Orbit, starting in 2023.
- The launches will support Spire’s growing Space Services business as well as upgrades and enhancements to the company’s fully deployed satellite constellation.
- The launches are part of Virgin Orbit’s growing launch backlog as it heads towards its first international launch later this year from the United Kingdom.
Building on their shared record for successful collaboration in responsive space, Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE: SPIR), a global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, has entered a binding Launch Service Agreement with leading launch provider, Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), to purchase multiple launches over several years. The first launch is expected to take place in 2023.
Exemplary of the growing demand for the small satellite market, the launches will support the growth of Spire Space Services, a platform which offers customers fast and scalable access to space through a subscription model, and continual upgrades and enhancements to the company’s fully deployed satellite constellation. Spire will make full use of LauncherOne’s demonstrated flexibility by launching to a variety of orbits – from mid-inclination to polar – all out of Virgin Orbit’s first spaceport in Mojave, California.
Spire Global and Virgin Orbit previously demonstrated the flexibility of LauncherOne’s rapid call-up capabilities with the late-load of Spire’s ADLER-1 satellite on board the Above the Clouds mission from Mojave, CA in January 2022, an expedition which took just 22 days from the initial call-up to payload integration. Building on that success, the two companies are teaming up to provide rapid and flexible launch solutions to Spire’s global customer base.
“We’re very pleased to have formed this strategic relationship with the innovative Spire team. Our previous joint execution of the ADLER-1 launch demonstrated the potential of marrying expert satellite capabilities with rapid, flexible launch” said Virgin Orbit CEO, Dan Hart. “Demand from the small satellite market continues to be strong and we are privileged to be among the few operational companies serving this vitally important sector.”
“Working with Virgin Orbit gives us flexibility and control over launches, rather than waiting for the secondary rideshare market to provide the orbits we want on timelines that we have to work with,” said Robert Sproles, Vice President, Constellation Planning & Operations. “It’s particularly crucial for offering our Space Services customers rapid and reliable access to space so that they can meet their mission-critical deadlines.”
Spire joins Virgin Orbit’s growing backlog of customers seeking both flexibility of launch location and orbital destination. As a small launch provider, Virgin Orbit is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable, rapid launch opportunities anytime, anywhere to the commercial, educational, and government small satellite industry. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Oct 22. Electron Rocket Arrives at Launch Complex 2 for Rocket Labs Inaugural Mission from Virginia. Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced the Electron rocket to be launched in the Company’s first mission from U.S. soil has arrived at Launch Complex 2 in Virginia. The mission will deploy satellites for radio frequency geospatial analytics provider HawkEye 360 and will be Rocket Lab’s first lift-off from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility – a launch pad developed to support Electron missions from U.S. soil for government and commercial customers. Encouraged by NASA’s recent progress in certifying its Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software, which is required to enable Electron launches from Virginia, Rocket Lab has scheduled the mission from Launch Complex 2 in December 2022.
With Electron now at Launch Complex 2, Rocket Lab will begin final launch preparations including a standard launch dress rehearsal and payload integration at Rocket Lab’s dedicated Integration and Control Facility near the launch site.
Launch Complex 2 supplements Rocket Lab’s existing site, Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, from which 31 Electron missions have already launched. The two launch complexes combined can support more than 130 launch opportunities every year, delivering unmatched flexibility for rapid, responsive launch for government and commercial satellite operators. The launch pad and production complex for Rocket Lab’s large reusable Neutron launch vehicle will also be located at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, streamlining operations across small and large launch.
“We are looking forward to seeing Electron take to Virginia skies for the first time very soon,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Rocket Lab has been providing reliable and responsive access to orbit for more than four and a half years with Electron and we’re excited to build on that strong heritage by unlocking a new path to orbit from right here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. We are delighted to be working with the dedicated teams at NASA, Virginia Space, Accomack County and HawkEye 360 to launch this historic mission and begin a new era of space access.”
The mission will be the first of three Electron launches for HawkEye 360 in a contract that will see Rocket Lab deliver 15 satellites to low Earth orbit between late 2022 and 2024. These missions will grow HawkEye 360’s constellation of radio frequency monitoring satellites, enabling the company to better deliver precise mapping of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world. Supporting Rocket Lab’s vertical integration strategy, Rocket Lab will also supply HawkEye 360 with separation systems produced by Planetary Systems Corporation, a Maryland-based space hardware company acquired by Rocket Lab in December 2021. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Oct 22. Spacecraft are the first in a rapid series of civil, military and commercial Northrop Grumman payloads to be launched this fall. The Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 C-band satellites built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) were successfully launched yesterday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The satellites, based on Northrop Grumman’s flight proven GEOStar™ platform, were built for Intelsat and designed for 15 years of on-orbit life.
“Our GEOStar-3 satellite bus is a proven platform that commercial communications providers like Intelsat count on to deliver vital communications services to their customers,” said Steve Krein, vice president, civil and commercial space, Northrop Grumman. “We have a long history collaborating with Intelsat, not only on communications satellites, but also with our pioneering Mission Extension Vehicles.”
The Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 satellites will primarily provide television broadcast services in the upper portion of the C-band spectrum, a range of wireless radio frequencies that is used for critical telecommunications and data connectivity worldwide. They will support the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s directive to make the lower portion of the C-band spectrum available for critical 5G services.
Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 40 geostationary telecommunications satellites for operators around the globe. Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 are the 12th and 13th such satellites the company has manufactured for Intelsat. These satellites are among the multiple Northrop Grumman payloads set to launch through the end of 2022, supporting customer missions that span human exploration, scientific discovery, communications and national security.
07 Oct 22. Rocket Lab rockets the GAzelle smallsat to orbit via Electron + breaks their annual launch record + GA-EMS’ comments on the successful launch. Rocket Lab USA, Inc. broke their annual launch record with the launch of “It Argos Up From Here,” a dedicated launch for General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS). The mission was Rocket Lab’s 31st Electron launch overall and the eighth for the year to date, besting the company’s previous record of seven launches in 2020. Rocket Lab has now successfully launched a mission every month since April 2022, delivering frequent and reliable access to orbit.
“It Argos Up From Here” lifted off at 17:09 UTC, October 7, 2022 from Rocket Lab’s private orbital launch site, Launch Complex 1, on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The mission successfully deployed the GA-EMS-designed and manufactured GAzelle satellite carrying the Argos-4 Advanced Data Collection (A-DCS) payload.
NOAA and CNES developed the Argos-4, an advanced satellite instrument that will track the movement of wildlife, particularly marine mammals and sea turtles, while also collecting critical environmental data around the world.
The A-DCS mission is supported by NOAA’s Cooperative Data and Rescue Services Program, which arranged the launch through the Hosted Payload Solutions contract vehicle administered by the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command.
Now in orbit, Argos-4 has joined a network of other Argos instruments to collect a variety of data from both stationary and mobile transmitters around the world. This vital information helps provide a better understanding of Earth’s physical and biological environment, including its weather and climate, biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as assist with maritime security, offshore pollution, and humanitarian assistance.
“Congratulations to the teams at General Atomics, NOAA, and France’s National Center for Space Studies on a successful mission,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “Beating our own annual launch record with such an important spacecraft delivering critical insights about our planet is a real privilege.”
Rocket Lab remains on track to continue its monthly launch cadence for the rest of the year, with missions scheduled from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, as well as the inaugural mission from Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) stated that the GAzelle satellite was successfully deployed into LEO and the establishment of communications is underway by GA-EMS mission control.
“We are extremely proud of the entire team, whose tremendous efforts culminated in today’s successful launch,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “Once the satellite deployed, we began commissioning activities to establish the proper orbit, communications, and control of the GAzelle satellite and Argos-4 payload in preparation for the spacecraft to join the Argos constellation and begin its five-year mission. We are very excited to be a part of a program that is delivering critical data to scientists and researchers worldwide that will create a better understanding of Earth’s environment and wildlife, and how changes in our environment affect the world we live in.”
GA-EMS designed and manufactured the GAzelle satellite that carries the ARGOS-4 payload and the company performed all payload integration and testing prior to satellite launch. GA-EMS owns the GAzelle satellite and will manage satellite control and mission operations throughout the mission lifecycle.
“We congratulate our partners at NOAA, CNES, the U.S. Space Force, KSAT, and Rocket Lab as we launch the next generation of environmental monitoring technology into space,” said Gregg Burgess, vice president of Space Systems at GA-EMS. “This launch milestone places significant new capabilities into orbit to support a global data collection system dedicated to monitoring and protecting our planet’s environment and wildlife. We look forward to working on future opportunities to provide hosted payload satellites and mission operations for the collection and delivery of weather and environmental data and imagery for use by commercial and government customers worldwide.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Group is a global leader in the research, design, and manufacture of first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS’ history of research, development, and technology innovation has led to an expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions supporting aviation, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and processing and monitoring applications for critical defense, industrial, and commercial customers worldwide.
The launch will take place from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The launch window opens 17:09 UTC on October 7th (06:09 NZDT, October 8th). Back-up opportunities are available in following days to accommodate potential weather delays to the launch. (Source: Satnews)
09 Oct 22. Libre Space Foundation’s QUBIK mission reaches orbit.
On October 1, 2022, Libre Space Foundation‘s QUBIK mission reached orbit. The mission was onboard Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha Flight 2, which was launched successfully from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The Alpha FLTA002 was Firefly Aerospace ’s second technology demonstration flight, attempting to launch multiple satellites to LEO. The flight experienced a nominal countdown and lift-off at 12:01 AM PDT-07:01 UTC and proceeded with flawless progress throughout each stage of the mission.
It hosted a number of academic, educational and scientific payloads, providing an excellent opportunity for non-profits, startups and space-related organizations to gain access to space. Libre Space Foundation was among these organizations and thanks Firefly Aerospace for this opportunity.
The QUBIK Mission Libre Space Foundation’s QUBIK mission is comprised of a set of PocketQubes plus a PocketQube deployer. The entire mission was built using open-source hardware and software.
The two PocketQubes, QUBIK-3 and QUBIK-4 were tasked to perform a series of radio amateur experiments on Identifying and Tracking satellites early on, upon deployment. The deployer, PICOBUS, was the first-ever, open-source, PocketQube deployer.
The mission reached orbit successfully and data was received from it using SatNOGS, the largest, open-source network of satellite ground stations. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.