Sponsored By Viasat
16 Dec 22. Airbus achieves key milestone on EGNOS European satellite-based navigation augmentation system. Airbus has successfully achieved the System Critical Design Review (CDR) on the EGNOS V3 satellite-based augmentation system. The EGNOS V3 (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is designed to add key security features for the most safety-critical applications such as aircraft navigation and landing, and will provide entirely new services for maritime and land users. EGNOS V3 is the second generation of the overlay system and will improve the performance of GPS and Galileo.
The new V3 generation of EGNOS being developed by Airbus will introduce new services based on multiple frequencies of multiple constellations (GPS, Galileo), and will embed sophisticated security protection against cyber-attacks. The System CDR covers the functional design, external interfaces, operations, security, integration verification, qualification and deployment.
François Gaullier, Head of Telecommunications & Navigation Systems at Airbus said: “EGNOS is a key service across Europe that many people have never heard of, but it is essential for so many applications from air traffic control to maritime operations, and Airbus is committed to further developing the service. Achieving this key milestone on target by the end of the year brings improvements in the performance of navigation satellite systems for safety-critical applications one step closer.”
Javier Benedicto, Director of Navigation at ESA comments: “The successful review confirms that the multi-constellation, multi-frequency EGNOS V3 will be a significant push forward in satellite augmentation. The coming EGNOS V3 will mark a significant step forward enlarging EGNOS accuracy, robustness and overall coverage, thanks to its use of multiple frequencies from both GPS and Galileo.”
EGNOS Exploitation Programme Manager in the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) Jean-Marc PIEPLU pointed out that “The increased robustness of EGNOS V3 will allow Europe to further develop its resilience and European actors to continue to develop multi-modal applications. It is with the focus on users’ safety and security that the EUSPA continues to work on EGNOS development together with the institutional and industrial partners.”
EGNOS V3 relies on three operations centres and 44 monitoring stations across Europe and further afield. It monitors the signals from satellite navigation systems and generates augmentation messages, broadcast to all users using transponders on geostationary satellites. In early 2018 Airbus was awarded the prime contract for the EGNOS V3 Implementation Phase by ESA on behalf of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (previously GSA).
Airbus is currently building the next generation of Galileo satellites which will improve the accuracy of the system as well as the robustness and resilience of its signal, which will be key for the upcoming digital decade. They will provide new capabilities relying on highly innovative technologies such as digitally configurable antennas, inter-satellite links, new atomic clock technologies and fully electric propulsion systems. The new spacecraft will also be more flexible and reconfigurable in orbit to satisfy the expected evolution in end-user needs.
EGNOS is a component of the European Union Space Programme and is managed in the frame of the partnership agreement established between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence, Industry and Space (DG-DEFIS), the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
15 Dec 22. OneWeb confirms successful deployment of 40 satellites launched with SpaceX.
- Launch brings the total OneWeb constellation to 502 satellites – almost 80% of satellite fleet delivering connectivity globally in 2023.
- Latest launch will enable significant expansion of connectivity services across the U.S., Europe, and much of the Middle East and Asia, South Africa, Southern Australia, parts of South America as coverage is soon live at the 35th parallel.
- First launch with SpaceX, using Falcon 9 rocket to deploy 40 satellites into low Earth orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
- OneWeb’s launch programme continues to accelerate at pace, following successful satellite deployment from Sriharikota, India, last month.
OneWeb has confirmed the successful deployment of 40 satellites launched by SpaceX, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch is OneWeb’s 15th to date and its second since resuming its campaign with a successful launch from India in October, putting the company on track to deliver global coverage in 2023.
Lift-off took place on Thursday, 8 December 2022 at 5:27pm ET. OneWeb’s satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in 3 phases over a period of 1 hour and 35 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 40 satellites confirmed.
With 502 satellites in-orbit, OneWeb has almost 80% of its first-generation constellation completed – with only three more launches remaining to reach global coverage. Today’s launch is a significant milestone, as the company will be able to dramatically expand service and initiate connectivity solutions soon to all areas down to the 35th parallel north and south, which includes services across the US, Southern Europe and North Africa, Northern India, the Middle East, Japan, Southern Australia, South Africa and parts of South America.
OneWeb already has connectivity solutions active today in Alaska, Canada, the UK, Greenland and wider Arctic area, with more locations coming online soon to provide internet connectivity to unserved and underserved rural and remote communities and businesses. Working through local partners such as telecommunications companies, internet service providers and local governments, OneWeb’s wholesale services can deliver high-speed, low-latency solutions for cellular backhaul, community Wi-Fi, remote enterprise use cases, and soon for the aviation and maritime industries.
OneWeb returns to the launchpad in early 2023 to launch its ‘Three to Global Reality’ campaign that will deliver its final satellites into its LEO constellation and activate coverage solutions globally. Today, OneWeb continues working with key distribution partners and customers to roll out connectivity solutions everywhere above 50 degrees north, where its services are already live.
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, commented: “This launch is an immensely gratifying way to close out 2022, bringing OneWeb another step closer to activating our coverage solutions globally and reflecting the shared ambition and collective goodwill that is driving the satellite communications industry. We are thankful for the support of other leaders in the space industry allowing us to quickly restart our launch campaign and are delighted to work with SpaceX today for our first-ever launch from Florida, the home where our satellites are manufactured. As we look to our final ‘Three to Global Reality’ launches in the first half of 2023, we are thrilled to see our connectivity footprint dramatically expand from today, and to soon activate our network globally to reach remote and under-served areas of the world.”
15 Dec 22. New record in Government Space Defense spendings driven by investments in Space Security and Early Warning. The newly released 2022 edition of Euroconsult’s “Government Space Programs” report provides detailed insight into rising government space budgets in civilian and defense applications for the decade ahead, highlighting spending patterns and specific areas of investment from nations around the globe.
Leading space consulting and market intelligence firm Euroconsult has released the 22nd edition of its annual “Government Space Programs” report this week, evidencing a continued increase in global governments’ space budgets. This year has seen a cumulative spend of $103B in 2022, a 9% increase since last year and a record high for the sector. Despite the recent pandemic crisis, governments have increased their investments in the sector to further support the development of their industry and sustain their ambitions.
This growth is notably significant in the defense area, reaching 16% in 2022 and topping a new record at $48B. Current geopolitical tensions have confirmed space as a strategic operational theater for hybrid warfare tactics, pushing governments to sustain their investments in ‘traditional’ space applications such as Telecommunications, Navigation and Earth observation, but also more prominently in Space Security & Early Warning systems to further protect their space assets. On the civil side, government expenditures are increasingly[AD1] driven by Human Spaceflight missions, which now attracts more and more new entrants encouraged by the socio-economic benefits and prestige brought by these programs.
While civil expenditures have historically always been higher than defense spendings, the gap between the two continues to narrow and is expected to reach 50/50 parity by 2031 according to Euroconsult’s projections. In terms of national rankings, the US remains, by far, the largest investor worldwide. However, its share of global spending has been reduced, from 76% in 2000 to 60% in 2022 as more and more countries join the sector. This year, Euroconsult counted more than 86 countries invested in space activities. Some regions have shown a particular dynamism over the past few years, notably in the Middle East with countries as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Oman accelerating their development in the sector.
Charlotte Croison, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult, stated “the new edition of the Government Space Programs report confirms the growing interest of countries in the space sector, notably in the defense area where space militarization has never been stronger”.
Euroconsult’s 22nd edition of “Government Space Programs” provides a comprehensive assessment of countries and organizations investing in space. The highly anticipated report is now available on Euroconsult’s innovative Digital Platform, a powerful tool allowing customers to easily sort, compare, customize and visualize datasets of their choice, while premium users can sift through thousands of data points included in the entire database to create customized datasets tailored to their specific needs. For detailed profiles on all government players and an accurate map to help navigate the international space investments and priorities, the company’s platform can be accessed via https://digital-platform.euroconsult-ec.com/product/government-space-programs/.
14 Dec 22. Unseenlabs, world leader in space-based RF detection for Maritime Domain Awareness, has announced the launch of its latest satellite, BRO-8, number eight in its satellite constellation. BRO-8 will be launched NET January 2023 by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as part of the Transporter-6 Mission. Since the launch of its first satellite in 2019, Unseenlabs has been able to collect tens of thousands of electromagnetic signatures, helping maritime stakeholders track any ship – including dark vessels – anywhere in the world. This new satellite will add to the Brittany-based company’s constellation, and increase the volume and quality of the services it can provide to an extensive customer base in France, Europe and worldwide.
Unseenlabs’ satellites are designed to provide customers with data and analytics based on the interception of radio frequency (RF) signals (detection of electromagnetic waves emitted by electronic devices from Earth’s surface), at any time of the day or night, regardless of weather conditions. Vessels at sea carry many signal-emitting communication and navigation devices. The technology used by Unseenlabs’ constellation characterizes all these emitters by geolocating them within a specific time frame, and identifying each ship at sea with a unique signature – or fingerprint – that can be used to track it. This capacity is paramount for governmental and business-related applications, and is used for the surveillance of areas such as the Baltic Sea (gas pipeline surveillance), the Gulf of Guinea (piracy, trafficking, offshore platforms) and the Arabian Sea (IUU fishing).
“The Unseenlabs team has launched eight satellites dedicated to space-based RF detection in just three years.” Clément Galic – CEO & cofounder of Unseenlabs – says. “More than ever, maritime stakeholders are in need of radio frequency data to optimize their surveillance, protection and intervention systems. This new satellite will give us increased capacity to support our partners, and our growth in current and emerging markets.” Jonathan Galic – CTO & co-founder of Unseenlabs – explains.
With its latest launches, Unseenlabs is steadily pursuing its constellation development strategy. Six more satellites are due to be launched in 2023. Unseenlabs will continue developing its constellation, to enable data collection above an area of interest several times a day for governmental and business-related applications.
The company, which doubled its workforce in 2022 across all departments (sales, engineering, support, etc.) now employs about 50 people and plans to continue recruiting next year.
French company Unseenlabs was founded in 2015 and is a leader in satellite-borne ship RF signal geolocation technology. Its proprietary satellite technology can geolocate any ship at sea using a single nanosatellite. The company currently boasts the most extensive maritime activity tracking RF satellite constellation worldwide. Unseenlabs can collect data at any time and in any weather conditions. The company provides a wide range of maritime stakeholders with accurate and up-to-date vessel location data, optimizing maritime activity surveillance. Unseenlabs’ solution not only helps maritime companies and organizations fight illegal and anti-environmental activities such as illegal fishing and dumping, but it also helps to protect the planet. Browse our website for further information: www.unseenlabs.space.
14 Dec 22. Defense Logistics Agency Powers NASA Orion Spacecraft. After its historic 25-day, 1.4-million-mile journey that ventured beyond the Moon, NASA’s Orion returned to Earth on Dec. 11.
To power its journey, Defense Logistics Agency Energy supplied the uncrewed Orion capsule with 438 pounds of high purity hydrazine, 6,245 pounds of Monomethyl Hydrazine and 10,670 pounds of Nitrogen Tetroxide Mon-3 grade propellants.
The hypergolic propellants, like gasoline for a car, helps the spacecraft “drive,” change direction and slow its decent.
“The high purity hydrazine powers the 12 reaction control thrusters to control and properly orient the Orion crew module during its re-entry to Earth,” said Steve Nichols, DLA Energy Aerospace Energy Customer Operations division chief. “The other propellants are used for the Orion service module powering the main engine, eight auxiliary engines and 24 thrusters.”
Orion launched on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, Nov. 16. It separated from the rocket after reaching space and began its journey circumnavigating the moon.
While this mission was uncrewed, the spacecraft is built to serve as an exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain their missions, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
The mission, called Artemis I, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.
“Aerospace Energy teams are proud to be part of this new chapter in our nation’s human deep space missions,” Nichols said. “Perhaps DLA Energy will have a DFSP in space one day.”
Throughout 2022, DLA Energy Aerospace Energy supported 19 Defense Department and NASA space vehicles launches with hypergolic propellants. Among these include four missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, three missions for the U.S. Space Force and 11 NASA missions including the James Webb Space Telescope. (Source: US DoD)
14 Dec 22. New FB500 FleetBroadband terminal from Intellian enables optimal Inmarsat Fleet Xpress solution. Intellian Technologies, Inc., the leading global technology and solutions provider for satellite communications has announced the development of the new FB500 terminal, designed for Inmarsat’s market leading Fleet Xpress (FX) solutions which combines Ka-band with ELERA L-band FleetBroadband (FB) service.
Available this year, the FB500 terminal from Intellian is the most recent product created in the company’s brand-new L-Band Center of Excellence in London, United Kingdom. Joining the popular Fleet One and FB250, it is a multifunctional terminal that may be used as a primary communications terminal on its own or integrated with Intellian’s market-dominating GX60NX and GX100NX terminals to provide the ideal Fleet Xpress solution.
The most cutting-edge and feature-rich Inmarsat L-band terminal on the market, Intellian’s FB500 is designed for vessel operations, crew welfare, and safety. In comparison to rival systems utilizing terminal designs that, in many cases, are now several years old, the FB500’s class-leading capabilities and future-proofed technology give a significantly more cost-effective long-term investment.
With data connectivity up to 492kbps, the new terminal comes with a WAN port, an all-in-one built-in firewall, analogue and digital voice lines, soft PABX, and support for current and future terrestrial networks including 4G/LTE/5G and more. The FB500 is perfectly suited to take advantage of and deliver optimal results from Inmarsat’s springboard for innovation, the ELERA L-band network. Thanks to the L-band stability and dependability, it provides the perfect basis for safety services.
This product has been designed to bring value to customers as a standalone product or as part of Intellian’s cutting-edge product offering for Fleet Xpress available today, being paired with Intellian’s extremely popular GXNX line of Ka-band antennas. This makes it the perfect option for new build vessels, addressing the thriving ship building market and offering a flexible, cost-effective solution that is future proof.
“The development of this flagship L-band maritime user terminal is thanks to the great collaboration between Inmarsat and our team in our L-Band Center of Excellence in UK and Korea,” said Eric Sung, CEO of Intellian. “The new FB500 is the latest product to be launched as a result of our long-standing relationship with Inmarsat – it’s our 11th product exclusively designed for their networks. By offering customers across all maritime sectors dependable, affordable, and feature-rich terminals, these new terminals create opportunities for expansion in both existing and new markets.”
“By combining the newest and most innovative FB500 product on the market with the Intellian GX terminals, we can now offer a complete Intellian solution to deliver the best of our Fleet Xpress service. Customers and partners around the world can access our portfolio of connectivity services through our Fleet Edge platform, unlocking the power of edge computing for always-on communications,” said Ben Palmer, President, Inmarsat Maritime. “FleetBroadband is the maritime flagship of our ELERA portfolio of services. The development of Intellian’s new FB500 is a very exciting time, with ELERA enabling the next generation of pioneering L-band technologies to connect and sustain our world.”
13 Dec 22. Saber Astronautics space traffic architecture certified for deployment to US Space Forces. Sydney-based Saber Astronautics’ microservices program, COSMOS, completed security reviews to deploy to military operators at the US Space Force (USSF).
Saber’s COSMOS program encapsulates a number of microservices including a suite of tools that allows operators to analyze and visualize the space domain using live data from commercial and government sensors. Tools include Space CockpitTM, which is deployed and available to hundreds of operators in the US Space Force, and a new threat warning system named Sentinel that won a US SBIR Phase II award earlier this year.
Saber, which has a co-headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, trialled the COSMOS suite during global live-fire space domain awareness exercises (SACT) to help identify, track, and see spacecraft positions, get alerts on spacecraft behaviour and understand their movements.
COSMOS offers forward looking capabilities to the US Department of Defense (DoD) and USSF with many of its programs developed using concurrent feedback from USSF operators to reflect warfighting needs.
Saber’s COSMOS system received the Certificate to Field (CtF) which signifies that the tools meet US DoD specific security requirements. The CtF allows Saber’s software architecture to deploy directly to frontline personnel within the USSF, United States Air Force (USAF) and wider DoD applications.
Nathan Parrott, Director of Saber Astronautics said “We futureproofed our architecture from the get go to meet security requirements while retaining our flexibility to innovate with changing needs. We think the current COSMOS architecture is a gamechanger and the recent uptake of our programs by end users has really reinforced that we are building something phenomenal.”
COSMOS program development started in 2019 in parallel to a US Government SBIR Phase II grant Saber received to develop next generation operations software for USSF warfighters. The tools are also in use with Saber’s commercial space operations, via the Responsive Space Operations Center (RSOC), which has sites in the USA and Australia. (Source: Rumour Control)
08 Dec 22. US Army kicks off SATCOM-as-a-service pilot to increase soldier connectivity. The Army believes that by moving to a “managed service” model for satellite communications, it will be able to “keep up with new solutions as they come out,” Col. Shane Taylor tells Breaking Defense.
The Army is moving forward on its long-planned pilot program to buy satellite communications in the same way that individuals subscribe to a mobile phone plan, issuing a draft “performance work statement” to help shape industry pitches.
“There is a need for increased capacity in the SATCOM area,” Col. Shane Taylor, who is heading up the pilot for the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, & Communications – Tactical (C3-T), told Breaking Defense in an interview.
The Army’s hope is “to keep up with the pace of commercial technology” in the area of satellite communications, Taylor explained, and the service is convinced that acquiring SATCOM as a “managed service” provided by a vendor is the way to ensure that goal.
“One of the big advantages of that is it allows us to keep up with new solutions as they come out,” he said. “There’s a lot of vendors in the commercial SATCOM space and so … year-to-year, there tends to be quite a bit of new technology that comes out.”
Another advantage is the ease of use for soldiers in the field, Taylor explained.
“If we did a fully managed service, what we call modem-to-modem, that would literally allow a soldier on the edge and be able to plug in his own computer device, and the rest of that is all kind of managed behind the scenes for him,” he said.
At the macro-level, the Army is working toward creating a resilient “unified network” of different types of communications, Taylor noted. “If you look into tactical space right now, we have the ability to leverage line-of-sight, beyond line-of-sight, in some place fiber, in some places Wi-Fi — those are all links, communication links, that we can leverage within the tactical space.”
SATCOM “is a very large part of that,” he stressed, but the Army has been edging up on maxing out available bandwidth from traditional vendors with satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), so the service is looking to providers with constellations in low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit using other frequency bands.
Industry vendors have until Dec. 16 to respond to the draft performance work statement for the Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service (SaaMS) pilot, which is available on the General Services Administration’s e-Buy website.
“Posting the draft [performance work statement] allows industry to understand what work will be required to perform on the contract and allows the government an opportunity to gain industry feedback prior to the RFP release,” the Army said in its announcement today.
Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo said he was particularly impressed by the service’s adoption of the C5ISR Modular Suite of Standards program, a platform that will allow soldiers to plug in cards embedded with networking and EW capabilities
The service then intends to release a formal request for proposals (RFP) in January, through the existing Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) Subscription Services contract managed by Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization.
The Space Force, in its recently released fiscal 2023 forecast of COMSATCOM requirements, estimates the value of the pilot to be less than $100m.
“This means that’s what we could go up to, but we can’t exceed, that amount,” Taylor noted.
The plan is to launch the 12-month pilot in the third quarter of FY23, he said.
“In FY22, we did a considerable amount of market research, including a lot of demos, dozens of demos, that vendors responded to. They came in and provided us kind of an overview of their capabilities. We used that information to draft up the PWS and develop what we thought was an executable strategy in FY23,” Taylor said. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
11 Dec 22. NASA’s Artemis I mission draws to a successful close. Space view of ESA’s European Service Module powering NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon. Image is courtesy of ESA. NASA’s Artemis I mission came to a successful conclusion on December 11th with the splashdown and recovery of the Orion spacecraft — this mission was an uncrewed, integrated flight test of the hardware and technology that will take humans back to the Moon for the first time in more than five decades.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Orion spacecraft and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida performed flawlessly during the Artemis I launch on November 16th. During a nearly 26 day mission, Orion traveled more than 1.4 m miles on a path that took it around and beyond the Moon before returning to Earth. The flight testing and data from the mission will inform future Artemis missions.
As the foundational elements of NASA’s deep space exploration architecture, Orion is the safest human spacecraft ever developed, and the launch and ground systems were designed to deliver greater mass and volume with more Earth-orbit departure energy than any existing system. With planned upgrades, the architectures will be able to support future missions to destinations beyond the Moon, including Mars.
The next step in NASA’s Artemis program is launching the first crewed flight to the Moon and back on the Artemis II mission. All elements for that mission are deep into assembly. Work on Artemis III, which aims to put the first woman and person of color on the Moon, is well under way with many of the systems, such as the propulsion for SLS and Orion, nearly complete.
The Artemis program constitutes an important national capability that leverages more than 3,800 suppliers and 60,000 workers across all 50 states. The program sustains an essential industrial base of large, mid-size and small companies that provide high-tech, professional jobs across the country.
Industry partners – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman – applaud NASA and their suppliers across the nation for the successful once-in-a-generation accomplishment of launching SLS and Orion as humanity looks toward exploring deep space as humans have never previously accomplished. (Source: Satnews)
05 Dec 22. SpaceX introduces the Starshield secured satellite network for government entities. Starshield has debuted… this new effort by SpaceX leverages Starlink technology and launch capability in support of national security efforts. While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on three areas:
- Earth Observation: Starshield will launch satellites with sensing payloads and will deliver processed data directly to the user.
- Communications: Starshield will provide assured global communications to government users with Starshield user equipment.
- Hosted payloads: Starshield will build satellite buses to support the most demanding customer payload missions.
- Security: Starlink already offers unparalleled, end-to-end, user data encryption and will employ additional, high-assurance, cryptographic capabilities to host classified payloads and will process data securely to meet the most demanding government requirements.
- Modular Design: Designed to meet diverse mission requirements, Starshield satellites will be capable of integrating a wide variety of payloads, offering unique versatility to users.
- Interoperability: Starlink’s inter-satellite laser communications terminal, which is the only communications laser operating at scale in orbit today, can be integrated onto partner satellites to enable incorporation into the Starshield network.
- Rapid Development and Deployment: With the proven ability to iterate rapidly, SpaceX’s unique full-stack approach in developing end-to-end systems, from launch vehicles to user terminals, enables the deployment of capabilities at scale with unprecedented speed.
- Resilient and scalable capability: Starshield’s proliferated LEO architecture provides inherent resiliency and constant connectivity to on-orbit assets, while SpaceX’s proven rapid launch capability provides expedient and economical access to space.
- Proven Partnerships: SpaceX’s ongoing work with the Department of Defense and other partners demonstrates the company’s ability to provide in-space and on-ground capability at scale. (Source: Satnews)
05 Dec 22. U.S. CENTCOM activates U.S. Space Forces-Central. The activation of USSPACEFORCENT is another step for the U.S. Space Force to provide forces to combatant commands, providing combatant commanders with organic space planning and employment expertise. USSPACEFORCENT is responsible for space operations within the CENTCOM area of responsibility including capabilities such as positioning, navigation and timing, satellite communication, missile warnings, and other missions as required.
Activating this component under CENTCOM provides expert Guardians to work with coalition and regional partners to integrate space activities into shared operations and adds another level of commitment to partners by further strengthening regional stability and security within the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
“Just as the evolution of space as a warfighting domain necessitated the establishment of a separate service, USSPACEFORCENT provides CENTCOM a subordinate command focused solely and continuously on space integration across the command, within all domains and all components,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Christopher Putman, USSPACEFORCENT commander.
“Space underpins every element of warfighting in the CENTCOM region,” said CENTCOM commander, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla. “…Since the Cold War, space has ceased to be a sanctuary. It is no longer solely the realm of progress and peace. Space is now a domain of conquest, conflict, and – for us – cooperation.” (Source: Satnews)
04 Dec 22. Alliance between Thales Alenia Space + Space Cargo Unlimited for the first space factory. Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and Space Cargo Unlimited, have announced the signing of the first phase contract for the conception and production for “REV1”, the first floating space factory, and the opening of a Space Cargo Unlimited subsidiary in Turin.
Founded in 2014, Space Cargo Unlimited is a private, commercial operator of space vehicles that are dedicated to Space manufacturing. As project contractor, Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the design, engineering, and development of the REV1 vehicle. Space Cargo Unlimited will be the owner and commercial operator of the vehicle.
After designing and manufacturing almost 50% of the international Space Station pressurized volume, including the “Cupola”, Thales Alenia Space is today the main contractor for the Lunar Gateway, being also the Pressurized Cargo Module provider for all Northrop Grumman Cygnus fleet. Moreover, the company was in the recent past prime contractor for the flight-proven Intermediate Experimental Reentry Vehicle (IXV), continuing today as co-prime with AVIO of its “Space Rider” extension, a multi-mission autonomous space vehicle commissioned by the European Space Agency, for which Thales Alenia Space is currently working on future developments, or paving the way for more accessible and agile use of LEO, via automatic reusable vehicles.
Space Cargo Unlimited plans to commercially operate a fleet of autonomous (i.e., unmanned) cargo vehicles capable of returning to Earth in order to exploit the potential of microgravity for commercial applications on Earth. The REV1 pressurized vehicle – a true, floating space factory – will be used for specific missions, especially in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and new materials. REV1 will be able to create unique laboratory conditions and real clean rooms essential for this type of research and manufacturing.
The first REV1 vehicle, scheduled for launch in late 2025, will need to be able to adapt to any available and compatible launcher system. This last feature will make it unique to carry out new missions, especially in an equatorial orbit. Designed to be reusable for a total of 20 missions, the REV1 will carry payloads for 2 to 3 months in space.
One of the ambitions of the partnership between the two companies is also to build a real “Space Garage” in Turin to maintain, repair, and overhaul future spacecrafts, such as REV1 operated by Space Cargo Unlimited
This partnership agreement fully reflects Thales Alenia Space’s New Space approach, which includes creating more and more synergies with start-ups and offering disruptive solutions, such as REV1, the first Space Factory, to evolve existing models. In the field of space exploration, Thales Alenia Space has already signed partnerships with emblematic start-ups. Moreover, the goal of the project initiated with Space Cargo Unlimited is perfectly in line with Thales Alenia Space’s Space for life vision, by helping to make life better and more sustainable on Earth thanks to space.
“The opening of our Turin office in the coming weeks will allow us to take a position at the heart of the Italian space ecosystem, one of the most dynamic in Europe, and to work for the development of REV1 in close collaboration with Thales Alenia Space, the European leader in space infrastructure for more than 40 years,” said Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited. “It is precisely this unique expertise in Europe that Space Cargo Unlimited has come to seek for its REV1 spacecraft, which will constitute a specialized platform for in space experimentation and manufacturing.”
“The signature of this contract demonstrates once again the leading role of Thales Alenia Space in low orbit re-entry systems. We are delighted to be the partner of choice of Space Cargo Unlimited and to put at their service our unparalleled expertise in the development of reusable re-entry systems and pressurized modules,” said Massimo Comparini, Chairman and Deputy Chief Executive Officer and SEVP of Observation, Exploration, and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space.“ “By taking a central place in new space initiatives and teaming up with innovative start-ups willing to take on new challenges, Thales Alenia Space is proud to embark on a new adventure that highlights the growing strategic importance of the space sector. This project will be crucial to improving the technological capabilities of the European space industry, by placing both companies at the forefront of the New Space economy through novel space applications.” (Source: Satnews)
04 Dec 22. SKYWAN 5G Release 2.2 is launched by ND SATCOM. ND SATCOM has released their SKYWAN 5G Release 2.2 — this version powers and protects VSAT networks at an entirely new level of transmission security (TRANSEC) and usability — SKYWAN 5G VSAT technology allows for multi-channel TDMA networks with True-Mesh ACM for hubless, secure communication.
Release 2.2 effectively delivers full protection and customers will appreciate the new service-level management of tunnels and bandwidth that will facilitate use and oversight. Such turnkey solutions are a hallmark of ND SATCOM’s commitment to shaping the future of satellite communication.
Mission critical networks can be secured with these new SKYWAN 5G Release 2.2 benefits:
- X.509 Certificate: Authentication Protocol
o safeguards against malicious network impersonators with every network node authenticated by a Certificate Authority
o ensures only trusted nodes are able to enter the TDMA network
o supports operator in effectively managing X.509 certificates for seamless network operation
- Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) Service
o provides centralized, user-friendly view for tunnel set-up and operation
o validates parameters instantly for three tunnel configurations
o validates MTU sizes and routing information to reduce misconfiguration risk
o monitors tunnel status efficiently based on SNMP traps
- Bandwidth Management: Committed & Maximum Information Rate (CIR/MIR)
o enforces bandwidth guarantees and MIR as agreed in service plans
o are configurable per station or a group of stations
o are either fully dynamic or permanent bandwidth assignments
“SKYWAN 5G Release 2.2 is real game changer,” said Michael Nebel, Head of Product Management. “ND SATCOM is the only trusted solution provider in Europe for demanding market sectors such as aviation and the military, where the concept of reliability and security have far-reaching impact. We deliver on that with the next generation TRANSEC and management of VSAT networks Release 2.2 provides. With excellence always in mind, raising the bar on security and performance underscores our continuing commitment to our valued customers.”
An ND SATCOM SKYWAN 5G PDF datasheet is available for download at this direct link…
With more than 30 years of experience in satellite communications, ND SATCOM is a world leading supplier of satellite-based communications systems and ground stations and supports customers with critical operations anywhere in the world. Customers in more than 130 countries have chosen ND SATCOM as a reliable source for high quality and secure solutions that include turnkey and customized systems. The company’s innovative technologies are used globally by governments, the military, television and radio broadcasting, telecommunications and enterprises.
08 Dec 22. OneWeb 1 mission launched from Kennedy Space Center. On Thursday, December 8 at 5:27 p.m. ET, SpaceX launched the OneWeb 1 mission to LEO from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was the fourth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched CRS-24, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F, and one Starlink mission. Following stage separation, the first stage landed at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. (Source: Satnews)
09 Dec 22. CSpO targets deeper critical space information sharing. The multinational space cooperation group has committed to furthering information sharing between members.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and New Zealand Ministry of Defence have hosted the latest annual Combined Space Operations (CSpO) Initiative Principals Board meeting, joined by representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
CSpO was set up to explore areas for enhanced space cooperation, coordination, and interoperability as part of a collective push to bolster security in the space domain.
The latest CSpO meeting reaffirmed a shared commitment to upholding the international rules-based order and “promoting responsible behaviours” in space via national security space operations.
Notably, members discussed plans to explore opportunities to ramp up information sharing.
“Australia, our allies and international partners recognise that collaboration is a key element of our competitive advantage,” Chief of Air Force and Space Domain Lead, Air Marshal Robert Chipman, AM, CSC, said.
“During this event, senior Defence leaders highlighted the importance of increased sharing of critical space information among member countries.”
The CSpO initiatives come amid growing concern over the militarisation of the space domain, particularly as a result of the development and testing of hypersonics technologies by malign actors.
Last year’s CSpO meeting centred on conflict prevention, “extending to or originating in space”.
Members had also committed to collectively enforcing sanctions on actors threatening the security of the domain.
In February of this year, the group released the “CSpO Vision 2031”, which lays out a number of guiding principles.
- freedom of use of space;
- responsible and sustainable use of space;
- partnering while recognising sovereignty; and
- upholding international law.
“These guiding principles steer the initiative’s objectives and are supported by several lines of effort, from developing and operating resilient, interoperable architectures to fostering responsible military behaviours in space and sharing intelligence and information, all leading to the pursuit of a safe, secure, and sustainable space domain,” the US Department of Defense noted in a statement. (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Dec 22. Boeing spruiks ground system for JP 9102 proposal. The defence contractor has touted the benefits of its ground architecture and control system for the Commonwealth government’s next-generation defence SATCOM project.
Boeing — one of a number of global defence primes bidding to deliver a next-generation military SATCOM solution to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project JP 9102 — has leveraged its local and US resources to build ground architecture and control systems for the capability.
The systems draw from the US’ Wideband Global Satellite and UHF space programs, as well as the locally built Currawong Battlespace Communications System’s Mission System Manager.
“Our advanced ground architecture is the culmination of six years of development between Australia and the US,” Scott Carpendale, Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director, said.
“It builds on proven software solutions to ensure the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has the capability to manage operations within Australian borders, giving total control over JP 9102 and future space missions.”
The mission planning system is designed to control end-to-end satellite operations from a centralised operations centre.
Boeing’s automation capability is also tipped to streamline workflows and reduce the overall workload for satellite operators controlling payloads and monitor for threats. (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Dec 22. Launches Secured for 5 Sentinel Satellites. A contract signed today between ESA and Arianespace has ensured rides into orbit for five Copernicus Sentinels: Sentinel-1D, Sentinel-2C, Sentinel-3C, and the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide-A and -B satellites. All the satellites will be launched on Vega-C rockets from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and are scheduled to take place between 2024 and 2026.
The contract not only marks an important milestone in the continuity of the Sentinel missions and the European Union’s Copernicus programme, but also Europe’s autonomous access to space.
It follows the European Union’s Framework Contract for Launch Services with Arianespace, signed on 29 November 2022.
ESA signed today’s contract with Arianespace in the name of and on behalf of the European Union, represented by the European Commission.
Copernicus is the largest provider of Earth observation data in the world – and key to the success of the programme is the suite of Sentinel satellite missions developed by ESA.
The first three Sentinel missions were each designed to operate as a pair of identical satellites, orbiting 180 degrees apart for optimal repeat observations of the planet and data delivery.
Each mission carries different instruments to deliver a wealth of data to feed a range of environmental services offered through the Copernicus programme, which helps address some of today’s toughest environmental challenges such as food security, rising sea levels, diminishing ice, natural disasters, and the overarching issue of the climate crisis.
To ensure continuity of data, the Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions were each conceived as four-satellite missions; first the A and B satellites working in tandem and subsequently replaced by the C and D satellites.
Copernicus Sentinel-1A has been in orbit since 2014, followed by Sentinel-1B which was launched in 2016. However, Sentinel-1B came to an end this year owing to a technical issue so will be replaced by Sentinel-1C, which will be launched in the first half of 2023 on a Vega-C rocket.
This new contract covers the launch of Sentinel-1D in the second half of 2024.
Carrying advanced radar technology to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth’s surface, the Sentinel-1 mission delivers essential data to monitor sea ice, track icebergs and glaciers, subsidence, oil spills and much more.
The contract also covers the launch of Sentinel-2C in mid-2024.
Sentinel-2A was launched in 2015 and Sentinel-2B was launched in 2017.
The satellites each carry an innovative wide swath high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands to help monitor land cover change and planet growth, for example.
The launch of Sentinel-3C, also included in the contract, is envisaged to take place in 2024–2025.
Sentinel-3A was launched in 2016 and Sentinel-3B was launched in 2018.
The satellites each carry a suite of cutting-edge instruments that measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics.
The mission provides essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting.
ESA is also developing six Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions to address European Union policies and gaps in Copernicus user needs, expanding the current capabilities of the Copernicus programme.
The contract also includes the launch of the first Copernicus Sentinel Expansion mission: the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring (CO2M) mission.
The CO2M satellites will each carry a near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activity.
This will provide a unique and independent source of information to assess the effectiveness of policy measures, and to track their impact towards decarbonising Europe and meeting national emission reduction targets. CO2M-A and CO2M-B are scheduled to be launched in 2025–2026.
The precise launch periods for the five satellites will be reviewed by Arianespace, ESA and the European Commission, based on the Arianespace launch manifest and the priorities for the Copernicus Programme.
ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Simonetta Cheli, said, “ESA is thrilled to continue its collaboration with this trusted European launch service, which has been safely placing Europe’s precious Copernicus Sentinels in orbit for several years now. Beyond the reliability of the service, we warmly welcome Arianespace’s cooperative approach to assisting us with the busy Sentinel launch schedule.
“This new contract to launch five Copernicus Sentinel satellites on the new Vega-C rockets is an important step in not only ensuring continuity of the Sentinel-1, -2, and -3 missions and the data they provide for applications and science, but also for the new CO2M mission.
Arianespace’s Chief Executive Officer, Stéphane Israel, said, “One week after the signature of the Framework Contract with the European Commission (DG DEFIS), I am thrilled to ink, today, this specific contract with ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, for five new Vega C launches.”
“It underlines the ability of Vega-C to answer the needs of the Copernicus programme as well as Arianespace’s will to be up to its mission, to guarantee, together with ESA and the European Union, sovereign access to space for Europe.”
Succeeding the Vega rockets, ESA’s Vega-C deliver increased performance, greater payload volume and improved competitiveness.
Operating from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, this rocket extends Europe’s autonomy in space by supporting new mission possibilities, including return-to-Earth operations with ESA’s reusable Space Rider re-entry vehicle. Vega-C features major enhancements from Vega: two new solid propulsion stages, an uprated upper stage and new fairing, and new ground infrastructure.
Vega-C is a single body rocket nearly 35 m high with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It can place about 2300 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit. Using a new range of payload carriers, Vega-C can accommodate a mix of cargo shapes and sizes, ranging from CubeSats as small as one kilogram up to a single large payload such as a Sentinel satellite.
ESA’s Director of Space Transportation, Daniel Neuenschwander, noted that Vega-C complements a new family of launch services together with today’s Ariane 5 and later Ariane 6 programmes to ensure Europe maintains flexible, competitive, and autonomous access to space.
“The successful inauguration flight paved the way for Vega-C to win the confidence of European institutions and commercial customers. All the work done by ESA and our partners to realise this new and versatile launch system is delivering an optimal solution for a fast-changing market, starting with Earth Observation.” (Source: ASD Network)
09 Dec 22. UK Space Agency and NNL work on world’s first space battery.
The UK Space Agency and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) are to collaborate on the world’s first space battery powered by Americium-241.
The UK Space Agency and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) are to collaborate on the world’s first space battery powered by Americium-241.
This work, commissioned and funded by the UK Space Agency from NNL, will be delivered in a new £19 m laboratory in Cumbria equipped with next-generation equipment and technology. It will deliver a sovereign supply of fuel for space batteries in the context of a global shortage, enabling the UK and its partners to pursue new space science and exploration missions.
Creating new highly-skilled jobs in the North West of England, it will drive innovation in radiochemistry and separations science and open a new market for the UK space sector.
Atomic space batteries, also known as Radioisotope Power Systems (RPSs), release heat as the radioactivity within them decays. The heat can be used directly to prevent spacecraft from freezing and it can be converted into electricity to power onboard systems. The batteries go on working for decades, without need for maintenance over the many years in which a spacecraft could be travelling.
The support from the UK Space Agency follows the UK’s record investment to the European Space Agency for a range of new programmes, including £22m for ENDURE (European Devices Using Radioisotope Energy), which will use radioisotopes to develop systems for warming and powering spacecraft.
Considered ‘mission critical technologies’ by space agencies in the UK and around the world, all the Apollo missions had an atomic battery in tow, as has every rover that has gone to Mars. Until now, these have been powered by Plutonium-238, a radioisotope produced only in the US, where supply is limited, and Russia, so an alternative is urgently needed.
NNL, the UK’s national laboratory for nuclear fission, has been working on this endeavor since 2009, when its researchers first discovered that Americium-241, an alternative to Plutonium-238, is produced during the radioactive decay of used fuel from nuclear reactors and that it emits power for over 400 years.
With the supply plentiful – the new laboratory is being opened at NNL’s flagship Central Laboratory on the Sellafield site, home to the largest resource of Americium-241 available for extraction in the world – the new collaboration will turn a proven scientific concept into a fully-realised technology. It will be operational within the next four years and is expected to be first used on the European Space Agency’s Argonaut mission to the Moon and for future missions into deep space.
Science Minister George Freeman said: “This new capability marks a significant milestone for the North West Space Cluster, adding skilled jobs to the existing 2,000 strong workforce. This exciting work from the National Nuclear Laboratory is supported by over £19m in government funding, creating a nuclear-based fuel that will put Sellafield and the North West firmly on the global space technology map. Being able to offer a globally unique supply of Americium-241 will encourage investment and unlock growth opportunities for all sorts of UK industries looking to explore nuclear energy.”
Professor Tim Tinsley, account director for this work at the National Nuclear Laboratory said: “For the past 50 years space missions have used Plutonium-238 to stop spacecrafts from freezing but it is in very limited supply. At NNL we have identified significant reserves of Americium-241, a radioisotope with similar properties to Plutonium-238 but game-changing potential for the UK’s space ambitions. This work, which is being made possible through the support of UK Space Agency, will see us applying decades of experience in separating and purifying used nuclear material in order to unlock great public benefits, and it goes to the heart of our purpose of nuclear science to benefit society.”
Dr Paul Bate, CEO at the UK Space Agency said: “We are backing technology and capabilities to support ambitious space exploration missions and boost sector growth across the UK. This innovative method to create Americium to power space missions will allow us not only to sustain exploration of the Moon and Mars for longer periods of time, but to venture further into space than ever before.”
Supporting the National Nuclear Laboratory’s expansion will make the UK the only country in the world capable of producing this viable alternative to Plutonium, reducing the global space community’s reliance on limited supplies, which are increasingly difficult and costly to obtain. The UK Space Agency is committed to keeping space activities sustainable, and this resourceful technology exploits otherwise unused waste Plutonium biproducts without generating additional waste. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
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