Sponsored By Viasat
07 Sep 18. The United States Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has officially awarded global communications company, Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), an eight-year, firm-fixed price contract to provide U.S. Government Senior Leader and VIP aircraft with in-flight broadband and connectivity services. The base year award value is $55.6m. The period of performance for the base year award is Sept. 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2019. The base year and seven 12-month option periods have a total cumulative value of $559.8m. Over the past two and a half years, Viasat has provided in-flight broadband and connectivity services to senior leader aircraft under the AMSS IIa contract, demonstrating its unique satellite communication (SATCOM) capabilities. Building on the initial contract phase, and leveraging Viasat’s continuous improvement, continuous development model, this new contract enables Viasat to provide even more advanced broadband connectivity service options with expanded coverage and increased data rates, as well as enhanced security, resiliency and flexibility.
“We are proud to provide U.S. Government senior leaders with a proven in-flight broadband connectivity experience. Our best-in-class connectivity service with advanced cyber protection for secure air-to-ground communication ensures senior leaders are connected—virtually anywhere they fly,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “This contract validates the value of our Hybrid Adaptive Network (HAN) that’s continually improving and embracing emergent satellite network capabilities across multiple bands and multiple networks. The distinguished performance of our HAN architecture is representative of the elite capacity, resilience, security, and speed available on Viasat’s global broadband network.”
Viasat’s HAN uses cutting-edge hybrid terminal technology to enable automatic and rapid in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks as well as multiple orbital regimes for optimized global roaming connectivity. In addition, the HAN leverages Viasat’s latest innovations in layered resilience to mitigate against congestion, intentional and unintentional interference sources and rapidly evolving cyber threats in highly contested environments. The HAN is unique to Viasat, and not offered by any other service provider today.
The Viasat in-flight internet service has been recognized industry-wide for delivering fast, high-quality, reliable in-flight internet service . As noted by Viasat, the service enables an elite connectivity experience with the ability to use the in-flight broadband connection to stream full-motion high-definition video for en-route Command and Control (C2) missions; to maintain two-way communications through HD video conference calling or voice over internet protocol calls; and to access real-time intelligence and other location-based, live-sensor data for critical decision-making and more.
07 Sep 18. France accuses Russia of spying on military from space. Russia attempted to intercept transmissions from a Franco-Italian satellite used by both nations’ armies for secure communications, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Friday, describing the move as an “act of espionage”. In a speech outlining France’s space policy for the coming years, Parly said the Russian satellite Louch-Olymp had approached the Athena-Fidus satellite in 2017.
Parly said it came so close “that anyone would have thought it was attempting to intercept our communications.” She added: “Attempting to listen to your neighbours is not only unfriendly, it’s an act of espionage.
The minister’s remarks come a week after President Emmanuel Macron urged the European Union to modernise its post-Cold War ties with Moscow despite tensions with the West, including over allegations of meddling in foreign elections. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the satellite provides secure communications to the French and Italian armed forces and emergency services. Parly described the Russian efforts as a “little Star Wars” and said measures were taken immediately to prevent sensitive communications being compromised. The Louch-Olymp had since targetted other satellites, she added.
“We are in danger. Our communications, our military exercises, our daily lives are in danger if we do not react,” Parly said, emphasizing that Paris would complete a strategic space defence plan by the end of the year.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration in August announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020.
It would be responsible for a range of space-based U.S. military capabilities, which include everything from satellites enabling the Global Positioning System (GPS) to sensors that help track missile launches.
“I have heard many people mock the announcement of the creation of an American Space Force. I am not one of them… all I see is an extremely powerful sign, a sign of future confrontations,” Parly said.(Source: Reuters)
05 Sep 18. NRO to take over major contract from NGA. Today, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office announced that the EnhancedView contract will be transferred from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the NRO. Nearly a decade ago, the NGA awarded contracts worth over $7bn to a pair of commercial satellite companies. The EnhancedView commercial imagery program built on existing government contracting for images from commercial satellites, and was designed to pay out over the next decade, ensuring government agencies got the intelligence they needed from cameras in orbit. When the contracts were first awarded in 2010, EnhancedView was offered as a mechanism to provide “greater access, priority tasking and improved capability and capacity to government customers from the next series of U.S. commercial imagery satellites.”
The duration of the forever war has provided the viability of the contract and the information gathered. In 2012, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appeared to be winding down towards an end, the reduced need and increased budget constraints led to a brief reevaluation of the EnhancedView program, but it endured. Commercial satellite imagery is used for everything today from accurately assessing ISIS oil revenues to finding evidence of burnt villages.
“Commercial imagery is an increasingly important part of satisfying both existing and emerging security and intelligence challenges,” said NRO Director Betty Sapp. “The award of the EVFO is an important first step in the NRO’s strategy of embracing commercial imagery as a key element of our current overhead architecture and a critical and integral element of our future overhead architecture.”
NGA Director Robert Cardillo suggests that the contract transfer will provide an opportunity for the intelligence community to “leverage data analytics and the broad spectrum of emerging commercial GEOINT services.”
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Sep 18. Israel orders Amos 8 satellite. The Israeli government announced on 3 September that it has commissioned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to build the Amos 8 communications satellite, two years after the Amos 6 satellite was destroyed during a SpaceX rocket malfunction. The loss of that satellite came 11 months after all communications were lost with Amos 5.
“The decision has long-term strategic significance that answers existential vital needs for the state of Israel,” Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said. “Building the satellite in Israel will safeguard knowledge and expertise in the field.”
The Science and Technology Ministry said choosing IAI to build the satellite will ensure Israel has control over its improved communications capability. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Sep 18. Mattis: U.S.-India Partnership Important for Indo-Pacific Stability. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis arrived here yesterday, ready to engage with senior Indian officials to ensure the Indo-Pacific region remains free, safe, prosperous and secure. Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet in two-plus-two sessions with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Mattis told reporters his visit to India “is a firm indicator of what we see as India’s place among our most strategic, and I would even call them ‘consequential,’ emerging partners.”
The secretaries will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during the visit.
Mattis sees India taking a more prominent role in world affairs.
“Our nations share more than just democracy, of course,” he said. “We share a steadfast commitment to a safe and a secure, a prosperous, and especially, a free Indo-Pacific.”
The current system has allowed the countries of the region to prosper. The system “is underpinned by our steadfast commitment to the rule of law, the freedom of navigation, freedom from coercion for all nations no matter their size or the age of their independence,” the secretary said. “And as the world’s largest democracy, we see India as taking on a greater regional and global responsibility, a stabilizing force.”
In the meetings, the leaders will examine how to counter terrorism and increase defense innovation. “We are all, of course, looking for how can we enhance stability in South Asia,” he said. “We look forward to discussing our respective visions for further strengthening this relationship.”
Mattis continued, “Relationships don’t stay the same, ever. They get stronger or they get weaker. You pay attention, or you lose attention. So we are there to pay attention. We do not take the relationship for granted, and we’ll be working to strengthen that.
“It is a steady relationship with honest discussions built on common ground that we share as democracies,” he added, “but it’s ground that provides a firm foundation for our future relationship, a foundation that can take any perturbations in stride … without alarm.” (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
05 Sep 18. Australia, France join to build space industry capability. The Australian Space Agency and its French counterpart have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will help both nations work together to develop their respective space programs and take full advantage of the rapidly expanding global space industry. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the agreement signed by the head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC, and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) president, Dr Jean-Yves Le Gall. The agreement will help both countries join forces to develop their space capabilities, particularly in the areas of space operations, space science, Earth observation, positioning system and communications.
“This strategic association between the Australian and French governments’ space agencies will help our nations’ universities, research institutions, businesses and communities work together across a range of fields,” Minister Andrews said.
The first steps are already underway, with CNES partnering with UNSW Canberra Space for the development of the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF) for the development of world-class space missions, and for studies towards the development of satellite technologies with advanced sensors and onboard processing and intelligence. This facility will fast track Australia’s ability to deliver world-class space technology, provide a boost to economic growth and jobs in Australia, and support future joint missions.
Dr Clark said the signing of the agreement represented the start of the Australian Space Agency’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Sep 18. GateHouse Telecom signs reseller agreement with Global RadioData Communications. The satcom test leader, GateHouse Telecom, has signed a reseller agreement with Global RadioData Communications Ltd (GRC) to bring the Global Xpress Link Emulator (GLE), an off air test tool, to the UK market. GateHouse Telecom, which provides proven products and system integration solutions for commercial, government and military use, will now strengthen its position on the UK market. The Danish satcom test leader has announced a multi-year reseller agreement for their flagship product, the Global Xpress Link Emulator (GLE), with Global RadioData Communications Ltd (GRC), a leading supplier of mission critical communication products and solutions.
“We are delighted to announce our reseller agreement with GRC,” said Thomas S. Jensen, Director of GateHouse Telecom. “GRC is a leading provider of mission critical communication solutions and already has an impressive product portfolio. Combined with GateHouse Telecom’s expertise and deep knowledge of satellite communication systems, our partnership is the perfect match. GateHouse Telecom is already a valued partner of GRC, delivering an advanced and secure test tool solution for the Global Xpress market, and GRC look forward to promote GateHouse’s cost cutting and secure test tool to the rest of the UK.”
A growing market for cyber security solutions
Over four in ten UK businesses was hit by a cyber attack in 2017, according to the annual report of the National Cyber Security Centre, and earlier this year, the head of the centre, Ciaran Martin, raised the prospect of cyber attacks on Britains critical infrastructure and underlined the country’s need for advanced cyber security solutions.
“We have of course noticed the situation in the UK in regard to cyber security, and we believe our solutions and services fits well with the market’s demand for secure test tools that also keep costs at a low” said Thomas S. Jensen from GateHouse Telecom.
The UK businesses have already increased their spending on cyber security measures in 2017, according to a survey by TurnerLittle. The British government is also taking substantial steps to bolster the country’s defense against cyber threats, for instance was a new legislation to protect the country’s critical infrastructure and digital services introduced in April this year.
04 Sep 18. NASA Opens Phase 1 of the CO2 Conversion Challenge – (83 Fed. Reg. 44911) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that Phase 1 of the CO2 Conversion Challenge is open, and teams that wish to compete may now register. Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. NASA envisions this competition having two phases with a total prize purse of up to $1m. Phase 1 (the current phase) is the Concept Phase with a prize purse of up to $250,000 to demonstrate capabilities to develop technologies to manufacture “food” for microbial bioreactors from CO2 and hydrogen molecules, with the ultimate goal of producing glucose. The initiation of Phase 2, a Demonstration Challenge with a prize purse of up to $750,000, is contingent on the emergence of promising submissions in Phase 1 that demonstrate a viable approach to achieve the Challenge goals. The official rules for Phase 2 will be released before the opening of Phase 2. NASA is providing the prize purse, and NASA Centennial Challenges will be managing the Challenge with support from Common Pool. Challenge registration for Phase 1 opens August 30, 2018, and will remain open until 6:00 PM EST on January 24, 2019. Other important dates: February 28, 2019 Phase 1 Submission Deadline–no further requests for review will be accepted after this date. (Source: glstrade.com)
03 Sep 18. GKN Aerospace wins contract from ArianeGroup for ground-breaking additively manufactured rocket engine turbines.
- Development and manufacturing contract for turbines of re-usable rocket engine demonstrator, part of Prometheus project
- 90% cost reduction, number of parts to be reduced from more than 100 to 2 thanks to cutting-edge AM technology
- First additively manufactured rocket engine turbines in Europe
GKN Aerospace will develop and manufacture two full scale turbines for the Prometheus* low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on liquid oxygen and methane propellants. The turbines will generate power for the methane fuel system, with the first turbine to be delivered at the end of 2019. Manufacturing will take place in cooperation with partners and at GKN Aerospace’s highly automated engine systems centre of excellence in Trollhättan, Sweden. The new state of the art turbine with all its challenging loads – including very high pressure, high speed and high temperatures – incorporates the latest additive manufacturing (AM) technologies with higher performance, lower lead times and significant cost reduction. This innovative development will support the next step in AM: the use of this technology for future higher loaded critical components in terms of pressure, temperature and rotational speed.
Sébastien Aknouche Vice President and General Manager, Services and Special Products Engine Systems said: “With the support of the Swedish National Space Agency, ESA and ArianeGroup we are proud to participate in the Prometheus project and to make a technological contribution to this key European space project. This allows us together with our suppliers, to work with our customer to develop and demonstrate advanced AM technologies in operation and at full scale. We look forward to demonstrating the benefits and the added value in weight and cost reduction, and in faster production rates. These factors, along with our established expertise in space turbines, have resulted in the award of this engine turbine contract.”
GKN Aerospace’s space business unit, in Trollhättan, Sweden, has been active in the Ariane programme from its inception in 1974 until the current Ariane 6 partnership, and has made over 1,000 combustion chambers and nozzles as well as over 250 turbines for the Ariane rocket to date. Today it is the European centre of excellence for turbines and metallic nozzles, having contributed to the programme at every stage from initial research and development through cooperation with academia to the serial production.
* Prometheus is an ESA funded program for a low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on methane propellant, with ArianeGroup as the Prime contractor.
30 Aug 18. Boeing and Viasat’s ViaSat-3 Begins Satellite Integration. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) announced that the first ViaSat-3 payload module structure, built by Boeing, has arrived at their Tempe, Arizona facility — with the initial payload module structure now at the facility, Viasat can start payload integration and testing for the first ViaSat-3 class satellite that is scheduled to provide broadband service over the Americas, starting in 2020. Viasat’s tasks include building the ViaSat-3 satellite payload, integrating the payload into the Boeing-provided payload module structure and testing the integrated payload. Boeing will provide the scalable 702 satellite platform, spacecraft integration and environmental testing, launch vehicle integration and mission operations services. The ViaSat-3 class of Ka-band satellites is expected to provide unprecedented capabilities in terms of service speed and flexibility for a satellite platform. The first two satellites will focus on the Americas and on Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing Viasat’s global service coverage. Each ViaSat-3 class satellite is expected to deliver more than 1-Terabit per second of network capacity, and to leverage high levels of flexibility to dynamically direct capacity to where customers are located.
Dave Ryan, the President of Space Systems at Viasat said that the delivery of the first ViaSat-3 payload module structure marks a major milestone: the transition from the engineering and design phase to production on the company’s first ViaSat-3 class satellite. This achievement brings ViaSat one step closer to delivering the future of affordable, accessible satellite broadband services, anywhere.
Chris Johnson, President of Boeing Satellite Systems International, added that the Viasat and Boeing teams continue to push the boundaries in design and construction of a satellite. In addition to having just delivered on the first payload module structure, the firm is currently working on building the second ViaSat-3 payload module structure, which will help Viasat meet their global ambition of bringing satellite broadband internet to the world. (Source: Satnews)
28 Aug 18. COMSAT’s WiSL® Reuses Existing SATCOM Equipment for Significant Cost Savings of U.S. Government. A great financial savings in a new COMSAT Wideband Steaming L-Band (WiSL®) solution has been announced that will enable the government to achieve significant cost savings by reusing existing installed SATCOM equipment, while tripling or quadrupling the throughput and capabilities of the original Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SB) and FleetBroadband (FB) systems. COMSAT has successfully tested and deployed its COMSAT Wideband Steaming L-Band (WiSL®) solution across various U.S. Government aeronautical and maritime platforms. The WiSL solution utilizes Inmarsat’s reliable, worldwide L-band space and ground network and augments existing SB or FB terminals, allowing return datalinks up to 2.8 Mbps. It enhances the original functionality of the terminals, as it provides a dedicated high data rate communications link from a vehicle, maritime vessel or fixed-wing aircraft, fitted with an Inmarsat type-approved high-gain L-band terminal and antenna, as small as 10×10 inches and as light as 4.3 pounds, for each platform.
The WiSL capability is enhanced with a COMSAT modem that injects a single channel per carrier (SCPC) signal through a high-gain antenna. The high throughput is achieved over a dedicated satellite service and remote management and allows the user to monitor and control satellite access. Operational beams can be built as clusters of narrow beams or custom-shaped beams. The system uses commonly available commercial equipment and provides global deployment capabilities across the existing Inmarsat constellation. WiSL is a unique solution that meets high-demand ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) needs for higher throughputs from smaller form factor antennas. (Source: Satnews)
28 Aug 18. OneWeb Smallsat Launch Date Slips. Chris Forrester, of Advanced Television and a Senior Contributor to Satnews Publishers, is reporting that OneWeb, which is building a mega-constellation of 900 satellites and had planned to launch their first batch of craft later this year, has reportedly slipped the lift-off dates. OneWeb is working with satellite builder Airbus to build 10 debut satellites in Toulouse, and is also constructing – with OneWeb — a jointly-owned satellite factory in Florida to manufacture the vast bulk of the proposed mega-system starting in 2019. Russian news agency Sputnik reported, “Issues in spacecraft production have put off the first OneWeb launch from Kourou until at least February 2019. The rest of the launches have also shifted. The first launch from Baikonur will take place in summer or early fall 2019 and in 2020 from [Russia’s new launch site] Vostochny.” The OneWeb plan is to launch an initial 648 satellites (plus spares) to help provide a global service to hundreds of millions of potential broadband users who have little or no acccss to the Internet. OneWeb is backed to the tune of $1.7bn by a range of equity investors including Japanese media conglomerate SoftBank, Virgin, Qualcomm, Intelsat and others. Virgin Orbit, backed by Sir Richard Branson, has contracts to launch about 39 satellites. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.