Sponsored By Viasat
27 Jan 23. ViaSat sees Marine’s ‘SATCOM as a service’ buy as harbinger of change. Commercial SATCOM providers have long urged DoD and the services to move from buying bandwidth in fits and starts using short-term contracts to service-style contracts that resemble a civilian’s average mobile phone or cable TV/Internet plan.
After a successful pilot project, the Marine Corps has extended its contract with ViaSat to provide satellite communications services — a deal that signals a sea change in how the Defense Department buys SATCOM, according to ViaSat’s head of defense business.
“We’re starting to see a transition where the DoD and the services are starting to see the value of ‘SATCOM as a service‘. That’s a relatively newer way to deliver SATCOM. Previously, it wasn’t a managed service before, it was something you cobbled together out of terminals, and leased bandwidth and gateways, rather than a ‘buttoned-up’ service that we’re providing here,” Craig Miller, ViaSat president of government systems told Breaking Defense Thursday.
Neither the Marines nor ViaSat has released the value or duration of the new contract, but Miller said it includes “a mix of a few dozen different types of terminal, generally, deployable-slash-nomadic terminals that they can pick up and take with them wherever they go, and then set down again really quickly for setup.”
Miller said that the company is “very excited” by the expectation that ViaSat’s SaaMs solution “will not only proliferate throughout the Marines for a longer duration and be a core component of what they do going forward,” but that the acquisition approach also will spread to other services.
For example, the Army also has launched a pilot program for SATCOM as a managed service, or SaaMS, working with the Space Force’s Commercial Services Office created in March 2022 — and ViaSat will be participating in that effort as well, Miller said.
However, the Marine Corps program, which will supply its largest warfighting organization, USMC I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), with always-on access to SATCOM, is being handled differently than the Army pilot. Rather than going through the Space Force’s Commercial Satellite Communications Office (CSCO) for contracting, the Marines have struck out on their own.
“We are in regular contact with USMC counterparts and do plan to observe how their implementation is executed. Observations may help inform use and business cases for the Army. ViaSat is also keeping us updated with USMC progress,” an Army spokesperson told Breaking Defense in a Jan. 25 email.
Miller noted that ViaSat supports the services desires and efforts to buy directly from commercial firms, but also is working closely with CSCO.
“We have a number of contracts through SF CSCO and we’re a provider to them,” he said. “The Space Force is generally trying to make it so that that office is a one-stop-shop, where the services and the components can go buy SATCOM. I think it’s a noble experiment to try to put it out there in a way that: Here’s where you go to get it, and it’s well publicized, and it’s well understood what you can get and how you can get it.”
This question of the balance of military and commercial SATCOM has been an issue of internal DoD debate for years. Up to now, to industry and congressional chagrin, DoD has tended to come down on the side of buying bespoke satellites (those it develops itself).
But DoD seemingly is now embracing commercial SATCOM providers, most recently with the release of a new Enterprise Satellite Communications Management and Control Implementation Plan touting a “hybrid, heterogeneous enterprise that uses the best mix of commercial and military solution.” The Space Force, led by CSCO and the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, also is now working to shift its acquisition strategy toward greater reliance on commercial soluations, in particular the use of SaaMS.
Commercial SATCOM providers have long urged DoD and the services to move from buying bandwidth in fits and starts using short-term contracts to service-style contracts that resemble a civilian’s average mobile phone or cable TV/Internet plan. Major SATCOM providers argue that this would not only ease problems with service gaps that have long plagued troops in the field, but also be cheaper and allow speedier integration of new technology.
“With the service, you only pay for what you use. It’s far more cost effective,” Miller said.
In addition, he explained the service model ensures that the customer “doesn’t have to pay for upgrades to the network and enhancements to the cybersecurity and efficiencies of the network.”
Finally, for the individual end user — i.e., the troops in the field — the advantage is ease of us, in that the terminals provided are “plug and play” and don’t require any configuration by the operator.
Miller said that in the SATCOM commercial sector, managed service buys are already the trend, and that he believes it is also going to happen for the US military.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of momentum in that direction over the last five years, and I think basically all commercial SATCOM providers are realizing that that’s the most economical and feature-rich way to provide SATCOM services. It’s best for the users and it’s best for us too. And so that’s the future of SATCOM,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
02 Feb 23. On Dec. 22, 2022, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and the Air National Guard (ANG), with joint support from the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and U.S. Air Force (USAF), flight tested an MQ-9A remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) equipped with a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications (SATCOM) Command and Control system. This groundbreaking capability provides global coverage and connectivity that will enable pole-to-pole operations for GA-ASI’s family of RPA – including models such as the MQ-9B SkyGuardian®/SeaGuardian®, MQ-9A Reaper, and Gray Eagle 25M.
“This is truly game-changing for our platforms,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Using LEO SATCOM not only keeps GA-ASI aircraft connected from the North Pole to the South Pole to allow operations in the most austere environments, but it will also provide resilient connectivity that allows operators to pass much more data to and from the aircraft.”
Early testing indicates LEO SATCOM significantly reduces latency and can be used in all phases of flight. For customers across the MQ-9 family of systems, LEO SATCOM should decrease operational costs, and the smaller hardware footprint will ultimately increase flexibility and reduce future payload integration costs.
The MQ-9A flight test was based out of GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., and followed several weeks of ground testing.
01 Feb 23. Satcom Direct, the business and military aviation solutions provider, is celebrating a landmark moment as the Plane Simple® antenna series officially enters commercial service. Following two years of development, rigorous testing, and a thorough customer in-service evaluation, the first antenna in the groundbreaking technology series is now commercially available for aircraft owners and operators seeking reliable, global, customized connectivity solutions that are future-proofed for evolving connectivity needs. The SD Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mount terminal is already revolutionizing business aviation connectivity with its purpose-built design developed to meet the sector’s specific needs. The terminal is powered by the multi-layered, high-throughput Intelsat FlexExec network, the first airtime service dedicated to business aviation. Customers are benefiting from greater flexibility, connectivity options that align with anticipated operational costs, and a compact terminal system that supports simplified dynamic upgrade paths.
“We had an idea that we believed would change how aircraft owners and operators think about connectivity. Together with our partners, we are developing, building, testing, and proving the Plane Simple technology, a product line that helps our customers be prepared for now and the future,” says Jim Jensen, CEO and founder of Satcom Direct. “Prior to the Plane Simple offering, high-speed connectivity options were limited by capacity, restrictive pricing plans, invasive installation, and were incompatible with changing satellite markets. The Plane Simple antenna series resolves these needs, and we’re proud to make this advanced, innovative antenna technology available to new and existing customers.”
The Satcom Direct flight department has test flown the Plane Simple Ku-band technology using its Gulfstream G550 to ensure the system exceeds customer expectations. More than 560 total hours of flight time have been logged to confirm the global commercial readiness of the system. “We are passionate about raising industry standards, and the Plane Simple Ku-band terminal, when married with SD’s FlightDeck Freedom®, allows for real-time network monitoring to assure crew and passengers are supported by our world-leading customer service team. The mantra in our NOC is we ‘know before you know’, indicating that we are always one step ahead of the aircraft connectivity to ensure unbroken coverage globally.”
Confirming the success of the terminal’s flight trials, all those participating in the in-service evaluation have transitioned to customer status. David Utley of Executive Jet Management, which evaluated the system on its Bombardier Global 5000, adds, “The tools and service provided by SD are impressive. We particularly welcome the opportunity to integrate third-party tools as it helps us operate more efficiently. These capabilities, combined with SD’s advice and recommendations on which tools to use and how to optimize them and troubleshoot in flight, empower me to maximize our connectivity. This consultative approach means I always know what is going on. That is important for a busy aircraft frequently flying around the globe.”
Satcom Direct Avionics, the SD manufacturing division, has developed the state-of-the-art hardware in partnership with QEST, a worldwide provider of innovative aeronautical antennas. The singular design of the first antenna consists of just two line replaceable units, the SD modem unit and tail-mount antenna. This minimizes installation times, reduces maintenance fees, and, located in the unpressurized part of the fuselage, frees up valuable cabin space. With the Plane Simple commercial service introduction on the Intelsat FlexExec network, operators only need to make one call to SD to source end-to-end connectivity acquisition and management. Supported by 24/7/365 customer service, the technology delivers inflight productivity, enhances leisure time, and improves operational management for more aircraft types than ever. Developed on an open-architecture platform, the system supports the integration of third-party suppliers to add further operational value. The system has already received Federal Aviation Administration STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express, Express XRS, Dassault F2000LX/LXS, Gulfstream GIV, GIV-X, G450, GV, GV-SP, G550 types with the European Aviation Safety Agency also confirming STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express, Express XRS and Dassault F2000LX/LXS models.
31 Jan 23. The New Iridium GO! exec Redefines Personal Off-the-Grid Connectivity. Iridium Communications (Nasdaq: IRDM) today unveiled the most capable, ultra-portable solution for truly global connections to all smartphones, tablets and laptops – a new class of personal satellite communication device called the Iridium GO! exec™. Built for the professional but made for everyone, the Iridium GO! exec provides a natural extension of your world off-the-grid to send and receive email, use chat or office applications, make phone calls, share pictures, post to social media or get help in an emergency.
Building upon the success of the original Iridium GO!®, introduced in 2014, the Iridium GO! exec is based on Iridium Certus® technology and provides faster data speeds at a size, weight, power and price-point unheard of in the satellite industry. It’s ideal for connecting remote workers, NGO personnel, government employees, first responders, GA pilots, sailors and everyday adventurers, helping them to stay connected and productive from anywhere.
The Iridium GO! exec’s ultra-portability means it can fit in a backpack, on the glareshield of a personal aircraft, be easily carried from the boat to the beach or from the jeep into the field. Multiple users can wirelessly connect their smart devices over Wi-Fi or by using the built-in ethernet port to connect wired devices to the internet.
“When we launched the Iridium GO! nine years ago, our vision was to allow anyone with a smartphone to stay connected when they were off the grid,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “We’ve now turbocharged that capability with the Iridium GO! exec. There’s nothing like this device for businesses, governments or consumers that want to stay productive beyond terrestrial coverage.”
Loaded with new features, the Iridium GO! exec can function as a standalone device to make calls using its built-in speakerphone or initiate an SOS call if the user’s smart device runs out of power. It works with popular messaging, email, and other native applications well known to users. With a very capable battery, it provides extended usage on the go and can even be used as a power bank to charge a smartphone or tablet directly with a dedicated USB-C power output. The device also comes with an application manager that makes it easy to have the best experience possible by choosing what apps you want to use, prioritizing their connections and setting time and data limits to help companies and individuals stay within budget.
Custom applications can also be developed for the Iridium GO! exec using an Iridium-provided API, with developers already working on Iridium GO! exec versions of some apps popular with Iridium GO! users. An external antenna and fixed-install kit for boats and remote locations is also available to order, with additional accessories expected in the coming months. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
01 Feb 23. EchoStar Begins Construction of Global S-band Network.
Today, EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS) announced an agreement with Astro Digital, a designer, manufacturer and operator of small satellite systems, for the construction of a global S-band mobile satellite service (MSS) network. Under the agreement, Astro Digital will manufacture the satellites for the constellation, which will deliver global Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) and other data services beginning in 2024. EchoStar will operate the constellation from its Australian subsidiary, EchoStar Global.
“This agreement represents another step forward towards our goal of a global non-terrestrial 5G network,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO, EchoStar. “With our engineering ingenuity, our service delivery expertise and our spectrum rights, EchoStar is uniquely positioned to offer worldwide S-band satellite services to help meet the insatiable demand for complete and constant connectivity.”
The 28 satellites in this constellation design will feature an advanced software-defined radio with onboard storage and processing to power smart two-way device connectivity. The satellites will be enabled with the LoRa® (meaning “Long Range”) protocol for connecting very low-cost, long-lived devices. With support for 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) services, the constellation will serve as a foundation for EchoStar to engineer 5G New Radio (NR) based NTN capabilities according to 3GPP release 17 specifications.
“These new capabilities will fill a gap in the connected ecosystem, greatly expanding worldwide IoT interoperability,” said Josh Williams, managing director, EchoStar Global Australia. “Our team, together with Astro Digital, has already begun integration of our Australian-based operations to bring to market a truly global solution with consistent and reliable network performance.”
Through its subsidiary EchoStar Mobile Limited, EchoStar also operates an MSS network in Europe using the geostationary EchoStar XXI satellite, which will interoperate seamlessly with the new LEO constellation.
About Astro Digital
From concept to constellation, Astro Digital provides customers with complete space-based systems and mission support services for applications such as earth observation, satellite communications, science, and technology demonstrations. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company manufactures satellites in its California factory and will provide a follow-the-sun satellite operations model from both the U.S. and Australia. For the latest updates and information, visit www.astrodigital.com and follow Astro Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS) is a premier technology and networking services provider offering consumer, enterprise, operator and government solutions worldwide under its Hughes®, HughesNet® and EchoStar® brands. In Europe, EchoStar operates under its EchoStar Mobile Limited subsidiary and in Australia, the company operates as EchoStar Global Australia. (Source: PR Newswire)
01 Feb 23. Seraphim Space has published its latest ecosystem report. The map provides a comprehensive look at over 250 companies across subsectors of the in-space economy, including both the most active and mature sectors and companies driving innovation. The report offers a snapshot of a rapidly growing and exciting industry, filled with opportunities for innovation and investment.
The key findings below include:
- A significant number of established companies are now operating in the in-space economy, covering transportation companies that can help transport, refuel and collect dead satellites, alongside companies improving our understanding of the orbital environment by forecasting space weather and tracking debris and satellites.
- The ecosystem identifies the “busiest markets”. In particular, Seraphim has seen significant growth in the In-Space Services market, with companies offering services such as orbital tugs, space debris removal, and in-space communications. This is driven by the explosion in the number of satellites launched, many of which will require ongoing support and maintenance. In-space communications feature almost every major GEO satellite operator or LEO constellation, as these companies aim to provide the replacement for NASA’s deep space communications system.
- The potential contracts in the in-space economy are now so large as to attract some of the largest and most established space companies. There is a high number of established companies or ‘primes’ in the space lunar, space infrastructure and space exploration markets in particular. For example, SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada, but also primes such as Lockheed and Northrop are addressing orbital tugs, lunar landers, and space stations.
- R&D and manufacturing are now exciting areas. Start-ups plan to leverage the next generation of space stations and free flyers to conduct research and development in areas that will have a real impact on Earth. There are now a very large number of start-ups focused on life sciences to improve drug delivery, grow tissues and organs, and change patient care for the better.
Maureen Laverty, Vice President of Seraphim Space, said: “As the in-space economy takes off, major players in the industry are positioning themselves to capture a slice of the burgeoning market. From servicing the growing number of satellites in orbit to developing the lunar economy, and building the next generation of private space stations, opportunities for growth and innovation are manifold. And it’s not just about reaching for the stars, space life sciences are already making a tangible impact on Earth. Companies like Merck are leading the way in developing key technology, while startups are building on work conducted on the International Space Station to revolutionise tissue and organ growth, drug delivery, and protein crystallization. The possibilities are endless, and the potential for returns is astronomical.
31 Jan 23. General Atomics GAzelle Satellite with Argos-4 Payload Completes Post Launch Acceptance Review.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that the recently launched GAzelle satellite hosting the Argos-4 and RadMon payloads has successfully completed its on-orbit Post Launch Acceptance Review (PLAR). All components are confirmed in good health and satellite operations are functioning nominally. The RadMon payload commissioning phase has been completed and can begin mission operations. The Argos-4 Payload has completed its initial on-orbit checkout and has begun its commissioning process which will occur over the next three months.
“We are excited to see the GAzelle satellite performing as anticipated and that our mission control team has successfully confirmed a healthy operational bus environment for the Argos-4 and RadMon instruments to begin their on-orbit 5-year mission,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “With payload checkout completed, the Argos-4 instrument will begin its commissioning phase, and in a few months, it will begin delivering critical real-time data from fixed and mobile sensors to scientists and researchers worldwide as they study changes in the Earth’s environment with the goal of monitoring and protecting our Earth’s oceans and wildlife.”
GA-EMS designed and manufactured the GAzelle satellite, performed all payload integration and testing, and coordinated the launch. GA-EMS owns GAzelle and is managing the satellite on orbit operations from its Spacecraft Mission Operations Center in Colorado.
“We look forward to having the GAzelle satellite join the Argos constellation as part of an international program to collect and distribute environmental data for use in applications such as ocean buoy tracking, wildlife and fishery monitoring, and maritime security,” said Gregg Burgess, vice president of GA-EMS Space Systems. “GAzelle is the first in a series of spacecraft GA-EMS is building as part of an expanding weather and science program to deliver affordable, high performance next generation satellites on-orbit for the collection and relay of global cloud characterization, weather imagery, and environmental data to support research, government, and military customer applications.”
GA-EMS launched the GAzelle spacecraft as a Hosted Payload Solutions (HoPS) mission delivery order for the Argos Advanced Data Collection System (A-DCS) awarded to the company by the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Argos-4 instrument was provided by France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). (Source: ASD Network)
31 Jan 23. The first Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) LM 400, a flexible, mid-sized satellite customizable for military, civil or commercial users, rolled off the company’s digital factory production line and is advancing toward its planned 2023 launch.
The agile LM 400 spacecraft bus design enables one platform to support multiple missions, including remote sensing, communications, imaging, radar, and persistent surveillance. Lockheed Martin invested in common satellite designs to support demand for more proliferated systems, high-rate production, and affordable solutions. The LM 400 is scalable and versatile starting at the size of the average home refrigerator, with capability to grow for higher power and larger payloads and packaged to enable multiple satellites per launch.
The LM 400 bus can operate in low, medium or geosynchronous earth orbits, providing greater flexibility than other buses in this class. The LM 400 space vehicle is compatible with a wide range of launch vehicles in a single, ride-share or multi-launch configuration.
“This resilient LM 400 satellite bus was created completely digitally, offering greater flexibility, commonality, and the ability to rapidly configure to order across missions,” said Matt Mahlman, director of strategy and capture at Lockheed Martin Space’s Satellite Bus Center of Excellence. “Given that, we can produce these new satellites faster and at a much lower cost to our customers.”
For potential military applications, the LM 400 conforms to Modular Open Systems Architecture standards for interoperability with other platforms from all the services. This design helps unlock the U.S. Defense Department’s vision for joint all-domain operations and joint all-domain command and control.
Each LM 400 spacecraft includes SmartSat™, Lockheed Martin’s software-defined satellite architecture. SmartSat™ provides even greater mission adaptability and can perform onboard “Edge” data processing, which reduces the time it takes to get actionable data into the hands of mission operators and decision-makers on the ground.
The LM 400 is already under several contracts, most recently being named as one of the satellite buses supporting U.S. Space Force’s planned Missile Track Custody program in medium earth orbit.
Company-Funded LM 400 Tech Demonstrator
The first LM 400 off the production line – coined the LM 400 Tech Demonstrator – is also the first of a planned regular series of self-funded on-orbit LM 400 technology demonstration missions.
“Our end goal is to accelerate the technical maturity of our satellites and advanced payloads, as well as showcase how new capabilities can be delivered quickly to customers,” said Mahlman. “Lockheed Martin set out on a journey to develop and deliver a highly capable space vehicle faster than ever before; and what we proved is the ability to move from concept design to an integrated spacecraft in half the time.
The first LM 400 Tech Demonstrator planned for a 2023 launch will carry a Lockheed Martin-produced narrowband communications Electronically Steered Array (ESA) payload. The next LM 400 demonstrator, expected to launch in 2024, will test synthetic aperture radar-capable ESA on orbit using the LM 400 platform.
30 Jan 23. Airbus built Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite arrives on board an Airbus Beluga in Florida for launch. Second Inmarsat-6 satellite scheduled for launch in February. 87th Airbus Eurostar satellite delivered. Multi-beam Ka-band and L-band and digitally processed payload for maximum flexibility.
The second Airbus-built Inmarsat-6 geostationary telecommunications satellite (I-6 F2) has arrived on board an Airbus Beluga at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ready for its launch in February.
The second satellite of the Inmarsat-6 generation is based on Airbus’ ultra-reliable Eurostar E3000 spacecraft and will be the 58th Eurostar E3000 built by Airbus. It will be the ninth Eurostar in orbit that is equipped with electric propulsion for orbit raising, reinforcing Airbus’ position as the world leader in electric propulsion.
François Gaullier, Head of Telecommunications & Navigation Systems at Airbus, said: “I-6 F2, with its sophisticated digitally processed payload, will join Inmarsat-6 F1 (I-6 F1) in orbit giving Inmarsat even more flexibility, capability and capacity. This is the 10th geo-telecommunications satellite we have built for our long-term customer Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communication services, and with I-6 F1 the satellites will enable a step change in the capabilities and capacity for their ELERA services, and deliver significant additional capacity for their Global Xpress network.”
I-6 F1 and I-6 F2 each feature a large 9m aperture L-band antenna and six multi-beam Ka-band antennas, giving a high level of flexibility and connectivity. They also carry new generation modular digital processors to provide full routing flexibility over up to 8000 channels and dynamic power allocation to over 200 spot beams in L-band, per spacecraft. The Ka-band spot beams are steerable over the full Earth disk, with flexible channel to beam allocation.
The satellites will enable Inmarsat to further enhance its world-leading ELERA (L-band) and Global Xpress (Ka-band) networks respectively, for customers across land, sea, and air. They are also the next step in the company’s plans for the world’s first multi-dimensional network, Inmarsat ORCHESTRA. The ‘network of networks’ will build on Inmarsat’s existing space-based capabilities to provide a transformational growth in capacity and new features for customers into the 2030s and beyond.
Investments made by Airbus in platform and payload technologies used on I-6 are supported by the European Space Agency and national agencies, in particular the UK Space Agency and CNES, France’s National Centre for Space Studies. I-6 F2 has a launch mass of 5.5 tons, spacecraft power of 21 kW and a design life of more than 15 years.
The first Airbus built Inmarsat-6 (I-6 F1) satellite was successfully launched in December 2021. It reached its geostationary testing location in summer 2022 and is scheduled to enter service in early 2023. I-6 F2 is set to follow after its successful launch and enter service in early 2024.
Airbus’ geostationary telecommunications satellites have clocked up more than 1300 years of successful operation and are in service or being built for all of the world’s leading geostationary satellite operators.
27 Jan 23. L3Harris delivers experimental navigation satellite. L3Harris delivered the experimental Navigation Technology Satellite-3 to the Air Force Research Laboratory for its final phase of integration and testing, keeping the program on track for a late 2023 launch. AFRL announced the delivery Jan. 26, which brings the lab closer to conducting the first U.S. positioning, navigation and timing experiment in almost a half century.
“This major milestone marks the transition from space system development at contractor’s facilities to the final stage of integration and test activities,” program manager Arlen Biersgreen said in a statement.
AFRL awarded L3Harris an $84 m contract in 2018 to develop NTS-3, which will serve as a testbed for future GPS capabilities including steerable beams that provide regional coverage, a reprogrammable payload that can receive updates while on orbit and built-in defenses against signal jamming. The lab and the Space Force are also considering how the satellite could augment the current GPS constellation as standalone small satellites.
The program’s scope also includes development of NTS-3 ground receivers, which allow military users to take advantage of the satellite’s advanced PNT capabilities.
In its first year on orbit, the satellite will conduct more than 100 experiments to test different technologies and performance techniques. In the meantime, the program has been using the satellite in ground experiments and exercises, including the Army’s PNT Assessment Exercise last August.
With the satellite now on hand, Biersgreen said AFRL and L3Harris are conducting functional and performance tests. These include the first evaluation of the satellite’s radio frequency broadcast capability. Once the tests conclude, the lab will test the satellite’s performance in conditions meant to simulate the space environment.
Data from NTS-3 ground testing will be available to the Space Force and other partners on the program in the coming months, he said.
As the program’s continue preparations for NTS-3′s launch, the Space Force and the Air Force are making plans for how they will use the technology. The Space Force is in the throes of a force design study that will recommend changes to the current PNT architecture.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, on the other hand, is closely tracking the user segment, which includes the PNT receivers. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Jan 23. Space Systems Command sets new launch record for the U.S. Space Force. Space Systems Command (SSC) marked a key milestone for the U.S. Space Force (USSF) last week, setting a new record with two notable launch accomplishments — placing USSF-67 and GPS III SV06 to orbit in only 61 hours.
USSF-67 launched January 15th at 5:56 p.m. ET from Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and GPS III SV06 lifted off January 18th at 7:24 a.m. ET from SLC-40, at neighboring Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
In addition to setting a new record, the two launches shared other achievements as well. Both USSF-67 and GPS III SV06 used previously-flown boosters; USSF-67 was the first NSSL Falcon Heavy to use two refurbished side boosters, which had flown on the USSF-44 mission on November 1, 2022.
The GPS III SV06 mission used a booster recovered and prepped from the Crew-5 Dragon Endurance mission to the International Space Station in October of 2022 for NASA, not a prior NSSL flight. For the program, that was another first as the Space Force continues to evolve its mission assurance processes while still satisfying flight worthiness, commensurate with national security standards.
“With the successful delivery of GPS III SV06, I am pleased to report we set a new launch record in our space history,” said Col. Erin Gulden, senior materiel leader, SSC Assured Access to Space Launch Execution Delta. “The closest spacing between two National Security Space Launches (NSSL) of a given vehicle family was previously seven days; a record set in 2014 with United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 541 lifting the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)-19 from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-3 East at Vandenberg, and the National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-67 on a ULA Atlas V 401 from SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral. The integrated launch teams just delivered both USSF-67 and GPS III SV06 for the Space Force in just 61 hours! The teamwork and collaboration between the Launch Execution Acquisition Delta, Space Launch Delta 45, SpaceX and our NASA partners were vital to these accomplishments. We challenged and critically evaluated processes and procedures, minimized duplicity and improved synergies across the Falcon program product line.”
The Colonel then added, “The program management team, the 2nd Space Launch Squadron and 5th SLS, Air Force/Space Force launch support services (including Range, Safety, and Weather), our technical mission assurance partners from the Aerospace Corporation, our Systems Engineering & Integration team, NASA and SpaceX — all operated incredibly well together and seamlessly. Everything came together masterfully, ensuring we continue to deliver 100 percent NSSL mission success to our satellite customers.” (Source: Satnews)
22 Jan 23. Godspeed as Eutelsat decommissions EUTELSAT 5 West A Satellite serving 5 extra years. Initially designed for a 15-year lifetime, the EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite has retired after an impressive 20+ years of fruitful in-orbit operation. The satellite was successfully re-orbited as planned to more than 400km above the geostationary arc, the propulsion system depressurized and the electrical equipment on board passivated. The final operation to de-activate the remaining Radio Frequency source (telemetry transmitter) was performed from the Issy-les-Moulineaux Satellite Control Center on January 13 at 09:57 UTC (10:57 Local time).
The End-of-Life activities operated by mission control teams placed the satellite in safe conditions with an orbit and configuration fully compliant with French Space Law and international Space Traffic Management recommendations.
Based on a Spacebus 3000B3 platform manufactured by the then Alcatel Alenia Space (now Thales Alenia Space), the satellite was originally built on behalf of Stellat. Shortly after its launch in July 2002, the satellite was bought by Eutelsat and renamed Atlantic Bird-3, operating from the 5° West orbital position where it remained for its entire operational life. It was given the name EUTELSAT 5 West A in 2012 and operated in an inclined orbit since the end of 2019, which enabled an extended lifespan of the satellite.
A progressive transfer of services to the new EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite, as well as other satellites of the Eutelsat fleet, was started in January 2020, ensuring seamless continuity of operations for customers. The EUTELSAT 5 West A continued to operate until its decommissioning, notably providing maritime connectivity.
A disruptive satellite for the Group, EUTELSAT 5 West A enabled the transition to digital television, notably in France in the early 2000s, when analogue television technology was converted to and replaced by digital broadcasting.
Eva Berneke, Eutelsat Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The impressive extended lifespan of EUTELSAT 5 West A showcases the first-rate satellite control expertise of the Eutelsat teams. The satellite provided an overall service availability of 99.999%, a figure that stands as a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the Eutelsat teams who have worked together throughout the years on this mission.”
James Matthews, Eutelsat CSR Director, added: “The decommissioning of EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite is a perfect example of our commitment to the responsible use of space, a fundamental element of the Group’s CSR mission. This operation shows how the Space Traffic Management expertise of Eutelsat is being used to mitigate the risk of space debris for both security and environmental concerns, ensuring the long-term sustainability of space for all operators”. (Source: Satnews)
23 Jan 23. Intellian demos flat panel user terminal + confirms production for OneWeb. This milestone validates Intellian’s innovative core technologies ahead of production in Q4 2023. Intellian’s ESA user terminal production will take place at their state-of-the-art factory, providing a streamlined process with exceptional product value, quality, diversity, and scalability.
The highly specialized and experienced team at Intellian helped to deliver and deploy the very first OneWeb commercial service user terminals at rapid speed. With a unique and innovative technology and strategy, Intellian brings to market a diverse portfolio of ESA user terminals designed to address user requirements across enterprise, land mobility, military, government and maritime at unparalleled speed.
Eric Sung, President and CEO Intellian Technologies Inc, said, “Our strategic partnership with OneWeb has been further strengthened as we once again achieve another fantastic milestone together. This over-the-air demonstration validates the strength of our ESA technology and brings us one step closer to launching truly integrated products that all of OneWeb’s commercial customers can benefit from. With our new manufacturing campus also launched in Korea during 2022, we can deliver incredible scale and quality assurance to our partners.”
Massi Ladovaz, Chief Technology Officer at OneWeb, said, “Our partnership and collaboration with Intellian continues to grow and we are excited about the future potential of today’s demonstration. OneWeb’s network is ideal for flat panel user terminals and this has the potential to provide customers with unique benefits that match their connectivity needs. The technology is well suited for residential, government and commercial markets, land-based industries, helping to achieve OneWeb’s ambition to bring low-latency, high-speed connectivity to our customers globally.”
Drawing on decades of experience, Intellian supports partners and their customers by providing world-class support, global distribution, and supply chain capabilities. Intellian’s value proposition is founded on a collaborative approach, working with distribution partners to serve customers globally. By working together, Intellian delivers end-to-end solutions that address the unique needs of regional and vertical market segments, ensuring continued mutual success with their distribution partners.
OneWeb continues to make rapid progress in launching its global coverage network. The company has launched more than 80% of its first-generation constellation, which will offer high-speed, low-latency connectivity solutions. OneWeb has connectivity solutions active today with its distribution partners in Alaska, Canada, the UK, Greenland and wider Arctic area, with expanded services coming online soon across the US, southern Europe, Australia, Middle East and more. (Source: Satnews)
22 Jan 23. SWISSto12 HummingSat’s product line’s roll-out support at ESA Ministerial Council reveals subscriptions in excess of €30m. SWISSto12, Switzerland’s rapidly-growing aerospace company and a manufacturer of satellite payloads and systems, announces the HummingSat Partnership Project with the European Space Agency (ESA) is proceeding in the roll-out of the HummingSat satellite product. The roll-out is a result of new subscriptions in excess of €30 m received at the November ESA Ministerial Conference Meeting. Participating States are Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands, with further subscriptions expected to be received soon. SWISSto12 is playing an important role in Europe’s new space ecosystem and collaborates closely with ESA to foster innovation in the European space industry and develop new satellite products.
Made with additive manufactured products, HummingSat complements much larger legacy spacecraft, boosting and expanding capacity where neededIS-45, for Intelsat
The funding will allow SWISSto12’s HummingSat product line that is being developed in partnership with ESA to fully roll-out. Recently, SWISSto12 announced that it will produce the first satellite of this product line, the IS-45, for Intelsat, making SWISSto12 the first scale-up specialist in the history of the industry to sign a contract of this nature with an established telecommunications operator. Named after the tiny, agile hummingbird, SWISSto12’s HummingSat product line is a showcase for the disruptive technologies emerging in Europe’s space landscape. Lightweight and small, the tiny satellite is more cost-effective and sustainable than conventional satellites, paving the way for better connectivity across the globe.
Dr. Emile de Rijk, SWISSto12 founder and CEO, said, “At SWISSto12, we are proud to be at the core of Europe’s new space ecosystem. With our HummingSat product line, we are building a next-generation telecommunications infrastructure with the goal of reliably connecting communities and businesses. ESA has been an invaluable partner in funding and expertise along this journey. The new funding will help us to make the disruptive technology of HummingSat a global success.”
Andreas Mauroschat, ESA Partnership and Opportunity Satellites Program Manager, added, “HummingSat is a showcase for a successful ESA Partnership Project and we are delighted to support European and Canadian industry in this exciting new-space venture. The project has been set up in record time and within only a few months SWISSto12 has sold the first commercial HummingSat to global satellite operator Intelsat. ESA Partnership Projects federate the European and Canadian space industry around large-scale programs, achieving competitive leaps forward and economic impact. They support end-to-end space systems from start-up to in-orbit validation, after which commercial partners operate the system.”
The Ministerial Conference of the ESA in Paris took place from November 22nd through 23rd. ESA members had agreed to contribute €16.923 bn over the next three years, a 16.6% increase from the previous ministerial in 2019 with Switzerland contributing 3.7%. The Swiss Space Office also subscribed a higher amount compared to the previous years, showing its strong commitment to support space innovations in Switzerland.
The demand for next-generation satellites, advanced communications, and more sustainable access to space is quickly rising in Europe and globally. SWISSto12 is committed to contributing to the European space ecosystem with the goal to ensure its competitiveness on the worldwide market. (Source: Satnews)
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