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14 Sep 18. Defence SA head says new space businesses set to be located all over Australia. South Australia has billed itself as the Defence State, but with the renaissance of Australia’s space sector, could it also bill itself as the Space State? After all, SA hosts the Woomera range where Australia’s space industry was born with a series of launches during the 1950s and 1960s.
Richard Price, the chief executive of Defence SA, doesn’t really think so. He said Australia’s space industry capabilities were likely to be located all over the country.
“I don’t think you’ll see somebody brand it as the space state in the same way, if at least because it’s not got a big iconic program like AWD (air warfare destroyer) that you can put a banner on,” he said in an interview with Defence Connect.
Price said everyone became excited about launching satellites and the upstream side of the space business.
“The benefit to Australia is all downstream, in how you use and apply that data and technology,” he said.
Price said many people didn’t understand just how much impact space has on their daily lives.
“They realise that GPS comes from space and that’s probably about as far as it goes. What they don’t realise is that if GPS was denied how their world would fall apart,” he said. “The upstream side of the space economy is probably only a third and is always going to be relatively small and was driven in Australia by a lot of passionate people. It was the grass roots that really pushed it and got the momentum up. So, you don’t want to destroy the energy and enthusiasm that we’ve got in that ecosystem of space.”
Price said the important issue, which the federal government recognised, was the need to grow the industry.
“It’s not about emulating NASA or the European Space Agency. It’s about helping industry grow within Australia so that we have more of the upstream work and more done in the country, as well as a lot of the downstream work that we do already,” he said.
Price said Australia needed more mid-sized companies to fill the mid-sized void.
“In space there is a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial businesses and individuals who’ve got what it takes. They need to have the opportunity to get beyond the start-up phase,” he said. “Where I think the real opportunity is, is in the broader economy, is in the people who benefit from space understanding how that technology can be applied. And then, rather than going to Europe or to the US to acquire it, looking internally within Australia. Because we’re still suffering from this kind of doubt, of our capability to do some of these things.”
Price said Defence SA was running an incubator accelerator program for recent graduates or those working in industry to learn about the space business.
“We’re trying. We will never create the broad base. What we’re trying to do is stimulate it and get it moving,” he said. (Source: Defence Connect)
13 Sep 18. The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite (GEO-3) successfully achieved Air Force Space Command operational acceptance. The satellite is healthy and sending data to the Mission Control Station, operated by the 460th Space Wing located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. SBIRS GEO-3 launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 booster on January 19, 2018. Upon separation from the booster, satellite operations personnel began a series of planned Liquid Apogee Engine transfer orbit maneuvers to safely place the spacecraft into its final orbit. GEO-3 reached its intended orbit and began spacecraft checkout activities by deploying the satellite’s light shade, solar array wing assemblies, and antenna wing assemblies. With the spacecraft safely on orbit, sensor testing and checkout activities began, leading to a tuned and calibrated payload ready for warfighter use.
“The achievement of operational acceptance means the spacecraft’s infrared sensors are now considered fully operational and ready for warfighters”, said Lt Col Leroy Brown, Jr., Program Manager for SBIRS GEO-3. “This is a huge win for the combined Program Office, Lockheed Martin Space, and Northrop Grumman team, as well as, the military, civilian, and civil users of the infrared data the SBIRS satellite constellation provides.”
The GEO-3 launch marked the fourth launch of a Geosynchronous satellite, providing worldwide coverage as the Air Force replaces the legacy Defense Support Program missile warning and missile detection satellites that began operations over 45 years ago.
The Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB in Los Angeles, California manages the SBIRS program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, California, is the payload integrator. The 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colorado, operates the SBIRS constellation. The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile-warning and infrared surveillance information to the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
12 Sep 18. Luxembourg Launches Business-Focused National Space Agency. The Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) officially launched operations today with the goal of promoting the further economic development of the Grand Duchy’s space industry by attracting businesses, developing human resources, providing innovative financial solutions and supporting educational and research infrastructure. Under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy, the agency is partnering with leading national academic, research and business organisations and communities as well as other public institutions within Luxembourg’s extensive ecosystem of public- and private-sector stakeholders. For more than three decades, Luxembourg has been at the forefront of commercial and co-operative initiatives that have shaped a vibrant space economy. Its greatest success has been the creation in 1985 of the government-supported SES (Société Européenne des Satellites), today the world’s largest commercial satellite operator. Further space-related services and businesses have developed alongside SES, and today commercial space activity accounts for nearly 2% of GDP, among the highest ratios in Europe.
In 2005, Luxembourg joined the European Space Agency (ESA) as a full member, laying the foundation for participation by the Grand Duchy’s companies in ESA R&D programmes and space exploration projects. The most recent step by the Ministry of the Economy was the launch in 2016 of the SpaceResources.lu initiative, positioning the country as a pioneer in the exploration and utilisation of space resources as a step toward the in-space economy of the future. To fund space innovation, the Luxembourg Space Agency is establishing with other partners a venture capital vehicle to be established as a reserved alternative investment fund, with financial backing from the public sector as well as private investors. The Luxembourg Space Fund targets an initial 100m EUR in capital, its goal is to provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.
Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, says: “Building on Luxembourg’s longstanding support for the space industry through a combination of policy, programmes and funding, the agency will further encourage innovation-driven space entrepreneurship and promote this country as Europe’s platform for commercial space development and a home for cutting-edge industries. Luxembourg is ready to welcome, support and assist the development of space industry players that can move forward together.”
ESA Director General Jan Wörner says: “I congratulate Luxembourg on this very important step in its space history. With its wide range of services and expertise, ESA is continuing its strong co-operation with the Grand Duchy. Collaboration between the Luxembourg Space Agency and ESA can be a very good opportunity for Europe by pooling our capabilities in a network of space agencies that embodies the European ideal in space.” Released by the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Sep 18. Iridium NEXT – Setting the Standard in Constellations. A complete and complex end-to-end and turnkey telecommunication system. In the frame of the World Satellite Business Week in Paris, Jean Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space (joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%) and Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, have presented to the press the Iridium® NEXT stakes and challenges. This telecommunication constellation based on 81 satellites is now the world’s highest performance and most sophisticated constellation, 65 satellites have already been deployed in 7 launches. The challenge for Thales Alenia Space was not only to deliver in orbit a large series of satellites, but above all to commission a complete and complex turnkey system, while also ensuring the compatibility between the first and next generation of Iridium satellites. It’s the first time that an operator and a manufacturer have worked hand in hand to replace a full constellation of 66 satellites, one by one, without interrupting user service.
The Iridium® NEXT constellation is now virtually complete and it’s up and running. It represents today’s state of the art in terms of technology and flexibility. These latest-generation technologies embarked are the key to total flexibility for users, since we offer both global coverage and independence from any user ground segment. This independence will guarantee communications at any time, even during natural disasters and means that the constellation can provide secure communications, including protection against intrusion and piracy.
“To deliver such a very large and complex constellation, comprising satellites weighing some 850 kilos at launch, we had to rethink how to manage our supply chain and our own industrial processes in addition to achieve impressive technological challenges”, declared Jean Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Iridium NEXT is today the highest performance and most sophisticated constellation ever built and we are proud for having risen this challenge allowing us to offer a world class expertise to the market”.
“The Iridium network is unique in many ways, and the requirements to replace the network were more complex and challenging than perhaps anything in space, other than the creation of the system 20 years ago,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “Thales Alenia Space took this challenge head-on, and today we’ve nearly replaced the entire network with state-of-the-art satellites that allow us to bring a new generation of technology, like our Iridium CertusSM broadband service, to our more than 1 million customers around the world.”
Satellite Low Earth Orbit Operation and in-orbit testing are handled by Thales Alenia Space teams from the Iridium satellite control center in Leesburg, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The satellites are launched in clusters of 10, and due to the low Earth orbit, only 10 minutes per orbit are available to send up commands from ground stations. This means that the teams have to prepare meticulously and pay attention every second so they can maximize the operations performed during those 10 critical minutes. The satellites are then placed into the correct orbital position, one by one, before control is transferred to Iridium for the slot swap operation. Iridium teams handle these tasks with support from Thales Alenia Space, based on procedures that Thales Alenia Space already defined and validated. Each Iridium NEXT satellite is equipped with star tracker sensors provided by Leonardo to guarantee attitude determination and control.
Routing communications signals in orbit
Each satellite is connected to the four closest satellites in the system, in front, behind, to the right and left, making the service totally independent from any ground-based network. This in-orbit routing function is completely software driven, based on an onboard processor and a platform computer, along with their software. This software is the most complex used on a constellation of satellites to date. It can be uploaded from the ground, which means that updates can be made if necessary, as well as deploying higher-performance versions so that Iridium can expand its service offering to customers. (Source: ASD Network)
11 Sep 18. Leonardo Signs MOU with Aireon to integrate space-based ADS-B data into its suite of automation products. Leonardo will integrate data from Aireon into its ‘LeadInSky’ Air Traffic Management (ATM) solution, facilitating the deployment of space-based ADS-B data. Leonardo has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aireon LLC, developer of the world’s first space-based air traffic surveillance system. The MOU will allow Leonardo, which provides advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) solutions for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to integrate space-based Automatic Dependent Broadcast (ADS-B) data into its ‘LeadInSky’ ATM system.
LeadInSky is Leonardo’s latest-generation Air Traffic Management (ATM) automation platform. It offers safer and more secure air traffic control via multi-level redundancies and disaster-recovery capabilities. This delivers a high level of data-processing availability and maintains consistency through the multiple levels of redundancy. LeadInSky is also designed to offer a ‘seamless control capability’, merging data from a variety of sources to deliver a complete picture of air traffic, from the airport gates to when aircraft are en-route to their destinations. By integrating space-based ADS-B data into the LeadInSky ATM platform, Leonardo will allow ANSPs to dynamically optimize flight routes and improve airspace management using the only global, real-time dataset of aircraft movements that covers ADS-B equipped aircraft.
“This agreement with Aireon will further enhance LeadInSky’s position as a leading automation platform for ANSPs,” said Davide Cioppi, Senior Vice President, Traffic Control Systems, Security and Information Systems division at Leonardo. “Space-based ADS-B data will be integrated seamlessly into LeadInSky ATM system and provide end-users with an unprecedented dataset that can be used to enhance safety and optimize operations throughout the ANSP. Leonardo is ready to support the introduction to space-based ADS-B data: with a global, real-time data set, this will change the aviation industry as we know it.”
“We are pleased to be working with Leonardo on the integration of ADS-B data into LeadInSky,” said Cyriel Kronenburg, Vice President of Aviation Services, Aireon. “This MOU was created with our future ANSP customers in mind. The seamless integration of space-based ADS-B data into ATM automation platforms is pivotal for the deployment and use of space-based ADS-B worldwide. Leonardo will enable the Aireon data to flow into their platform as just another source of data, making training and deployment that much easier.”
The Aireon service will be operational by the end of 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. In total, the constellation will consist of 66 operational low-Earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage with an additional nine orbiting spares and six ground spares. (Source: ASD Network)
11 Sep 18. Lockheed Martin to update ground system support for GPS III satellites. Lockheed Martin is updating the ground system support for the launch of the US Air Force’s (USAF) next-generation Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellites and M-Code operations. Once the USAF begins to launch the GPS III satellites, the series of upgrades carried out on the current ground control system will enable the service to gain early command and control of the new satellites to conduct testing and operations. Lockheed Martin was selected to upgrade the existing Architecture Evolution Plan (AEP) Operational Control System (OCS), which operates today’s GPS constellation, under two contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017. The two USAF contracts are called GPS III Contingency Operations (COps) and M-Code Early Use (MCEU).
Upgrades to the AEP OCS are expected to serve as gap fillers before the operational transition of the complete GPS constellation to the next-generation Operational Control System (OCX) Block 1, which is currently under development. The USAF granted approval for the company’s critical design for MCEU in April in order to support software development and systems engineering. This would help upgrade the legacy AEP OCS to the M-Code system. MCEU is slated to be delivered to the airforce in January 2020.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems programme manager Johnathon Caldwell said, “GPS III is coming soon and as these satellites are launched, COps and MCEU will allow the airforce the opportunity to integrate these satellites into the constellation and to start testing some of GPS III’s advanced capabilities even earlier.”
The USAF’s GPS III is a military communication satellite designed and built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems (LMSS) at the company’s $128m 40,000ft² GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado.
In January 2012, LMSS was awarded a $21.5m contract to perform the launch and checkout capability for all GPS III satellites. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 Sep 18. Inmarsat battles to maintain leadership in connecting the high seas. In recent years Inmarsat has claimed a special middle ground in the satellite industry. While other satellite operators struggle with an overabundance of capacity, Inmarsat sees no such supply glut in its frequencies. And as fixed satellite services operators battle for television broadcast customers with streaming platforms such as Netflix, Inmarsat gets by scot-free, having no exposure to a market that often counts for half or more of other operators’ revenue. But Inmarsat’s largest market, connecting ships at sea, is becoming increasingly competitive. Around 40 percent of the company’s revenue comes from maritime customers using Inmarsat products for voice and data services. Originally dominated by robust but low data rate L-band services (where Inmarsat competes with Iridium and to a lesser extent Thuraya), more satellite operators are wading into the maritime market with high-throughput satellites that offer higher speed services in other frequencies.
Inmarsat connects 34,500 vessels with “FleetBroadband,” its venerable L-band communications terminals. That number decreased by about 3,000 vessels from June 2017 to June 2018. Part of that decrease is from an intentional migration from FleetBroadband, an L-band service typically providing kilobits of throughput, to “Fleet Xpress” Inmarsat’s Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) products that leverage its high-throughput, Ka-band Global Xpress satellites for megabit speeds.
But more than half the vessels that quit FleetBroadband “were lost as a result of scrappage and increased competition,” Inmarsat said during the company’s most recent earnings report.
Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s CEO, said the increased competition is coming “predominantly from KVH,” a Rhode Island company that launched a maritime-focused high-throughput satellite network late last year. KVH’s network is based largely on the Intelsat Epic constellation plus some capacity from Japanese operator Sky Perfect JSAT.
“In other words, it is L-band versus Ku-band,” Pearce said. “It’s a low-end, highly stressed Kuband VSAT proposition that we compete against. [It’s] not particularly novel — KVH has been doing it for a long time — but it is intensifying, possibly because of the trade-up opportunity from FleetBroadband to VSAT.”
Inmarsat has slowed but not stopped the loss of customers to KVH Industries. Whereas around 520 vessels stopped using FleetBroadband during the fourth quarter of 2017, the company reported a loss of 350 ships from April to June. Pearce said most of the lost customers were low revenue generators, but that Inmarsat made a mistake in overlooking the rise of KVH and will redouble efforts to win maritime customers in both L-band and Ka-band.
“I’m not happy about the speed of our response to that,” Pearce said.
KVH’s banner year
KVH is a reseller L-band products from Inmarsat and Iridium, but markets its own Ku- and C-band VSAT products for vessel operators wanting higher speed connectivity. The company launched its HTS network last fall, incorporating IntelsatOne Flex, a service Mark Rasmussen, Intelsat’s vice president and general manager for mobility, describes as a “purpose-built global network designed from the ground up for maritime.”
IntelsatOne Flex connects all six Intelsat Epic HTS satellites as well as several wide-beam satellites to bring global C- and Ku-band coverage for capacity resellers like KVH, he said, The platform has more than 1,000 of the 7,500-plus vessels using Intelsat satellites, Rasmussen said.
KVH CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen said the company is hitting new milestones in VSAT shipments, customer bookings and service activations.
“We successfully shipped almost as many VSAT systems in the first six months of 2018 as we shipped in all of 2017,” Kits van Heyningen said during an August earnings call. “VSAT unit shipments were up 100 percent compared to last year’s second quarter, and were at an all time record by far compared to any quarter in our 10-year history in the maritime VSAT business.”
KVH, having overcome production issues, shipped its 8,000th VSAT in July. Kits van Heyningen said the company’s Agile subscription plans, which offer unlimited data at 10 megabits per second (Mbps) up and 3 Mbps down, free VSAT shipping and free installation (or a $2,000 credit per vessel), have surpassed the company’s projections.
“We expected AgilePlans to be successful, but the market response to demand has been even stronger than we anticipated,” he said.
“When you look at the results that KVH has achieved with our Flex network, they tell a very different story [than Pearce],” Rasmussen said.
Keeping the sails up
One of the main reasons vessel operators are migrating from low-data L-band products to high-throughput VSAT is a drop in price for both equipment and capacity, according to Susan Bull, a senior consultant at Comsys.
“Go back 10 years and the cost of a 1- or 1.2-meter stabilized antenna was in the region of $60,000,” Bull told SpaceNews. “Now it’s closer to $20,000.”
Satellite capacity prices have followed a similar trend. Bull said maritime capacity leases five to 10 years ago ranged between $5,000 and $8,000 a month, but as the number of VSATs grew and capacity supply increased, those prices halved to between $3,000 and $4,000 a month. Maritime connectivity providers often sell Inmarsat solutions as well as, increasingly, VSAT products that leverage capacity from other satellite operators. Intelsat is selling capacity to several maritime connectivity providers, including Marlink, Speedcast and Navarino, marketing the size of its satellite fleet — around 50 compared to Inmarsat’s 13 — as a competitive advantage.
“Any region of the world is often served by more than just one satellite,” said Rasmussen. “It’s served by two, three and sometimes four different satellites, so any vessel anywhere has multiple places in the sky to look to get throughput on Intelsat One Flex maritime. This is key because if you only have one satellite to look at, and your mast or something else happens to be in the way, now your connectivity is gone and you have to go to your backup.”
“It’s a low-end, highly stressed Ku-band VSAT proposition that we compete against.” —Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce
Bull said the drop in capacity pricing around the world has sent satellite operators on a mad dash to find customers anywhere they can, and maritime is no exception.
“Inmarsat is having to rethink the ways that they are going, but it is a tough position to be in and try to find your way forward,” Bull said.
Pearce said Inmarsat will be “paranoid” going forward about “competition from below,” meaning companies like such as KVH going forward. He estimated that Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband is an effective product for around 60,000 vessels, consisting of a mix of merchant shipping, offshore fishing and leisure vessels. The less lucrative customers from those categories are defecting to competitors, he said.
In a statement to SpaceNews, Inmarsat said it still remains the leader of maritime connectivity globally.
“According to Euroconsult, we have around 85 percent market share of maritime L-band revenue and a 21 percent share of maritime VSAT revenue. We are also the fastest growing provider of maritime VSAT services with 57 percent of all new maritime VSAT deployments in [the first half of 2018] being Fleet Xpress, which has also been verified by Euroconsult.”
KVH, also citing Euroconsult, said in July that the Paris-based firm’s research found KVH had “nearly double” the number of fielded maritime VSATs as its next closest competitor at the end of 2017.
To reestablish itself against KVH and other competitors, Inmarsat is doubling FleetBroadband data rates via a firmware upgrade, Pearce said. And as the two next- generation Inmarsat-6 satellites near deployment — launch dates are 2020 and 2021 — Inmarsat will have the ability to drop FleetBroadband prices and further increase capabilities, he said. Under construction by Airbus Defence and Space, the satellites have both L- and high-throughput Ka-band payloads.
“That’s really about a battle for the hearts and minds of the mid-market, in terms of do they stay in FleetBroadband, do they migrate to VSAT, and if they migrate to VSAT, what VSAT do they migrate to?” Pearce said.
Pearce said Inmarsat also has to “leapfrog” its primary L-band competitor, Iridium, which is launching a new service called Certus based on the nearly finished Iridium Next constellation.
“In the original days, Inmarsat pretty much owned the L-band spectrum,” Bull said. “If you were a vessel, your only option was L-band, so Inmarsat was essentially the monopoly operator, and even when Iridium came in, they didn’t have a major impact on Inmarsat, but they’ve been refining their service. So has Thuraya. [Inmarsat’s] got more competition in the L-band arena today, especially with the latest Iridium series of satellites. The competition is rising.”
Kits van Heyningen said KVH anticipates using Iridium Certus as a backup to VSAT. Iridium OpenPort, the L-band product KVH uses today, is “long in the tooth and not very capable compared to what Inmarsat has,” he said. “This new Certus product should be better.”
As for VSAT demand, Kits van Heyningen projected more growth for KVH on the horizon.
“Despite increasing the pace of installations 40 percent compared to the first quarter, we still grew the backlog that we carried into Q3, which bodes well for future revenue growth,” he said.
The next move is Inmarsat’s to make. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Space News)
11 Sep 18. Spaceflight Offers Rideshare Launches to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. Partnership with SSL reflects growing need for frequent, affordable access to GTO/GSO; SpaceIL’s Israeli Lunar lander secures ride on first rideshare mission. Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, announced today at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference that it has procured upcoming launches to Geosynchronous Orbit – a popular destination for communications satellites. The company anticipates offering rideshare opportunities to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) approximately every 12-18 months, or as customer demand requires.
The first mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 which was procured by SSL, a Maxar Technologies company. It will represent the two companies’ first combined launch and Spaceflight’s first mission beyond Lower Earth Orbit (LEO).
“We’re focused on getting our customers’ spacecraft into orbit in the most expeditious, cost-effective manner possible,” said Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight. “The rideshare model is beneficial to everyone; the primary spacecraft as well as all the secondaries pay less than if they contracted to launch individually. In addition, working with a reliable partner like SSL to fulfill our first GTO mission increases our ability to service this growing destination. We’re looking forward to making GTO a routine and affordable destination for our clients.”
The manifest for this Falcon 9 GTO rideshare mission is completely full. It features several undisclosed payloads along with an unmanned lunar spacecraft from SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization that was competing in the Google Lunar XPrize to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The first rideshare satellites will separate in GTO and then the SSL host spacecraft will continue on to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) where the remaining rideshare satellites will be separated.
“Spaceflight has taken an innovative approach to aggregating launches and bringing a more cost-effective launch model to the industry as a result,” said David Bernstein, senior vice president of program management at SSL. “Working as a team with Spaceflight and SpaceX, we are enabling a unique mission that ultimately accomplishes a translunar injection, prior to dropping off other payloads on our way to geostationary orbit for the primary communications satellite.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Sep 18. SES Government Solutions to Support Air Combat Command Training and Testing Operations. SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, has teamed with prime contractor Bushtex, Inc. to provide commercial Ku bandwidth to U.S. Air Combat Command (ACC), SES announced today. This satellite communications capability will support training and testing operations in the continental U.S.
Bushtex Inc., a woman- and minority-owned small business based in Gilbert, AZ, is a satellite communications provider that currently delivers commercial services for a variety of Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other U.S. Government agencies. To support this contract, Bushtex leveraged SES GS’ extensive experience in providing satellite communication services for the U.S. DoD, and more specifically for the U.S. Air Force, over the past 30 years.
“We are proud to support Air Combat Command and our small business industry partner, Bushtex, for this network. It allows the mission partner to conduct training and operations that help validate and refine Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures,” said Pete Hoene, President and CEO of SES Government Solutions.
The contract is a 12-month base year with four one-year option periods starting on 1 August 2018. The total contract value is USD 29.3m. The award includes the ability to provide optional surge capacity over the life of the contract, with a six-month extension option. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
10 Sep 18. Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) Intelligence, Information and Services business is collaborating with commercial small satellite company, HawkEye 360 Inc., as part of its ongoing focus to provide innovative commercial technologies and more precise data to the government sector.
The alliance includes a strategic investment in HawkEye 360 and provides Raytheon with a unique level of access to data, enhancing the company’s analytics services for government customers.
“Our plan is to fuse HawkEye 360’s geospatial information with other relevant data sources, further augmenting the intelligence we provide to our U.S. and international customers,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “Similar to our alliances with other commercial companies, HawkEye 360’s constellation will offer our customers advanced capabilities – in this case expanded coverage and deeper insights – and importantly, at a lower cost.”
HawkEye 360 is pioneering the use of low-flying, small satellites to collect radio frequencies for use in next-generation geospatial services. HawkEye 360 will launch its Pathfinder cluster of three small satellites at the end of 2018, with additional clusters planned until the full constellation is in orbit by 2020.
“This will be a new layer of information unlike anything the geospatial community has had to date,” said John Serafini, HawkEye 360’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our alliance with Raytheon will help us provide unprecedented situational awareness for multiple customer segments and applications. We are very excited to team with Raytheon to extend our analytics to their customers.”
The constellation will yield timely access to information worldwide to deliver customizable high-precision radio frequency mapping and location-based analytics for applications such as monitoring illegal fishing and tracking cargo fleet logistics.
About HawkEye 360
HawkEye 360 is a Radio Frequency (RF) data analytics company. HawkEye 360 is developing the first of its kind commercial satellite constellation to identify, geolocate, and process a broad set of RF signals. The company uses this unique data set and suite of proprietary processing and machine learning tools to create powerful data analytic products that solve hard challenges for global customers. The products include maritime domain awareness and spectrum mapping and monitoring designed to serve a wide range of commercial, government and international customers. More information about the company can be found at www.he360.com.
10 Sep 18. Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced its investment in Denver-based BridgeSat Inc., an optical communications solutions company enabling the future of connectivity in space through a network of ground stations and proprietary space terminals.
BridgeSat is developing a global network of optical ground stations (OGS) to transmit large amounts of data into space quickly and reliably. Its stations support low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite optical communications, enabling secure transmissions between satellites, other spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and high-altitude aircrafts.
“This partnership will help us continue to lead the digital transition in satellites with technology that provides next-generation capabilities for our customers,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Enabling BridgeSat to scale their operations accelerates secure, reliable satellite communications around the world.”
BridgeSat was formed in 2015 to address cost, bandwidth and infrastructure limitations in space-based optical communications. The company recently announced an industry-first agreement with NASA to develop a commercialized free-space optical communication system that could support the agency’s future missions.
“As we grow our OGS into a global network, this investment will help us meet the need for secure delivery of big data from LEO and GEO satellites at faster speeds, and a lower cost than traditional radio frequency solutions,” said Barry Matsumori, chief executive officer of BridgeSat.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures led BridgeSat’s Series B funding round, with participation by Allied Minds. The investment and relationship with Boeing connects BridgeSat with Boeing experts, testing labs and other valuable resources to accelerate the deployment of its OGS services around the world.
The role of Boeing HorizonX Ventures is to target investments that help scale startup innovation in aerospace. Its portfolio is made up of companies specializing in autonomous systems, additive manufacturing, energy and data storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.
10 Sep 18. Investors open up new frontiers in space through collaborations. Companies inside and outside the industry are taking an active interest in start-ups. Space has become the final frontier for investors, but expenditure in the market is forecast to expand eightfold by 2045, due to technological advances and falling production costs. Developments in areas such as reusable rockets, affordable in-flight WiFi, weather forecasting and environmental monitoring will help drive the sector’s size to $2.7tn over the period, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Governments and the military still account for much of the investment in the sector, but tech billionaires — such as Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — are gaining a toehold, as are private equity and venture funds. Private investment in space totalled $3.4bn in the year to June 2018, according to Seraphim Capital, a venture capital company that focuses on the sector. Mark Boggett, its chief executive, says: “In the past few years, investor interest in space has gone crazy.” A big growth area is using satellites to deliver broadband to commercial aircraft and high-speed terrestrial internet to the 4bn people globally who still do not have access. Inmarsat, the UK-listed company, has joined Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Nokia, to build the European Aviation Network (EAN), which it says will create $30bn worth of extra revenues for airlines by 2035. Other companies are working on similar projects to introduce in-flight broadband over the Americas. In the past few years, investor interest in space has gone crazy Mark Boggett, Seraphim Capital Viasat says it has invested about $1bn in the two satellites that already provide in-flight broadband to airlines including JetBlue, Virgin America and El Al. Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s chief executive, says the company is likely to spend the same again on the ViaSat-3 satellites it plans to launch from late 2020. “The complexity of satellite broadband technology lends itself well to collaboration,” Mr Dankberg says. Viasat has a €68m partnership with the European Space Agency to develop components for the ViaSat-3 system with European industry. The company has also formed a joint programme with Esa to provide €30m in funding to support organisations developing products and services that make use of high-capacity satellite broadband. OneWeb, a US-based start-up with backers including SoftBank, Airbus, Qualcomm, Virgin, Hughes, Intelsat, Grupo Salinas and Coca-Cola, aims to provide universal internet by 2027. Airbus is building OneWeb’s 900 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites as part of the project. Nicolas Chamussy, head of space systems at Airbus, says the project has created “a complete change in culture and mindset” in satellite design and supply chains. “With a constellation of satellites [as with LEO] you can accept that some components will fail — something you couldn’t do with a mission to Mercury or Jupiter,” Mr Chamussy says. “But we are hoping to get the best of both [worlds] by doing things in a smarter way. For example, using lower-grade devices and designing the architecture of spacecraft differently so that they can cope with failures and recover.” Using these new designs, Airbus is now producing as many satellites in one day — up to four — as it would previously have done in a year. The company has also created a standardised version of the initial OneWeb design, Mr Chamussy says, and is in discussions with potential partners about using it in areas such as gathering tracking data from ships and aircraft. Recommended Businesses gain competitive edge with smart technology Which networks will underpin smart cities? Demand plays catch-up as supercharged connectivity powers ahead Airbus is one of Seraphim’s investors along with several other big sector names including, SES, Telespazio, Surrey Satellite Technology and Teledyne e2v. They are effectively collaborating by co-investing, says Mr Boggett. In addition to profit, their goal is to gain insight into what is happening in the start-up market, he adds. “They want that visibility because they want to become customers and partners of those companies, and to acquire them to make sure they retain their cutting edge.” Competition will be fierce. OneWeb could undermine EAN and other services by letting airline passengers continue to use their network operator on their personal tariff rather than having to sign up for an expensive in-flight tariff from another network provider. Richard Deakin, global head of aerospace at PA Consulting, says other potentially disruptive technologies include lasers, which can deliver data faster. Another is balloons flying at 60,000ft-80,000ft — roughly twice the height of a commercial airliner, but low enough to provide high data speeds. Competition may also come from high-altitude long-endurance drones, says Mr Deakin. “Launching balloons and drones is far cheaper than satellites and they are relatively inexpensive to get down and repair.” Investors run the risk of failed launches, safety concerns and changes in regulation. Winning will be as much about commercial innovation as technological, says Mr Deakin. “Also crucial will be locking into new developments around the internet of things and the need to share real-time data.” Mr Boggett agrees. “The value from satellite broadband will be in the application of artificial intelligence to these giant data sets which will increasingly be almost real-time,” he says, citing insurance, logistics, construction, and oil and gas as potential beneficiaries. The traditional space industry will begin buying up interesting start-ups, says Mr Boggett. “In addition to acquiring technologies and business models, they will be gaining people who have a different DNA from those in the traditional space industry,” he notes. “I would guess that in 10 years’ time the majority of revenues from some of these players will come from business lines that don’t exist today.” (Source: FT.com)
04 Sep 18. A New, AMOS-8 Satellite to be Subsidized by the Government of Israel. The Science and Technology Ministry of Israel has announced they intend to subsidize a new, Israeli-built, communication satellite, according to reports in The Jerusalem Post. This satellite, which will be built entirely by Israel Aerospace Industries, will have “long-term strategic significance and is relevant to all the critical, existential needs of the State of Israel,” Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said.
The AMOS (Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite) series is operated by Spacecom, a Ramat Gan-based communication company. Communication with AMOS-5, a previous version, was lost in November of 2015. Spacecom subsequently suffered the loss of AMOS-6, which was destroyed in a fire during its launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on September 1, 2016.
Following that loss, a cross-ministry special committee, headed by director-general of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space Peretz Vezan was established, which recommended to fund the construction of the newest version.
The decision to develop Israeli space industry infrastructure and expertise was based on the need to reduce the cost of the satellites, and so that Israeli space industry will better compete in the developing space market.
The project is expected to take four years to be completed, and the life expectancy of satellites is estimated as 15-20 years.
“Communications satellites form part of the strategic setup of the State of Israel and we must preserve the country’s independent capabilities in the field,” said IAI board of directors chairman Harel Locker. “AMOS-8 will be the most advanced digital satellite that has ever been built in Israel and will ensure optimal capabilities in the satellite field for the State of Israel and its users.” (Source: Satnews)
08 Sep 18. GMV’s Largest Contract of 250m Euro Also the Biggest Contract Ever Awarded by Spain’s Space Industry. Imagine GMV’s pride of learning that they are on the receiving end of their largest contract totaling 250m euro, and that the amount is also the largest contract that Spain’s Space Industry has ever awarded. Additionally, more good news — GMV is priming a project team in which 60 percent of the work will be carried out by Spanish firms, directly employing about 200 people. The news was announced that the technology multinational GMV, provider of system integration, development and engineering, has won a bumper contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for maintenance, development and upgrading of Galileo’s Ground Control Segment (GCS). Galileo, the famous flagship of the European Union’s now flourishing space business, is Europe’s own global navigation satellite system. GMV’s framework contract with ESA is worth a total sum of 250m euro, already including a signed-and-sealed contract for the first Work Order, in itself worth around 150m euro. This establishes the venture as the biggest contract ever signed by GMV in its entire history.
Additionally, the agreement is the biggest contract ever signed by Spain’s space industry as a whole. All this represents a huge boost for the company while also posing a great challenge that places GMV and Spain in a highly visible position. GMV is leading an industrial team made up by several European firms, with Group GMV as the most prominent as well as Spanish industry. Approximately 60 percent of the work will be carried out by Spanish firms; in all, the project will give employment to about 200 people, over 100 of them from GMV. The Ground Control Segment is responsible for monitoring all constellation satellites and includes all the necessary components for this purpose: the control center, the orbital dynamics system, mission planning, operational support, simulation tools, the key management facility, network security, the telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) stations and the interconnection between all these components. The GCS comprises the main operations center, located in Munich (Germany) and Fucino (Italy), as well as the various monitoring stations spread throughout the world.
As well as taking on critical GCS items, GMV, as part of its overall responsibility for the whole ensemble, will also attend to management of all the above mentioned functions, in all the sites identified, in liaison with the European Space Agency (ESA), as an end client.
Its main remit is maintenance of all the already deployed systems, assuring operations already underway and organizing the future upgrading of the whole system. The cybersecurity aspects, led and developed by GMV, weigh especially heavily in the overall deal. This is the result of an essential part of the system to be maintained and upgraded, after all, calls for management of secure access to information of the Galileo constellation and management also of regulation-signal and high-performance access security keys. The GCS contains all necessary components for these management tasks, and the ultimate responsibility for the proper functioning of these components falls to the project.
In the words of GMV’s CEO, Jesús B. Serrano who said that this is an unprecedented contract for GMV, won by fighting off fierce competition from the top space companies and reflecting GMV’s growing leadership. This contract award likewise represents a huge responsibility, which the company takes on with all the confidence of a team of exceptional professionals. This milestone will enable them to chalk up a workforce of over 2,000 engineers by 2019, making GMV Europe’s biggest medium-sized space company.
From its inception GMV has grown as a firm across all its areas, but especially so in the space and cybersecurity sectors, as proven by them winning more contracts year after year and increasing its turnover. Now after a 34-year history, the company’s ongoing development has always been driven by ESA’s programs, managed by the Industrial Technology Development Center (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial: CDTI) dependent on the Spanish Ministry of Science Innovation and Universities (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades). Likewise, the European Union’s Galileo program, represented in the European Commission and its agencies by the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Fomento), has always been another crucial growth factor for GMV. In the last five years GMV’s staff, currently 1800-strong, has grown by 44 percent. Its worldwide leadership in satellite ground control systems is further cemented by this contract, that shores up its position as a worldwide benchmark in satellite navigation and cybersecurity. (Source: Satnews)
03 Sep 18. Marlink to Debut Xchange FX in September. Marlink will, in September, launch XChange FX, an advanced new hardware solution designed to maximize value for the firm’s customers using Inmarsat Fleet Xpress voice and data services. XChange FX provides previously unavailable network and service information in real-time, enabling users on board to manage usage according to status and ensuring Marlink’s global support network can react fast and effectively to any issues, based on the availability of precise, real-time network data. The system also future-proofs Fleet Xpress, by enabling over-the-air firmware and software updates.
Developed by Marlink and Inmarsat’s expert engineers and powered by Soft NSD (Network Switching Device) V1.5, XChange FX enhances the standard solution by introducing several key features, including real-time on board connectivity monitoring, enabling traffic prioritization to ensure critical applications are always globally available. While Marlink Fleet Xpress users already enjoy exclusive access to the most extensive portfolio of business critical solutions, XChange FX adds an extra layer of management functionality which empowers end-users to make the most effective use of Fleet Xpress.
XChange FX provides unique visibility into on board network performance and statistics, ensuring users will always know if they are using Ka- or L-band via a number of methods, including a built in LCD screen, enabling usage patterns to be adjusted. More in-depth data will be available in a customer dashboard providing easy to understand bandwidth performance and traffic statistics, available on board and for Marlink support experts to streamline remote troubleshooting. XChange FX is not subject to an Export Control License, so can be delivered globally without customs and border delays. The system is simple to install, and once on board, delivers the most advanced functionality available for Fleet Xpress network management available today.
Fleet Xpress is augmented by an extensive layer of value added services from Marlink, including the already available Portal360 online management system and the SkyFile email and anti-virus suite. Marlink customers choosing Fleet Xpress can also enjoy low-cost voice calling, as well as remote network access and advanced crew communication solutions, including specific prepaid or postpaid account and crew connectivity via laptops, tablets and smartphone.
Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink, said that the company’s multi-band network strategy ensures the best service can be provided, whatever the requirements — bringing the same added value to Fleet Xpress customers that the firm offers with Marlink’s other Ku and Ka-band services was important from day one. To achieve this, Marlink is connected to all three Global Xpress ‘meet me’ points, which enables the company to make the firm’s portfolio of business critical solutions available on Fleet Xpress. With XChange FX, Marlink is leading the way by making network status and statistics readily available to the user, ensuring they can optimize their connectivity and ensure availability of business critical digital solutions.
Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime, noted that this integration demonstrates Marlink’s strength and speed at integrating new technologies and reaffirms their status as one of the leading innovative players in the maritime industry. Fully integrating the software element of the Network Service Device into the XChange FX platform will allow Marlink to continue to develop their own value-added solutions for the rapidly growing market for onboard applications evidenced by the dramatic growth in Fleet Xpress installations, which accounted for 6 percent of the total maritime VSAT market in the first half of 2018. (Source: Satnews)
03 Sep 18. Kleos Space S.A. and Airbus Defence and Space’s MoU. Takes Radio-Frequency to a New Frequency. An official statement from Kleos Space and Airbus Defense and Space announces they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which both companies “aim at expanding the international market of radio-frequency monitoring, transmitter geolocation and to investigate opportunities to collaborate.”
Luxembourg-based and ASX listed Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS) a state-of-the-art space technology operator that will launch and operate its first Earth orbiting nano-satellite system in 2019, today announces the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus Defence and Space as both companies aim at expanding the international market of radio-frequency monitoring, transmitter geolocation and to investigate opportunities to collaborate.
With a constellation goal of 20 nano-satellite systems in low Earth orbit, Kleos Space S.A, will as of 2019 monitor the Earth, capturing data currently excluded from detection, data on “passive” radio transmissions without AIS, GPS or VMS protocol which will be used for answering real societal challenges, security and for defence purposes. In only 16 months, it will provide a relevant solution to urgent requests. With its first satellite constellation the start-up will demonstrate its technical capability and proof of concept by providing accessible, raw data. Kleos Space’s accessible and commercial solutions respond to the world’s countries’ concerns regarding surveillance, intelligence gathering and defence issues. (Source: Satnews)
06 Sep 18. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and Kacific Broadband Satellites Ground Station Agreement. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS) has been awarded an $11m contract by Kacific Broadband Satellites to design and build ground stations for Kacific’s new Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) network — the Kacific-1 HTS satellite, launching in 2019, will deliver broadband services to Pacific Rim and South East Asia. Kratos will help address Kacific’s HTS gateway infrastructure needs by designing and building a state-of-art Ka-band multi-site gateway solution for Kacific-1. Kratos’ gateway solutions are pre-configured in a secure and controlled off-site environment resulting in higher quality and faster time-to-market. The company’s industry-leading designs will optimize and protect Kacific’s investment by reducing complexity and risk, and accelerating market entry.
“Kacific sought a partner who could build a high-performance ground segment to enable us to deliver Ka-band HTS services across widely dispersed regions of the Pacific,” said Kacific CEO, Christian Patouraux. “We wanted an innovative solution which combined market leading products and best-of-breed industry tools and software with quality engineering services. The Kratos team was uniquely responsive to our design needs and our partnership marks another big milestone in our preparations to launch the Kacific-1 satellite.”
The next generation of HTS satellites promises new revenue and service opportunities for satellite operators, but are also driving important changes on the ground since current ground infrastructure is designed and optimized for traditional satellite operations. HTS satellite spot beams deliver high-bandwidth services to particular locations, causing many operators to re-think established ground station needs and designs. Kratos is leading this evolution by offering pre-configured and integrated HTS gateway solutions that enable satellite operators to maximize their HTS business model investment by reducing costs and improving time-to-market.
The Kacific contract award is for a multi-site gateway solution that will additionally include Kratos’ high-performance antennas and RF equipment, as well as several Kratos complementary ground system products, including the Compass® monitoring and control system; Monics® for carrier and spectrum monitoring; and SpectralNet™ RF-over-IP inter-facility links. The solution will be integrated at Kratos’ facility, and installed at various locations in the Pacific Rim, with control equipment centralized in Kacific’s Network Operations Centre
“Satellite operators face a number of challenges when deploying HTS networks including the unique demands of implementing an HTS ground infrastructure suitable for initial operations, but designed for scalability as business requirements evolve,” said James Kramer, Kratos Senior Vice President. “We appreciate the confidence that Kacific has shown in Kratos to capitalize on their investment with a flexible, high quality multi-site solution that will support their business model now and in the years to come.” (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.