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25 Jul 23. Ariane 6: Launch System Tests Progressing Well. Teams preparing Ariane 6 for its inaugural flight successfully completed for the first time a launcher preparation and countdown sequence, on 18 July at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Representatives of ESA, Ariane 6 prime contractor ArianeGroup and launch base prime contractor and test conductor CNES completed important objectives for system qualification and performed a series of actions fully representative of a launch chronology.
The launch simulation included the removal of the mobile gantry, the chill-down of ground and launcher fluidic systems, the filling of the upper and core stage tanks with liquid hydrogen (–253°C) and liquid oxygen (–183°C), and at the end of the test, the successful completion of a launch chronology up to the ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 engine thrust chamber by the ground system.
During the 26-hour exercise, the teams successfully tested many degraded and contingency modes, demonstrating that the launcher and the launch base fit correctly.
Operational procedures, lower and upper stages, avionics, software, launch base and control bench worked correctly together, and the performance of the full launch system was measured with excellent results.
The last part of the test – a short ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 engine – had to be postponed to the next test session as time ran out. The teams are now working towards continuing the exercise, in preparation for a long duration hot firing test later this summer.
The project team is confident about the progress of the test campaign, in light of the results of the 18 July tests.
“The tests which were conducted on 18 July mark a critical achievement on the road to the inaugural flight and were an overall success with key objectives completed.
“I want to thank and congratulate the teams from ESA, ArianeGroup and CNES for their outstanding work and tremendous cooperation,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General and chair of the Ariane 6 Task Force.
(Source: ASD Network)
25 Jul 23. Three National Science Foundation-Funded Projects and Others to Launch via Northrop Grumman to the Space Station. A diverse set of payloads is slated to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard Northrop Grumman’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission contracted by NASA. Among the more than 8,200 pounds of critical research and supplies are three projects funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory. Additional payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab on the mission include biomedical investigations, research from companies to enhance their products, and projects to validate new capabilities for space-based research. This mission is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than 8:31 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 1, 2023.
To date, NSF has funded 20 projects that have launched to the orbiting platform under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab. These projects stem from annual calls for proposals in tissue engineering and transport phenomena disciplines. Below outlines the three projects that are flying through NSF-funded grants on this mission:
- A team from Emory University will continue research examining how microgravity affects the growth and function of heart muscle cells as they mature into tissue-like structures. Findings will help advance cardiac disease modeling and could lead to the development of new therapies to treat heart disease in patients on Earth.
- An investigation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) aims to improve the efficiency of heat transfer devices used in various technologies, from laptops to large telescopes in space. As electronics continue to shrink in size, they generate more power, resulting in the need for more efficient means of cooling. This experiment will test new ways of diagnosing heat pipe malfunctions, which could lead to improved heat transfer devices.
- Researchers from Stanford University seek to compare graphene aerogels (extremely lightweight solids with high porosity) produced on Earth and in microgravity. The study will investigate the effects of microgravity on the growth process and the final material properties of aerogels. They expect the microstructure to be more uniform in the microgravity samples, with improved strength and material properties. Results from this investigation could lead to improved thermal insulators for use in heat management applications, and the high surface area makes them promising for energy storage (e.g., batteries, supercapacitors) and sensing (e.g., gas sensing) applications.
“This longstanding partnership gives talented scientists and engineers from across the country unparalleled access to a one-of-a-kind research environment,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “The unique conditions on the space station provide an exciting and innovative solution to research challenges here on Earth, enabling critical new insights faster than ever before.”
Additional ISS National Lab-sponsored research on this mission includes a project from Axonis, a biotech startup, that seeks to test an accelerated model of neurological disease in hopes of creating therapeutics to combat similar diseases in the future. Also, Sierra Space and BioServe Space Technologies will partner with the Mayo Clinic to validate the in-space production of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) obtained from umbilical cord blood. Successful implementation of this project will lay the groundwork for future stem cell in-space production applications research.
Tec-Masters will use this mission to validate the capabilities of the Microgravity Research for Versatile Investigations (MaRVIn) facility. This facility will serve as an experiment processing system to support future physical science investigations.
These are just a few examples of investigations sponsored by the ISS National Lab that are set to launch on this mission. In the coming days, the ISS National Lab will put out a variety of press releases highlighting projects launching onboard the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft. Research sponsored by the ISS National Lab is intended to bring value to our nation through space-based research and technology development while enabling a sustainable marketplace in low Earth orbit. (Source: PR Newswire)
24 Jul 23. Maxar completes Critical Design Review for first Maxar 300™ platform developed for the Space Development Agency. Maxar Technologies, provider of comprehensive space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, completed the first Critical Design Review (CDR) of the Maxar 300™ series bus for L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: LHX) in support of the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer (T1TRK) program. The T1TRK program is designed to provide global warning and tracking of conventional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems.
Maxar’s inaugural Maxar 300 series bus is designed for eight or more space vehicles per launch while delivering the demanding low jitter and high power required for the missile defense mission.
“We designed the Maxar 300 series platform to be quickly scalable,” said Chris Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Space at Maxar. “The team completed CDR just ten months from award, and we’re on schedule to begin production of our platforms later this year with initial deliveries in early 2024. Our customers need speed and agility while ensuring a superior technical product, and that’s what Maxar’s commercial experience can deliver.”
The comprehensive review examined all the principal elements of the new system, including structural design, power, attitude control and command and data handling. Maxar will build 16 platforms for the T1TRK program, each about the width of a conventional oven. Those dimensions help the SDA achieve its goals to significantly reduce size, weight, power and cost compared to traditional missile detection satellites. The SDA mission will also adapt and extend Maxar’s deep commercial communications satellite experience for new uses.
Designed, engineered and built in-house in California, the Maxar 300 buses are modular platforms that benefit from the company’s decades of experience building more than 90 spacecraft for low Earth orbit. Both the platform and Maxar’s production capacity are scalable, with the ability to address multiple missions with flexible production rates that meet delivery timelines. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Jul 23. Gilmour strikes Siemens deal ahead of rocket launch. Gilmour Space Technologies has agreed a deal with Siemens to switch to using the tech giant’s design and project management software.
It significantly comes ahead of the business targeting the first test launch of its Eris rocket later this year.
On Thursday, Gilmour said it would transition to using Siemens’ CAD software NX and its project lifecycle management program (PLM) Teamcenter.
PLM software is a suite of applications that helps companies manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from conception to retirement. They aim to improve product development processes, reduce costs, and increase innovation.
Adam Gilmour, chief executive officer of Gilmour Space, said, “We’re unique in Australia in providing a full spectrum of launch services to our global customers – from the launch vehicle and orbital launch site to the satellite platforms and mission management.
“Siemens’ software will play a key role in our ongoing research, product, and solution development as we grow into a globally competitive launch provider.”
Gilmour’s Eris launch vehicle is unique because its propulsion system, developed entirely by Gilmour in Australia, uses a combination of solid and liquid propellants to produce a record 115 kilonewtons of efficient combustion.
The launch will be a watershed moment for the Australian space industry, as the rocket will be the first completely Australian orbital launch system to go into space.
Gilmour is targeting the first test launch from its Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north Queensland within the next six months.
“Only 11 nations have launched their own rockets into orbit, and our efforts will help to build a significant dual-use capability for Australia,” Adam Gilmour said earlier this year.
“We’re confident it will take off the pad, but no first launch vehicle from a new company has ever successfully gone to space on the first try.
“What generally happens is the second one works, so we’re building two of them so we can learn from the first and succeed with the second.”
Following the test flights, the Eris rocket will be equipped with a range of payloads when it starts its “Block 1” missions late this year.
With a payload capacity of up to 215 kilograms, there is room for multiple small spacecraft on the Eris rocket.
Among those that will hitch a ride to space on Eris is a specially designed thermal camera constructed by Macquarie University’s Australian Astronomical Optics department.
The camera will be integrated into a Gilmour Space satellite which will launch on Eris, and will be used for monitoring weather, water quality, and detecting bushfires.
Space Connect reported earlier this year how Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hailed Gilmour Space as a “great Australian success story” during a visit to its factory on the Gold Coast.
“When this rocket goes into space, it will carry 300 companies with it. Australia will become the 12th country in the world to be able to have access to this technology – designed, manufactured, and built right here (on the Gold Coast) and creating high-quality jobs,” PM Albanese said.
“This is one of the companies that we’re looking at when we have our National Reconstruction Fund and that whole agenda about a future here made in Australia – making use of an Australian procurement policy to buy Australian and making sure we back Australian science and innovation.
“Australia can compete with the rest of the world. What we need to do is to back our businesses that are doing it. This is truly an Australian manufacturing success story, and we want more of them.” (Source: Space Connect)
25 Jul 23. Spire Global Awarded €16m ESA Contract to Design and Demonstrate Satellite-Based Aviation Surveillance System. The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE: SPIR) (“Spire” or “the Company”), a global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, a €16m phased contract for the EURIALO project, which will develop the preliminary design and demonstrator for a global space-based independent aircraft surveillance system. The project framework is part of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) in its Directorate of Connectivity and Secure Communications.
The EURIALO project intends to design and demonstrate the viability of a novel system that uses a satellite constellation to track aircraft by determining their exact position based on different times of arrivals of radio frequency (RF) signals, a technology known in the aviation industry as multilateration (MLAT). Spire will develop the mission and system design for a satellite constellation in low Earth orbit (LEO) and then design, deploy and operate a demonstrator mission that proves the performance of the system and its critical technologies. Following the initial design and demonstrator phases, there is a potential opportunity to be selected to build out the full constellation, which would foresee a large number of satellites.
The Company will lead a consortium of major industry players for the contract, including ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider), a leading space-based Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) services provider.
Today, surveillance systems often rely on self-reported positions of aircraft, which are derived from GNSS satellites. The need for an additional complementary space solution will provide a fully reliable and resilient surveillance solution completing the European CNS infrastructure. By independently verifying the location of a plane through geolocation MLAT technology, the EURIALO project will provide the most advanced and reliable system for aircraft surveillance, with the ability to track a plane in real time from takeoff to landing anywhere in the world. The project aligns with the forward-look strategy of the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) Master Plan, which outlines the need for resilient, space-based infrastructure to support safe, sustainable and efficient air travel.
“Space-based aircraft tracking and geolocation is the future of air traffic management to ensure safe, secure and sustainable air travel at a global scale,” said Peter Platzer, CEO, Spire Global. “We are honored to be selected by ESA to lead the development of this first-of-its-kind aviation surveillance system demonstrator, leveraging our more than 500 years of flight heritage operating satellites in space and expertise in radio frequency technology.”
“ESA has a long track record of supporting companies that use satellites to improve aviation safety, security and sustainability, ensuring European autonomy and improving the lives of European citizens by creating jobs and prosperity,” said Javier Benedicto, acting director of Connectivity and Secure Communications at ESA. “We are proud to partner with Spire Global with its strong heritage to develop a best-in-class satellite system design to demonstrate a system that will revolutionise air traffic management and surveillance for safer skies.”
The EURIALO project is mainly funded through the German Space Agency at DLR. Spire, through its newly established German subsidiary, will open an office in Munich, strengthening the small satellite segment in Germany. The office will expand the Company’s geographic footprint to nine offices across six countries.
“This project will contribute to safer, and more efficient and sustainable air traffic. Addressing the small satellite market will further boost our industrial base in Germany. Small satellites in near Earth orbit offer a wealth of opportunities for innovative solutions to our real-world needs,” said Fabienne Spreen, German Space Agency at DLR, advisor to the German ESA delegation.
25 Jul 23. Smallsat market keeps growing despite supply challenges and Starlink moving to larger form factors. Despite supply challenges and lingering inflation concerns, the smallsat market keeps growing in all metrics due to increasing government investments and new commercial entrants, notably driven by defense agencies in the wake of the SDA and robust Asian demand for smallsat hardware and data services.
Around 26,104 smallsats (satellites <500 kg) will be launched between 2023-2032, representing a daily launch mass of 1.5 tons over the 10-year period, according to Euroconsult, the leading global strategy consulting and market intelligence firm specializing in the space sector and satellite-enabled verticals.
Two constellations alone – Starlink (SpaceX) and GuoWang (China SatNet) – will collectively account for nearly two-thirds of smallsats to be launched throughout the next decade and over four-fifths of smallsat launch mass. This significant prominence is largely a consequence of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partial approval of Starlink Gen 2 filings, alongside SpaceX’s launch of 1G satellites on 2G orbital planes and the substantial expansion of GuoWang activities in China. However, the two mega-constellations will only represent less than a quarter of market value due to the considerable cost efficiencies of mega-constellations, leaving significant opportunities for other market participants.
Euroconsult’s latest ‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’ market intelligence report, now in its 9th edition, anticipates that the smallsat industry will accumulate around $110.5bn in market value over the next decade, driven by the replenishment cycles of constellations around the world but also by more complex and costly single satellite missions for government users. Yet the high-volume market keeps presenting several challenges, including limited market addressability for suppliers, difficult profitability, oversupply, and dominance of commercial activities by a handful of established players.
“New constellations are expected to face scope reductions and consolidation, as inflation will keep impacting their materialization probability, alongside supply chain issues and growing costs or limited availability of semiconductors and raw materials,” said the report’s lead author Alexandre Najjar. “Nonetheless, smallsats still represent a significant capability-building opportunity for new entrants in the space sector, with the conflict in Ukraine spotlighting the merits and value of commercial satcom and Earth observation smallsat constellations.”
Regional demand retention rates and vertical integration are expected to only increase in the future, according to Euroconsult, as more emerging countries and operators seek to procure their own smallsat systems and develop their manufacturing or launch capabilities.
However, this will impose constraints on the addressable markets for many commercial smallsat players, with emerging launch operators also actively exploring opportunities to diversify into subsystems and satellite manufacturing, enticed by the higher profit margins offered compared to the launch industry. Some launch providers are even venturing into satellite operations and downstream services to further expand their business horizons. Several players are thus considering >500 kg constellations, including Starlink 2G, Project Kuiper, Telesat Lightspeed, Rivada, Intelsat MEO, and O3b mPower.
Though, as some constellation operators transition to larger satellites in a quest for more performance and lower capacity costs, this may create the impression of a shrinking smallsat market towards the end of the decade. SpaceX’s shift alone, powered by Starship’s entrance to the launch market, can lead to a perceived deficit in the industry. However, Euroconsult indicates that the industry’s growth is forecasted to continue at a steady rate when removing Starlink and GuoWang from the equation.
Long-term government agency contracts will continue to serve as a pivotal driver for this growth by offering reassurance and resilience to investors, including ESA’s commercial additions to its Copernicus program, Starlink’s government support, and the National Reconnaissance Office’s 10-year contract with Maxar, BlackSky, and Planet Labs.
Euroconsult will provide an even more in-depth overview of the next decade’s outlook for the smallsat market at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah on August 8th in a one-time-only presentation. Their ‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’ report, now available with a free extract, includes a comprehensive analysis of market drivers and inhibitors across five mass categories, six regions, seven satellite applications, five manufacturer typologies, and four types of operators. The intelligence report also carries a unique and exhaustive database of over 325 projects featuring tens of thousands of satellites, as well as Euroconsult’s brand new “Data Behind the Graphs” feature, which enables access to data from all the graphs in the report and a complete understanding of smallsat market trends.
About the Report
‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’ is the ninth edition in the series and presents the various factors that will drive/inhibit growth in demand for small satellites (<500 kg) over the next 10 years. It considers satellites by five mass categories, six regions, seven satellite applications, five manufacturer typologies, four types of operators, and much more. Consolidated figures for three metrics (units, mass, value) over two decades, including Euroconsult’s forecast for the next decade, are broken down by application, orbit, operator type, mass category, region of the operator as well as integrator and launch provider, type of integrator and type of launcher.
An essential tool for manufacturers, launch service providers, space agencies, governments and investors, the market intelligence provides tens of thousands of data points and expert interpretation of their impact on specific verticals and sectors of the smallsat value chain. Forecasts are based on data derived from 40 years of tracking the satellite/space value chain together with dedicated industry interviews and information derived from company press releases and financial filings. Prospects for the Small Satellite Market is available now and can be ordered from the Euroconsult shop. https://digital-platform.euroconsult-ec.com/
The Euroconsult Group is the leading global strategy consulting and market intelligence firm specialized in the space sector and satellite enabled verticals. Privately owned and fully independent, we have forty years of experience providing first-class strategic consulting, developing comprehensive market intelligence programs, organizing executive-level annual summits and training programs for the satellite industry. We accompany private companies and government entities in strategic decision making, providing end-to-end consulting services, from project strategy definition to implementation, bringing data-led perspectives on the most critical issues. We help our clients understand their business environment and provide them with the tools they need to make informed decisions and develop their business. The Euroconsult Group is trusted by 1,200 clients in over 60 countries and is headquartered in France, with offices in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. www.euroconsult-ec.com
24 Jul 23. SmartSat to work with ESA on Earth observation. The Australian research collaboration will specifically work with the ESA’s Φ-lab (Phi Lab), which, like SmartSat, seeks to bring together industry and academia to develop innovative ideas.
The agreement formalises the existing relationship between the two organisations, which previously worked with Dutch company Cosine to put its hyperspectral imager on the upcoming Kanyini satellite, developed in South Australia.
SmartSat chief executive officer Professor Andy Koronios, who signed the agreement in Rome, said, “We are delighted to embark on this new chapter of our partnership with ESA’s Φ-lab through this letter of intent.
“Our relationship with Φ-lab has been growing stronger over the past few years through our shared strategic research initiatives in the Kanyini and Φ-sat satellite missions.
“Φ-lab is at the forefront of Earth observation technologies and we are very proud to collaborate with them to further showcase Australian expertise on an international level. This is a testament to our progress in our national space industry.
“We have also identified new collaboration opportunities between researchers at the University of Queensland and Φ-lab to develop advanced AI capabilities using hyperspectral satellite imagery.
“This will create the next generation of predictive intelligence that can forecast and monitor agricultural and environmental activities and disaster events with greater accuracy.”
As part of the new agreement, SmartSat and Φ-lab also plan to establish an exchange program for research personnel and SmartSat PhD students to undertake internships at Φ-lab.
The program is slated to commence in early 2024 for PhD students specialising in onboard AI and synthetic aperture radar.
Enrico Palermo, head of the Australian Space Agency, said, “Australia and the European Space Agency have been strong partners in space for decades and this agreement will build on that relationship.
“Earth observation is one of the strongest examples of how space technologies improve life on Earth – from forecasting the weather to responding to natural disasters and mitigating climate change.
“This agreement will help bring together bright minds in Australia and Europe to develop space solutions integrating AI technologies and research.”
South Australia’s first satellite, Kanyini, is set to blast off onboard a SpaceX Transporter mission later this year.
It’s being designed and built in a collaboration between Myriota, Inovor Technologies, SmartSat, and the South Australian state government.
Its mission will support research into crop health, forests, inland water, and coasts and will provide information on heat generators in South Australia.
Onboard will be the HyperScout imager payload, a hyperspectral imager that can capture images in multiple narrow and contiguous spectral bands.
The positive news from SmartSat comes despite the federal government recently announcing it would scrap a flagship $1.2bn EO project to detect bushfires from space.
The National Space Mission for Earth Observation (NSMEO) was announced by the previous administration in the weeks leading up to the election and would have seen four local satellites launched from 2028.
It significantly followed the cancellation of a separate promise to invest $32.3m into Australia’s spaceports and launch sites, amid criticism that Labor lacks interest in the space sector. (Source: Space Connect)
24 Jul 23. Rocket Lab Announces Launch Window for Next Mission in Multi-Launch Contract for Capella Space. The “We Love the Nightlife” mission, Rocket Lab’s 40th Electron launch, will deliver the first of Capella Space’s next generation ‘Acadia’ Earth observation satellites to low Earth orbit. Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has scheduled its next Electron launch during a window that opens 28 July 2023 NZST/UTC.
The ‘We Love the Nightlife’mission is scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula for American space tech company Capella Space (Capella), a leading provider of commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.
‘We Love the Nightlife’will Rocket Lab’s third launch for Capella following the successful “Stronger Together” mission launched in March 2023 from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, USA, and the the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical” mission in August 2020 from Launch Complex 1, which deployed the first satellite in Capella’s SAR constellation.
‘We Love the Nightlife’will be the first of four new dedicated launches on Electron for Capella, announced in February 2023, to deploy Capella’s next-generation SAR Earth-imaging satellites called Acadia.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said: “Electron was the trusted launch vehicle for Capella’s first publicly available satellite when we launched their mission in 2020, so its an honor once again to be entrusted with launching the first of their next generation Acadia satellites. Reaching 40 Electron launches is a wonderful milestone for our team members who have built the most reliable small launch vehicle in history and we’re delighted to share such a significant launch with our long-standing mission partner Capella.”
“We are proud to partner with Rocket Lab to introduce Capella’s third-generation, Acadia satellite technology to the world,” said Payam Banazadeh, founder and CEO of Capella Space. “Acadia is a reflection of our commitment to technology innovation and will preserve our track record of delivering high-quality and low latency SAR imagery to customers anywhere in the world.”
Capella’s satellites deliver high quality, high resolution SAR imagery capable of penetrating all weather conditions and capturing clear imagery 24-7, day and night, anywhere on Earth, delivered through Capella’s fully-automated ordering and delivery platform. The next-generation Acadia satellites include a number of enhancements to Capella’s existing constellation, including increased bandwidth and power and faster downlink speeds.. When combined with Capella’s existing long-dwell imaging capability and extended duty-cycle – which results in more images collected per orbit than other SAR system – Acadia will continue to set the benchmark within the SAR industry.
All four upcoming Electron missions will launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, each deploying a single Acadia satellite to a 640 km mid-inclination orbit, expanding the existing Capella Space SAR constellation and providing more rapid revisit across diverse regions around the Earth. Each Capella Space satellite will also be supported by a Rocket Lab-manufactured Advanced Lightband; separation systems for each satellite to attach to and deploy from Electron once launched to orbit. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Jul 23. Airbus Extends Partnership with Astrocast to Further Enhance Satellite IoT Technology. Astrocast, a leading satellite IoT operator, announces the extension of its partnership with Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus), a global leader in the aerospace industry. This partnership enhances the capabilities of satellite Internet of Things (SatIoT) technology. It enables Astrocast to further increase its network capacity to provide the most reliable and cost-effective SatIoT solutions to its customers.
In recent years, the collaboration between Airbus and Astrocast has been instrumental to Astrocast. Since 2017 this relationship has enabled Astrocast to develop its communication protocol and modem software stack more effectively. This forms a core part of Astocast’s wider SatIoT technology. In building upon this successful collaboration, both companies have agreed to extend their partnership. Airbus will continue to provide extensive support to Astrocast, focusing on further enhancing both the Bandwidth and the Quality of Service.
The reliability and quality of Astrocast’s SatIoT connectivity is already well recognized by the market since its commercial launch in 2022. Many organisations are currently benefiting from it. This includes the EU’s CiRROCCO initiative, the EU’s XGain initiative, and the likes of Avirtech, Digitanimal and ArrowSpot, to mention a few. Through this partnership with Airbus, Astrocast expects to continue capitalising on their shared technological successes and further enhance SatIoT Bandwidth and Quality of Service for all customers. This will allow them to benefit from a continuous improvement of data transmission capacity, efficiency, latency and security. Customers will, in turn, be able to further optimize their operational efficiency according to their needs.
“Through this partnership extension, Airbus reaffirms its commitment to Astrocast’s technology roadmap and its leadership in the SatIoT space. This collaboration also lays the important foundation for potential convergences with the future 5G NTN IoT communications standards that are currently in discussion for LEO constellations. In time, these enhanced capabilities for collecting and exchanging critical data with IoT assets from multiple applications will benefit users across various key industries worldwide. Astrocast is not only poised to address these challenges, its roadmap is designed to take them head on for the industry. Therefore, we’re excited about working together and achieving more success,” says François Gaullier – SVP Telecommunications and Navigation Systems – Space Systems at Airbus Defence and Space.
“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Airbus and leverage its unique expertise in advanced satellite IoT technology,” says Fabien Jordan, CEO of Astrocast.” This collaboration reinforces our commitment to continuing to provide our customers with the most reliable and efficient SatIoT connectivity solutions on the market. With Airbus’s support, we will further solidify Astrocast’s position as the go-to satellite IoT operator.”
This extended partnership between Airbus and Astrocast strengthens the strategic technology collaboration between the two companies, and will bring critical benefits to their customers, and the SatIoT sector. It exemplifies Astrocast’s strong commitment to its customers — and continuous enhancement of its core technologies, that continue providing end-users the most reliable and cost-effective SatIoT solutions on the market today. Furthermore, it underscores the strong confidence Airbus places in Astrocast’s capabilities, as they work together to jointly push the boundaries of satellite IoT.
Astrocast SA operates a leading global nanosatellite IoT network, offering services in industries such as Agriculture & Livestock, Maritime, Environment & Utilities to name a few. The Astrocast network enables companies to monitor, track, and communicate with remote assets from anywhere in the world. It relies on superior L-band spectrum through a strategic alliance with Thuraya. In partnership with Airbus, CEA/LETI and ESA, Astrocast developed Astronode S, an ultra-low power and miniaturised module compatible with inexpensive L-band patch antennas. Founded in 2014 by a renowned team of experts, Astrocast develops and tests all its products in-house, from the satellites to the modules. Astrocast is listed on Euronext Growth Oslo. For more information visit astrocast.com (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Jul 23. Space Systems Command (SSC) releases National Security Space Launch Phase 3 Draft #2 RFP. More than 20 companies attended an Industry Day held this past February and SSC received more than 1,900 comments to the first draft RFP that was released on February 16, 2023. The most substantive change since the U.S. Space Force (USSF) released the first draft Request for Proposals is that the USSF will add a third provider to the Lane 2 construct.
Lane 1 is a multiple Firm Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract open to all qualified bidders. Lane 1 includes the opportunity for annual on-ramping for emerging providers and launch systems as they become available. Lane 1 covers procurements with a five-year base ordering period from FY25 to FY29 plus a five-year option.
Lane 1 is tailored for more risk-tolerant space vehicles launching to commercially addressable orbits. Task orders for launch services will be competed on an annual basis among all IDIQ awardees, with missions ordered either individually or in blocks. Lane 1 providers must propose fully burdened launch service prices, including all applicable launch service support. Lane 1 also incorporates tiered mission assurance as required by each mission’s risk tolerance.
The government will select three awardees for Lane 2. The competitively awarded FFP Indefinite Delivery Requirements contracts will be awarded to the best value, next best value, and third best value launch service providers who meet all NSSL orbits and unique mission capabilities.
The contracts will have a five-year ordering period from FY25 to FY29. Lane 2 will include missions that require full mission assurance with SSC-certified launch vehicles. Lane 2 payloads require launches to more stressing orbits, necessitating higher performance launch systems, and complex security and integration requirements. Lane 2 also includes annual Launch Service Support to cover NSS-unique costs.
Release of the Final RFPs is expected in 4QFY23 with award for the Lane 1 base IDIQ planned for 3QFY24 and Lane 2 IDR contracts targeted for 4QFY24.
“We must continue to outpace our adversaries and maintain the technological advantage we get as a nation by making our space architecture more resilient so it can be counted on during times of crisis and conflict. This is the essence behind the NSSL Phase 3 acquisition strategy.” — Honorable Frank Calvelli, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration
“Our dual-lane approach to utilize diverse commercially available launch systems sparked great interest from many providers, including those just entering the market and growing their launch capability to meet NSSL needs. Based on industry feedback and the need to increase resiliency in the face of the pacing challenge from countries like China, we refined our strategy to fortify assured access to space by ensuring that the Government has three launch providers capable of meeting all NSSL requirements by the end of Phase 3. We are confident that this approach will secure launch capacity, enable supply chain stability, increase our resiliency through alternate launch sites and streamlined integration timelines, and enhance affordability for the most stressing National Security Space missions.” — Col. Douglas Pentecost, Deputy Program Executive Officer, Assured Access to Space
“While Lane 1 allows launch providers to support a subset of NSSL requirements and provides resiliency through diversity of launch providers and launch sites, Lane 2 ensures the Government has three launch providers capable of meeting all NSSL requirements by the end of Phase 3,” stated. “This approach fortifies the Nation’s assured access to space in the face of the pacing challenge and a growing and innovative commercial launch market, while incentivizing competition for our most demanding National Security Space systems.” — Col. Chad Melone, Chief Launch Procurement and Integration Division. (Source: Satnews)
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