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07 Sep 23. Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), and Oxford Space Systems (OSS) announced a new collaboration to jointly explore the creation of new satellite communications technology and capability to better support dismounted soldiers or other users, such as disaster recovery and aid workers, that need fast access to high capacity communications networks. Specifically, the collaborative work will focus on the research and development of a new low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) terminal that is both easy to use and rapidly deployable for users operating on the ground in austere environments. Research has shown carrying large and heavy equipment can impact mission effectiveness and user mobility, increase injury risks and even the ability to effectively perform other duties.
As part of the collaboration, the organizations will research the system requirements and design needed to deliver a terminal that can deliver Ka-band high speed satellite communications (SATCOM) while also reducing the physical transport burden on warfighters or other users with a low SWaP terminal solution compared to current military and commercial terminals. The work will build on current research being done by OSS and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on C-band deployable antennas, however, the new work will focus on developing a smaller and higher performance Ka-band antenna. Viasat is expected to provide the network, terminal certification, RF equipment, and system engineering support for the development of this innovative terminal that will appeal to customers in the UK and export markets.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Oxford Space Systems to examine how we can better deliver a high-speed and ruggedised SATCOM solution that also addresses the real operational need to reduce the weight of land terminals soldiers carry,” said Hisham Awad, managing director of Viasat UK. “We believe OSS expertise and innovation with deployable antennas will combine with Viasat’s experience in advanced networks and integration to develop a low cost, high-performance and highly portable SATCOM solution that can literally ease the burden on users’ shoulders.”
“This research and development collaboration will allow us to build our relationship with Viasat in the UK and expand how we bring our innovations in space antennas to directly support the creation of solutions on the ground. Our collective development experience will accelerate the understanding and delivery of technology that is more cost-effective and lightweight while still providing the high-speed performance users need,” said Sean Sutcliffe CEO of Oxford Space Systems.
Viasat and OSS are both part of the Harwell Space Cluster, located at Harwell Science and Innovation campus in the UK. The partnership will also explore other areas of mutual interest where the complimentary expertise and experience across both organizations can be used to address real-world obstacles through additional research and the development of new solutions.
25 Aug 23. Viasat provides info regarding the Inmarsat-6 F2 anomaly.
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has confirmed that the company’s Inmarsat-6 F2 (I6 F2) satellite, which was launched on February 18, 2023, has suffered a power subsystem anomaly during the orbit raising phase.
At this stage, Viasat and Airbus, the satellite’s manufacturer, are working to determine the root cause of the anomaly and assess whether the satellite will be able to perform its mission. Airbus has advised that this anomaly is an unprecedented event; none of its geostationary telecommunication satellites have ever suffered a failure on-orbit.
According to the company, Tthe I6 F2 anomaly does not impact ongoing customer services and Viasat does not anticipate that it will materially affect the financial outlook for revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth discussed in our letter to shareholders dated August 9, 2023. The manufacturing and launch costs of the I6 F2 satellite were insured and near-term cash positions are expected to improve. The twin Inmarat-6 F1 satellite (I6 F1), which was launched in December 2021, is operational and continues to perform as expected.
“I6 F2’s initial mission was essentially to provide spare L-band and four Gbps of additional Ka-band capacity, consistent with deploying and operating a resilient, redundant network. Our satellite fleet assets are key factors in the company’s resilience and in enabling sustained growth. The I6 satellites are intended to augment our fleet of geostationary L-band satellites, supplementing capacity and redundant coverage. In addition to our existing L-band fleet, Viasat has a further three L-band satellites (the recently announced Inmarsat-8 satellites) under construction to strengthen the company’s global safety services. I6 F2 also included four Gbps of additional Ka-band capacity, which was added to the satellite to provide further flexibility to the legacy Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band fleet. Now, in addition to the 11 existing Ka-band satellites in service for the combined company, and its access to additional partner’s satellites, Viasat has seven more Ka-band satellites under construction, which the company anticipates will sustain and enhance its leading and growing global mobility services.” — Mark Dankberg, Chairman and CEO, Viasat. (Source: Satnews)
04 Sep 23. Europe to decide within weeks on when to restart space launches. European space officials said on Monday they face crucial timing decisions in the coming weeks on the return to flight of Europe’s flagship space launchers following a series of delays.
The inaugural launch of Europe’s new Ariane 6 launcher has been delayed until next year, while the failure of a test on the smaller Vega C has hampered chances of a return to service in 2023 for that rocket after it was grounded in December 2022.
Europe’s third traditional path to space, the Russian Soyuz programme, was interrupted last year amid the breakdown in East-West relations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Those development have left Europe scrambling to close the gap in launch capability as competition heats up in the market for commercial launches, with the larger and modernised Ariane 6 designed to be more competitive against rivals led by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
In a news conference, the European Space Agency said it plans to set a window for the first launch of the Ariane 6 in early October after completing a series of engine tests.
The next of these is due on Tuesday after efforts to light the engine of the main section, at the launch site in French Guiana, were postponed on Aug 29. A separate test of the complex upper stage was carried out successfully in Germany on Friday.
ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher declined to commit to a full launch in the first half of next year, but told reporters results so far pointed to a test debut “not too late” in 2024, followed by the first commercial mission about 6 months later.
Ariane 6 is being developed at a cost of 4 bn euros to succeed Ariane 5, which ended operations in July, leaving European nations with a vacuum in autonomous access to space for the first time in more than four decades.
Italy’s Vega C was grounded in December 2022 after its second mission went wrong. Investigators blamed the launch failure on a faulty engine part and a fresh probe was launched in June after the failure of a ground test.
Aschbacher said the timing of Vega C’s return to operation would be set after the commission reports later this month.
The previous generation Vega rocket is meanwhile due to carry out its first launch since the 2022 grounding of its larger new sister model on Oct. 4. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms 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.