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25 Oct 18. Global 3D Elevation Model. The TanDEM-X elevation model with 90-metre scanning has been released for scientific use and is now available as a global data set. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is thus aligning itself as part of the Copernicus Earth observation programme, which provides open and free access to satellite data. The TanDEM-X-DEM covers all the earth’s land surfaces with a total of more than 148 million square kilometres. The abso-lute height accuracy is one metre. This 3D image of the Earth was completed in September 2016 and is about 30 times more accurate than other global data sets. The elevation models created with TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X also have the advantage that, for the first time, they capture the Earth with uniform accuracy and without gaps.
Currently, the two satellites are still recording the Earth in formation flight. After eleven and eight years in orbit, the satellites continue to function perfectly and have far exceeded their nominal life of 5.5 years. DLR has also already designed a possible follow-on mission: The tandem L mission concept provides for two radar satellites in the L-band (23.6 centimetres wavelength) and is intended to record the dynamic processes on the Earth‘s surface with millimetre accuracy. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
25 Oct 18. Sky and Space Global Starts Construction and Integration of its Network of 200 Nano-satellites to serve the World’s Unconnected Population. Sky and Space Global successfully completed the Critical Design Review of its “Pearls” nano-satellites
- SAS has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (“CDR”) for its Pearls nano-satellites and is now advancing the project to the construction and integration phase.
- Significant milestone achieved with the presentation of key hardware and software requirements by SAS’ aerospace partner GomSpace.
- First launch of the “Pearls” remains on track for 2019, with successive launches to proceed in the following quarters until the entire constellation of ~200 nano-satellites are in orbit in 2020.
- Multiple binding MoU agreements signed with strategic international telecom partners, are expected to be converted into commercial revenue generating agreements in due course.
- CDR supports the business model of providing low cost communications solutions to individuals and businesses in remote geographies.
Sky and Space Global Ltd (ASX: SAS) a New Space UK company listed in the Australian Stock Exchange, has completed the Critical Design Review (“CDR”) of the Pearls satellite, which now allows the company to immediately proceed with assembly and integration of the nanosatellite network, the company announced. The CDR process was undertaken by global aerospace construction partner GomSpace (SS: GOMX) a European based, Nasdaq listed contractor, specializing in the construction and testing of bespoke nano-satellites.
SAS will deploy a constellation of 200 highly sophisticated nano-satellites over the Equatorial Belt. The network of nano-satellites will provide around the clock affordable voice, data, instant messaging, M2M and IoT communications, enabling SAS to implement its vision to provide communication services to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime.
SAS services will also bring to the equatorial region a huge range of life saving and other services, including search and rescue, disaster management, emergency response, security alarms and recreational tracking. This is in addition to many other services including cellphone applications, offshore communications, smart farming, interactive TV, airplane, vessel and animal tracking, water and electric metering, grid monitoring and ATM.
“We have successfully completed the CDR with GomSpace, reaching another milestone and remaining on track for next year’s planned launch,” says Meir Moalem, Co-founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at SAS. He added that the positive results from the CDR validate the company’s technology, supports its strategy aimed at achieving the goal of providing connectivity to remote geographical locations.
The CDR process assesses all technical components including; schedule, overall design, altitude control performance and system budgets (mass, power and link), to ensure each part is of the highest quality and meets the required standard to progress to the construction phase.
The review concluded that the design presented by GomSpace to SAS complies with the requirements, and the Pearls can now progress to assembly and integration, which will also be undertaken by GomSpace. Assembly and integration are scheduled to commence immediately and construction of the first batch of Pearls is expected to be completed on time for the planned launch.
Once construction and integration are complete, the nano-satellites will then pass through additional technical assessments and testing including a final acceptance test before launch. This represents an important milestone for SAS and signifies the next step in implementing its business model for providing reliable and affordable connectivity services to individuals and businesses in remote geographies.
About Sky and Space Global Ltd
Sky and Space Global Ltd is an ASX listed (SAS) satellite company with European and Israeli centres of Aerospace, Satellite and Software Industry Experts. The Company’s core business is to operate a communications infrastructure based on nanosatellite technology and develop highly sophisticated software systems that will deploy, maintain orbit control and handle the communication network in space to provide a global coverage. The Company successfully launched its first three nano-satellites, the ‘3 Diamonds’, into space in June 2017 and is preparing for the launch of a constellation of 200 more nano-satellites by 2020. The Company’s vision is to provide affordable communication coverage and services to anyone, anywhere, anytime with relatively low maintenance costs. This will enable Sky and Space Global to deliver cost-effective communications infrastructure and services to those who need it most and to disrupt the telecommunications and international transport industries. Sky and Space Global Ltd owns 100% of Sky and Space Global (UK) Limited.
23 Oct 18. Pentagon presents recommendations on Space Force to Trump. The National Space Council on Tuesday served up six recommendations to President Donald Trump to enable the creation of a Space Force, moving the birth of a sixth military branch one step closer to fruition.
Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the council, said he anticipated that President Donald Trump will likely take action on at least some of the recommendations very soon.
“He only asks me about the Space Force every week,” Pence joked.
The six recommendations laid out by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan include language that:
- Guides the creation of a unified space command to be known as U.S. Space Command
- Gives direction on a legislative proposal for a Space Force
- Calls for creating a funding plan in the fiscal year 2020 budget for a Space Force
- Outlines an interagency authorities review
- Establishes joint Space Development Agency for technology procurement
- Strengthens the relationship between military space and the intelligence community
Most of the recommendations, such as the creation of a U.S. Space Command and a Space Development Agency, were laid out by Pence in an August speech at the Pentagon that laid out the first steps for starting a Space Force.
“The creation of the Space Force is no easy task. Mr. Vice President, we’re moving out,” Shanahan said during the meeting.
Shanahan, who has been the Pentagon’s point person responsible for formulating a plan to implement a Space Force, said the most pressing issue was to create a Space Development Agency that will be provisioned to rapidly develop new technology even as the space mission grows and changes. The Pentagon is currently drafting a statement of work for the new agency, he said.
Over the course of the two hour meeting, officials from the Defense Department, State Department, National Reconnaissance Office and NASA weighed in on the Space Force proposal — though notably, no voices opposing the issue were heard and specifics on how to move forward on the recommendations were not delivered.
Defense One, which obtained a 13-page memo laying out the Pentagon’s current plan, reported that the Space Force will absorb elements of Air Force Space Command, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Satellite Operations Center and the Army’s 1st Space Brigade. However, the National Reconnaissance Office would remain largely separate from other military space agencies.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who formerly opposed separating the Air Force’s space functions from the service but now says she supports Trump’s Space Force plan, attended Tuesday’s meeting as a guest of Shanahan, although she did not speak.
Three current and former space officials were tapped to speak to the council on national security space issues and the Space Force: Doug Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Kevin McLaughlin, a former three-star who was the deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command during the Obama administration; and Mark Sirangelo, the former head of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s space business.
All three speakers highlighted a need for the Defense Department to create U.S. Space Command as a unified command, to establish a Space Force and to make a new assistant secretary of defense for space position to help guide the new service into being.
Creating an assistant secretary of space for defense is “fundamental to getting this job done” Loverro said, but after a Space Force is established, that role could potentially fall to an existing undersecretary.
“If you want speed, you need a decisionmaker,” he told the council members.
McLaughlin cautioned the council to ensure that all elements of the new military space apparatus have no overlap in responsibilities. (Source: Defense News)
24 Oct 18. Academic partner sought for space tech symposium. The Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) is seeking an Australian academic partner to co-host a space technologies symposium as part of the Emerging and Disruptive Technology Assessment Symposium (EDTAS) series. The EDTAS on space technologies will bring together internationally recognised academic, industry and Defence leaders in a multidisciplinary workshop environment over two days to explore and shape the long-term vision for space technologies. EDTAS will seek to understand Australia’s strategic needs, current technology capabilities and future technology development landscape and directions. The symposium is to be held in the week beginning 4 March 2019 at a venue to be decided. The EDTAS academic partner must be a participant in the Defence Science Partnership program and must have established research programs in space capabilities.
The symposium will seek to understand Australia’s strategic needs, current technology capabilities and future technology development landscape and directions. Research drivers, challenges and opportunities around the following four themes will be explored:
- Advanced space launch technologies;
- Space sensors and communications technologies;
- Comprehensive space domain awareness; and
- Technologies supporting space capabilities.
The academic partner will co-host the event, co-ordinate academic participation with internationally recognised leading researchers from institutions across Australia, and organise and sponsor a student innovation session aimed at potential concepts and ideas.
The academic partner must be a participant in the Defence Science Partnership program and must have established research programs in space capabilities.
DST and NGTF have stated that the following would also be desirable from an academic partner:
- Access to high level conference facilities to cater for up to 100 participants in a cabaret-style format (essential);
- Identification of a thought leader at professorial level and a post-doctoral researcher to provide operational support in partnership with DST;
- Indicate how this EDTAS could tie into other space-related activities conducted by the university; and
- Appropriate nearby accommodation available for national and international guests.
The EDTAS series is a technology foresighting program under the NGTF. It is designed to consider an emerging science and technology topic that will likely have a major impact – transformational or disruptive – for the defence or national security domains in a 20-plus year timeframe.
Proposals are to be submitted by COB 9 November 2018. For more information and to obtain an application pack for your institution, email email@example.com. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Oct 18. Here’s The Pentagon’s Initial Plan For Creating a Space Force. Parts of the Air Force, Navy and Army would move into a sixth branch, but the NRO will likely remain independent. The U.S. Space Force will include uniformed service members drawn from the Air Force, Navy and Army — but it is not expected to include the National Reconnaissance Office mission, according an internal draft of the Pentagon’s plan to create a sixth branch of the military. Defense One reviewed a copy of the 13-page document, which will be further developed in coming months before the Pentagon sends it to Congress in February along with its 2020 budget request. This early draft provides a glimpse into a 21st-century approach to creating a new service branch, an endeavor not undertaken since 1947. Among other things, it reveals divergent views among senior Pentagon officials about how to structure it.
For example, the document says the Space Force will not “include the transfer of [the] strategic intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance mission of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). But the Space Force and the National Reconnaissance Office will be integrated through …NOTE FURTHER INPUT HERE LATER REGARDING DOD/IC integration.” Note that in a Sept. 14 memo to Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson Deputy Defense recommended including NRO in the Space Force.
The draft document calls for Space Force to absorb parts of Air Force Space Command, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Satellite Operations Center, and the Army’s 1st Space Brigade.
The document says the installations and facilities where those units are based will remain part of their respective services until the Space Force “reaches an appropriate operating capacity.” There are six Air Force Space Command bases: three in Colorado, two in California and one in Florida. The Army’s 1st Space Brigade is based in Colorado. The Navy’s San Diego-based SPAWAR has facilities around the world. The Naval Satellite Operations Center is at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California.
The existing military services would still “retain organic space capabilities uniquely designated to support that Service’s or organization’s mission,” the document says. “Additionally, each Service may retain a cadre of space experts that serve as liaisons to advocate for and potentially operate space-related capabilities unique to its respective domain.”
Among the Space Force’s missions: space situational advantage; battle management command and control of space forces; space lift and range operations; space support to nuclear command and control; missile warning; satellite communications and position, navigation and timing.
“The Space Force will only be responsible for those missions directly associated with joint space operations,” the document says.
Missions that “that are tangentially associated with space” — including nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, cyber operations and “the overall missile defense missions” — will not be part of the Space Force, at least initially.
“Inclusion of these missions into the Space Force may be reevaluated in the future, as necessary,” the document states.
Pentagon officials have stressed their desire not to add layers of bureaucracy. Wilson, in September, said an additional 13,000 people would be needed. The draft Space Force proposal mentions a “lean headquarters model,” but does not list any numbers.
However, the plan says that the new branch would have a secretary and chief of staff, who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs. It also talks of creating a Space National Guard and Space Force Reserve. The plan talks of creating a “pilot program” to enable the Space Force “to acquire talent from the civilian market in a rapid manner for a defined period after which the individual would return to civilian life.”
The draft does not including funding estimates, but has placeholders for a budget proposal and a “Defense Space Strategy.” Wilson, in her proposal, said it would likely cost taxpayers an additional $13bn over five years to create the Space Force. Defense budget analyst Todd Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called her take “the highest estimate I think you could possibly come up with.”
Earlier this month, Shanahan said Pentagon officials would be figuring out the Space Force budget in October and November. (Source: Defense One)
18 Oct 18. ThinKom’s First Test of Their Thin Satellite Antenna with the SES O3b Constellation is Successful. ThinKom Solutions, Inc. has successfully completed their first ground test of the company’s ThinAir® Ka2517 Ka-band phased-array satellite antenna with the SESO3b constellation of MEO satellites. The test was conducted in August of 2018 at ThinKom’s facility in Hawthorne, California, in collaboration with SES Networks. For the ground test, a vehicle mounted ThinKom Ka2517 aeronautical antenna acquired successive O3b MEO satellites at 13° elevation and successfully tracked them for 30 minute periods while the satellites traversed from west to east.
ThinKom said this test is a precursor to a flight test, expected to occur before the close of 2018. This will be the first in-flight demonstration of a ThinKom antenna communicating through a non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and will demonstrate the ability of ThinKom’s phased-array antenna to auto-track and perform seamless beam switching through aircraft roll, pitch, and yaw motions. O3b is the first NGSO satellite constellation capable of delivering commercial broadband communication services. The constellation orbits the Earth at about 8,000 km. altitude, along an equatorial path, allowing much larger visible Earth angles than LEO constellations currently being evaluated.
Bill Milroy, ThinKom CTO, said the company’s unique, patented, low-profile phased-array antennas have been designed for interoperability on geostationary (GEO) and MEO satellites with the agility and switching speed to move seamlessly from beam-to-beam and constellation-to-constellation. Agility tests have proven that our antenna achieves switching speeds of less than one second, more than fast enough to support beam switching with no interruption in connectivity. The ground test, and the coming aero tests, are important steps in showing the ability of the ThinKom antenna to operate on the O3b MEO satellite network and will pave the way to full commercialization.
Stewart Sanders, EVP of Technology at SES Networks, noted that innovation in terminal technology is key for scaling SES Networks’ proven MEO system for mass connectivity. The company is delighted to collaborate with ThinKom and to continue growing a partner ecosystem that will redefine the standard for the industry. This development aligns with the SES aim to make it faster, easier and more affordable to expand service reach to customers and their end users. (Source: Satnews)
17 Oct 18. LGS Innovations Delivering Optical Signal Comms Technology to NASA. LGS Innovations will be supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Orion EM-2 Optical Communications (O2O) project. LGS Innovations will provide an optical modem that will enable broadband data communications to and from the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle designed to take humans into lunar orbit. The Laser-Enhanced Mission Communications Navigation and Operational Services (LEMNOS) project office manages both the Orion EM-2 Optical Communications System (O2O) and the Integrated Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) projects. O2O leverages laser communications technology for use on the next-generation Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The LGS Innovations modem will convert the data generated on the Orion spacecraft to an optical signal, allowing it to be beamed from the vicinity of the Moon to a receiver on Earth. It will also be capable of receiving the optical signal from Earth and converting it to data for the spacecraft.
LGS Innovations was selected by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense (DoD) Research and Development Laboratory that is managing the contract. LGS is expected to deliver the modem in late 2019 to help maintain NASA’s Orion schedule. The advanced free space optical capability will continue to push forward space exploration and can be suitable for commercial applications such as satellite communications networks. LGS Innovations is helping NASA adopt laser communications for other missions with technologies such as the first deep-space laser transmitter for the Deep Space Optical Communications project, and a free-space laser modem that will fly aboard the International Space Station as the first demonstration of a fully operational, end-to-end optical communications system.
Kevin Kelly, LGS Innovations CEO, stated that the company is proud to support yet another NASA project with advanced optical technology to help meet the ever-increasing requirements for more bandwidth and faster connections. Fast and reliable communications are key to the success of exploration missions and can transform the work and life of space crews. (Source: Satnews)
19 Oct 18. HENSOLDT’s Optronics business line has received an order from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). HENSOLDT supplies essential elements of the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA), which will be used in the JUICE mission (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) of the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the Jupiter moon Ganymede. Jupiter’s Galilean moons Europe, Kallisto and Ganymede will be explored. The launch of the satellite is planned for 2022, with arrival in the Jupiter system in 2029.
“The main objective of the Ganymede Laser Altimeter is to topographically measure the ice moon Ganymede in the Jupiter system from the satellite in orbit. As the satellite repeatedly flies over predefined points during the three-and-a-half-year mission, it is also possible to determine changes in the elevation profile,” reports Project Manager Kai Weidlich. For example, information on tidal effects or the structure of the subsurface can be obtained. This includes, for example, finding out whether there is liquid water beneath Ganymede’s surface.
HENSOLDT supplies the so-called “Transceiver Unit” and the “Laser Electronics Unit”, which controls the laser transmitter. “We started developing the concept for GALA almost four years ago,” says Weidlich. “We are currently in the C/D phase of the development project.
One of the special technical challenges in the Jupiter system is the immense ionizing radiation load caused by the capture of high-energy charged particles in Jupiter’s strong magnetic field. The spacecraft must pass through this intense radiation belt and therefore be protected accordingly. The laser transmitter is powered by solar panels. Due to the large distance to the sun, however, power is only available to a limited extent.
16 Oct 18. The First Satellite Totally Developed in the UAE is Ready for Launch from Japan. A team from Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has conducted the final technical tests on KhalifaSat, which arrived at Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. KhalifaSat was prepared for mating with the launch vehicle (Rocket H-IIA) and has been successfully installed into it and is awaiting launch on October 29. The satellite is stored within a specially designed area called the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) until the launch date. KhalifaSat must be present in this area for five to 40 days before the launch date. Technical tests were conducted on KhalifaSat to determine its safety on the rocket H-IIA. These tests include a functional verification test to confirm that all the sub-systems are working well, battery safety testing and other related tests. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries provided the team with all the necessary facilities to carry out these tests.
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC, said, “Conducting the technical tests on KhalifaSat, the first satellite developed 100% in the UAE, is an important step in preparation for its launch from Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.”
He said the centre was selected as it is as the largest rocket launch complex in Japan and one of the rare sites in the world that allows satellites and other spacecrafts into orbit, due to its facilities which help to achieve a series of operations such as assembling spacecrafts, maintenance, final testing of satellites, installing spacecrafts, follow-up after installation, and tracking of spacecrafts after take-off.”
Al Shaibani stressed that MBRSC is committed to implementing the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership, achieving its objectives towards space exploration and investment, and increasing efforts to develop this sector by promoting innovation and enhancing the skills of Emirati youth. He added that these dedicated Emirati youth are the reason for the completion of KhalifaSat, which will launch soon to begin its five-year planned mission life to provide information aimed at improving the quality of life.”
Engineer Amer Al Sayegh, KhalifaSat Project Manager at MBRSC, highlighted that “conducting the technical tests on KhalifaSat at Tanegashima Space Centre on schedule reflects the success of MBRSC’s plan to launch it on October 29. It also shows the high level of professionalism of the 70 male and female Emirati engineers working on this huge project”.
MBRSC had previously announced that October 29, 2018 is the official date for the launch of KhalifaSat, into orbit aboard H-IIA rocket at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan for a planned mission life of five years. For this, MBRSC is partnering with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Once deployed into a Low Earth Orbit (about 613km up), it will capture and deliver high-quality detailed images of Earth to the ground station at MBRSC, Dubai. This service will assist government organisations and private sector enterprises all over the world. KhalifaSat weighs in at just 330kg. It contains an advanced positioning system that allows a large number of 3D images to be captured at once, with excellent accuracyand speed. The images will be used to detect the effects of global warming, ensure responsible urban planning and management, and aid relief efforts for natural disasters. KhalifaSat has a planned mission life of five years. (Source: Satnews)
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