Sponsored By Viasat
07 Nov 18. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced it has received a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) order of 1,000 National Security Agency (NSA)-certified Mini Crypto devices from the U.S. Air Force (USAF). In today’s battlespace environment, technological breakthroughs have enabled smaller sensors and smaller platforms of every kind, but until now the available high-assurance cryptographic technology did not meet the needs for these devices at the tactical edge. Viasat’s Mini Crypto devices are designed for easy embedment on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) small form factor systems, allowing them to transmit SECRET and Below data securely across the battlespace. Systems include unmanned systems, emerging robotics applications, communications devices, and existing and emerging sensors.
According to the USAF, the Mini Crypto device will enable forward-deployed warfighters to secure these small, tactical edge systems in extremely hostile environments. The Mini Crypto device will ensure tactical communications and data exchanges, no matter where they take place, stay safe and secure. Due to its small size and embedded operational use case, the Mini Crypto device provides high levels of security with minimal additional weight and power. In addition, because they are embedded and have a self-contained encryption engine capable of generating their own keys, they are not required to undergo the same special handling as other security devices, thereby expanding their operational use case and reducing operational costs.
Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat commented, “Cyber threats have created a new operational environment and have increased risk across the multi-domain battlespace. Our Mini Crypto will provide substantial operational cost savings to our customers through certificate-based Tactical Key Management and non-Controlled Cryptographic Item handling. The Mini Crypto also brings exceptional ease-of-use to the warfighter with innovations in low Size Weight and Power, enabling longer operational periods and smaller payloads. Our patented software is upgradable even after deployment, enabling ongoing improvements without removing the system from the field.”
The initial LRIP order of Viasat’s Mini Crypto devices demonstrates a critical transition point for this embeddable security technology, and is a key step towards securing a Full-Rate Production order from the USAF. First deliveries of Viasat’s Mini Crypto devices are expected during the third quarter of Viasat’s fiscal year.
Viasat’s Mini Crypto device is based on the Company’s industry-leading programmable and embeddable PSIAM™ cryptographic technology, which provides accredited cryptography for a wide range of applications including unmanned systems, handheld communications, weaponized platforms and high-speed cloud computing.
The NSA-certified Mini Crypto device is available for immediate purchase across all U.S. DoD and U.S. Government organizations.
08 Nov 18. Space expertise isn’t necessary to run the Space Development Agency, says Pentagon deputy. The Pentagon’s No. 2 official has someone in mind to run the new Space Development Agency, and it may not be someone from the space community. In an exclusive interview with Defense News, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also said he expects the cost for a future Space Force will be below the $13bn estimate floated by the Air Force in September.
The Space Development Agency, which would be a joint procurement arm in charge of setting standards and avoiding the duplication on space technology, appears to be the hub of Shanahan’s plans for rebuilding the Pentagon’s space architecture.
There has been a widespread assumption, among those tracking progress on creation of the agency, that it would be headed by someone from the space community. However, Shanahan made it clear that space experience may be nice, but isn’t his priority for a candidate.
Instead, the deputy wants someone who has experience merging multiple systems and who has “real technical chops” when it comes to integrating systems.
“It’s less about the space mission … this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive standards and integration,” Shanahan said Oct. 31.
“Somebody that’s really done integration; somebody to understand systems engineering. So think about, you know, the ground stations and the architecture that goes along with that,” he said. “This is our chance to have true integration.”
“This is that integrated environment that we have to protect, and the best way to be able to provision for the future is to develop a foundation that’s rooted in a very well-defined architecture and standards,” he added. “And the standards aren’t just simply for interfaces, these are design standards, you’re manufacturing standards, these are test standards — so it’s a suite of those things.”
When it was noted it appears he has someone specific in mind to lead the agency, Shanahan laughed and said, “Of course I do,” but he declined to name the candidate. (Based on how the job has been described, it seems likely the agency head will not need to be confirmed by the Senate, giving Shanahan a clear path for whoever he has targeted.)
However, the answer may come soon. Shanahan wants the agency set up quickly. ““We have to start tonight. I’m more interested in starting tonight than I am in capturing everything,” he said during an October event.
Space Force costs
In September, an Air Force memo putting new costs for the creation of a Space Force at $13bn emerged. But that is only one cost estimate, with the Office of the Secretary of Defense expected to deliver its own figure sometime before the end of the year.
Asked if it was fair to assume the OSD estimate would be less than the Air Force’s estimate, Shanahan smiled, laughed and indicated that it would be.
“Short answer: It’s going to be less than that. I haven’t looked at the number, but it’s going to be less than that,” he said. “I’m not concerned that people are just going to generate a big bill.”
The $13bn figure sent waves of sticker shock through the defense community and led to accusations that the Air Force — which has been reluctant to embrace the idea of a Space Force — were hyping up costs to try and kill the idea. But Shanahan seemed confident that new costs will be lower than the Air Force believes. “There’s going to be a cost, but what I want to do is take existing cost and move it over to this,” he said. “The goal here is not to create a lot of incremental cost.
“In this department, you know with this secretary and this Congress, people in the White House, they’re not going to let us just go throw money at that.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Nov 18. US growth beckons for Aussie space entrepreneurs. For Dr Jason Held of Saber Astronautics, technology has changed the way we interact with space. Nowhere is this clearer than in the satellite industry, which provides the services we use on a daily basis, changing the lives of Aussies and their businesses forever.
Saber Astronautics is motivated by the democratisation of space. ‘Democratisation’ in this context means that anyone, of any age and background, can participate in the industry.
This is important because in the 21st century economy space is ubiquitous to our daily life – commercial satellites form the highways for communication, navigation and imagery, meanwhile banks use space to value land and to co-ordinate trading, while individuals use satellites to interact on a global scale.
In defence terms, space is a key force multiplier, often referred to as the ‘ultimate high-ground’ used for precision guided munitions, navigation and intelligence. Technology has changed contemporary satellites; today’s satellites are becoming smaller and cheaper. How much smaller is important because, with the costs of a new small satellite being less than half the cost of a juice bar franchise, space is now boot-strappable and many new entrants have entered the field.
Saber Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jason Held said, “Here in Australia our revenues grow in parallel to the domestic market, so we do everything we can to help Australians grow both in the civil and military arenas.”
What was once an industry of 75 single satellite launches per year is now demanding flights for hundreds of satellites per company. The 1,200 satellites in orbit today is expected to triple within a decade.
Even in Australia, with the national Space Agency only a few months old, is seeing a growth of 90 new companies in the last three years, $80m investment, representing 300 new satellites to launch and operate by 2022. The Australian Space Agency intends to grow Australia’s local ecosystem from a $3bn import economy to a $12bn export opportunity. How does this work? Australia has to manufacture and fly but many new entrants are nontraditional. Some entrepreneurs hire excellent engineers but for many it will be their first time flying. Entrepreneurs must integrate dish control, diagnostics, situational awareness, mission planning and space weather in a single seamless operation. Today’s tools are designed for large, single spacecraft, multibillion-dollar missions. They are bespoke with heavy integration requirements and training. It’s like having to knead your own bread every time you want to make a sandwich.
“We are also setting up bundling partnerships with Australian sensors and dish providers as I feel strongly that Australians are more compelling as a group than we are as individuals,” Held explained.
For Saber, democratising space means making space tech so easy to use that kids can use the technology. This is exemplified in the Predictive Groundstation Interface (PIGI), which leverages commercial technology, namely video game tech, in order to monitor space assets and live data feeds. Meanwhile, machine learning provides the operator complete visibility throughout the course of mission, which range from a single satellite to hundreds in a constellation. As a local start-up, Saber provided PIGI support to help new ventures in both Australia and the US get off the ground. Saber is the first company to succeed at utilising machine learning for space and has built a reputation around this capability.
“Now that Saber’s situational awareness and machine learning capabilities compete internationally we can significantly increase our US exports over the next few months,” he said.
This success paved the way for interest from traditional space organisations and operators, which now include NASA and the US Air Force and a growing list of traditional of traditional satellite communications companies. This is an important data point for Australia as its new space industry enters the international stage. As the space industry grows we will find many Australian innovations that start for small satellite problems and scale nicely for larger missions. It is evidence that space manufacturing, for many years an anathema by Australian traditionalists, can bear fruit.
“Watch this space for more news in the coming weeks from Saber’s growth in the US,” Held said. (Source: Space Connect)
08 Nov 18. Sky’s the limit for SA as Space Industry Centre sets eyes on future. South Australia has been quick off the mark to establish itself as not only the defence state, but now as the space state, with the introduction of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) and some of its ambitious objectives to transform Australia’s space economy. South Australia has a long history of engagement with both the local and global space ecosystem, from the earliest days of testing at Woomera through to the recent influx of global primes and SME companies establishing research, operations and manufacturing bases in the state. SASIC aims to create a ‘space-enabled’ economy where the space technology in South Australia provides technological advances that lead to growth, new jobs and an increased market share in areas that might not be traditionally linked to space, but will benefit from the unique capabilities developed as a result of industry collaboration and development.
Working in collaboration with the SAIC, the SA government is responsible for developing and implementing the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (South Australia) Action Plan 2016-2020, which focuses on three central pillars:
- Growing the economy through space activity;
- Invigorating SA’s space innovation ecosystem; and
- Engaging international co-operation with leading space-faring companies.
This state-based focus is not without a broader national collaboration effort, as Richard Price, chief executive of SASIC, explained in October following the launch of the Australian Space Agency (ASA): “We are committed to working collaboratively at a national level to grow Australia’s space economy and support the Australian Space Agency in its endeavours to build international collaboration.”
SASIC seeks to expand its immediate future goals to focus on national collaboration, both with other states and territories and the national space agency. SA intends to position itself as a major contributor to the broader objectives of the national space program in order to enhance the state’s existing space economy and the opportunities being developed through initiatives like the recent launch of the Defence, Aerospace and Technology Innovation Hub at Lot 14 in Adelaide.
Price has welcomed the development and rapid uptake of tenancies at Lot 14 following announcements made by Australia-based IoT satellite company Myriota and global aerospace and technology prime Lockheed Martin.
“Lot 14 will be the perfect place where highly skilled talent and agile start-ups and companies, like Myriota, can thrive and grow. It’s fantastic to see such a deep level of interest from start-ups and companies working in high-growth industries, like space and defence, wanting to be part of this innovation neighbourhood that will nurture talent, support new ventures and create jobs,” Price said.
“Creating an environment that supports entrepreneurship, innovation and research capabilities in South Australia is important to our growth and success in these key industries.”
Creating awareness and broader public support for the developing space ecosystem is one of the key objectives for SASIC. This priority has a number of key focuses bringing together industry, government and academic institutions to ensure that South Australia’s local space industry is competitive domestically, and world leading.
This is being achieved through a number of initiatives, including:
- The Biannual South Australian Space Forum: Attracts high calibre speakers, both international and national, and has tripled in size since the first one was held May 2016 with 110 people registered, to over 300 in April 2018. The sixth SA Space Forum will be held on the 5 December 2018 and, for the first time, will include exhibitors.
- International missions/co-operative arrangements: Currently, SA has memorandums of understanding with the Northern Territory and ACT. Internationally, co-operative arrangements are in place with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), German company DLR, the city of Bremen and the UAE Space Agency.
- SA Space Capability Directory: Provides a current picture of the state’s capability and acts as a useful tool for helping to connect local industry, comprised of more than 70 entities.
- Space Innovation Fund: Provides $4m over four years and includes a Space Incubator Program and a Space Accelerator Program to cultivate new ideas and provide a pathway for entrepreneurs to join the local space economy, and connect local innovators with international mentors and potential global investors.
- SA Space Council: Comprised of representatives from industry, government and academia – provides an overarching body to guide future direction and identify potential opportunities in the space sector in South Australia.
Each of these initiatives serves as part of a broader strategy to help stimulate co-operation between local stakeholders and international partners, and identify research and development opportunities aligned with the national charter and ASA priorities in order to co-invest or provide other support in these areas.
“Promoting and facilitating local and international collaboration, investing in infrastructure benefiting the whole ecosystem and supporting start-up and scale-up businesses is key to growing a sustainable space industry,” Price explained.
Additionally, this is about developing a culture of innovation among industry participants in SA, while also engaging with the community, STEM education and training institutions, and young people to promote the employment opportunities provided by space into the future.
SASIC is firmly focused on the future and is committed to enhancing South Australia’s position as the space state. This is being driven by two key initiatives aimed at growing SA’s space sector, including:
- SmartSat CRC: A Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) connecting industry, government and academic institutions to tackle R&D challenges facing the space industry. The bid has passed the first round of the selection process and a full business case/stage two application is due by the end of November.
- Space Cluster: An inspiring entrepreneurial hub (Lot 14) for Australian space stakeholders (companies, researchers and academic institutions) where they can work hand-in-hand, facilitating collaboration and information
Price elaborated on the role these upcoming initiatives would play in South Australia, saying “Building a culture of entrepreneurship and strengthening collaboration between South Australian industry, research organisations, and key national and international players, is a priority of the South Australian Space Industry Centre to drive innovation and bring Australian space technology into the broader economy.”
SASIC is also in active collaboration with NASA, France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
“The opportunity for Australia’s space sector is unprecedented. With so much talent, knowledge and passion, our state and the nation can be prominent players in the global space industry, but it starts with success at home. Capturing the opportunities of space technology will transform our economy and create an industry that is an inspiration for all Australians, young and old,” Price said. (Source: Space Connect)
08 Nov 18. EOS leading the way with SSA. Electro Optic Systems .(EOS) is a well-known name in the defence industry, but the Aussie company has been kicking goals as an unrivalled power player in space situational awareness (SSA) operating at home and abroad. Founded in 1983, EOS has developed systems for astrodynamic analysis, ground to space tracking of orbiting bodies and satellite laser ranging. The company’s heritage allows for the development of new technologies in support of space debris management and asset management in space, including orbit maintenance support.
Craig Smith, CEO EOS Space Systems told Space Connect, “EOS started as a space company in 1983, then in the mid 1990s the company split into the two branches: Space and Defence.”
EOS Space focuses on a number of specialised products and services, including:
- Space surveillance: EOS utilises sophisticated satellite laser ranging technologies to conduct surveillance of space assets. Space surveillance focuses on space debris, or near-earth object (NEO) pollution.
o Space ablation: Focuses on the process of generating forces on objects by means of surface interactions with energy projected from a distant point. Laser beams, directed from the earth’s surface to intersect with objects in space, generate significant forces if the interaction is carefully controlled.
- Observatories: EOS provides fully integrated observatory design, installation, commissioning and maintenance. EOS observatory designs are manufactured to international (ISO9001) standards and are optimised for thermal performance and can be provided in a kit form (standard design) or installed on site (custom design).
- Telescopes: EOS designs and manufactures state-of-the-art ‘alt-az’ telescopes as imagers, beam directors and trackers providing for the seamless integration of the telescope, telescope enclosure, instruments and software programs that are fitted with remote diagnostic support, automated operation.
- Satellite laser ranging (SLR): Involves firing and directing a very short laser pulse to reflect off a target satellite, usually off a retro-reflector to measure of the round trip time of flight is then used to determine the instantaneous distance from the telescope reference point and reflection point.
- Research and development: EOS conducts a number of research programs and is a proud research partner of the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) which focuses on:
o Program 1: Identification of Space Objects and Preservation of the Space Environment;
o Program 2: Orbit Determination and Predicting Behaviours of Space Objects;
o Program 3: Space Asset Management; and
o Program 4: Space Segment.
EOS provides a variety of space debris and satellite management services throughout the life of the projects. This includes the design, manufacture and installation of specialised observatories for optical and laser tracking. EOS can take a greenfield site and transform it into an operational tracking station in less than 12 months.
“Space Situational Awareness is about knowing where everything in orbit is and what it is doing. It helps us to identify active satellites, dead satellites and debris to prevent and limit the possibilities of collisions in orbit,” Smith said when explaining the importance of the specialised, accurate and reliable SSA services developed and provided by EOS.
The company’s Australian designs include key SSA systems such as:
- High accuracy beam director telescopes;
- Laser systems;
- Imaging systems; and
- Pico-second time interval systems.
EOS develop and integrate fully autonomous software control for space sensor networks and provide SSA, object characterisation, space object cataloguing, high accuracy orbit determination and orbital projection, and conjunction assessments.
Ben Greene, EOS group CEO, said, “Information is our core business, our SSA program exemplifies this and EOS’ commitment to the field has grown over our 35-year history.”
The launch of the Australian Space Agency (ASA) earlier this year is shaping up to be a key influencing force for the future direction of EOS Space. ASA’s national civil space priorities focus on strengthening the nation’s competencies and growing capabilities, particularly SSA and debris monitoring, communications technologies, services and ground stations, provides opportunities for EOS to expand their position as Australia’s leading SSA provider.
“Australia has started engaging in the space domain at the right time. Access to space is increasingly being democratised, we are seeing a drop in the cost of accessing space, making it easier to access the domain,” Greene said.
Further to this, Greene said, “As a nation, Australia has a natural advantage in space services, but we have to leave the door open to disruptive technologies being developed to help increase Australian access because in some of these disruptive technologies everyone, including Australia, is starting from the same basic levels.”
Reinforcing the role of the ASA and the doors it will help open, Smith said, “The Australian Space Agency is a great opportunity for us to co-ordinate Australia’s sovereign capability. It will make it easier for companies to collaborate with global agencies, as most agencies only engage directly with other agencies, so the ASA will help to break down those barriers.” (Source: Space Connect)
07 Nov 18. How Navy satellites give Marines smartphone-like comms. Leaders at Marine Corps Systems Command hope new Navy satellites will give Marines smartphone-like capabilities to communicate. The Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS satellites, use 3G protocols in place of legacy satellite connections. Planners say a military standard waveform on a software defined radio will deliver enhanced mobility, higher data rates and improved operational availability.
“Imagine you have technology from the 1980s and now we’re going to 3G. The voice quality is better, you get improved data rates. The warfighter will see a big difference in their ability to do command and control,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Decker, the ground radios team lead.
MUOS will allow the operational parameters and allowing users to come on and off the network as needed. “MUOS leverages commercial cell phone technology [WCDMA] to increase the number of users that can be supported,” said Capt. Shawn Avery, multi-channel radios project officer in command element systems at Marine Corps Systems Command.
“With legacy SATCOM technology, we had to manage the resource more stringently. The capability was not always there below a headquarters level. Now we can equip the tactical edge with persistent, long-haul voice and data connectivity,” Avery said. “When you are not talking, you are not using bandwidth, so we can get somebody else on. That’s the big sell with MUOS.”
MUOS will also offer higher data rates. The Marines won’t disclose the exact specifications, citing security reasons, but they say the exchange rate will be substantially better than in the past and with the Navy’s legacy narrowband satellites. “Users will be able to access a wide array of information networks. We’re enabling access to better data, faster,” Avery said.
The Navy’s MUOS constellation, which included five satellites, has a price tag of about $7.4bn, according to the Government Accountability Office. Lockheed Martin is the program’s prime contractor.
The Marine Corps has been laying the groundwork for this enhancement for some time. It has already fielded thousands of MUOS-capable AN/PRC-117G radios over the past six years, and planners say the firmware within those radios will be eventually updated to support the MUOS waveform. Three new antenna kits will be fielded in support of multiple operational configurations. The Marine Corps expects to have MUOS up and running in an initial capacity by mid-2019.
Marine Corps communications experts may encounter some heavy lifting as they first put the new system into play. “There are processes and procedures for requesting services and managing services. There is a different chain of approval,” Decker said. “Someone is going to have to plan it and provision it. That architecture will have to be programmed in before the user gets it.”
This could lead to a payoff, though, in terms of significantly enhanced functionality. The MUOS waveform is more tightly targeted, which could mean enhanced communication in areas that typically are comms-challenged. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
08 Nov 18. Marketplace and information platform launched for Australia’s space sector. Momentum Media, the business behind award-winning platform Defence Connect, has today announced the launch of Space Connect (www.spaceconnectonline.com.au) – a marketplace and media platform for Australia’s space economy. Space Connect is the first dedicated market intelligence, media and information platform for Australia’s burgeoning space industry. The platform’s aim is to help drive the growth of the domestic industry as well as project Australia’s space capabilities globally. Space Connect will be the central hub for information, insights and interpretation on the key factors shaping the development of Australia’s space industry, according to Phillip Tarrant, director of defence and space at Momentum Media.
“This is the first platform to connect space professionals with jobs, support space careers, reveal business opportunities, drive the space start-up sector and highlight opportunities for funding,” he said. “The platform will serve as the authoritative marketplace to connect ideas, research and innovation with opportunities for space commercialisation.”
The global space economy is currently estimated to be valued at $350bn and could grow to $1trn by the 2040s – and Australia is ideally positioned to capitalise on this emerging market, according to Tarrant. Our domestic space sector is currently valued at between $3-4bn annually, with projections for Australia’s space industry to triple by 2030 to a value of between $10-12bn, he said.
The industry will also support over 20,000 jobs by 2030, representing a significant part of the national economy and a hotbed of innovation that will propel Australia’s space talent and export potential.
“Space Connect will support the growth and development of Australia’s space industry through interconnected channels including an information and ideas exchange plus a funding and grant opportunities engine,” Tarrant said. “This will be backed by market intelligence, news, information and analysis, channelled through an interactive digital hub that includes podcast and broadcast channels supported by daily updates.”
Drawing on the success of Momentum Media and Defence Connect – which was awarded the prestigious national awards of Business Website of the Year and Re-launch of the Year in September this year – Space Connect will seek to engage all aspects of the space economy and quickly cement its position as a pillar for the emerging domestic space industry.
“We’ll work with all stakeholders in the space sector to underpin the growth of Space Connect and look to represent the views, opinions and attitudes of the wider space economy,” Tarrant said.
Key sectors will include the Australian Space Agency and other government bodies, including the CSIRO and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as well as the satcom and mobile communication, telco and information sector.
State and federal ministries, the space manufacturing and space operations sector, defence and defence industry, SMEs, direct-to-home TV plus academic institutions and think tanks will also be represented.
“We’re excited to announce this launch for Australia’s space sector and value our role in supporting the growth of the space economy at this formative period of our history,” Tarrant said.
“We encourage the space industry and its participants to get involved, connect with us, share your story and use our tools to support business growth and development.” (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Nov 18. US Air Force to miss FAA deadline for C-17 traffic tracking upgrades. Key Points:
- The USAF expects to miss a key 1 January 2020 deadline for upgrading C-17 aircraft with traffic tracking upgrades
- All US aircraft – including commercial, military, and corporate – are required to have ADS-B Out capabilities by the start of 2020
The US Air Force (USAF) expects to miss a deadline for upgrading its Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters to Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out capability.
Scott McMullen, deputy director of plans, programmes, and requirements at Headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC), told Jane’s on 2 November that all operationally available C-17s, but not the entire fleet, will have their ADS-B Out upgrades completed by 1 January 2020, as many aircraft will be in depot. McMullen said the rest of the C-17 fleet will have its ADS-B upgrades finished by April 2020. There are 222 C-17s in the AMC and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) fleet, plus an additional aircraft that is currently part of the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing in Hungary.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set 1 January 2020 as the deadline for ADS-B Out upgrades because all US aircraft, including military, flying in Class A airspace must have ADS-B Out upgrades by the beginning of 2020. ADS-B Out is part of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative.
McMullen said there will be no consequence for the USAF missing the ADS-B Out deadline. He added that there will be no operational impact by missing the deadline and that 97.3% of mobility aircraft will be ADS-B Out-compliant by 1 January 2020.
ADS-B functions with satellite rather than radar technology to more accurately observe and track air traffic. All US aircraft – including military, commercial, corporate, and helicopters – are required to upgrade to NextGen standards. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Nov 18. Satcom Direct to showcase SD Xperience connectivity solution on multi-leg international flight. Following on from the SD Xperience launch at NBAA, Satcom Direct is taking its Gulfstream GIV on a circumnavigation of the globe to showcase the power of the new connectivity offering to the international business aviation community. A team of SD executives, including Chief Operating Officer Chris Moore, will spend just under ten days flying the aircraft into leading business aviation destinations to demonstrate the full SD Xperience in-situ, in-cabin. Long term SD customers will be invited to witness the power of SD Xperience first hand. The fully-synchronized, end-to-end connectivity solution combines the full suite of SD cabin and cockpit communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, and flight operations software to deliver consistent connectivity around the world.
Adding extra power to the portfolio is the newly introduced FlexExec broadband service, for which SD is the Master Distributor, delivered in partnership with Intelsat (NYSE: I) and Astronics AeroSat. Business aviation’s first dedicated connectivity service will join existing service providers in the SD portfolio to ensure SD customers benefit from customized, seamless, synchronized, consistent on-demand global connectivity. SD Xperience customers also benefit from SD ground infrastructure as the SD Data Center enables the application of existing compliance and security protocols for aircraft networks to mitigate cyber-attack and maintain data integrity.
“With the introduction of SD Xperience we demystify the connectivity selection process, simplify the business aviation connectivity experience, and improve operational efficiency. By aggregating and integrating our suite of products into one portfolio we’ve created a powerful means of providing connectivity services around the globe for an increased number of platforms. We anticipate the demonstration flights will give customers even more insight to what business aviation connectivity can do to improve the flight experience and look forward to showcasing it to the international audience,” says Moore.
07 Nov 18. BAE Systems has created a low-cost system that uses existing satellite navigation and commercial aircraft data to improve airspace safety. Using the Web Enabled Data Links (WEnDL®) system military aircraft can now use vital information about nearby civil aircraft to aid pilot decision-making. Over the past two years, BAE Systems has been assessing the Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS–B) system as a means of passing civilian aircraft flight data via a tactical data link gateway enabling military aircraft to monitor general air traffic. ADS-B is a surveillance technology which tracks and broadcasts the location of aircraft using satellite navigation. The WEnDL® system can access the data transmitted from ADS-B, channel the relevant information in a simple format and make it available to military aircraft.
This system is now fully operational and is being used by earlier tranches of Typhoon aircraft being test-flown at BAE Systems’ site at Warton, Lancashire and is proving to offer exceptional enhanced situational awareness to the pilots.
Steve Formoso, Chief Test Pilot at BAE Systems, said: “WEnDL® is a key enabler to the safety and efficiency of test flying operations at our Warton site. The information that WEnDL brings in to the cockpit allows our test crews to operate with greater flexibility as well as increasing their all-round situational awareness of other air traffic around the aircraft during sorties.”
06 Nov 18. SS SKYNET 6 Market Update, 9 November 2018. The next SKYNET 6 Market Update took place at the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, London on the morning of 9 November 2018. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) Information Systems and Services (ISS) SKYNET 6 team is considering options for maintaining the continuity of SKYNET services beyond 31 August 2022 when the SKYNET 5 Private Finance Initiative comes to an end. This work-stream is known as the SKYNET 6 “Service Delivery Wrap” (SDW). The team is also considering the longer-term provision of Beyond Line of Sight communications, capabilities and services until 2040 and beyond. This work-stream is known as the SKYNET 6 “Enduring Capability” (EC). As part of this process, MOD has undertaken a series of pre-procurement market engagements to test assumptions and hypotheses, understand industry’s perspective on potential options and assess the breadth of interest across potential suppliers. The ISS SKYNET 6 team intends to hold a further market update event to brief potential suppliers on MOD’s SKYNET 6 procurement strategy, assumptions and timescales as well as the outcomes from some MOD Concept and Assessment Phase activities.
06 Nov 18. Portugal to build satellite launch pad, lab with China. Portugal plans to build an international launch pad for small satellites in the Azores and has agreed with China to set up a joint research center to make satellites on the mainland, its science and technology minister said on Tuesday. The government has received tentative proposals from 14 consortiums from Europe, the United States and Russia to design the launch pad jointly with local organizations, and to use the site in the future, Manuel Heitor said. During the Web Summit – Europe’s largest technology conference taking place in Lisbon this week – Heitor told reporters the “space port” on the mid-Atlantic island of Santa Maria should be ready for commercial launches by mid-2021. Portugal aims to pick the winning offer by mid-2019.
Heitor also announced the 50m euro ($57m) joint project with China, to be funded in equal parts by the two countries and envisaging a laboratory in Portugal next year. The micro satellites to be designed there will connect with land- and ocean-based sensors to collect data used in agriculture, fishery and oceanography. Portugal’s funding for satellite research will come from state and private sources and involve local company Tekever, which makes surveillance drones for military and civilian applications, including searching for migrants from Africa. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
06 Nov 18. Mission to be 44th flight of world’s first privately-developed commercial rocket. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced it is prepared to launch the company’s air-launched Pegasus® XL rocket aboard its Stargazer L-1011 airplane from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on November 7, at approximately 3:05 a.m. EST. This will be the 44th flight for Northrop Grumman’s unique air-launched Pegasus rocket. Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer L-1011 airplane and the Pegasus XL rocket are set to launch NASA’s ICON satellite on November 7 at 3:05 a.m. EST. Pegasus will be carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite, built by Northrop Grumman at its manufacturing facilities in Dulles, Virginia and Gilbert, Arizona. ICON will study the frontier of space – the dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. The explorer will help determine the physics of Earth’s space environment and pave the way for mitigating its effects on technology, communications systems and society. ICON is based on Northrop Grumman’s flight-proven LEOStar-2™ spacecraft bus and adds to an extensive list of science satellites the company has developed and built for NASA over the last 35 years.
Northrop Grumman has previously provided both the satellite and launch vehicle for numerous NASA scientific missions. The most recent example of this dual capability occurred mid-2012 when the Northrop Grumman-built Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite launched on a Pegasus rocket. Other examples include the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite, the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX).
Pegasus is the world’s first privately-developed commercial rocket and the leading launch system for deploying small satellites into low earth orbit. The rocket has a perfect launch record for more than 20 years.
A NASA Category 3 vehicle in the small-launch class, Pegasus is certified to launch NASA’s most valuable small satellites. NASA’s Launch Services Program, which matches spacecraft with launch vehicles, facilitated the launch.
The original air-launched space launcher, the Pegasus rocket launches from beneath Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer L-1011 carrier airplane, providing customers with unparalleled flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements. Previous Pegasus missions have launched from five separate sites in the U.S., Europe and the Marshall Islands.
05 Nov 18. Strategic Partners GovSat and Telespazio France to Provide Capabilities for the French Ministry of Defence. With the aim of meeting the needs of the French government, GovSat and Telespazio France pooled their skills, infrastructures and solutions to create a complete catalog of satellite telecommunications services in various military bands. The offer has been selected by the Joint Directorate for Infrastructure Networks and Information Systems (“Direction Interarmées des Réseaux d’Infrastructure et des Systèmes d’Information”, or DIRISI). Under the contract, Telespazio France, supported by GovSat, will begin supplying satellite capacity to all French military and state entities by the end of 2018.
Patrick Biewer, CEO of GovSat, commented, ”Together with Telespazio France, we are honoured to be serving the French government, using the unique capabilities of the GovSat-1 satellite which was launched earlier this year, as well as Telespazio’s tailor-made service offerings. These new services provide the required level of flexibility, security and mobility, and are the ideal solution to meet the new challenges armies face.”
Corinne Mailles, Deputy General Manager of Telespazio France, emphasizes that “this partnership is also part of a common strategy of value creation and innovation for the benefit of military forces engaged in operations.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
01 Nov 18. SpaceX Starlink Constellation “Pretty Much on Target.” The Advanced TV infosite has posted a story that Elon Musk’s SpaceX project, Starlink, is planning to launch approximately 4,425 satellites in order to girdle the Earth and provide high-capacity broadband to every part of the planet. Starlink’s overall aim is to populate is fleet with up to 10,000 satellites in order to cope with anticipated growth in demand.
Reportedly, Elon Musk – on a visit to the Starlink facility in Redmond, Washington, back in June — fired “at least” seven senior members of the team. According to Reuters, he replaced the lost staffers with new team members and with a brief to get the first batch of satellites into orbit by mid-2019.
Starlink already has a pair of satellites placed into orbit in February of this year, the cheekily named Tintin 1 and Tintin 2. There are some 300 staff working at Redmond and Musk has previously said that the factory would have “maybe” 1,000 people within three to four years of operation. SpaceX spokeswoman Eva Behrend told Reuters that Starlink is now incorporating lessons learnt and “reorganized to allow for the next design iteration to be flown in short order.”
Musk’s SpaceX is on record as saying that the company would launch their constellation in batches through to 2024 and that the mission is “pretty much on target.” (Source: Satnews)
05 Nov 18. Clearbox announces MoU partnership with DataPath. NSW-based Clearbox Systems and DataPath have signed an MoU to develop product compatibility for each company’s capabilities in support of the Australian Defence Force. The MOU will allow the companies to pursue innovation and joint business opportunities where their combined strengths in advanced satellite communications, product and systems integration and network management software will create winning solutions.
In announcing the MOU, DataPath chief operating officer Brad Majeres said, “A partnership between DataPath and Clearbox Systems offers a powerful source of advanced communications technology and proven systems for both military and commercial applications. “It’s a natural partnership between DataPath and Clearbox that will deliver new value and an enhanced integrated user experience for DataPath systems employed by the ADF. The partnership also enables us to jointly develop innovative solutions to solve emerging challenges for the ADF in complex environments.”
Jeremy Hallett, executive director of Clearbox Systems, said, “Our customer, the ADF, is rightly demanding that companies collaborate in order to bring the best technologies together to deliver improved capability for the warfighter. Clearbox Systems and DataPath have listened, and this partnership will see us bring together and enhance systems we each have successfully delivered to the ADF over the years to better support the ADF’s operations.
“Partnering with DataPath, a significant global provider of advanced and secure communications solutions, is a boost for the future of Clearbox Systems and also shows that the Australian defence industry has a lot to offer on the world stage. It has been a pleasure to work with DataPath to establish this partnership as we have focused on a shared desire to exceed our customer’s expectations of how we can meet the ADF’s future communications challenges.”
Clearbox Systems is a technology company focused on developing new approaches and techniques for the operation and management of communications networks and the electromagnetic spectrum. Australian-based Clearbox Systems locally designs, develops and manufactures software and hardware solutions to provide a flexible and unique response to their customer’s needs.
DataPath designs advanced and secure communications solutions tailored to the unique requirements of defence, aerospace, broadcast, government and critical infrastructure clients. Its solutions include a wide range of field communications and information technology products, including satellite communication systems, network management software and cyber security services. (Source: Defence Connect)
02 Nov 18. UAVOS advances ApusDuo HAPS development. UAVOS has successfully completed the first flight of a 10m wingspan prototype of its ApusDuo solar-powered high-altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS) for the first time, the Mountain View, California-based company announced in mid-October. The ApusDuo HAPS prototype has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 23 kg and a payload capacity of 2 kg. It adopts a tandem wing design comprising fore and aft wing surfaces that are connected by three equally spaced booms that terminate in a vertical fin and rudder assembly. This supports the aft wing that carries the three electric propulsion motors. The motors draw power from fuel cells that are recharged via photovoltaic (PV) arrays covering its upper wing surfaces. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Nov 18. Harris delivers sixth navigation payload for USAF’s GPS III satellite. Information technology services provider Harris has delivered an advanced navigation payload for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite programme. The sixth of the total ten payloads has been delivered to Lockheed Martin. GPS III navigation payload is fitted with a mission data unit (MDU) with a 70% digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened processors and powerful transmitters. This will help provide the USAF with signals three times more precise than the ones delivered by current GPS satellites. In addition, the payload helps strengthen signal power that would increase jamming resistance by eight times and extend the total lifespan of the GPS III satellite. The current delivery marks the third navigation payload received by the company over the last year, while the seventh navigation payload is scheduled for delivery by the end of this year. The navigation payloads provided by Harris are already integrated on five units of the USAF’s GPS III satellite.
Last year, Harris confirmed the completion of the development of a more powerful fully digital MDU for the USAF’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) programme. GPS IIIF payload design will further improve and increase the satellite’s capabilities and performance. The USAF fixed-price-type production contract worth up to $7.2bn for up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites was awarded to Lockheed Martin in September. The first GPS III space vehicle integrated with Harris payload is expected to be launched this December. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Oct 18. Mynaric Signs Their First MoU with a Satellite Constellation Manufacturer. Takes Laser to New Heights. Mynaric made an announcement regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed, but isn’t at liberty to provide much more information than the undisclosed company will build a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation planned for late 2019. Information that can be made public includes the planned first launch of several satellites equipped with Mynaric’s laser communication products in late 2019.
The satellites will be part of a demonstration mission prior to rolling out the full constellation of an eventual several hundred satellites. The full constellation is expected to require upwards of 1,000 laser communication terminals. Mynaric is “in close collaboration and holding intensive technical discussions with the satellite manufacturer at this moment.”
Dr. Markus Knapek, co-founder and member of the Mynaric Management Board said, “The announcement we are making today firmly establishes Mynaric as a key supplier for the emerging LEO constellations market. To be trusted by a satellite constellation builder to work on a key component of their constellation affirms our business strategy to cater for the LEO market as well as the airborne and ground segments. We are well on track to becoming the go-to supplier for laser communications for the entire aerospace industry.”
Mynaric is a manufacturer of laser communication technologies used to establish communication networks in air and space. Its wireless laser data transmission products include ground stations and flight terminals, that allow very large quantities of data to be sent wirelessly over long distances between aircrafts, autonomous drones, high altitude platforms, satellites and the ground at high data rates.
Globally, the need for fast network connectivity is rapidly advancing. Since data networks are today largely based on infrastructure on the ground they cannot be expanded for legal, economic or logistical reasons resulting in the future expansion of the existing network infrastructure heading into air and space. With its wireless laser communication products Mynaric is positioned as a prime pioneer in this growth market. (Source: Satnews)
22 Oct 18. Kymeta Successfully Demonstrates Hybrid Data Backhaul on Cellular and Satellite Networks. In partnership with Cradlepoint, Inc., TrellisWare Technologies, and CopaSAT, LLC, Redmond-based communications company proved capability of seamless communications near southern U.S. border. In September 2018, Kymeta—the communications company making good on the promise of global, mobile connectivity—conducted a series of field trials with United States federal agents to successfully demonstrate the benefits and feasibility of reliable, seamless communications along the southern border of New Mexico. Along with partner CopaSAT, and trial partners Cradlepoint, Inc. and TrellisWare Technologies, Kymeta demonstrated the reliability of its dynamic network capabilities that leveraged both cellular and satellite from a moving platform.
Kymeta successfully demonstrated a complete hybrid network architecture to field agents operating in a communications degraded environment. The Kymeta terminal provided on-the-move connectivity to SES satellites which was blended with terrestrial LTE networks using a Cradlepoint software defined wide-area-network (SD-WAN) router. Access to this network was extended to agents using TrellisWare mobile ad-hoc mesh net (MANET) radios. Kymeta’s hybridization model combines satellite and cellular networks for enhanced performance and allows for dynamic traffic management between networks enabling best-cost data routing and other software defined features. Agents used existing communications equipment as-is, with no modifications or satellite expertise required to access the network. Smart devices, laptops, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), cameras, and other communications solutions stayed connected from a moving vehicle with no disruption in service or network quality.
“Traditionally, mobile satellite solutions come in the form of very small aperture terminals (VSAT) mounted on specially designed communications vehicles or deployable field kits that only provide communications when stationary and require a technician to setup and point the antenna,” said Scott Tatum, Director, Complex Solutions, CopaSAT. “The technology brought by Kymeta demonstrated that reliable satellite communications can exist on virtually any mobile platform, on the move, and with little to no operator training or involvement.”
The architecture leveraged an SD-WAN topology to combine satellite and cellular network technologies. Using SD-WAN is critical as it enables dynamic backhaul routing using the best backhaul connections available. In a dense urban environment with modern infrastructure, LTE might be the best path. However, in remote operational areas satellite is likely best. When both solutions represent beneficial backhaul pathways, the SD-WAN is leveraged to intelligently route data and shape traffic flow. Mission critical information can be delivered via multiple pathways for redundancy, where high-bandwidth traffic, such as file sharing, could be routed to a separate connection. The SD-WAN makes the best decision on how to route data in a dynamic and changing environment so that operators can focus on the task at hand.
“The combination of these devices and solutions enabled secure and seamless communications from operators in a field environment to other operators and commanders distributed across the country,” said Ben Posthuma, Senior Solutions Engineer, Kymeta. “The system automatically and dynamically switched between cellular and satellite to find the best connection quality. The agents didn’t have to tell the system to switch, it just happened. All the users had to do was connect to the Wi-Fi in their vehicles, and the system did the rest without additional intervention.”
In addition, the system provides the added benefit of working with existing communications equipment.
“Kymeta eliminates communications challenges in the field by providing a low-profile, mobile SATCOM solutions that can deliver mission-critical information regardless of location,” said Posthuma. “The antenna works with existing communications tools exactly how they were purchased to be used and trained to be used. The hybridized solution allows for leveraging existing tools without anyone having to become a SATCOM expert.”
The results of the trial will allow Kymeta to move forward in enabling hybridized services to organizations around the world, giving them access to full situational awareness in the field, whether stationary or on the move.
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.