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15 Nov 18. Kleos Space targets UK with new subsidiary. ASX-listed Kleos Space has announced the formation of a new, wholly-owned, UK-based subsidiary for the purpose of delivering maritime ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) data-as-a-service to UK defence and security departments, agencies and industry. The subsidiary, Kleos Space Ltd, will be able to support the UK’s international surveillance capability, with UK defence and economic policy in recent years addressing the need to utilise locally-based enterprises with appropriate security clearance, innovation focus and technical capability to provide services to entities within the national security framework.
Kleos Space chairman Air Commodore (Ret’d) Peter Round said, “The establishment of Kleos Space in the UK will allow us to work closely with government agencies to support the United Kingdom’s space-based ISR capabilities to support operations at home and abroad.”
The company said that the timing was right, as the global space-based ISR ecosystem sees strong demand to support for defence program financing in the UK, which than translate into greater commercialisation opportunities and technological advances.
“We aim to assist UK Industry and Government to access commercial data from satellites to provide information as needed. This UK activity builds on our operations in Luxembourg and Australia examining similar opportunities with other allied governments,” Round said.
The UK subsidiary will be well placed to continue to leverage the achievements of the prior phases of development with the ultimate aim of commercialising the Kleos Scouting Mission project, which remains on track for launch in the second quarter of 2019.
Kleos Space is a space-enabled, activity-based intelligence, data-as-a-service company and innovative in-space manufacturing technology developer based in Luxembourg.
The first Kleos Space satellite system, known as Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM), will deliver commercially available data and perform as a technology demonstration. KSM will be the keystone for a later global high capacity constellation. The Scouting Mission will deliver targeted daily services with the full constellation delivering near-real-time global observation. (Source: Space Connect)
15 Nov 18. Fleet marks major launch milestone with first two satellites in orbit. Australian-based Fleet Space Technologies has celebrated the launch of the company’s Proxima I and II satellites as part of Rocket Lab’s recent manifest. The launch of Proxima I and II marks the first step in Fleet’s attempts to establish a network of nano ‘cube’ satellites in orbit, as part of the broader development of the internet of things (IoT) technological ‘nervous system’.
Flavia Tata Nardini, co-founder and chief executive of Fleet Space Technologies, said, “It is an incredible milestone to have successfully launched our first commercial CubeSats, Proxima I and II, onboard Rocket Lab’s latest mission.
“This is the first launch of many scheduled for us at Fleet Space Technologies, with our next nanosatellites, Centauri I and II, onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and ISRO’s mission PSLV C43 in the coming weeks. It is an extraordinary feat to have four satellites launching in one month on three separate missions,” Tata Nardini said.
The launch took place at the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, the world’s first private orbital launch range in Mahia, New Zealand. This FAA compliant site can accommodate a launch rate of 120 flights per year and is licensed for a launch to occur every 72 hours.
The Proxima I and II satellites are a pair of identical 1.5U CubeSats designed and built within six weeks by Fleet.
The satellites will mark the first commercial tests of Fleet’s software-defined radios, enabling it to transmit data efficiently across both S-band and L-band frequencies in space. The satellites will ultimately help form the beginning of a constellation of more than 100 nanosatellites that, together, will act as a dedicated IoT space network for enterprises across the world.
“We’re thrilled to have built and launched the two Proxima satellites in only a couple of months. Rocket Lab moved rapidly to help us make this a reality extremely quickly – everything from licensing to assisting with complete integration all happened faster than could have been anticipated. Our next steps are to monitor the satellites to ensure they connect, and then secure frequencies,” Tata Nardini explained.
From the site it is possible to reach orbital inclinations from sun-synchronous through to 39 degrees. This enables a lower-cost launch option with a wide spectrum of orbital inclinations.
Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the mission marks a new era in access to space.
“We’re thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads. The team carried out a flawless flight with incredibly precise orbital insertion,” he said.
Rocket Lab is poised for high-frequency launches in 2019 thanks to production facilities that enable rapid mass Electron production, as well as a private launch complex licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.
Richard Price, chief executive of SASIC, welcomed the news of Fleet’s launch, saying, “We’re proud of the innovative companies and start-ups in South Australia’s space ecosystem, like Fleet, that are achieving big things and competing on the global stage.
“Congratulations to the team at Fleet Space Technologies on the successful launch of its first two satellites. This is a huge milestone for the company and Australia’s space industry, as well as other industries that will benefit from this space technology.”
Fleet Space was founded in 2015 and is based in Adelaide, SA. The company aims to revolutionise the way space IoT systems are delivered through the Portal solutions and the company’s nano cube satellites.
When combined with Fleet’s ground terminal, the Portal, Fleet’s constellation will enable satellite connectivity in remote industries where cellular networks are not present. The Portal enables businesses to connect up to a thousand devices to private, secure low-power wide area networks anywhere around the world, at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellite systems. (Source: Space Connect)
13 Nov 18. Norway says Russia jammed GPS signal during NATO drill. The Norwegian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces in the Arctic disturbed GPS location signals during a recent large NATO drill in Norway. The ministry said that Norway’s Foreign Ministry earlier had raised the issue with Russian authorities. In an email Tuesday to The Associated Press, the ministry said it “was aware that that jamming has been recorded between Oct. 16 and Nov. 7 from the Russian forces” on the Arctic Kola Peninsula. NATO’s huge exercise Trident Juncture that included soldiers from 31 countries, was staged in Norway from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7. Finland and Sweden, which are not NATO members, also took part in the drill. The jamming of the location signals is not believed to have caused any accidents. Over the weekend, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said his country’s GPS location signals were intentionally disrupted in the northern Lapland region. Finland’s state Air Navigation Services issued a warning to civilian air traffic earlier last week.
Without providing any further evidence, Sipila said Sunday that neighboring Russia may have been to blame. “It’s possible Russia was the disrupting party,” Sipila said in an interview with Finnish public broadcaster YLE.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
The Russian Defense Ministry could not be reached Tuesday for comment on Norway’s claim. The Kremlin on Monday denied involvement in the Finnish GPS disturbance.
“We know nothing about Russia’s possible involvement in those GPS failures,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said according to TASS news agency. “There is a trend to blame all mortal sins on Russia.”
Russia is known to have substantial capabilities for electronic warfare. Experts say it has in recent years invested heavily in technology that can affect GPS location signals over a broad area.
The northern Arctic regions of Finland’s Lapland and Norway’s Finnmark are adjacent to Russia’s Kola Peninsula, which is home to Russia’s Northern Fleet with major naval and submarine bases and other Russian military installations.
Asked about Finland’s claims, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Monday that cyber and electronic warfare are becoming more and more widespread, “therefore we take all these issues very seriously.” (Source: Defense News)
13 Nov 18. PLA Air Force Plans Expansion into Space to Modernize Capability. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force intends to expand its presence into space as part of its plan to become a world-class force, a senior officer said on Sunday. Senior Colonel Wang Zhonghua, head of the Planning Bureau of the PLA Air Force’s Equipment Department, said at a news conference in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, that the Air Force spares no efforts in handling all threats, and is gearing up to extend its reach beyond the clouds and into space. He said the Air Force is undergoing revolutionary changes that will generate a system that can function in future warfare scenarios. The news conference coincided with the 69th anniversary of the Air Force’s founding and was part of the six-day 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition that concluded on Sunday in Zhuhai. Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang, deputy commander of the Air Force, outlined a multiphase road map for building a strong, modern air force. First, a strategic force will be established by 2020. It will have integrated air and space capability and balanced strength in both defensive and offensive operations. When that is achieved, fourth-generation equipment will serve as the backbone of the Air Force’s arsenal. Information-based systematic combat capabilities will be enhanced, he said. The Air Force categorizes its top weapons such as the J-20 stealth fighter jet and Y-20 strategic transport aircraft as fourth-generation equipment, while the J-10 and J-16 combat fighters are classified as third-generation. In the following phase, the Air Force will further improve its strategic capability and modernize its organizational structure, human resources and weaponry. The building of a modern strategic air force will essentially be achieved by 2035, Xu said. Ultimately, the Air Force will be fully transformed into a world-class force by the mid-21st century, he said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/China Daily)
08 Nov 18. Thales Alenia Space’s First All-Electric Propulsion Module for Eutelsat’s KONNECT Satellite. Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67 percent) and Leonardo (33 percent), has delivered the first designed and built Spacebus Neo Xenon Propulsion System (XPS) module that will be integrated into Eutelsat’s KONNECT satellite based on the Spacebus NEO platform that is on track for launch in 2019. This XPS module was presented in the Space Propulsion Integration and Manufacturing Centre at Thales Belfast, opened in October 2016 after significant investment. The XPS module will be used to raise Eutelsat’s KONNECT satellite from the orbit provided by the launch vehicle to the geostationary orbit and then to maintain its station in orbit for at least 15 years. Following a successful Critical Design Review early 2018, the Spacebus Neo XPS module is now finalizing its manufacturing process:
- The Spacebus Neo XPS module is highly innovative. It is very compact but powerful, having the capability to perform the orbit raising of very large satellites. The design has been completely optimized to allow very quick and efficient assembly into the satellite
- The responsibility for the design of the propulsion XPS is undertaken by Thales Alenia Space Propulsion Competence Centre based in Harwell, UK. Staff from the Thales UK Belfast facility received specialist training for the assembly and testing at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France last year. Over the past six months, engineers in Belfast have completed the implementation process and started the assembly of the xenon tanks, the central tube with electrical and fluidic lines for interconnection with electric thrusters of the KONNECT satellite. The propulsion module is one of the largest and most sophisticated pieces of space hardware ever produced in the UK by Thales Alenia Space, and at an impressive 1.8m high and 3.6m wide when fully fuelled weighs up to 1.8 tonnes.
- The first XPS propulsion module will then be shipped from Belfast to Thales Alenia Space France in Cannes to be integrated into the KONNECT satellite which will then undergo test activities preparation for its launch.
“The all-electric propulsion module, designed and built by specialist teams in Harwell and Belfast, represents the strong commitment of Thales Alenia Space to create, sustain and grow world class innovation, design and advanced space engineering skills in the UK, producing important contributions to future space programs. This event is an important delivery milestone not only for Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Thales but also for our stakeholders in Invest Northern Ireland, the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency. This important step is a reflection of the UK’s dynamic and growing space sector. The UK space industry is a key pillar in the Government’s Industrial Strategy for economic growth in the UK and the delivery of this module is a tangible example of the progress of that strategy and represents a significant investment in the UK by Thales Alenia Space,” declared Ben Olivier, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in the UK.
Dr. Graham Turnock, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency said: “Pioneering innovations like this all electric propulsion module will improve access to space, but also deliver new jobs and growth on the ground. We’re working with industry to grow our share of the global space market to 10 percent by 2030, and the Thales Alenia Space facility in Belfast is an excellent example of UK capability.”
Yohann Leroy, Eutelsat’s Deputy CEO and Chief Technical Officer, added, “Championing innovation in the space industry, we are proud to welcome the delivery of the Spacebus Neo XPS module to our future KONNECT satellite, which will reinforce our leadership in the use of electric propulsion for geostationary communication satellites. This collaboration with Thales Alenia Space is of significant importance to us. It marks the first of a two-part series, with two satellites in construction by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat: KONNECT and KONNECT VHTS. This groundbreaking industrial approach for the XPS modules, spearheaded by UK space industry, will be rolled-out to both programs.”
ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, Magali Vaissiere, said, “We are proud to celebrate this milestone with our partners. Supporting the competitiveness of our Member States’ industry is of paramount importance to ESA, and the Spacebus Neo program is a prime example of a successful ARTES public-private partnership, with a satellite system integrator managing a large scale innovative project and its in-orbit validation.” (Source: Satnews)
09 Nov 18. Radiant-led team to develop optical satellite telescope system. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to Maxar Technologies’ subsidiary Radiant Solutions to support small optical satellite constellations. Under the $2m contract, the company will lead a team for the design, development and demonstration of a next-generation optical satellite telescope system for agile small satellite constellations. The project will be carried out by Radiant Solutions in partnership with Maxar Technologies’ spacecraft manufacturing business, SSL. The two companies will combine their capabilities in order to meet the demand of the US Defense and Intelligence agency for small form-factor satellites.
Radiant Solutions president Tony Frazier said: “Radiant Solutions is proud to play a major role in the development of disruptive, next-generation technologies that will transform satellite imaging missions and enhance global mapping and intelligence at scale.
“With our team’s extensive experience in highly specialised geospatial systems, we’re uniquely positioned to accelerate the evolution of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most critical imaging infrastructure.”
Through the agreement, Radiant Solutions will provide DARPA with geospatial mission engineering expertise, which is supported and enhanced by SSL’s experience in delivering powerful spacecraft systems.
The collaborative effort will enable national security customers to see, understand and anticipate activity across the planet in support of global mapping and intelligence missions.
SSL Government Systems president Richard White said: “SSL brings unmatched integrated spacecraft system capabilities to deliver effective and affordable end-to-end solutions that build a better world and support our nation’s leadership in space.
“We’re delighted to be working closely with our colleagues at Maxar Technologies to solve problems from space.”
The lightweight design and large field-of-view of the optical telescope system are expected to support the production of more capable small satellites. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Nov 18. Airbus showcases new secure Proteus satcom modem. Airbus Defence and Space has unveiled a satellite communications (satcom) modem system designed to support military requirements for resilient and secure connectivity. Disclosed for the first time at the Global MilSatCom event in London on 7 November, the dual-purpose ‘Proteus’ modem features software-defined radio (SDR) technology capable of supporting up to 10 waveforms to counter jamming attacks and interference.
“Jamming and interference, whether deliberate or accidental, has always been an issue for satcom,” Martin Moseley, head of modems at Airbus, told Jane’s. “But its increasing rate requires more effective countermeasures to ensure mission-critical connectivity is resilient, safe, and secure.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Nov 18. US Army awards contract for the next batch of ‘Gunsmoke’ satellites. The Army has awarded Dynetics, an applied science and information technology company, a contract to develop two small experimental satellites, known as tactical space support vehicles (TSSV), to enhance joint force operations. The classified Gunsmoke-L program is operated by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT)Technical Center. The two-year contract, plus an additional option year, to Dynetics is valued at $8.3m. The contract falls under the umbrella of the Army’s the Design, Development, Demonstration and Integration (D3I), Domain 1 contracting tool, which streamlines the acquisition cycle of space, high-altitude and missile defense technologies.
The Gunsmoke-L satellites will carry next generation tactical space support payloads designed to operation in low earth orbit for a minimum of two years, and could last as long as five years. Dynetics will assist with on-orbit demonstrations using the Technical Center’s ground control system at Redstone to provide command, control, and communication with the satellites. The satellites are expected to be ready for launch in less than two years. Dynetics did not provide any information about the launch of the satellite.
The Army’s Gunsmoke-J satellites, the previous iteration, are expected to be used to “demonstrate advanced information collection in direct support of the Army combat operations,” according to an Army fact sheet from September 2018. The Army discussed its Gunsmoke-G satellite experiment during a classified session of the DoD experiment review board in 2017.
Dynetics will perform hardware-in-the-loop testing and simulation at USASMDC/ARSTRAT Payload Development Laboratory at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., focusing on the 12 kilogram satellites’ performance and reliability. At the end of the period, the two Gunsmoke-L TSSVs will be qualified and ready for launch. Work on the program will predominately be done at Redstone, but some work will also occur at Dynetics own facilities in Huntsville.
“We are looking forward to taking on this challenge of creating small satellites that will meet the Department of Defense’s space support goals,” said Mike Graves, Dynetics space systems department manager and Gunsmoke-L program manager.
Dynetics has previously worked with NASA on other small satellite projects. The company helped develop NASA’s Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, launched in November 2010. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Nov 18. Forrester Reports: SpaceX Falcon Could Rise Again In January of 2019, Plus, Arqiva Drops Playout Business. Journalist Chris Forrester has posted an article at Advanced TV focusing on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon ‘Heavy’ rocket (in essence, a Falcon 9 with two additional strap-on boosters) first flew in February 2018 with a maiden flight from Cape Canaveral — you may recall that rocket carried a Tesla ‘Roadster’ into space. The reusable Falcon Heavy is currently the world’s most powerful rocket, in terms of payload capacity. Unconfirmed reports now state that the rocket’s next flight, and its first commercial effort, will happen around mid-January when it is expected to carry two Middle East satellites into orbit, including Arabsat 6A.
The overall Arabsat mission is officially operated by the Saudi Arabia-based King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology and is comprised of three separate components. First, is Arabsat 6A. The second is the joint HellasSat-4 (wholly-owned by Arabsat) and SaudiGeoSat-1 satellite. The contract was signed in January of 2015. The satellites were built by Lockheed Martin.
Arabsat 6A will operate from 30.5 degrees East, while HellasSat/SaudiGeoSat will work from 39 degrees East.
Additionally, Chris is reporting that Arqiva, a major facilities, playout and satellite teleport operator, is exiting its playout business.
The company says it will be ‘business as usual’ for the near-future, but following a review of its Satellite & Media division, says it will not be renewing existing contracts with customers.
“We will gradually seek to exit playout and reposition our Occasional Use (OU) business, moving away from the uplink and distribution of events via satellite,” said Arqiva in a statement. “We will continue to operate in the live events space as a managed service provider and will be focusing our efforts on services that ensure content acquisition, contribution and distribution (including OTT and VOD). More broadly, we also see growth in our satellite data communications business.”
Arqiva’s statement said there would be no immediate redundancies and that its existing clients were aware of the company’s plans.
Arqiva refinanced some £600m of borrowing earlier in 2018. The company operates around 1,150 TV transmission sites in the UK as well as a further 1,500 radio transmission sites. Arqiva looks after about 8,000 telco cellular sites and also accesses more than 40 satellites from 80 uplink dishes from the firm’s five teleports. In its most recent Annual Report, Arqiva said the company manages the distribution of 1,100 international TV channels. (Source: Satnews)
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