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13 Dec 18. Intelsat General Introduces FlexAir: New End-to-End Managed Service for Government Aircraft. Seamless, Multi-Layered, Network Guarantees Availability for Any Mission, Any Time, Anywhere Intelsat EpicNG Delivers High Data Rate Transmissions, Redundancy, and Security Needed for Aircraft Missions Flexible and Scalable Service Models Enable Government Customers to Activate Services On-Demand and Generate Cost Efficiencies
Intelsat General Communications LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat, S.A. (NYSE: I), announced today that it is launching FlexAir, a managed end-to-end service providing cost-effective high-performance, in-flight broadband connectivity to a wide range of military aircraft to support en route communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications. FlexAir’s broadband service utilizes Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite fleet and integrates layers of high-throughput satellite (HTS) coverage from the company’s proven Intelsat EpicNG fleet with the company’s wide-beam satellites to deliver the added redundancy and security needed for the most critical missions. FlexAir also offers committed capacity for ISR applications such as sensor data, video transmission, and communications relay to deliver immediate access at 3 Mbps from the aircraft with optional scalability to 6 Mbps.
“FlexAir answers the call and delivers the performance and agility that government aviation requires,” said Skot Butler, president of Intelsat General. “With the multi-layered coverage of FlexAir, our government customers can ensure that each aircraft has global access and guaranteed availability whenever or wherever it is needed. The scalability, throughput and improved economies of scale provided by FlexAir enable government users to quickly address changing broadband demands while providing maximum mobility in the most cost-effective manner.”
Guaranteed Availability Whenever and Wherever it is Needed
FlexAir aggregates Intelsat’s high-performing space segment with the IntelsatOne ground infrastructure into a simplified and streamlined ecosystem. It is anchored on industry-leading technology and utilizes the redundancy created from a fabric of overlapping beams. As a result, government users are assured coverage and connectivity for any operation, conducted in any area of the world, without interruption.
Ensures High Data Rate Transmissions for any In-flight Scenario
Intelsat utilizes Ku-band, wide beams, spot beams, and frequency reuse technology to provide a host of customer benefits. Intelsat EpicNG, the company’s high-throughput satellites (HTS) can deliver up to 15x more throughput per satellite, ensuring high quality connectivity.
Multiple Intelsat EpicNG spot beams enable a high concentration of power on smaller areas, improving efficiency and the aggregate amount of capacity available. With the bigger channel size of bandwidth going into each Intelsat EpicNG beam, government organizations benefit from up to 10x the capacity of competitive offerings, ensuring that they can support 10x as many users without impacting performance. In addition, FlexAir is designed to be compatible with a wide range of fuselage and tail-mounted antennas, maximizing the performance of carriers for the various end-user antennas.
Delivers the Redundancy and Security that Critical Missions Demand
FlexAir leverages the security enhancements of Intelsat EpicNG’s advanced digital payload. The design of the digital payload enables the user to quickly identify when someone is trying to jam a signal and then quickly switch to a different beam, mitigating any impact from the interference attempt. FlexAir provides additional security as only designated beams with frequency bands carrying authorized signals that are cross-connected and as a result, any interfering signals are muted, analyzed, and mitigated.
Provides Flexible Service Plans Tailored to Operational and Budgetary Needs
The FlexAir service provides the most competitive offering in the marketplace, delivering the highest data rates at the lowest cost per bit. The service also enables government users to select among several service offerings, allowing them to choose the right plan based on their data rate and geographic needs without having to make an upfront commitment. With multi-layered, seamless, and consistent coverage, government users have the agility to optimize their service, provide a predictable cost structure that meets budget requirements, and deliver real value to Warfighters.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Dec 18. COMSAT Takes Flight with FlexAir: Intelsat General’s New Managed Service for Government Aviation. Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services and integrated communications, announced today that COMSAT, a leading operator of customized and secure end-to-end satellite communication services to the United States (U.S.) government, will be the first solutions partner to market FlexAir to U.S. government aviation users and coalition partners. FlexAir will deliver high performing, resilient broadband service for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as in-flight communications for government officials, troops and cargo aircraft.
COMSAT is adding FlexAir to its suite of airborne satellite communications services to continue to offer the Warfighter the best solution for their mission needs, where ever that may be worldwide. COMSAT will have immediate access to Intelsat’s global, flexible and proven Ku-band satellite fleet, including the Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites (HTS). FlexAir is unique as it is the first commercially available aeronautical service for 45cm-performance equivalent Ku-band antennas that is being provided to the government as a managed service with a predictable and affordable cost structure. FlexAir will enable government users to select among several service offerings, allowing them to choose the right plan based on their data rate and geographic needs without having to make an upfront commitment.
“FlexAir was designed with government users in mind,” said Skot Butler, Intelsat General’s president. “Global, seamless and scalable, FlexAir provides government aviation users with high performing, secure and cost-effective bandwidth that they can immediately access on demand. The high data rate transmissions delivered by the FlexAir service will enable a wide range of applications that will keep troops informed, provide greater situational awareness and ensure mission success.”
David Greenhill, president of COMSAT Inc., said, “COMSAT has led the way in airborne satellite communications for DoD and coalition partners for over three decades. The addition of Intelsat’s FlexAir offering to our portfolio highlights our commitment to bring the very best levels of service and innovation to our existing and future customer set.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Dec 18. GD and NASA Complete Laboratory Phase of Space Network Ground Segment. The Space Network Ground Segment System improves the efficient operation of the NASA Tracking Data Relay Satellite system, the communications hub for American low-Earth orbit satellites and NASA space missions.
General Dynamics Mission Systems announced today that it and a NASA team successfully completed the final laboratory System Acceptance Test (SAT) of NASA’s Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) project.
The test took place at the General Dynamics SGSS laboratory in Scottsdale, Arizona. Future system testing and evaluation will take place at NASA’s White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which serves as the operational headquarters for the NASA Space Network (SN).
Both the SN and the SGSS projects support NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) program. The transition from laboratory to on-site testing and operations validation means that all essential hardware, software and engineering of the new SN digital ground system are on schedule for its first Operational Readiness Review in 2019.
“The success of this final laboratory test is a testament to the close collaboration among the various General Dynamics and NASA teams,” said Manny Mora, a vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Mission Systems. “Together, we evaluated more than 430 system-level requirements.”
“The next chapter in the SGSS story is to continue end-to-end system testing, while training operators and maintenance teams on the new system,” said Mora.
NASA’s SN is a global communications network that consists of a ground and a space segment. The SGSS program is replacing the legacy ground segment, which is experiencing technology and hardware obsolescence. The space segment consists of a constellation of 10 geosynchronous Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS). The TDRS relay communicates data and command and control information from client spacecraft to the ground segment.
The General Dynamics-designed and built SGSS ground segment integrates commercial, digital technologies and custom capabilities to replace legacy SN ground segment components, while it continues day-to-day communications with more than 40 space missions, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. SGSS will be able to expand and support new NASA missions, in addition to those currently operated by the Space Network. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Dec 18. PM confirms home for Australian Space Agency. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews have today confirmed the permanent home of the Australian Space Agency. The agency will be located at Lot Fourteen at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site. The announcement is also key to the new Adelaide City Deal, with a memorandum of understanding signed today by Prime Minister Morrison and South Australian Premier Steven Marshall aimed at turbo-charging Adelaide’s economy and driving long-term investment in the city.
Prime Minister Morrison said South Australia was a key hub for innovation and the technology industry, making it the ideal home for the new Space Agency. “This agency is going to open doors for local businesses and Australian access to the US$345 bn global space industry,” the PM said.
Premier Marshall said long-term investment in Adelaide and its space sector would drive entrepreneurship and innovation while enhancing the city’s liveability. Establishing the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency in South Australia will launch our space and defence sectors to the next level,” he said.
Minister Andrews welcomed the announcement and congratulated Adelaide on being selected to host the Space Agency after putting forward the strongest case.
“We are committed to growing Australia’s space sector, and our government is also investing $260m to develop world-leading satellite capabilities, and to significantly increase GPS accuracy in our cities and regional areas,” Minister Andrews explained.
Minister Andrews expanded her comments: “Australia’s science, research and technology sectors are key in improving the competitiveness of Australian businesses – and only under our government’s strategic and strong economic management can these flourishing sectors continue to expand.”
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital will harness Adelaide’s greatest strengths – its cultural depth, research excellence and commercial potential.
“The agency location and the Adelaide City Deal will align to allow better management of population growth and city planning,” Minister Tudge said.
Richard Price, Chief Executive of the South Australian Space Industry Centre welcomed yesterday’s announcement saying it would build on the state’s long history of involvement and support for Australia’s defence and space industries.
“It’s a logical decision for South Australia to be home to the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency. Our state has a thriving space industry, world-leading educational institutes and a strong culture of innovation – all essential ingredients for the growth and development of Australia’s space industry,” he said.
The University of Adelaide congratulated South Australia on its successful bid to host the national space agency and looks forward to making a leading contribution to this sector for the future of the State and the nation.
Professor Pascale Quester, Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of Adelaide said, “With the announcement of the new national space agency, the University of Adelaide is uniquely placed to build on years of expertise in the fields of engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics and law, and their application to space.”
The University of Adelaide has had a long and proud involvement in Australia’s space industry, dating back more than 50 years. Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT, was designed, built and launched in 1967 by a team involving University of Adelaide physics researchers and Australia’s Weapons Research Establishment.
“The University of Adelaide is already delivering the technological expertise and graduates necessary to re-build Australia’s space industry,” said Professor Anton Middelberg, Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.
The Australian Space Agency will be located in Adelaide by mid-2019 and is set to employ 20 full-time equivalent staff in the city.(Source: Space Connect)
11 Dec 18. The U.S. Air Force’s first Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-built GPS III satellite is now encapsulated for its planned December 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01) underwent pre-launch processing, fueling and encapsulation at Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, Florida. During encapsulation, GPS III SV01 was sealed in its launch fairing, an aerodynamic, nose-cone shell that protects the satellite during launch. In the coming days, the fairing-enclosed satellite will be mounted to the rocket as launch preparations continue.
GPS III SV01 is the first of an entirely new design of GPS satellite which will help the Air Force modernize today’s GPS constellation with new technology and advanced capabilities. GPS III has three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than any of the GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a compatible signal with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo, improving connectivity for civilian users.
“The world is dependent on GPS. More than four bn military, commercial and civilian users connect with signals generated by GPS satellites every day,” said Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for Navigation Systems. “The launch of GPS III SV01 will be the first step in modernizing the Air Force’s GPS constellation with the most powerful and resilient GPS satellites ever designed and built.”
Lockheed Martin developed GPS III and manufactured GPS III SV01 at its advanced $128mGPS III Processing Facility near Denver. In September 2017, the Air Force declared the satellite “Available for Launch” (AFL) and had the company place it into storage. Last Summer the Air Force “called up” the satellite for launch and Lockheed Martin delivered it to Florida on August 20. The Air Force nicknamed the satellite “Vespucci” after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
GPS III SV01 is the first of 10 GPS III satellites originally ordered by the Air Force. GPS III SV03-08 are now in various stages of assembly and test. In August, the Air Force declared the second GPS III “AFL” and, in November, called GPS III SV02 up for 2019 launch.
In September, the Air Force selected Lockheed Martin for the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, an estimated $7.2bn opportunity to build up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites with additional capabilities. GPS IIIF builds off Lockheed Martin’s existing modular GPS III, which was designed to evolve with new technology and changing mission needs. On Sept. 26, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.4bn contract for support to start up the program and to contract the 11th and 12th GPS III satellite.
07 Dec 18. More opportunities for investment in space systems and services. The Australian Space Agency has signed a statement of strategic intent and co-operation with Nova Systems, opening the door for greater joint investment in space systems and services. The statement was signed after the 6th South Australia Space Forum by Dr Megan Clark AC, head of the Australian Space Agency, and Peter Nikoloff, director of Nova Group.
“Space activities are a global business. We are looking to this next generation of Australian companies like Nova Systems to help build the capability and competitiveness of Australia’s space sector,” Dr Clark said. “We want to inspire young Australians to pursue an education in STEM and support our space endeavours. We thank Nova Systems for their commitment to deliver specialist capability training to ensure a pipeline of thriving space engineers, leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the move will support the next generation of space entrepreneurs.
“The Liberal-National government is committed to supporting projects and partnerships in our space sector to create more Australian jobs and boost our economic growth,” Minister Andrews said. “The Australian Space Agency will help triple the size of our space sector to $12 bn annually by 2030, and create up to 20,000 new jobs, by working with partners like Nova Systems.”
Nova Systems said it is committed to “enhancing the capability and competitiveness of the Australian space sector” by supporting:
- Future satellite communications through the development of a combined commercial, research and development, and training and simulation ground station;
- Tackling the predictive and interpretation aspects of space situational awareness for the nation’s space-based infrastructure and improving the user-data interface;
- Specialist training and support to Australian industry and government in negotiating the certification and regulation of space systems;
- Provision of capability assurance services to enable Australasian space launch; and
- Student internships to support the development of Australia’s future space engineers.
“Nova Systems has a strategic interest in solving problems of national interest through enabling satellite communications, next generation ground stations and space situational technologies,” said Nova Systems Australia chief executive Steven Robinson.
“We are excited to collaborate and support projects and partnerships in the space sector that contribute to the generation of jobs, innovation and growth within the Australian economy.”
The federal government established the Australian Space Agency in July and will invest $41 m over the first four years of its development, as it aims to grow a globally respected space industry in Australia and use space to lift the national economy. (Source: Space Connect)
06 Dec 18. Perfect time for Aussie industry to capitalise on ‘cheap, powerful and amazing’ space economy. The 6th South Australia Space Forum has provided Australia’s space economy leaders with the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities, heralding a new era for the nation’s emerging space industry. The sun has truly risen on a new era for Australia’s space economy and the growing list of specialist companies that make up the nation’s growing space industry.
Critically, the 6th South Australia Space Forum, the first meeting since the formal announcement and creation of the Australian Space Agency (ASA) earlier this year, has kicked off a series of conversations invigorating the policy, academic and industry direction for the nation’s infant space industry.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall, who officially launched the event, welcomed the local and global leaders as they come together to shape the conversation and direction for the Australian space industry.
“This forum is the perfect opportunity for our space industry to better understand the needs of these sectors and explore new opportunities. In South Australia, we understand the importance of space as a source of inspiration and wonder for our young, aspiring engineers and scientists, as well as an enabler of future economic growth,” Premier Marshall said.
A core topic throughout the keynote speakers was Australia’s experience, expertise and status as a smart, innovative and disruptive ‘underdog’ nation, which is capable of leveraging these characteristics to reshape the local and global space industry.
Bad-ass breakthroughs: Modern innovation is different to past innovation
For keynote speaker Larry Keeley, co-founder and president of specialist innovation consultant Doblin, Australia’s space industry is synonymous with innovation. Australia’s recognised status as an underdog and innovative nation provides opportunity for the successful development of the domestic industry, despite the challenges facing not only Australia, but more broadly the world.
Twenty-first century innovation differs vastly from the innovation of the 20th century, with contemporary innovation driven by the elegant integration of known things, rather than the primary invention of new things.
“I don’t think I have to describe in Australia, how you have been the progenitors, the transformational architects of some technological marvels which have changed the world,” Keeley said.
Further to this, Keeley focused on the need for Australian policy makers, academics and industry leaders to “think big” and remain “conceptually agile”, to reshape the conversation and focus on challenging the existing challenges and paradigms that dominate the existing local and global space ecosystem.
Synthesising these concepts enables the nation’s policy leaders, academics and industry innovators to embrace Australia’s well respected position as a smart, innovative and disruptive ‘underdog’.
“It is time for you, the leaders in this room, no matter your role, whether a member of parliament, an entrepreneur, a scientist or the leader of a big business to be able to see the shifts, be omnipresent and instead of being fearful about them, like most people are, to say that’s the basis of a bad-ass breakthrough,” Keeley said, encouraging the forum attendees.
Australia’s history of ‘stitching’ together concepts, with practical applications, provides the nation with a unique advantage for leveraging the difference between contemporary and past innovation, the modern ecosystem is vastly different, as technology reduces the cost and maximises the potential markets for new developments.
Beyond the conceptual and theoretical process, Keeley reinforced the need for Australia’s space industry leaders to equally focus and direct their efforts toward achieving breakthroughs, not allowing them to remain theoretical or conceptual, to make bold advances and commercial decisions, to achieve the goal of thinking big.
Keeley expanded on the need to make bold commercial moves, saying, “In a perfect world, in the space agency for Australia, we should set the conditions to do a smaller number of bigger things and we should make it easy for individual firms and individual entrepreneurs, universities or researchers to do those type of things over time.”
Government certainty is key to a dynamic Australian space sector
For Michael Davis, chairman of the Australian Space Industry Association, there are a number of obstacles to overcome the development of a dynamic, competitive and innovative domestic space sector.
Core to Davis’ push is the need for consistent, direct leadership from government, which is now provided by the recently minted Australian Space Agency, which Davis congratulated for the agility and direct action taken towards engaging and collaborating with key local and global partners, across industry, academia and government organisations.
Despite this early success, Davis remains concerned about the ASA falling out of political favour, similar to the collapse of the Australian Space Office in the mid-1990s following a lack of government financial and policy support.
“We drew on examples from similarly sized countries with commercially focused space agencies and we pointed out in the case of the UK, Canada, France and Norway. We pointed out that the governments of those countries, each invest between .016 and .07 per cent of GDP in space agency funding, if the lower of those figures were applied to Australia, the budget for our agency would be $250 m a year,” Davis said.
Additionally, the transfer of large-scale space projects from traditional government organisations like NASA and ESA, to private industry leaders, like SpaceX and Blue Origin, combined with the increasing democratisation of space, lower costs for accessing space, cheaper satellite technology and the increasing strategic importance of space for defence and national security and finally, the development of Australian space start-ups are all trends which can provide avenues to sustain a dynamic space industry, separate from direct government intervention and direction.
Nevertheless, government, particularly as a key door opener and connector for developing Australia’s space industry, “We increasingly have a number of political champions, keen to support Australia’s space industry, like Premier Marshall and his predecessor, premier [Jay] Weatherill, Minister [for Industry, Science and Technology Karen] Andrews and her predecessors in Canberra, combined with the other political support in the other states and territories around Australia.”
Combining each of these individual’s mounting public engagement with space, supported by increased media coverage, all serves to enhance the necessity of continued political support in Davis’ eyes.
Further to this, the nation’s geographic and social position and the global recognition of Australia’s scientific experience, expertise and industry skill, further enhances Australia’s capacity to engage in a meaningful way both locally with domestic industry, but more broadly with the international government and industry partners, which have been supported by the ASA.
Domestic R&D is key
Building on these, the growing need for a dedicated Australian research and development organisation is critical to supporting both private and public space developments. In Davis’ mind, the Space Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), universities and industry combined can support the increasing commercialisation of the domestic space industry.
“If our industry is smart enough to meet this demand in Australia and has the right forms of support, the targeted growth in jobs and the overall size in the space economy will see a result and the agency will be able show that it has met its mission,” Davis said.
Despite this, Davis remained “cautiously optimistic” that the goal of tripling the size of Australia’s space industry by 2030 is achievable if the individual contributing sectors are adequately supported, financially and politically into the future. Supported by the Australian Space Agency and the Space Industry Association of Australia, the biannual South Australia Space Forum provides the opportunity to stimulate ideas, share information about emerging technologies and discuss industry trends. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Dec 18. NSSLGlobal Acquires Station 711 from MX1. NSSLGlobal and MX1, a fully owned subsidiary of SES, have entered into an agreement under which NSSLGlobal has acquired the assets and activities of Station 711, a business unit within MX1 focused on providing the maritime market with innovative communication solutions. Station 711 is a fully-fledged Inmarsat Tier 1 Distribution Partner and Value-Added Reseller for FleetBroadband and Global Xpress. Station 711 has been servicing maritime customers for the last 20 years in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and is renowned for its on-board value added services.
NSSLGlobal will — as part of the acquisition — take over all activities of Station 711, including smart@sea, crewtalk and Station 711’s Customer Network Infrastructure. The acquisition was completed on November 30th 2018.
Henrik Christensen, CEO, NSSLGlobal Continental Europe said that with this acquisition, NSSLGlobal gains access to new customers, markets and innovative solutions, and thus consolidates its position as one of the world’s premier maritime satellite communication providers, servicing more than 3,000 vessels globally with L-, Ku- and Ka-band services.
Zeev Steinlauf, General Manager, Station 711, added that NSSLGlobal and Station 711 have a common go-to-market philosophy based around bringing value to customers through differentiation and excellent customer service — customers and employees will benefit from being part of the NSSLGlobal group going forward. (Source: Satnews)
03 Dec 18. SpaceX’s Launch is Biggest Ever from the U.S. of a Single Rideshare, 64 Smallsats from 17 Countries. Today’s successful launch, from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, of SpaceX’s SmallSat mission was the first of its kind in the U.S. as the largest single rideshare mission from a U.S.-based launch vehicle carrying 64 smallsats from 17 countries.
With a launch requiring 300,000 lbs of thrust the Falcon 9 soared and separated its payload according to schedule and then the ‘cherry on top’ of the launch was that this Falcon 9’s first stage returned and landed perfectly on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, making this the third successful return for this Falcon 9, which until now, no SpaceX rocket has yet flown more than two missions.
The original launch date was supposed to have been on November 19, but SpaceX delayed the SmallSat Express mission to conduct additional tests. Since then inclimate weather caused subsequent delays.
A series of six deployments occurred approximately 13-43 minutes after liftoff, after which Spaceflight began to command its own deployment sequences. Spaceflight’s deployments are expected to occur over a period of six hours. The mission includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from commercial and government entities, such as universities, startups, and even a middle school.
The payloads, which vary from technology demonstrations and imaging satellites to educational research endeavors, are from 17 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, U.K., Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Brazil, and India. Some of those smaller satellites aim to build an internet network capable of supporting smart devices back on Earth’s surface. Nearly all of the satellites on SpaceX’s payload aim to prove that a combination of smaller, simpler and cheaper satellites can perform the same complex functions as much larger, more expensive satellites.
Spaceflight also constructed a unique payload stack, which is one of the most complex and intricate endeavors that Spaceflight has undertaken. The smallsats will be integrated with a variety of dispensers and avionics to an upper free flyer and lower free flyer. (Source: Satnews)
03 Dec 18. Smallsats from Scotland Aim to Revolutionize Work in Space. Two smallsats built in Glasgow, Scotland, and funded by the UK Space Agency have been launched and they will monitor weather and help combat global climate change. The two ‘first of a kind’ 5 kg. satellites, which were designed and built by Spire Global, are unique due to their function, tiny size, low cost and quick build time. This genre of satellite could revolutionize work in space, which has traditionally been slow and expensive for business and science to access.
Both satellites, which were developed under the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) ARTES Pioneer program (the UK is the largest funder to ARTES), will aim to prove the value of smallsats in weather monitoring by using them to measure refracted radio signals passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. Experts can use the satellite’s measurements to glean temperature, pressure and humidity information for weather forecasting and climate change monitoring.
These smallsats were launched from Sriharikota, India, by the Indian Space Research Organisation; however, starting in the 2020s, these home-grown spacecraft could be launched from a UK-based spaceport.
The UK Space Agency is also supporting a space incubation centre in Glasgow and has provided support over several years to the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, based at the University of Strathclyde and working across the entirety of Scotland. The Centre’s role is to raise awareness of the potential of satellite services and data to be used in new and improved products and services in other “space enabled” markets – including, for example, offshore renewable energy and aquaculture.
The UK Space Agency is driving the growth of the space sector as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy with major initiatives including the £99m National Space Test Facility at Harwell, =and the UK continues to be a leading member of ESA, which is independent of the EU.
Graham Turnock, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency said that these incredibly clever pint-sized satellites built in Glasgow could slash the complexity and cost of access to space, presenting an exciting opportunity for the UK to thrive in the commercial space age. Through the agency’s £4 m development funding in ESA’s ARTES program, the government’s Industrial Strategy and by working closely with our international partners, we are helping Scottish businesses transform their ideas into commercial realities, resulting in jobs, growth and innovation.
Khalil Kably, Pioneer Program Manager for the European Space Agency added that a gap was noted in the market for what is called Space Mission Providers: companies that offer all aspects of a space mission to validate a new technology or service for the benefit of others. ESA is always looking to champion innovation in the space industry, and the idea of Pioneer is that these Space Mission Providers can help this by being a one-stop-shop for in-orbit demonstration and therefore reduce the barriers and complexity that can stifle new ideas.
Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global, added that Spire has been focused on developing unique data sources with high frequency updates for the entire Earth and has more than 60 LEMUR-2 class satellites deployed in space with a complementary global ground station network. Under Pioneer, the company can offer extensive experience in the manufacturing and management of smallsats, like these, to those who cannot afford to waste money and time to do it themselves. This work with ESA helps further support the global development of commercial aerospace’s potential to make space access universal. (Source: Satnews)
06 Dec 18. The Harris HSAT Smallsat Orbiting and Communicating in Good Order. Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) successfully launched and communicated with their first small satellite from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, showcasing the company’s ability to provide complete end-to-end mission solutions for the fast-growing smallsat market. Harris Satellite (HSAT) is a briefcase-size 6U smallsat that provides an affordable solution for defense and commercial customers with high-speed satellite communications requirements. Designed to fly in LEO, the satellite features a persistent, resilient mission architecture that can be reconfigured after launch, reducing risk for customers.
HSAT furthers the company’s 50-year legacy providing satellites with advanced, miniaturized technology capabilities. Harris will operate the smallsat from its satellite operations center and ground station in Palm Bay, Florida. Initial on orbit testing indicates HSAT is performing as expected. Harris has been awarded multiple smallsat pathfinder missions in advance of launching HSAT. The company is adapting technologies used in its high-performance sensors and payloads, satellite ground systems, and advanced data analytics capabilities for smallsat platforms to safely leverage NewSpace benefits for critical mission needs.
Bill Gattle, president, Harris Space and Intelligence System, stated that HSAT’s successful launch and initial testing showcases the company’s ability to design, build and operate a small, lightweight satellite that can be affordably launched as a ‘rideshare’ with other satellites on the same rocket. The satellite can then be reconfigured in space — enabling customers to upgrade or reprogram the application on orbit. (Source: Satnews)
03 Dec 18. Chinese Company Reveals First Satellite of Many in Plan to Offer Free Worldwide Wi-Fi. A Chinese technology company has unveiled the first satellite in an ambitious plan to provide free Wi-Fi service around the globe by 2026. The satellite, developed by Shanghai-based LinkSure Network, will be launched into space with the Long March rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-west China next year. Another 10 satellites will be launched by 2020 and the constellation will have 272 satellites in total. People would be able to gain free access to internet services provided by the system and browse the web in remote regions where telecom networks do not cover, according to the company.
Similar space-bound internet systems are under development by various tech companies, including Google, SpaceX, OneWeb, Facebook and Canada-based Telesat.
Named the LinkSure Swarm Constellation System, the Chinese mobile internet firm set up its official satellite team in 2016 and plans to invest 3 bn yuan (£338 m) into the project, according to China Daily citing CEO Wang Jingying.
Despite the sky-high cost, the system is expected to be applied in communication, navigation, environment monitoring and other areas.
Chinese aerospace technologist Huang Zhicheng said space projects have always been risky and costly, adding that such projects do not see returns for several years and investors should be patient.
According to statistics released by the United Nations, 3.9 bn users still did not have access to the Internet at the end of 2017.
A previous report published by Morgan Stanley estimates the space industry will grow into an economy worth more than US$1.1 trillion (£861 bn) by 2040.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk first pitched his global broadband system in 2015, called Starlink, with the aim of boosting capacity and reducing latency in heavily populated areas.
The original plan consisted of 4,425 satellites and the US Federal Communications Commission this month approved its plans to launch another 7,518 satellites into orbit, bringing the total number to a massive network of 11,943 satellites. In February this year, the project successfully launched the first two Starlink demo satellites, named Tintin A and Tintin B from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California. (Source: Satnews)
03 Dec 18. Advantech Wireless Technologies, of Baylin Technologies, is Moving in Canada. Advantech Wireless Technologies (“Advantech”) is set to relocate to a modern, state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility in Kirkland, Quebec. This new facility is a short 15 minute drive from the company’s current location and the move will be completed by the end of the 2018 calendar year. In January of 2018, Baylin Technologies (“Baylin”) acquired the Advantech name, logo, and brand along with the RF product lines comprised of Solid State Power Amplifiers, Frequency Converters, SNG Antennas and Terrestrial Microwave products.
The former owners retained the VSAT and SCPC modem lines. Additionally, in July 2018, Baylin purchased Alga Microwave & MitecVSAT, bringing increased engineering and manufacturing capabilities to the collective. The facility in Kirkland will house the operations of Advantech, Alga and MitecVSAT and together these teams will efficiently deliver one of the most ambitious R&D road maps in the industry.
Over the past four months, Baylin has made significant investments in the facility creating one of the best state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the SATCOM industry. The consolidated operation will incorporate leading edge equipment, enhanced quality systems, advanced ESD protection, and superior working conditions which will optimize our operational efficiency, ensure the highest quality outputs and significantly reduce delivery lead-times. (Source: Satnews)
02 Dec 18. Kepler’s on the CASE with their Second Smallsat Launch via the ISRO’s PSLV-C43 Rocket. Kepler Communications successfully launched their second, wideband satellite to LEO on the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C43 mission that lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. Kepler’s latest satellite within the company’s network will be used to deliver service to early customers. The first satellite was launched in January 2018. Both satellites carry a Ku-band payload onboard that is used for wideband connectivity. The third satellite will launch in 2019 and will provide narrowband connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The lessons learned from almost a year of operating the first satellite were incorporated into the development of the second to improve the reliability. Kepler has already demonstrated a capability to deliver upwards of 40 Mbps to 60 cm. diameter VSAT and more than 300 Mbps to Kepler’s 3.4m gateway in Inuvik, Canada. Kepler also became the first company to use a wideband LEO satellite to acquire, track, and communicate with an electronically-steered antenna when Kepler and Phasor performed their collaborative demonstration. As Kepler builds out the capabilities on their satellite infrastructure, the company is also adding capacity on their ground segment. In addition to their gateway deployed in Inuvik, Canada, Kepler has also recently deployed ground stations on Svalbard and in New Zealand. As new ground stations and gateways are added, Kepler is able to increase the reliability of their communication service and decrease the latency of customer data delivery.
CASE was built in collaboration with ÅAC Clyde and Bright Ascension Ltd. The satellite payload is Kepler’s proprietary software defined radio and antenna that uses Enclustra and AHA (of Comtech EF) components. The Kepler ground support network was built in collaboration with Comtech EF Data, Kongsberg Satellite Services, and Innovative Solutions in Space. The satellite was launched by Antrix Corporation Ltd., a wholly owned Government of India company, with the support of ISED, Canada for licensing.
Kepler’s ultimate goal is to deliver in-space connectivity to address the data need from space faring assets, and support the future space economy. However, Kepler’s network currently focuses on delivering wideband and narrowband connectivity. With this launch on the back of receiving FCC market access authorization and the announcement of Kepler’s 16M USD Series A round of financing, the company is well poised to take a leadership role in LEO communications.
Mina Mitry, CEO of Kepler, said this is an exciting month for Kepler. Following the company’s recent FCC approval, the successful launch of the firm’s next satellite marks an important milestone for the team to deliver Kepler’s network on schedule. This is but the start of an upcoming and regular launch cadence. The company continues to increase network capacity and deliver a more persistent, reliable, service to our customers every step a long the way. (Source: Satnews)
02 Dec 18. Two Informative Papers Published by Aerospace Corporation — the New Game Changer Series. The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) has released two papers that are part of a new “Game Changer” series — this new publication series provides valuable insight into new and emerging breakthrough technologies that could introduce significant advancements and portend transformative implications for the space sector.
The first paper, Neuromorphic Computing: The Potential for High-Performance Processing in Space, focuses on the latest developments in neural processing units, which mimic certain functional aspects of the human brain. The brain-inspired architecture enables autonomous analysis of a vast array of incoming information from multiple sources, data retention in case of power loss, and reduction of power consumption.
Authors Dr. Gennadi Bersuker, Dr. Maribeth Mason and Karen L. Jones explain that neuromorphic computing has demonstrated the potential to overcome constraints on power and speed to enable autonomous sensing and intelligent operations without internet connections. “Neuromorphic computing will eventually prove to be a game changer for edge computing capabilities and space is the ultimate edge environment.”
Bersuker said that he and the other co-authors assessed the neuromorphic computing market of hardware innovators in both the R&D and commercial sectors. “We also identified triggers that could advance or mature neuromorphic hardware from a technology demonstration phase to rapid growth and broader market adoption,” he said.
Jones emphasized that there is no easy path to adopting neuromorphic computing in the space sector. “The successful introduction of neuromorphic computing to space systems will depend on the space sector’s ability to “spin in” neuromorphic computing innovations from the commercial and the R&D sectors.”
The second paper, Cost Reductions and Fuel Efficiency: High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion in Space, explores the impact of high-power solar electric propulsion (HPSEP) on the future of space from satellite acquisition and space architecture perspectives.
Authors Joshua P. Davis, John P. Mayberry and Jay P. Penn identified and assessed various types of space propulsion systems that could replace some or all of the traditional chemical propulsion systems used for orbit raising. The paper also highlights how HPSEP could significantly reduce launch capacity needs by allowing multi-manifesting of spacecraft or the use of smaller launch vehicles to lower launch costs.
“The HPSEP thruster and solar array technologies are poised to take electric propulsion from a technology relegated to stationkeeping and orbit maintenance duties,” said Davis. “It has the potential to take over a significant portion of the orbit-raising function that is currently done by launch vehicle upper stages and chemical propulsion systems.”
Jamie Morin, VP and Executive Director for CSPS said that the company is pleased to offer the Game Changer series at a time when the space industry is undergoing rapid change. This new series provides factual and timely analysis of market trends, lifecycle, and technology triggers to advance maturity in the market. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.