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19 Dec 18. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, is announcing upgrades to its KG-142 network encryptor device (KG-142) for military and government customers. The upgraded KG-142 supports the shift to cloud-centered communications, providing added flexibility for customers and significantly reducing the size, weight, power and overall cost for today’s cloud networks. Viasat’s KG-142 network encryptor is part of the Company’s industry-leading portfolio of National Security Agency (NSA) certified network encryption solutions, which are designed to ensure military and government customers’ most sensitive information can be trusted and transmitted securely across today’s digital battlespace—from the cloud to the tactical edge.
The KG-142 is designed to protect top secret/sensitive compartmented information for government agencies for very high-bandwidth applications, such as cloud computing and big data processing – delivering reliable, network-efficient protection for Layer 2 Ethernet communications. Added flexibility available on the KG-142 will allow customers to operate up to 32 simultaneous peer-to-peer connections over one to four 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) or one 100Gbps Ethernet channels, increasing bandwidth and reducing overall life cycle cost. In addition, the KG-142 is field-upgradable to meet evolving interoperability standards and mission demands.
“Upgrades to our KG-142 network encryptor will deliver the speed and flexibility needed to ease migration to cloud-centered solutions and dramatically enhance network security for government and defense agencies operating around the globe,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “With the new innovations available on the KG-142, Viasatcontinues to have the broadest industry portfolio of Type 1 certified network encryptors today with speeds ranging from 20 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 200Gbps aggregate. The KG-142 meets government standards for national security communications with unprecedented speed and flexibility.”
Viasat’s Information Assurance product line, including the KG-142, is continually updated to support evolving mission needs. With the latest upgrades, Viasat’s KG-142 is now capable of operating at selectable speeds ranging from 20Gbps to 200Gbps aggregate, and supports multiple point-to-point connections, enabling today’s ever-increasing volume, velocity, and variety of data to be transmitted quicker and more securely than ever before.
The NSA certification authorizes U.S. Government organizations to purchase the KG-142 network encryptor, which is available today.
19 Dec 18. Orbital Sidekick Deploys ISS Sensor System. Orbital Sidekick (OSK) announces the successful deployment of its first-generation hyperspectral system on the NanoRacks External Platform on-board the International Space Station (ISS). The system is designed to enable efficient monitoring of energy assets and infrastructure integrity using OSK’s proprietary Spectral Intelligence™ platform. Orbital Sidekick will initially provide monitoring solutions to the energy industry, leveraging extensive capabilities in aerial and space-based hyperspectral imaging and analytics. Current methods used by the industry fall short in providing scalable monitoring & early leak detection capabilities. With its Spectral IntelligenceTM analytics platform, OSK converts hyperspectral data into actionable information that can be used to optimize safety operations in the oil and gas industry while also achieving compliance obligations. According to MarketsandMarkets Research, the global pipeline monitoring systems market is estimated to grow from USD 4.13bn in 2015 to USD 8.72bn by 2026.
With the deployment of its first-generation sensor system on the ISS, OSK will unlock persistent monitoring services for its customers and further develop its propriety system for the needs of the global Energy sector. The firm ultimately aims to leverage its expertise and extend its capabilities to the Defense, Agriculture and Infrastructure sectors.
OSK has already received backing from the US Air Force, recently announcing that AFWERX, the United States Air Force program with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the service, has awarded OSK a Phase I SBIR contract for dual use technology pertaining to its space-based hyperspectral sensor on-board the International Space Station.
In 2019, OSK will team with Loft Orbital to deploy a second-generation hyperspectral payload, providing a high frequency monitoring solution that meets industry demands, while utilizing the partnerships, product testing and intelligence-gathering activity already underway. Loft Orbital provides affordable and reliable access to space infrastructure.
“Our team is already digging into the powerful data generated by our ISS-HEIST payload,” said Dan Katz, CEO & Co-Founder of Orbital Sidekick. “Beyond our primary commercial use case in the Energy sector, we plan on providing disaster monitoring services to deeply affected areas, particularly those close to home here in California.”
Katz continued, “NanoRacks has been instrumental in helping us bring this amazing hyperspectral capability to fruition on their ISS External Platform, and we’re incredibly excited to begin working with the Loft Orbital team on our 2019 mission.”
OSK currently operates aerial pilot programs with multiple oil & gas pipeline operators to deliver Spectral IntelligenceTM for asset integrity and regulatory compliance monitoring. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
19 Dec 18. Lockheed and SpaceX team up on GPS III satellite. Lockheed Martin has partnered with SpaceX to launch the GPS III satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida to support the US Air Force’s satellite modernisation program. GPS III SV01 is the first of an entirely new design of GPS satellite, which will help the Air Force modernise 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. The spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 per cent 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.
Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin vice president for navigation systems said, “The world is dependent on GPS. More than 4 billion military, commercial and civilian users connect with signals generated by GPS satellites every day.”
Lockheed Martin developed GPS III and manufactured GPS III SV01 at its advanced US$128m GPS 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 20 August. 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.
“The launch of GPS III SV01 will be the first step in modernising the Air Force’s GPS constellation with the most powerful and resilient GPS satellites ever designed and built,” Caldwell explained.
In September, the Air Force selected Lockheed Martin for the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, an estimated US$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 26 September, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a US$1.4bn contract for support to start up the program and to contract the 11th and 12th GPS III satellite. Launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites, and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. (Source: Space Connect)
19 Dec 18. France launches military imaging satellite. Who’s involved, and what it can do? France has launched the first of three identical military imaging satellites, which, when they reach full operational capability at the end of 2021, will replace the aging Helios system and provide 800 very high-resolution black and white, color, and infrared images per day for European military and civilian intelligence agencies.
CSO-1 (Composante Spatiale Optique, or Optical Space Component), made by Airbus Defence and Space as well as Thales Alenia Space, was launched by a Soyuz rocket on Dec. 19 from the European space base in Kourou, French Guiana, 24 hours late because of high-altitude winds.
This 3.5-ton satellite and its sister CSO-3 — to be launched by the new Ariane 6 European rocket in October 2021 — are very high-resolution observation satellites that orbit 800 kilometers above Earth. The CSO-2, an extremely high-resolution identification satellite — to be launched by a Soyuz rocket in May 2020 — will orbit Earth at an altitude of 480 kilometers. At this altitude, the satellite will need to automatically reset its orbit twice a day to compensate for the planet’s gravitational pull.
Completing the €1.485m (U.S. $1.688m) CSO system are the SSM ground mission base in Toulouse, southwest France (operated by the CNES French government space agency) and the SSU ground user center at the CMOS Military Center for Observation by Satellite at the 1/92 Bourgogne French Air Force Base in Creil, just north of Paris.
CMOS will receive and prioritize all image requests from France, but also from CSO partners Belgium, Germany and Sweden (Italy will sign up in early 2019).
The center also currently manages requests from Greece and Spain, in addition to those countries mentioned above, for images from the Helios system — of which they are all (except for Germany) co-owners.
All images will be centralized at CMOS before they’re dispatched to clients. In addition to this main SSU center, there will be 29 deployable units and 20 fixed units once the CSO system is fully operational.
The images will be downloadable every 90 minutes — instead of every six hours, as is currently the case with the Helios system — thanks to the Kiruna ground station in northern Sweden, which will be more often be within the satellite’s swath than the CMOS, which is more than 2,000 kilometers further south.
“This will considerably shorten the time lapse between a request being issued and the image being received by the client,” Gilles Chalon, director of the CNES observation service, said at the launch.
The telescope carried by each satellite is more agile than those carried by 14-year-old Helios 2A and 9-year-old Helios 2B, which can only take infrared and black and white images. The newer telescopes mean photos of a particular geographical zone can be taken at a variety of different angles as the satellite passes over the area.
Specific image resolution information is classified, but Jean-Baptiste Pin, director of the MUSIS-CSO program at the DGA French procurement agency, said the CSO-2 will supply images at an extremely high resolution — a level of detail only attainable by airborne captors.
“The quality of the image is without equivalent in Europe,” he said, “but what is important is the agility” of the system. This means that the satellite’s image-taking program can be modified in real time to meet an urgent request.
Chalon explained that he could not describe the focal planes in detail, but said “they are stuffed full of innovations.” He added that the black and white images could be combined with the color images to give analysts a more comprehensive picture.
He also noted that 3D imagery — a capability of the three CSO variants — helps with precision targeting and avoiding collateral damage in a bombing campaign.
CSO is a component of Europe’s €1.75bn MUSIS, or Multinational Space-based Imaging System. This initiative, born at the end of 2006 and involving Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, aims to replace all of Europe’s military and civilian-military space-based observation systems. Today these consist of France’s two optical Helios II military satellites and two optical Pleiades dual satellites; Germany’s SAR-Lupe five-satellite military radar system; and Italy’s Cosmo-Skymed four-satellite dual-radar system. These radar systems allow for observation through thick clouds.
Germany is developing the SARah radar system to replace SAR-Lupe and is also financially participating in the development of CSO-3, while Italy is working on CSG (Cosmo-Skymed Second Generation) as well as a common interoperability layer, which will render the CSG and CSO interoperable. Spain is working on a wide field-of-view optical component known as Ingenio.
Pin said the objective was to “avoid any capacity gap at the end of Helios II,” whose lifespan was set at five years. The COS satellites’ lifespan is 10 years.
The MUSIS partners will have joint and federated access to a new generation of space-based observation capabilities. However, bilateral agreements, such as the one signed between France and Sweden, will allow other European nations to join.
Wednesday’s launch also marked the first step in the French Armed Forces Ministry’s five-year, €3.6bn plan to completely renovate its spaceborne capabilities.
As part of this space strategy France will in 2020 launch three CERES — electromagnetic, military and intelligence gathering satellites. By 2022, France will launch the first two of three Syracuse IV military communication satellites with the third ready by 2030. From 2024, the armed forces’ satellite navigation system will be modernized under a program called Omega, which will bring an autonomous geolocation capability able to use both GPS and the signal from Galileo, a European Union satellite navigation system.
The director of the DGA, Joel Le Barre, has promised to “open these programs to our European partners.” (Source: Defense News)
18 Dec 18. Groundbreaking nanosatellite imaging technology will revolutionize how we manage climate change. The infrared hyperspectral camera is smaller, lighter and cheaper, and able to alert us to major environmental catastrophes in near real-time. A pioneering Finnish nanosatellite has now reached space equipped with the world’s smallest infrared hyperspectral camera. The photos with infrared data taken from the satellite provide new solutions for monitoring and managing the effects of climate change. The hyperspectral camera is a trailblazing innovation from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The Reaktor Hello World nanosatellite was launched into space on 29 November by the Finnish space technology startup Reaktor Space Lab.
In the past, hyperspectral imaging – the simultaneous collection of the optical spectrum at each point in an image – was feasible only with larger, exorbitantly priced satellites. The larger satellites also came with significant restrictions: a single satellite provides new data only when passing over a specific location and produces new imagery on several-day intervals.
New tiny nanosatellites, such as the Reaktor Hello World satellite, weighing only a couple of kilograms are relatively cheap and fast to build. In groups, nanosatellites can form cost-efficient constellations. With the help of the new Finnish imaging technology, nanosatellites are now able to collect critical, nearly real-time data on the state of our planet. That development has far-reaching benefits for monitoring climate change.
The groundbreaking innovation comes at a pivotal time as climate change continues apace. “This particular type of imaging data makes it possible to monitor the status of carbon sink resources. It also enables optimization of food production and reducing environmental load caused by agriculture, providing a way to sense water irrigation needs and optimize the use of fertilizers in fields,” says Anna Rissanen, Research Team Leader at VTT.
Unique hyperspectral data can help predict natural disasters such as forest fires
The infrared wavelength region shown by the hyperspectral imager contains a significant amount of data. That data can be used to recognize ground targets such as fields, forests, mines or built infrastructure and analyze their features based on unique spectral fingerprints. Such features could be related to the presence of chemicals like fertilizers, biomass content or rock species, for example. Hyperspectral imagers can also monitor vegetation health and the composition of greenhouse gases.
“This new technology will allow us to react to global environmental changes in near real time. That opens up many new business opportunities as well as ways to combat climate change,” says Tuomas Tikka, CEO of Reaktor Space Lab, Reaktor’s portfolio company that specializes in building advanced nanosatellites for space-based services.
The first images were taken on 2nd of December over the Sahara desert and they were downloaded from the Reaktor Hello World during the first weeks of December.
”The image above Sahara shows how the water content of an area can be determined and mapped based on infrared spectral image data,” explains Antti Näsilä, Senior Scientist at VTT and the leading technical expert for the camera development of the Reaktor Hello World nanosatellite mission.
“This type of information could prove crucial for areas fighting drought or forest fires, both of which are becoming more common with the changing climate. In the future, nanosatellite constellations could provide, for instance, concurring updates about the severity of the droughts in each neighborhood in California”, says Näsilä.
The hyperspectral imager and nanosatellite technology in detail
The infrared hyperspectral imager on board the Reaktor Hello World nanosatellite is a small, lightweight, 2D-snapshot tunable spectral imager operating in the short-wave infrared spectra (900–1400 nm). The world’s first nanosatellite compatible hyperspectral imager built by VTT was launched on board the Aalto-1 satellite in June 2017, demonstrating hyperspectral imaging for visible and VNIR range (500 – 900 nm). Now, the technology has successfully been extended to cover also the infrared range. In the future, the team believes that this hyperspectral imaging technology can bring completely new solutions for space exploration.
18 Dec 18. Trump signs order to create US Space Command. President Donald Trump launched the Pentagon’s new Space Command on Tuesday, an effort to better organize and advance the military’s vast operations in space that could cost as much as $800m over the next five years.
Trump signed a one-page memorandum Tuesday authorizing the Department of Defense to create the new command.
The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend U.S. assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance. The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.
The new order is separate from the president’s much-touted goal of creating a “Space Force” as an independent armed service branch, but is considered a first step in that direction. The memo provides little detail on what will be a long and complicated process as the Defense Department begins to pull together various space units from across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.
According to one U.S. official, the command would pull about 600 staff from existing military space offices, and then add at least another 1,000 over the coming years. The roughly $800m would mainly cover the additional staff. The costs for the existing staff would just transfer to the new command, but that total was not immediately available.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations not yet announced.
Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, said that establishing Space Command is “a critical step in accelerating our space capabilities and posture to defend our vital national interests and deter our adversaries. This combatant command will lead space operations and develop space war-fighting doctrine, tactics and techniques.”
He added that the Pentagon will continue to develop a legislative proposal to meet the president’s vision for a space force.
The first steps next year will be to nominate top leaders for Space Command, including a four-star general and a deputy. The command would likely at least begin to take form in Colorado, where the current Joint Functional Component Command for Space is already located. But there has been no final decision on a location for the new command.
Funding for the command will be included in the budget for fiscal 2020, which will be unveiled in February.
Trump’s order accelerates what has been a decades-long effort to reorganize and improve the military’s technological advances in space, which at times has gotten less attention as the Air Force has focused on warplanes and other combat priorities.
The military’s role in space has been under scrutiny because the United States is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are difficult to protect. Satellites provide communications, navigation, intelligence and other services vital to the military and the national economy.
Over the past year, the issue gained urgency amid growing competition and threats from adversary nations.
U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russia and China were pursuing “nondestructive and destructive” anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war. And there are growing worries about cyberattacks that could target satellite technology, potentially leaving troops in combat without electronic communications or navigation abilities.
A U.S. Space Command existed from 1985 to 2002, but was disbanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks so that U.S. Northern Command could be established, focusing on defense of the homeland.
Although Space Command went away, its functions remained and were absorbed by U.S. Strategic Command. The Air Force retained its lead role in space through Air Force Space Command. That existing space command will be a key component of the new joint entity, raising space to the same status as other headquarters such as U.S. Cyber Command, Special Operations Command or Strategic Command.
The new Space Command will also pull from existing units in the other services, such as Army Space and Missile Command and the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. (Source: Defense News)
18 Dec 18. Rocket Lab launches NASA CubeSats from New Zealand. US small satellite launch company Rocket Lab has successfully deployed satellites to orbit for NASA, which lifted off from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The mission, the 19th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa-19), took place just a month after Rocket Lab’s last successful orbital launch. It’s the company’s third orbital mission of 2018, launching a total of 24 satellites to orbit in the year.
After being launched to orbit, Electron’s Curie engine-powered kick stage separated from the vehicle’s second stage and, just under an hour into the mission, 13 satellites were individually deployed to their designated orbits.
“The ELaNa-19 mission was a significant one for NASA, the Rocket Lab team and the small satellite industry overall. To launch two missions just five weeks apart, and in the first year of orbital flights, is unprecedented. It’s exactly what the small satellite industry desperately needs, and Rocket Lab is proud to be delivering it. Regular and reliable launch is now a reality for small satellites. The wait is over,” said Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck.
“We’re providing small satellite customers with more control than they’ve ever had, enabling them to launch on their own schedule, to precise orbits, as frequently as they need to.”
Launch opportunities for small satellites have traditionally been limited to rideshare-type arrangements, with this mission being the first time NASA CubeSats received an individual ride to orbit on a commercial launch vehicle, coming about because of a Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Agreement.
“The CubeSats of ELaNa-19 represent a large variety of scientific objectives and technology demonstrations. With this the first launch of a Venture Class Launch Service on the Rocket Lab Electron, NASA now has an option to match our small satellite missions with a dedicated small launch vehicle to place these satellites in an optimal orbit to achieve big results,” said NASA ELaNa-19 mission manager Justin Treptow. (Source: Space Connect)
18 Dec 18. CSIRO chosen to manage ESA station. CSIRO has been selected to provide maintenance and operational support for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) deep space tracking station based at New Norcia, 130 kilometres north-east of Perth. It’s the first time an Australian organisation has been tasked with managing day-to-day operations at a ground station. The station provides tracking support to scientific and interplanetary missions by other international space agencies.
The contract is due to start on 1 June 2019, with a three-month handover from the current contractor to start in March. The ESA control centre in Darmstadt, Germany will continue to remotely control its spacecraft via the station.
CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall welcomed the new relationship with ESA.
“This will see us further support humanity’s exploration of our vast solar system and help to build up more data and knowledge to inform our understanding of the universe,” Dr Marshall said.
“It builds on our 75-year history of space science and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to growing Australia’s space industry, inspiring the next generation of scientists and driving innovation through global partnerships.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews noted that the decision demonstrated Australia’s strengths in contributing to global space activities.
“Since 1979, Australia and ESA have had treaties in place to enable European Space Agency ground stations on Australian soil to track spacecraft and interplanetary missions and Australia has unique view of the southern hemisphere sky that provides us with a natural advantage for viewing the universe,” said Minister Andrews.
“The facility at New Norcia has been in operation since 2003 and now, for the first time, an Australian organisation will provide critical maintenance and operational support at the station.”
The station also provides critical tracking services for Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launchers that take off from Europe’s Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. (Source: Space Connect)
17 Dec 18. Trump plans to create unified US Space Command. President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order before the end of the year creating a U.S. Space Command as a major military command.
Vice President Mike Pence will make the announcement Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, two U.S. officials said, and Trump could sign the order as soon as Tuesday.
The move is separate from Trump’s goal of creating a “Space Force” as an independent armed service branch, but could be a step in that direction. The U.S. Air Force’s existing Space Command would be a key component of the new joint entity, raising space to the same status as U.S. Cyber Command.
According to U.S. officials, Pence will be at the Pentagon on Tuesday and will meet with the Joint Chiefs. Space Command is expected to be among the issues discussed. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The move would actually recreate a U.S. Space Command, which existed from 1985 to 2002. It was disbanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks so that U.S. Northern Command could be established, focusing on defense of the homeland.
Although Space Command went away, its functions did not. They were absorbed by U.S. Strategic Command, and the Air Force retained its lead role in space through Air Force Space Command. (Source: Defense News)
14 Dec 18. US Air Force releases RFI for SRP-O ASLON-45 small launch effort. The US Air Force (USAF) seeks industry feedback on draft mission requirements for a small launch effort called Small Rocket Program-Orbital (SRP-O) Agile Small Launch Operational Normalizer (ASLON)-45.
One goal of ASLON-45 is to launch an orbital demonstration mission delivering a 39 kg spacecraft to a 550 km orbit, according to a 14 December request for information (RFI) posted on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO). The launch will be conducted from an east coast site. The ASLON-45 space vehicle (SV) manifest will consist of multiple 3U and larger Pentagon CubeSats to low Earth orbit (LEO) at a 45° inclination. This mission requires a dedicated launch solution, and a rideshare proposal is not acceptable due to customer requirements. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Dec 18. SSL-Manufactured SkySats 14 and 15 Imagery Being Received by Planet. SSL, a Maxar Technologies company (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX: MAXR), has announced that Earth Observation (EO) satellites built for Planet are now receiving initial imagery. SkySats 14 and 15 were launched on December 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Spaceflight’s first Sun Synchronous dedicated rideshare mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. First imagery was received on December 5. Successful operation of the two satellites demonstrates SSL’s ongoing success in small form factor satellite manufacturing. With this launch there are now 15 SkySats on orbit, 13 of which were built by SSL. They feature 72 cm. resolution and complement Planet’s Dove constellation.
Dario Zamarian, SSL Group President, said that the firm continues to extend its leadership in Earth Observation satellite manufacturing. SSL’s proven successes in commercial innovation allow the company to continue to provide customers the experience and reliability they want, with the cost and timeline objectives they require for innovative satellite platforms. (Source: Satnews)
13 Dec 18. OneWeb to Save Millions — Perhaps Even More. The OneWeb ‘mega-constellation’ of low orbiting broadband satellites, originally planned to be around 900 in total, will now initially be around 600, says Founder and Executive chairman Greg Wyler, and reported by specialist publication Space Intel Report (SIR), with the information posted by journalist Chris Forrester at the Advanced TV infosite. In the process, OneWeb will save an estimated $500,000 per satellite (and it could be more) leading to Capex cost savings on the satellite building program of some $300m. Factor in the savings on launching the satellites, at around $60m for each batch of around 30 craft, and there’s another saving of $600,000. Add to these numbers the reduction or elimination of insurance and other operational costs on the trimmed fleet and the overall cost savings could be well over $1bn.
The savings — in satellites and launch costs — have come about because of improved transmission tests and capabilities on the small fleet of 10 satellites being built by Airbus at their Toulouse facility. The first scheduled launches are expected in February, says SIR, by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana.
OneWeb is backed by Japanese media group SoftBank, as well as investments by Airbus, Intelsat, Virgin and others.
However, this reduction of the initial 900 to 600 satellites will not be the end of the OneWeb scheme. Phase 2 of the project will see more satellites launched to improve coverage, but this is now considered not necessary until Phase 1 is up and running – and probably with solid revenues. Nevertheless, this is still a $4bn+ project for OneWeb. (Source: Satnews)
12 Dec 18. SKY Perfect JSAT and KSAT Selected by Axelspace for the First Japanese EO Smallsat Ground Station Services. SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (SKY Perfect JSAT) and Kongsberg Satellite Services AS (KSAT) have announced that Axelspace Corporation (Axelspace) has selected the SKY Perfect JSAT and KSAT joint Ground Station Service for their GRUS satellite for the AxelGlobe project. SKY Perfect JSAT’s owned and operated ground station at the Ibaraki Network Control Center will be used and will support every orbit from the KSAT ground station at Svalbard. This is the first joint ground service contract award for the partners, cooperating under a Strategic Alliance Agreement for LEO ground station service that was concluded in 20162.
SKY Perfect JSAT and KSAT will support this satellite program with KSATLite, a global ground network as a service, optimized for smallsats as well as large constellations. A high degree of standardization, supporting all of the major standards in satellite and launch vehicle space to ground communications, makes the service easily scalable and cost effective. The KSATLite global network is fully operational and, by leveraging this award, SKY Perfect JSAT and KSAT will expand their business for the emerging LEO market.
GRUS is a next-generation, remote sensing smallsat and is the building block of Axelspace’s EO LEO constellation. Even with a mass of less than 100 kg., the satellite will enable imagery captures with 2.5 meter ground resolution. The first GRUS-1 satellite will be launched in December followed by many more during the coming years, making high-frequency monitoring a reality for the entire Earth.
When the full constellation is in place, Axelspace will be able to update the imagery of the Earth every day, making the satellite data easily accessible through the AxelGlobeplatform.
Axelspace will start commercial service for the imagery as well as analysis data in 2019. More than 7,000 smallsats are expected to be launched into orbit by 20273 globally, fueled by technological development, new innovative solutions and launch services emerging, and the ground business market will be expanded accordingly. SKY Perfect JSAT and KSAT have strong interest in growing and supporting the NewSpace community and expanding their presence in the LEO domain.
1Axelspace press release “Axelspace Completed Series-B Round of Financing” December 7, 2018, https://www.axelspace.com/en/info_/20181207/press_20181207_en/
2SKY Perfect JSAT press release “SKY Perfect JSAT has entered into a Strategic Alliance with Kongsberg Satellite Services, world-leading ground station services provider for LEO Satellite Operators to accelerate LEO-related businesses and enter into maritime information service” December 7, 2016, https://www.sptvjsat.com/load_pdf.php?pTb=t_news_&pRi=752&pJe=2
3Euroconsult, “PROSPECTS FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE MARKET 2018 Edition, http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/1512/10/news134.html
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