Sponsored By Viasat
17 Jan 19. Airbus partners with DARPA to develop satellite bus. Airbus Defence and Space has secured a contract with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a satellite bus to support the Blackjack program. DARPA describes the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intended to show the military utility of global low-Earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight and cost. DARPA wants to buy commercial satellite buses and pair them with military sensors and payloads. The bus drives each satellite by generating power, controlling attitude, providing propulsion, transmitting spacecraft telemetry, and providing general payload accommodation including mounting locations for the military sensors.
Tim Deaver, director of US space programs at Airbus Defence and Space, said, “Airbus has previously co-invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high-rate manufacturing technology and supply chain logistics to build large constellations of small satellites.”
This contract positions Airbus Defense and Space, of Herndon, Virginia, and its strategic joint venture partner, OneWeb Satellites of Exploration Park, Florida, as the ideal service providers for Blackjack.
High production rates and design-to-cost management techniques enable OneWeb Satellites to offer low cost constellation solutions for the US government and current customers. Constellations of inexpensive satellites permit wide scale disaggregated architectures enhancing survivability across many different mission areas.
“Airbus is committed to growing manufacturing capability in the US and our government customers can leverage this commercial capability to develop low-Earth orbit constellations to complement large existing systems,” Deaver added.
OneWeb Satellites brings to bear capabilities that dramatically lower the cost and shorten acquisition timelines for customers thanks to a modular design and agile serial production of satellites.
The OneWeb Satellites manufacturing facility in Florida is the latest step in Airbus’ commitment to growth in US manufacturing, job creation and investment.
Tony Gingiss, CEO of OneWeb Satellites, said, “We have created a game changer with our overall design, supply chain and production system. Our team is transforming the space industry and we are in the midst of demonstrating we can deliver on our promises.”
Airbus is the largest consumer of US aerospace and defence goods in the world – buying more than any other company or even country. Airbus invested US$16.5bn with US companies in 2017, supporting 275,000 American jobs. (Source: Space Connect)
16 Jan 19. Boeing-Lockheed’s Vulcan rocket design ‘nearly fully mature.’ A joint venture between Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) will conduct the final design review for its new flagship Vulcan rocket within months, it said on Wednesday, as the aerospace company heads for a showdown with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and others in the launch services market. The final design review is a crucial milestone as the company, United Launch Alliance (ULA), tries to move into full production ahead of a first flight in spring 2021 after slipping from its initial 2019 timetable.
“The design is nearly fully mature,” ULA systems test engineer Dane Drefke told Reuters during a tour of Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The companies are vying to develop rockets to carry satellites into orbit in what the Satellite Industry Association lobby group estimates is a roughly $5.5bn (£4.28bn) satellite launch services market.
ULA has started cutting and building hardware and has begun structural and pressure testing at its Decatur, Alabama factory. Engineers were also modifying the Florida launch pad and tower to accommodate Vulcan.
ULA’s legacy Atlas and Delta rockets have been synonymous with America’s space missions for decades. But the Colorado-based company has waged a cost-cutting campaign in recent years that included job cuts and trying new production methods as it faces mounting competition from SpaceX.
Musk has upended the industry with reusable rocket technology that has slashed the cost of space transportation.
And Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin said last week it will fly its still-in-development New Glenn rocket in 2021 – the same year as Vulcan.
While ULA’s rockets burn up during each voyage, making for reliable but costlier missions, the company is charting a strategy of returning the first-stage engine to Earth under a parachute and plucking it out of mid-air with a helicopter.
ULA does not envision more job cuts and has been adding engineers in Florida and elsewhere, it said on Wednesday.
“We are now optimal-sized,” Drefke said, adding that ULA will be hiring more engineers as it moves into production.
The Vulcan, which will be powered partly by Blue Origin’s U.S.-built BE-4 engine, is central to ending U.S. reliance on Russia’s RD-180 engine for national security missions.
ULA confirmed new purchases of at least five more RD-180s in recent months for non-military missions, like commercial satellite launches.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin has hit “a few minor setbacks” during rigorous BE-4 testing but was “progressing nominally” and was expected to live up to delivery targets, Drefke said. Blue Origin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Source: Reuters)
17 Jan 19. Trump’s new missile defence strategy eyes space-based sensors. U.S. President Donald Trump is due to unveil a revamped U.S. missile defence strategy on Thursday that looks at ways to boost America’s security, including by possibly deploying a new layer of space-based sensors to detect and track enemy missiles.
The Missile Defence Review will also recommends studying experimental technologies, including prospects for space-based weaponry that might be able to shoot down enemy missiles — a throwback to Ronald Reagan’s so-called “Star Wars” initiative in the 1980s.
“Space, I think, is the key to the next step of missile defence,” a senior Trump administration official told reporters ahead of the document’s release on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. A space-based layer of sensors is something we are looking at to help get early warning and tracking and discrimination of missiles when they are launched.”
The official stressed that the viability of space-based missile defence weaponry was only being studied and no decisions had been made. The investments come on top of previously announced U.S. plans to increase the number of ground-based interceptors over the next several years, hiking the number positioned at Fort Greely, Alaska to 64 from 44. U.S. military officials have long stressed that America’s missile defences are primarily designed to counter attacks from countries with more limited arsenals, like North Korea, which U.S. intelligence officials believe is still advancing its nuclear programme despite a halt to missile launches last year.
NORTH KOREA THREAT
For Trump, who is trying to revive efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal, the report’s release comes at an awkward moment.
Three North Korean officials, including the top envoy involved in talks with the United States, are booked on a flight to Washington, suggesting possible movement toward a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to South Korean media.
It was unclear to what extent the report would single out North Korea. But the senior Trump administration official suggested it would at least be mentioned.
Trump, who is due to speak at the Pentagon at 11 a.m. (1600 GMT), declared in June that the North no longer posed a nuclear threat, buoyed by optimism following his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Pentagon officials contend that U.S. missiles defences are too few to be able to counter a first-strike on the U.S. homeland by a major nuclear power, like Russia or China. Washington hopes those countries will instead be deterred from attacks by America’s nuclear arsenal.
Still, Russia views U.S. missile defence advances as a threat and Trump’s report is likely to stoke tensions with Moscow.
China, in turn, has also alarmed the Pentagon with advances in super-fast “hypersonic” technology, which could allow Beijing to field missiles that are far harder to detect.
In a report earlier this week that singled out the hypersonic threat, the Pentagon warned China’s military was “on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world.”
U.S. troops killed in ISIS-claimed attack
“In some areas, it already leads the world,” the report said.
U.S. officials, including Undersecretary of Defence for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin, believe a space-based sensor layer could help detect missiles moving at hypersonic speeds. (Source: Reuters)
15 Jan 19. Boeing Invests in Isotropic Systems Ltd. to Expand Satellite Communications Capabilities. Isotropic Systems offers increased data transmission capabilities at reduced costs for satellite service providers. Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment bolsters Boeing’s support of UK aerospace innovation. Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced its investment in Isotropic Systems Ltd., a London-based startup pioneering next-generation solutions to better connect people and enterprises around the globe.
By taking advantage of optical beam steering, Isotropic’s innovative user terminals can simultaneously connect with several different satellites without increasing cost or complexity. This capability will help enable low-cost, mass-market broadband connectivity for consumers and help companies meet growing demand for satellite data, mobility and broadband services even in the most remote places.
“Isotropic’s solution allows for increased capabilities at reduced costs for satellite service providers,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “This investment accelerates the expansion of space-based connectivity services to the mass market and continues Boeing’s leadership in space innovation.”
Founded in 2013 by chief executive officer John Finney, a former founding member of O3b Networks, Isotropic has redefined the approach to mass distribution of satellite broadband through affordable infrastructure.
“With Boeing, we aim to connect individuals and enterprises on a scale that has never been seen before,” said Finney. “That legacy of true global connection will define our generation.”
Isotropic joins Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems and Boeing HorizonX Ventures portfolio startups Myriota, BridgeSat Inc. and Accion Systems in advancing the company’s satellite and space-based capabilities. Isotropic is the second UK-based startup to join the HorizonX portfolio, following Reaction Engines in April 2018.
“This investment is another indication of the strength of the UK’s aerospace and technology sectors, and Boeing’s commitment to growing in the UK,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the Series A funding round with participation from WML, Space Angels and Space Capital. This latest investment will connect the Isotropic team with Boeing experts and resources to help advance the development of its terminal solutions.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures targets investments that help scale startup innovation in aerospace. Its portfolio includes companies specializing in autonomous systems, additive manufacturing, energy and data storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.
15 Jan 19. Iran – Semnan: Iran conducts failed space launch rocket vehicle test. On 15 January, Iran on conducted a failed launch of a satellite into space via a domestically produced rocket from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan Province. However, there were no active NOTAMs in place covering space launch activity from Semnan for FIR Tehran (OIIX) covering the test date/times, altitude restrictions and/or geographic area affected. Multiple safety of flight concerns emanate from a situation where a rocket malfunctions during the boost phase or initial cruise phase of flight. Such an event would cause the rocket to fly an unplanned trajectory and altitude profile which could expose overflying aircraft to mid-air collision, route diversion and or debris splashdown issues. Of note, the Iranian civil aviation authority has a 24-hour all-altitude airspace restriction over the Imam Khomeini Space Centre outlined in its Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP ENR 5.1.3 – 4 / OID41). The US has specifically stated that it views space launches as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which requires Iran to refrain from “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”. Though Iran claims space lunches incorporating long-range rocket technology are for peaceful purposes only and not a violation of UNSCR 2231, the US believes the activity is a cover for testing ballistic missile components.
The US FAA has a standing notice and background information advising operators to exercise caution when transiting Iranian airspace due to unannounced military activity and missile launches (NOTAM KICZ A0016/18). Unannounced rocket and missile launches that transit airspace used by civilian aircraft pose a nascent but credible hazard to flight operations at all altitudes. On 10 January, Iran announced plans to launch two satellites into space via domestically produced rockets within in the coming weeks; with the first of which now conducted, despite recent warnings from the US against carrying out the tests. Open source commercial satellite imagery analysis released by international media outlets indicates Iran appears to be preparing to conduct the launch of the additional satellite into space via a domestically produced rocket during January. It remains unclear if Iran will issue adequate NOTAMs prior to the additional planned space launch discussed above, covering the specific portions of the airspace in FIR Tehran (OIIX) affected by the activity. Iran previously conducted a test of a Simorgh space launch rocket vehicle from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre on 27 July 2017, without issuing appropriate NOTAMs prior to the event. Additional Iranian missile launches in the Strait of Hormuz area or space launch rocket vehicle tests within designated areas in Semnan Province, as well as operational strikes into Syria or Iraq, are likely during 2019, with a specific flash-point being the late-January time-frame. We continue to assess Iran to be a MODERATE risk aviation and airspace operating environment at all altitudes.
Risk area recommendation: Stringent risk mitigation measures
- Overflight possible with the following measures in place
- Security and operational risk-based identification of pre-planned divert airports
- Access to reliable and redundant communications with an established communications plan
- Fully-coordinated and robust emergency response plan
Approvals: Operators are advised to ensure flight plans are correctly filed, attain proper special approvals for flight operations to sensitive locations and obtain relevant overflight permits prior to departure. In addition, ensure crews scheduled to operate to or over the country in the near term are fully aware of the latest security situation.
Aviation Safety: Aviation safety incidents have the potential to cause follow-on disruption to airport security operations. Operators are advised to review internal and external mechanisms for aviation safety reporting. Any revisions to processes should account for air and ground safety occurrence provisions as part of a wider aviation risk management strategy to protect aircraft, passengers and crew. In addition, ensure emergency response and communications plans are up to date to enhance continuity during times of crisis. (Source: Osprey)
11 Jan 19. SpaceX launches final ten satellites for Iridium. SpaceX on Friday blasted off a payload of global communications satellites for Iridium, marking the first launch of 2019 for the California-based company headed by Elon Musk.
‘Three, two, one, ignition, liftoff of Falcon 9,’ Iridium CEO Matt Desch said on a live webcast as the white Falcon 9 rocket took flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:31 am (15:31GMT).
The mission, carrying ten Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, completes Iridium’s project to replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network with 75 new satellites in orbit.
Friday’s launch was SpaceX’s eighth and final in a series for Iridium, which is headquartered in Virginia.
Nine minutes after launch, the tall portion of the Falcon 9 rocket landed successfully on a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean.
‘There it is, right in the middle of the bullseye,’ said SpaceX commentator John Innsbrucker, as live images showed the first stage of the rocket standing upright on the droneship named ‘Just Read the Instructions.’
Like other rockets, SpaceX’s separate after launch into a first and second stage. But instead of allowing the first stage, or booster, to fall into the ocean as trash, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 fires its engines, maneuvers its grid fins and makes a controlled landing back on Earth.
The effort aims to cut the costs of spaceflight and make expensive rocket parts more reusable, like airplanes. (Source: Shephard)
13 Jan 19. No More What’s NEXT After Successful Launch of Iridium®’s NEXT Satellites by SpaceX’s Falcon 9. It’s a liftoff, and the Iridium-8 mission is on its way courtesy of the Falcon 9 rocket with the goal for delivery of 10 satellites to Low Earth Orbit. This is the eighth, and final, set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX launched for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium® NEXT. Separation has been confirmed at this early exercise, as well as the Falcon 9 successful touchdown on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
To mark the cooperative effort of the companies Matthew Desch, CEO and Director of Iridium gave the last 10 second countdown to liftoff.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018.
For this eighth and final planned Iridium mission, 10 Iridium® NEXT satellites will be launched as part of the company’s campaign to replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network. Including the seven previous launches, all with SpaceX, Iridium is deploying 75 new satellites to orbit. In total, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.
Iridium is the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe, and Iridium NEXT is one of the largest “tech upgrades” in space history. The process of replacing the satellites one by one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before. The new constellation is enabling innovative new products and services including Iridium CertusSM, the company’s next-generation L-band broadband solution for specialized applications, like safety services, remote monitoring, UAV and UAS command and control, tracking, and more. It also hosts the AireonSM system, which will for the first time bring real-time, truly global aircraft surveillance and tracking to fruition.
SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base has a long history dating back to the early 1960s. Originally an Atlas launch pad activated in 1962, SLC-4E was in active use until its last Titan IV launch in 2005. SpaceX’s groundbreaking was in July 2011, and extensive modifications and reconstruction of the launch pad were completed just 17 months later.
SLC-4E consists of a concrete launch pad/apron and a flame exhaust duct. Surrounding the pad are RP- 1 and liquid oxygen storage tanks and an integration hangar. Before launch, Falcon 9’s stages, fairing and the mission payload are housed inside the hangar. A crane/lift system moved Falcon 9 into a transporter erector system and the fairing and its payload were mated to the rocket. The vehicle rolled from the hangar to the launch pad shortly before launch to minimize exposure to the elements. (Source: Satnews)
11 Jan 19. SpaceX to lay off 10 percent of its roughly 6,000 workers to become leaner. SpaceX will lay off 10 percent of its roughly 6,000 workers, announcing Friday that it needs to become leaner to accomplish ambitious projects such as creating a spaceship that can carry astronauts to Mars.
“This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary,” the company said in a statement.
The layoffs were announced to workers in an email from President Gwynne Shotwell, the Los Angeles Times reported. The email said laid-off employees will be offered at least eight weeks’ pay and other benefits, along with help with finding new jobs, the Times said.
Elon Musk’s company is financially healthy and was recently valued at nearly $30bn. It has a lucrative business sending government and commercial satellites into orbit, including a launch from California on Friday, and delivering supplies to the International Space Station.
But the company has several expensive projects in the works. Musk has estimated it will cost up to $10bn to develop a spaceship that could send humans to Mars. This week he unveiled a steel-clad test flight prototype of the rocket, which he calls Starship. Another $10bn project called Starlink would create a constellation of satellites to provide affordable broadband internet service. This year, the company plans to begin Starship test flights and to launch the first Starlink satellites.
“To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company,” the company statement said. “Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations.” (Source: News Now/https://abc7.com)
09 Jan 19. China Reports Giant Laser Weapons that Could Cripple U.S. Satellites and Blind Their Fleet if a World War III. CHINA has reportedly developed giant laser weapons that could cripple American satellites and blind the US fleet in the event of World War Three. Multiple Pentagon and intelligence reports warn about the potential of these weapons, and according to some sources, they are already here. Satellites provide communications, navigation, and intelligence to the American war machine, so knocking them out would seriously disrupt – and even render useless – much of its equipment.
Amazon’s Prime’s “China vs USA: Empires at War” series says an existing weapons system could knock out American warships navigation systems and communications, leaving them practically useless.
The series revealed: “The Chinese army has developed a system to blind the Americans.
“This is not science fiction, but a technology already in use.”
If the satellites are useless, the vessels will be left stranded at sea, and reliant on far more basic navigation techniques.
A pentagon report, cited by Global News, seems to cement these fear.
The Canadian news outlet said the US Department of Defense warned the development of anti-satellite laser weapons by China and Russia was one of the key drivers for Trump’s new Space Force.
The report stated: “China and Russia, our strategic competitors, are explicitly pursuing space war-fighting capabilities to neutralize U.S. space capabilities during a time of conflict.”
Both countries were developing energy weapons technologies to disable satellites, says the report, citing national intelligence director Dan Coats’ May 2017 worldwide threat assessment statement.
However, the main threat that the report focused on was China’s ground-launched anti-satellite missiles.
China has been working on laser weapons since the 1960s, according to a separate 2017 report.
The International Assessment and Strategy Center suggested China could even have a space-based laser within a decade.
The Express recently quoted a military strategist for the People’s Liberation Army, who claimed satellites and the US’s dependence on them was their biggest asset, but also their biggest weakness.
Wan Xiangsui said: “The US relies on satellites to control their entire communications network and that is a weakness.
“This dependence reminds me of the Greek legend Achilles who was invulnerable, except his heel.
“And satellites will be America’s Achilles heel.”
The Chinese have long been using lasers as a means of blinding their enemies. The Washington Post said high-grade lasers operated by the Chinese had injured two pilots in Djibouti. (Source: Satnews)
08 Jan 19. The On Orbit Hawkeye360 Pathfinder Smallsats Are Now in Checkout and Testing. Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) announced that the checkout and testing of the company’s three, formation-flying smallsats that were built by SFL under a contract to Deep Space Industries (now integrated into Bradford Space for HawkEye 360 Inc) is now underway.
The smallsats were launched last year into LEO on December 3, 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The HawkEye 360 Pathfinder smallsats will detect and geolocate radio frequency (RF) signals from VHF radios, maritime radar systems, automatic identification system (AIS) beacons, VSAT terminals and emergency beacons. HawkEye 360 will apply advanced RF analytics to this data to help customers assess suspicious vessel activity, survey communication frequency interference, and search for people in distress.
SFL was selected for the mission by Deep Space Industries, the HawkEye 360 Pathfinder prime contractor, due to the importance of formation flying by multiple satellites for successful RF signal geolocation and analysis. SFL first demonstrated on orbit formation control with smaller satellites in the 2014 with the Canadian CanX-4/CanX-5 mission.
SFL built the three Pathfinder satellites using its space-tested 15kg. NEMO smallsat bus and incorporated several technologies that make on orbit formation flying possible. Most prominent of these is the high-performance attitude control system developed by SFL to keep smallsats stable in orbit. Included in the formation flying system are a GPS receiver and a high efficiency Comet-1 propulsion unit developed by Deep Space Industries.
Precise formation flying is critical to the HawkEye 360 RF system because the relative positions of each satellite in the constellation must be known to accurately geolocate the transmission sources of the radio frequency signals. For the triangulation to be calculated correctly, each satellite must be located with sufficient precision in space and also be relative to one another.
John Serafini, the CEO of HawkEye 360, said this is the first time a commercial company has used formation-flying satellites for RF detection.
SFL Director Dr. Robert E. Zee added that the company has developed compact, low-cost formation flying technology that no other small satellite developer can credibly offer. By leveraging SFL’s highly successful formation flying technology demonstrated on orbit, along with DSI’s pioneering innovations and next-generation propulsion systems, the mission will deliver unparalleled performance in smaller, affordable satellites
Chris DeMay, the HawkEye 360 CTO and Founder, noted that the core of the firm’s business is RF analytics, which is dependent upon high-quality, geolocated RF data. (Source: Satnews)
09 Jan 19. Newtec to Provide Kacific with Dialog® VSAT Platform for Kacific1 Satellite. Newtec’s Dialog® VSAT multi-service platform has been selected by broadband satellite operator, Kacific, for that firm’s new, High Throughput Satellite, Kacific1, to significantly expand that firm’s broadband service delivery in underserved areas of South East Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands — the initial contract is for $10m of Newtec Dialog hubs and this is expected to result in further terminal procurements totaling several million units during the first years of service.Kacific1 will deliver affordable, high-speed internet broadband to telecommunications companies, internet service providers and governments throughout the region, with Newtec’s Mx-DMA® return technology providing the highest possible bandwidth efficiency. The Kacific1 satellite features 56 high power subscriber spot beams, each with the capability to provide targeted capacity at high speeds.
Kacific services enable access to high demand applications, such as community internet access and mobile backhaul, that will help stimulate socio-economic activity throughout the region. Public institutions will benefit from dedicated services including healthcare, education and civil defense, in areas that are beyond the economical reach of terrestrial infrastructures in most of Kacific’s coverage areas. Kacific was recently presented with the Better Satellite World award for its focus on connecting underserved populations.
Newtec’s next-generation Mx-DMA return technology incorporates the best features of MF-TDMA and SCPC technologies to provide dynamic bandwidth allocation with the highest level of efficiency. Mx-DMA return technology on the Newtec Dialog platform uniquely adjusts the frequency plan, the symbol rate, the modulation, coding and power in real-time for every terminal in the satellite network in response to traffic demand and Quality of Service (QoS) changes.
Christian Patouraux, CEO and Founder of Kacific, said the Kacific HUB, based on the Newtec Dialog multi-service platform, is a pivotal part of the satellite network. The company selected Newtec because the firm demonstrates the highest performance and ability to offer the highest link efficiencies that are required for Kacific’s Ka-band spot beam system. The company also been impressed with other unique features offered by Newtec, such as the Satellite Network Calculator, which enables the company to tailor new services in a highly efficient and fast-to-market manner, which will only help ensure the reliability and enhance the quality of Kacific services to customers.
Thomas Van den Driessche, CEO at Newtec, added that in partnering with Kacific, the company is strengthening the firm’s presence in South East Asia and the Pacific. This project bridges the digital divide to people in regions that have never before had access. Among many other features, Newtec’s Satellite Network Calculator has an acute ability to provide valuable insight into the performance of the network. The product use in a multi-beam satellite network such as this will allow Kacific to harness these insights to optimize future deployments and add value for their regional partners and customers. (Source: Satnews)
09 Jan 19. An FCC STA License is Received by Akash Systems for Satellite Launch. Akash Systems, Inc. has been granted an Experimental Special Temporary Authority (STA) license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a satellite launch featuring its proprietary GaN-on-Diamond transmitter technology. The GaN-on-Diamond technology will be integrated into a Ka-band (17.2 to 20.2 GHz) 3U radio transmitter and launched in a 12U CubeSat allowing for new levels of data transmission for customers to increase capacity and reduce end-user costs.
The company’s satellite launch will demonstrate the transmitter’s capability to handle more than five gigabits per second (5Gbps+) downlink speeds from a 10 Watt 3U radio transmitter. Tentatively slated for early 2020, the launch will validate the data rates, reliability and space-qualification readiness of the GaN-on-Diamond transmitter technology.
The new technology enables a smaller, lighter and higher performing satellite that will pave the way to lower launch costs, reduced cost-per-bit, more launch cycles, and increased communications access around the earth.
The company’s satellite launch will demonstrate the transmitter’s capability to handle more than five gigabits per second (5Gbps+) downlink speeds from a 10-Watt 3U radio transmitter. Tentatively slated for early 2020, the launch will validate the data rates, reliability and space-qualification readiness of the GaN-on-Diamond transmitter technology. (the image to the right is of Akash Systems’ McNair 12U CubeSat and is courtesy of Blue Canyon Technologies).
The new technology enables a smaller, lighter and higher performing satellite that will pave the way to lower launch costs, reduced cost-per-bit, more launch cycles, and increased communications access around the Earth.
Akash will continue to focus on scaling up and qualifying its GaN-on-Diamond Power Amplifier product line, offering customers products with higher frequencies that will be announced in the months ahead.
Co-founder, CEO and GaN-on-Diamond Inventor Felix Ejeckam said that taking the lead in the satellite communications industry, this demo will showcase the use of the company’s proprietary GaN-on-Diamond Radio Frequency (RF) amplifier technology. Beyond the capability to handle the increasing demands of today’s extreme data throughput, the firm is confident future adoption of the system will drive down end-user costs to levels never before seen.
Jeanette Quinlan, Director of Space Systems, Akash Systems, added that anyone buying the company’s solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) to transmit data to or from space will be interested in the space worthiness and reliability of the firm’s SSPA products. This launch helps Akash Systems capture that worthiness and reliability data for them. (Source: Satnews)
08 Jan 19. Maxar Technologies Reports Total Failure of WorldView-4 Imaging Satellite, out of Control Gyros. Not good news for Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX:MAXR) (“Maxar” or the “Company”), when it was reported that its WorldView-4 satellite experienced a failure in its control moment gyros (“CMGs”), thus preventing the satellite from collecting imagery as a result of the loss of an axis of stability. Reports regarding the attempts being made with the company’s suppliers in an attempt to restore satellite functionality reveal that all of these efforts have been unsuccessful.
At this time, Maxar believes that WorldView-4 will likely not be recoverable and will no longer produce usable imagery. Maxar operations has put the WorldView-4 satellite in a safe configuration and will continue to monitor the satellite’s location and health. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin and the CMGs were provided by Honeywell.
Contingency planning and mitigation efforts are underway to assess the use of the Company’s other satellites and outside resources to replace imagery collected by WorldView-4 and meet as much of the existing customer commitments and obligations as possible. The Company currently believes it will be able to offset $10 to 15m of the annual revenue from WorldView-4 and will work to minimize the potential impact on Maxar’s financial results in future years.
WorldView-4 was acquired by GeoEye prior to its merger with DigitalGlobe in 2013. It was launched in November 2016 and generated revenues of approximately $85m in fiscal year 2018. The satellite had a net book value of approximately $155m, including related assets, as of December 31, 2018. If the satellite is not recoverable, then the net book value will be written off in Q4-2018.
The WorldView-4 satellite is insured for $183m, and Maxar intends to seek full recovery for the loss of WorldView-4 under its insurance policies. The Company will provide further updates on this matter as new information becomes available. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.