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23 Jan 19. OneWeb Satellites has Shipped First Satellites for the OneWeb Constellation to Launch Site. OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb, today announced the delivery of the first satellites for the OneWeb constellation. The satellites were manufactured at the OneWeb Satellites facility on the Airbus Defence and Space Toulouse site and the first six have been shipped to Kourou for launch. The first launch of the mega constellation is scheduled for 19 February 2019 on a Soyuz rocket – the beginning of a long series. With this generation of satellites, OneWeb Satellites is entering a new chapter in the story that started three years ago. “Our team is transforming the space industry and we are in the midst of demonstrating we can deliver on our promises,” said Tony Gingiss, OneWeb Satellites CEO.
OneWeb Satellites will now turn its focus to ramping up production of the full constellation of satellites in its new factory in Florida, demonstrating once again the agility of this JV.
OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb, a global communications company whose mission is to provide Internet to everybody, everywhere, and Airbus with its first order to include the production of ultra-high performance communications satellites. The Toulouse OneWeb Satellites facility is being used to validate the innovative production methods necessary to manufacture these satellites at a scale never achieved before, de-risk any potential issues, and lay the framework for the larger multi-line OneWeb Satellites factory near the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The satellites, weigh approximately 150 kg and will operate in near-polar, 1,200km LEO orbit. (Source: ASD Network)
23 Jan 19. This DARPA satellite will be designed, built and launched in 18 months. New Zealand-based space company Rocket Lab said it plans to launch a satellite for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) next month from the company’s main launch complex at the Mahia peninsula. Rocket Lab operates out of the world’s first privately owned launch facility in New Zealand and has a second launch site at Wallops Island on the eastern shore of Virginia. The launch will mark Rocket Lab’s first mission this year and will use a 56 foot (17 meters) Electron rocket to place DARPA’s Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) payload into orbit in late February.
The R3D2 prototype array, packed inside a 330lb (150kg) satellite, includes a tissue-thin Kapton membrane antenna designed to expand to a size of 7.4 feet (2.25 meters) once in orbit. DARPA said the antenna could help provide high data rate communications to disadvantaged users on the ground. The agency said the satellite design, development, and launch took approximately 18 months.
“The Department of Defense has prioritized rapid acquisition of small satellite and launch capabilities. By relying on commercial acquisition practices, DARPA streamlined the R3D2 mission from conception through launch services acquisition,” Fred Kennedy, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a Jan. 22 release. “This mission could help validate emerging concepts for a resilient sensor and data transport layer in low Earth orbit – a capability that does not exist today, but one which could revolutionize global communications by laying the groundwork for a space-based internet.”
In a statement, Rocket Lab says the mission could help validate a resilient sensor and data transport layer in low Earth orbit, potentially revolutionizing global communications by means of space-based internet.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor on the satellite, MMA Design designed and built the antenna, Trident Systems designed and built R3D2’s software-defined radio, and Blue Canyon Technologies provided the spacecraft bus.
Rocket Lab made its first commercial deliveries from Mahia — some 310 miles (500km) north-east of New Zealand’s capital, Wellington — last year and has launched 24 satellites using its two-stage, carbon-composite Electron rocket.
The Electron has a peak thrust of 41,500lbs (192kN) from its nine oxygen/kerosene Rutherford 3D-printed engines that use unique electric propellant pumps. The company’s specialty is placing smaller satellites in a low Earth orbit at relatively low costs. In December, the company successfully launched 13 cube satellites for NASA. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Jan 19. Europe’s Arianespace takes on SpaceX by cutting Ariane 5 rocket launch price. Europe’s Arianespace is discounting the price of satellite launches with its Ariane 5 rockets as it competes against U.S. rival SpaceX for customers before the release of the cheaper Ariane 6 rocket next year, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
Arianespace is aiming for the cost of launching the Ariane 6 to fall by around 40 percent versus the Ariane 5 through design changes and higher volume production, bringing its prices more in line with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Arianespace Managing Director and Head of Sales for Asia-Pacific Vivian Quenet said.
He said in current marketing campaigns, the company is offering customers such as telecoms an Ariane 5 launch for the same price as the Ariane 6.
“We have made a lot of effort on the sales price. When we do that, the result is very positive,” Quenet told reporters on Wednesday, declining to discuss details of profitability.
Arianespace is competing for two major launch contracts in the Asia-Pacific region that should be awarded this year and expects there could be tenders for another three, he said.
Arianespace, majority-owned by a joint venture of Airbus (AIR.PA) and Safran (SAF.PA), completed 11 launches with its Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz rockets in 2018, in line with guidance that had been lowered mid-year from an initial 14. The company, which has a mission of guaranteeing Europe independent access to space and is used by government and commercial clients, this month forecast up to 12 launches in 2019, with four of them targeted in the first quarter.
The Satellite Industry Association lobby group estimates the satellite launch services market is worth $5.5bn a year. SpaceX has upended the industry with reusable rocket technology that has slashed the cost of space transportation. Another U.S. group, the United Launch Alliance joint venture between Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), said last week it would conduct the final design review for its new flagship Vulcan rocket within months as it also looks to lower costs to better compete against SpaceX. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin said this month it will fly its still-in-development New Glenn rocket in 2021 – the same year as Vulcan.
SpaceX, which media reports say is valued at $30.5bn, said this month it would fire about 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees, seeking to create a leaner company to deal with the “extraordinarily difficult” challenges of developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based internet.
Arianespace’s majority shareholder, ArianeGroup, announced on Tuesday it had signed a contract with the European Space Agency to study a mission to the moon before 2025 with the aim of mining regolith, an ore from which it is possible to extract water and oxygen.
Quenet said if the mission proceeded, it would be launched with the Ariane 6 at its facilities in French Guiana. (Source: Reuters)
22 Jan 19. Kleos Space satellites move into integration phase. ASX listed Kleos Space has confirmed that the first cluster of satellites has entered the integration phase following a successful critical design review (CDR) with GomSpace. The CDR ensured the satellites could proceed towards assembly, validation, integration and testing, and confirms they meet stated performance cost, schedule, and risk requirements.
The satellites are being built by nanosatellite specialist GomSpace A/S, a subsidiary of GomSpace AB, a Europe-based, Nasdaq-listed global aerospace construction partner. The Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM) satellites will be launched by RocketLab on an Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand in Q2 2019. The satellites will be integrated into Rocket Lab’s in-house designed and built Maxwell dispensers and deployed from the Electron kick stage to low-Earth orbit.
Andy Bowyer, CEO of Kleos Space, welcomed the announcement, saying, “We are impressed by the expertise of GomSpace. Completing the CDR marks an important milestone towards the upcoming launch of our first satellite constellation on schedule.”
The KSM satellites will operate at low orbit, enabling the company’s commercialisation of its ‘data as a service’ (DaaS) product this year. KSM is the first Kleos Space satellite cluster and will perform technology demonstrations that will be the keystone for a later global high capacity constellation.
“It is the significant next step for Kleos to reach revenue stage with these initial satellites this year, enabling governments and organisations to detect activity such as drug and people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy, and identify those needing search and rescue at sea,” Bowyer added.
The Kleos satellites will globally gather geolocated radio transmission data that will be provided to users as intelligence as a service to guard borders, protect assets and save lives.
The intelligence product will be sold for search and rescue, maritime security and regulatory intelligence purposes to users for whom quality geospatial intelligence and situational awareness is essential. The scouting mission will deliver a daily service with a full constellation delivering near-real-time global observation.
“This is a very exciting milestone to achieve in this project. The GomSpace-Kleos team has done a superb job to come this far and we are now fully engaged into the next phase to deliver an on-time successful mission into space,” Niels Buus, CEO of GomSpace said.
Kleos Space aims to guard borders, protect assets and save lives by delivering global activity-based intelligence and geolocation as a service. GomSpace is a manufacturer and supplier of nanosatellite solutions for customers in the academic, government and commercial markets. (Source: Space Connect)
21 Jan 19. EDA’s SATCOM pooling project enters next phase. The European Defence Agency’s (EDA’s) Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) Pooling and Sharing Demonstration project entered into the execution phase on 15 January. The project is now ready to provide GOVSATCOM services to member states and the European Common Security and Defence Policy members through pooled capabilities (including bandwidth/power and/or services) provided by contributing member states. This pooled capability is set up to provide SATCOM resources that cannot be obtained on the commercial market with sufficient level of guaranteed access and security. The project complements the EDA’s EU Satcom Market project, already in place since 2012, which provides commercially available SATCOM and CIS services.
SATCOM is rapidly deployable, flexible and distance insensitive and can offer communication links where terrestrial networks are damaged, overloaded or non-existent. However, access to SATCOM cannot be taken for granted at any time, especially not when governmental users require them at short notice and without pre-arranged agreements. In situations of high demand, competition with other users of commercial SATCOM capacities creates a risk of non-availability and high costs. Against this backdrop, EU leaders decided in 2013 that there was a need for a new solution combining the advantages of commercial and military satellite systems in order to address both civil and military needs through European cooperation.
Under the project led by Spain, all 15 contributing EDA member states (Spain, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK) accepted the project arrangement as baseline for mutual support and collaboration. Norway is also contributing to the project. The project is a collaborative effort between the EDA, the European Commission and the European Space Agency. (Source: Shephard)
21 Jan 19. ULA launches NROL-71 payload on board Delta IV Heavy rocket. United Launch Alliance (ULA) has launched the NROL-71 payload on its Delta IV Heavy rocket on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The NROL-71 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. It is designed to support the country’s national defence and comprises three common booster cores. Each of the booster cores is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing a combined thrust of more than 2.1 million pounds. Meanwhile, an AR RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine was used to power the second stage.
ULA government and commercial programmes vice-president Gary Wentz said: “Congratulations to our team and mission partners for successfully delivering this critical asset to support national security missions. Thank you to the entire team for their perseverance, ongoing dedication and focus on 100% mission success.”
The Delta IV Heavy is a heavy lift launch vehicle that is deployed for high-priority missions of the National Reconnaissance Office, the US Air Force and Nasa.
The vehicle’s advanced upper stage allows it to send more than 14,000lb directly to geosynchronous orbit, as well as other complex interplanetary trajectories.
NROL-71 represents ULA’s first launch this year. Established in December 2006, the company has so far launched 132 missions that serve different purposes, including earth observation capabilities, global communications, and solar system studies.
The company is set to launch the WGS-10 mission for the USAF on a Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US, in March. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Jan 19. Russia Conducted Another Successful Test of an Anti-Satellite Missile, According to Classified US Intelligence Report. Russia conducted another successful flight test of its new anti-satellite missile system last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of a classified U.S. intelligence report. The anti-satellite missile flew for 17 minutes and 1,864 miles before successfully splashing down in its target area. The latest revelation comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s 108-page missile defense review, which marks the first overhaul of America’s missile defense doctrine in nearly a decade. The unclassified review, which singles out emerging Russian, Chinese, North Korean and Iranian missile threats, also focuses on anti-satellite capabilities that “could threaten U.S. space-based assets.”
According to the missile review, “Russia is developing a diverse suite of anti-satellite capabilities, including ground-launched missiles and directed-energy weapons, and continues to launch ‘experimental’ satellites that conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities to advance counterspace capabilities.”
Russia’s PL-19 Nudol, a system U.S. military intelligence assesses will be focused primarily on anti-satellite missions, was successfully tested twice in 2018. The weapon, which was fired from a mobile launcher, was last tested on Dec. 23 and marked the seventh overall test of the system, according to one of the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Russian anti-satellite weapon is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to the other person, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. For reference, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope travel in low Earth orbit. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/CNBC News)
14 Jan 19. Airbus Has the Winning Hand for Blackjack Program. DARPA’s Selection to Develop Small Constellation Satellite Bus. DARPA is awarding a contract, called the Blackjack program, to Airbus Defense and Space to develop a satellite bus to support the program. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) describes the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intending to show the military utility of global low earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of lower size and weight.
DARPA’s intentions are to purchase 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 U.S. Space Programs at Airbus Defense and Space, Inc. said that 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. Airbus is committed to growing manufacturing capability in the U.S. and their government customers can leverage this commercial capability to develop low-Earth orbit& constellations to complement large existing systems.
This contract positions Airbus Defense and Space, Inc., 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 U.S. government and current customers.
OneWeb Satellites is pioneering new value propositions in space. They are leading the design and manufacturing of ultra-high performing satellites at high-volumes.
Tony Gingiss, CEO, OneWeb Satellites said that they have created a game changer with their overall design, supply chain and production system. Their team is transforming the space industry and they are in the midst of demonstrating they can deliver on their promises.
OneWeb Satellites brings to bear capabilities which dramatically lower the cost and shorten acquisition timelines for customers thanks to a modular design and agile serial production of satellites.
The OneWeb Satellites satellite manufacturing facility in Florida is the latest step in Airbus’ continued commitment to growth in U.S. manufacturing, job creation and investment.
This facility, which will ultimately support thousands of jobs and follows the opening of our U.S. Manufacturing Facility for A320 aircraft in Mobile, Alabama, from which they delivered their first aircraft in 2016. An A220 assembly line on the same site in Alabama will break ground in January of 2019.
With their network of U.S. suppliers Airbus is the largest consumer of U.S. aerospace and defense goods in the world, and the company has invested $16.5bn with U.S. companies in 2017, supporting a total of 275,000 American jobs. (Source: Satnews)
18 Jan 19. Relativity signs deal for launch site at USAF LC-16 Florida. US start-up Relativity Space has reached a deal with the US Air Force (USAF) to build and operate its own launch facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US. The company has been granted a statement of capability to build rocket launch facilities at Launch Complex 16 (LC-16) by the 45th Space Wing of the USAF. The statement of capability allows Relativity to carry out launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The agreement includes on-site vehicle integration and payload processing, with an option to extend the contract to an exclusive 20-year term. With the deal, Relativity becomes only the fourth company after SpaceX, ULA, and Blue Origin to have a major operational orbital launch site at Cape Canaveral.
Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis said: “We are honoured to win this significant support from the USAF and join a select group of private space companies in conducting launches at Cape Canaveral. The company noted that LC-16 is capable of supporting its fully 3D-printed rocket Terran 1, as well as future expansions in payload capacity. Having the rare path toward an exclusive-use agreement at LC-16 ensures our satellite customers will have access to far more schedule certainty, and enables us to execute more frequent launches.”
Relativity aims to build rockets using fully automated 3D printing technology. The company noted that LC-16 is capable of supporting its fully 3D-printed rocket Terran 1, as well as future expansions in payload capacity. As part of the rocket launch facility plans, the company has recruited former senior leadership personnel with experience in launches at Cape Canaveral. Relativity principal launch engineer Chris Newton said: “With LC-16’s historic and operational legacy of rocket launches and the experienced team we’ve built, we look forward to working with the 45th Space Wing of the USAF to develop a modern launch facility that supports Terran 1 launch operations.”
Relativity intends to undertake its first full orbital launch by the end of next year. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
13 Jan 19. D-Orbit Welcomes ESA and Italian Space Agency Smallsat Development Contract. The European Space Agency (ESA) awarded D-Orbit SpA with the General Support Technology Program (GSTP) contract n°4000126167 titled “Development of a Precise In-Orbit CubeSat Deployer” — the GSTP is an optional ESA program to enable the European space industry to develop leading edge space technology.
Under the GSTP, ESA partner organizations — the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in this instance — allocate additional funding for a project. The program’s mission is to convert promising engineering concepts into mature products, bridging the gap between research laboratories and commercial space missions.
Renato Panesi, D-Orbit’s CCO, said that the 2.6m euros contract covers the study, specification, design, production, and qualification of a small satellite with the ability to transport a batch of CubeSats to orbit, and deploy each one of them independently over the course of the mission, changing orbit and attitude before each deployment to accommodate the needs of the client. The satellite will feature modular and configurable dispensers, designed to accommodate several combinations of CubeSats of different form factors. Each CubeSat will be connected to the satellite bus until deployment, receiving power and data, enabling operators to checkout their CubeSats during the pre-launch phases and before their release into orbit.
He continued that this launch and deployment solution will provide a single interface towards the launcher authorities, a simplification of satellite integration for CubeSat operators, and a precision deployment to orbit that will significantly reduce satellite dispersion time. D-Orbit has already gained a foothold on the development of this CubeSat launch and deployment technology with its ION CubeSat Carrier, a free-flyer CubeSat dispenser whose first launch is slated for mid 2019.
Lorenzo Ferrario, D-Orbit CTO, added that the first phase of the contract was started on January 1st, 2019, and will last five months and will lead to the finalization of the design. The second phase, which will last 11 months, will end with the delivery of the fully qualified spacecraft. The launch is slated for the second half of 2020. (Source: Satnews)
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)
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