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SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE

Sponsored By Viasat

www.viasat.com/gov-uk

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08 Feb 19. Small satellites will bring in revolution: DRDO chairman. Advancements in technologies like propulsion, electronics, structures and payloads were enabling significant reduction in the size, cost, and weight of satellites, said G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, and DRDO chairman. Speaking at the inaugural of a three-day International Conference on Small Satellites and Systems (ICSS) organised by the Society for Small Satellites and Systems (SSSS) in association with the Sensors Research Society (SRS) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) here on Thursday, Dr. Reddy described small satellites as a disruptive technology for space industries.

“The modest facilities needed to design and build small satellites boosted innovative startups. Small satellites will bring in a new revolution in the world and network of space-borne sensors will lead us towards Internet of Satellites in future,” he said. Small satellite driven missions have changed the approach towards Earth Observation and the Space Wide Web will pave the way for Internet of Space Things (IoSTs), he pointed out.

“We need to explore technical issues, development considerations, emerging opportunities and address quality, reliability issues and if we are not conscious, small satellites revolution will only remain as single shot opportunities and add up to space debris as well,” Dr. Reddy added.

In his address, Satish Chandra Jha, chairman, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), said the small satellites were playing an important role in space applications. “They are faster to build, cost effective and better packaged due to use of latest technologies,” he said.

For significant contributions to Indian Defence and Aerospace, Dr Reddy was conferred with the Honorary Fellowship of Sensors Research Society at the event which was also attended by PS Goel, ISRO Honorary Professor, Avinash Chander, president, Sensors Research Society, Koteshwara Rao, president, Society for Small Satellites and Systems, MSR Prasad, director general, Missiles and Strategic Systems, BHVS Narayana Murthy, director, RCI and others, a press release said.

Dr PS Goel and Dr Raja Ramanna chair professor, NIAS and former Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, were conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Awards, the release added. (Source: Google/https://telanganatoday.com)

07 Feb 19. Link Microtek develops space-qualified Ka-band microwave rotary joint for new Surrey Satellite antenna pointing mechanism. Link Microtek, the manufacturer of microwave and RF subsystems and components, has designed and produced a spaceflight-qualified microwave rotary joint and associated waveguide components as part of a Ka-band antenna pointing mechanism (APM) being developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, which is an independent company within Airbus.

Destined for use on low-Earth-orbit satellites, the Ka-band APM will enable the maximum amount of high-data-rate information, such as high-resolution images or video, to be transmitted to a ground station as the satellite completes its rapid traverse of the sky. Within the APM, the rotary joint performs the critical function of feeding the RF carrier signal from the static side of the antenna to the rotating side.

Link Microtek’s Managing Director, Steve Cranstone, takes up the story: “As the rotary joint and waveguide components are for use in spaceflight, they had to combine very low loss performance, low weight and long life, while at the same time being able to withstand the extreme physical demands of vacuum, vibration and temperature variation. All of which made the design and manufacture of these parts very challenging.”

SSTL’s APM design includes two Link Microtek rotary joints – one for azimuth and one for elevation – as well as interconnecting waveguides, which are made from aluminium to minimise weight and are crucial to the overall RF performance of the system.

Each rotary joint is of single-channel, non-contacting design covering the frequency band 25.5 to 27.0 GHz. Also made from aluminium, the rotary joints feature a WR34 waveguide interface on both ends and a bespoke flange design. The measured RF performance is impressive, with a very low maximum insertion loss of 0.29dB, a maximum insertion loss WOW of 0.12, maximum VSWR of 1.28:1 and maximum VSWR WOW of 0.13.

Steve Cranstone again: “Although ensuring that these intricate parts could cope with the hostile conditions of spaceflight was an enormous challenge, it was one that our in-house team of engineers rose to successfully, drawing on their decades of experience in this field to produce components of extraordinary robustness and stability. The rotary joint, for example, showed no significant degradation of performance even after an accelerated life test of nearly 700,000 revolutions.”

The development of the new Ka-band APM will significantly enhance SSTL’s data downlink capability, enabling it to support a data throughput of up to 1Gbps for a variety of high-resolution imaging applications.

Simon McLaren, Mechanisms Team Leader at SSTL, said: “We are pleased with the performance of the non-contacting Ka-band rotary joint and waveguide RF feed network developed by Link Microtek for use in Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd’s evolving antenna pointing mechanisms product range, to increase downlink capacity over existing technologies. We look forward to continuing to work with Link Microtek on future missions.”

07 Feb 19. Iran – Semnan: Iran reportedly conducts second failed space launch rocket vehicle test of 2019. On 6 February, imagery released by international media outlets indicates that Iran recently conducted a second failed launch in 2019 of a satellite into space via a domestically produced rocket from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan Province. However, the Iranian government has not officially acknowledged the failed test and 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. Iran previously conducted tests of Simorgh space launch rocket vehicles from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre on 15 January and 27 July 2017, without issuing appropriate NOTAMs prior to the events. 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 launches 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.

Analysis

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. 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. On 10 January, Iran announced plans to launch two satellites into space via domestically produced rockets in the “coming weeks”, both of which have now ended in failure, having gone ahead despite recent warnings from the US against carrying out the tests. On 2 February, Iran claimed to have conducted a test launch of a new cruise missile named the ‘Hoveizeh’, with a purported range of 800 miles (1,300km). Analysis of the video indicates the launch likely took place near the city of Qom with an impact location in the desert area south of Semnan and was likely conducted without the issuance of 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 February 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

Advice

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.

GPS Interference: GPS interference within parts of the airspace and in the environs surrounding certain airports have been reported in recent years. The source of the GPS interference remains unknown at this time and could be emanating from either military/government activities, legal commercial sources or actors with nefarious intent. Civil aviation flight operations face a nascent credible risk of being to be exposed to GPS navigation interference when landing at international airports or while operating in the airspace. As such, operators should take this information into account during their flight planning process and while identifying divert options.

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)

07 Feb 19. ELA secures US contract to support development of local launch industry. Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has announced the company’s first US-based customer, TriSept Corp, and will provide an efficient launch and recovery location in Australia. The fast-growing global satellite launch vehicle market is set to surpass US$2.4bn by 2024. This is an exciting and prospective market for investors to consider, with early stage investment opportunities such as supporting a launch site near the equator being a rare and increasingly appealing option for private portfolios and government allocations. The agreement between ELA provides TriSept’s commercial customers with access to one of the most exciting and efficient new launch sites in the world. Located at just 12 degrees from the Equator, ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre in northern Australia is a growing site offering stability in terms of favourable weather, politics, and trade relations.

ELA chief executive Carley Scott welcomed the signing of the agreement, saying it is “a great time for the space industry, with this announcement of a significant international collaboration between ELA and TriSept further activating Australia’s strong trade relationships, keeping the nation at the front of technology innovation, and opening a very exciting launch site to the international market”.

Leveraging the extra rotational velocity imparted when launching near the equator is a focus of discussion for international spacecraft and satellite manufacturers who are looking for a launch site facilitating rapid, reliable and cost-effective access for LEO, GEO and deep space missions.

“The Arnhem Space Centre is being built by ELA in the north of Australia at a place where the Earth’s rotational speed is 1,635 km/h. Leveraging the Earth’s speed, a launch vehicle can carry more payload to space than if launched at other sites at higher latitudes, resulting in a a more efficient launch for customers,” Scott added.

Launches for customers are expected to commence from the Arnhem Space Centre this year, with increasingly complex missions being planned as the site continues to be developed in alignment with customer demand. (Source: Space Connect)

07 Feb 19. WA to host major space technologies conference. The Emerging and Disruptive Technology Assessment Symposium will take place in Perth on 5-6 March, with internationally recognised academic, industry and Defence leaders gathering to “explore and shape the long-term vision for space technologies”.

The conference will be co-hosted by four universities – Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia – in partnership with Defence Science and Technology.

The universities were selected after a nationwide search for an academic partner for the event, with the four being described as “among the leaders of Australian research into space technologies”.

The topics explored by the EDTAS will impact Defence and national security “over the next 20 years”, according to the government, and give WA a showcase to “build on their space research and share expertise with other international and Australian researchers in attendance”.

The federal government said, “Australia is increasingly dependent on space-based systems to provide information and communication to support Defence operations and national security. Space capability is one of nine priorities identified for further development in the 2016 Defence White Paper.”

The conference will be co-hosted by four universities – Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia – in partnership with Defence Science and Technology.

The universities were selected after a nationwide search for an academic partner for the event, with the four being described as “among the leaders of Australian research into space technologies”.

The topics explored by the EDTAS will impact Defence and national security “over the next 20 years”, according to the government, and give WA a showcase to “build on their space research and share expertise with other international and Australian researchers in attendance”.

The federal government said, “Australia is increasingly dependent on space-based systems to provide information and communication to support Defence operations and national security. Space capability is one of nine priorities identified for further development in the 2016 Defence White Paper.”

“The Liberal National government is committed to harnessing space and space-based technologies for Defence and our national security,” reads a joint release between Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews.

“The Liberal National government also established the Australian Space Agency with funding of $41m dollars to grow and transform our nation’s civil space industry, aimed at creating another 20,000 jobs and tripling the size of our space sector to $12bn by 2030. This investment is on top of more than $300m in funding aimed to kick-start the local space industry and develop world-leading core satellite infrastructure.” (Source: Space Connect)

06 Feb 19. Satcom Direct supports Skyservice to generate first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for SD Data Link Unit upgrade for Learjet 45.  The Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) authority has awarded Skyservice Business Aviation an STC for installation of the Satcom Direct Data Link Unit (DLU) upgrade on the Learjet 45 type. SD supported Skyservice through the TCCA STC process, and with the EASA and FAA submissions whose approvals are expected in the second quarter of 2019.  Of the three Skyservice Learjet 45 aircraft, one is already benefitting from the system installation, with the next two scheduled for SD DLU upgrade in early 2019. Upon completion, the installations will support CPDLC (FANS1/A and ATN- B) compliance to augment operational safety. Skyservice will use their STC to support other Learjet 45 operators requiring installation which helps retain asset value while optimizing performance.

“Skyservice is one of the first MROs to comply with 9,600/10,000/14,800-hour inspections and has more than 30-years-experience in Learjet maintenance. The SD DLU is a proven product that supports more efficient Learjet 45 operations. With their support we are now positioned to be the facility of choice for these upgrades,” said Paul Weeks, Vice President, Maintenance for Skyservice Business Aviation.

“Skyservice has a long legacy of excellent support for Learjet 45. Our DLU solution makes operating these aircraft safer and helps manage operating costs,” said Robert Vega, Director of Product Management at SD. “Our DLU is already fitted on numerous aircraft and we’re excited to have this newest STC available for the aviation industry. The upgrade allows operators to both reap the benefits of more efficient routes and preserve critical safety features including FANS-1/A compliance.”

05 Feb 19. NIC4 to deliver VSAT support for Iraq Ministry of Defence. US-based NIC4, a division of Network Innovations Group, has received a foreign military sales (FMS) delivery contract for the Iraq Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) very small aperture terminal (VSAT) Phase One programme.

The five-year single award indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract was awarded through ACC-APG customer Communications-Electronic Command (CECOM) Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD).

NIC4 CEO Chad Gatlin said: “NIC4’s unique contribution to the Iraq MOD is our experienced team members and network sustainment expertise.

“The competition for this US Army FMS case to the satellite integrator industry was immense, and we are pleased to be chosen as the partner of choice to deliver our exceptional services to the programme.”

Under the contract, the company will sustain and support the VSAT network by providing knowledge-based associated services such as satellite-bandwidth services for fixed and mobile users, and OCONUS backup VSAT hub services. In addition, the company will offer internet access over the VSAT network, satellite transition services and equipment, public internet protocol (IP) addresses, in addition to annual maintenance and sustainment support.

In a statement, NIC4 said: “Enabling the Iraqi Government to utilise satellite connectivity as part of the government’s rebuilding is significant in coordinating military and strategic operations.

“Running critical communications over satellite networks reduces the Iraqi Government’s dependency on vulnerable terrestrial infrastructure and ensures military and strategic services are operational at all times.”

Work under the contract will be carried out in locations determined with each order. It is expected to be completed on 31 January 2024.(Source: army-technology.com)

04 Feb 19. GDUK’s ‘Hawk’ communication node showcased with 4G/LTE. General Dynamics UK (GDUK) has outlined its ‘Hawk’ Communications and Information Services (CIS) Node concept that it showcased at the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) in November 2018. The Hawk CIS Node was fielded with 4G/LTE, high frequency (HF), ultra HF (UHF), satellite communications (satcom), and mobile ad hoc network (MANET) technologies to support tactical communications for forward-deployed ground units, as well as reach-back to a tactical operations centre (TOC), Tim Hooper, business development manager at GDUK, said during 31 January comments at the Mobile Deployable Communications conference in Warsaw, Poland.

The CIS Node was integrated on a British Army 4×4 Foxhound light patrol vehicle, although Hooper said the integration of GDUK’s own 4G/LTE capability comprised a “key interest” for the Ministry of Defence at AWE.

(Source: IHS Jane’s)

04 Feb 19. Kratos Demos Fully Automated Roaming Capability Between Diverse Satellites, Service Providers and Gateways. Architecture Can Protect Against Denial of Satellite Services Without Replacing Thousands of Existing DoD Terminals. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that its Kratos RT Logic subsidiary successfully demonstrated the ability to roam among heterogeneous networks and optimize wideband satellite communications (SATCOM) with Enterprise Management and Control (M&C).  Enterprise M&C improves the effectiveness of the DoD’s critical SATCOM infrastructure by enhancing resilience and protecting access through path diversity, speeding resource allocation times and improving bandwidth efficiency.

The prototype Enterprise M&C system was implemented in conjunction with a multi-band U.S. government satellite communication terminal and gateway equipment representative of current U.S. government infrastructure. The Enterprise M&C demonstration enabled secure communications across multiple operator networks, and successfully highlighted the following functions:

  • a. Rapid, automated access to multiple satellites and satellite networks, operated by multiple service providers
  • b. Control of multiple modem types and software versions within a single terminal
  • c. Terminal reconfiguration to support diverse SATCOM architectures, including Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) networks
  • d. Flexible ground networking using Digital Intermediate Frequency (IF)

“This demonstration of roaming architected by Kratos is an efficient way to improve capacity, capabilities and resiliency,” said Mike Rice, Vice President of Satellite Ground Systems at Kratos. “It proved that minor modifications to existing government terminals can create the ability to seamlessly cross between commercial and DoD SATCOM resources of various types. It is a straightforward way for the U.S. government to effectively increase access for the warfighter without replacing or adding new terminals.” (Source: ASD Network)

04 Feb 19. Kratos EGS secures readiness for enterprise ground services system. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has demonstrated the technology readiness level (TRL) 8 of its Enterprise Ground Services (EGS) by commanding an on-orbit spacecraft using the US Air Force’s (USAF) EGS framework. The demonstration comes after the company recently announced three successful pathfinder studies to migrate the Command and Control System-Consolidated (CCS-C) ground system to the EGS architecture. Introduced in 2001, the CCS-C system is responsible for providing consolidated military satellite communication tracking, telemetry and command capability for 14th Air Force and 50th Space Wing launch and early orbit, on orbit and anomaly resolution operations.

The company’s demonstration is in support of the USAF’s strategic approach to implement a common service-based satellite ground infrastructure that will create an integrated platform in place of existing satellite ground systems. EGS is focused on a space architecture that can tackle emerging threats and protect space-based assets.

During the demonstration, Kratos showcased capabilities, including dynamically allocating satellite ground resources and executing deployment automation with the ability to spin up new satellite command and control instances in less than ten minutes.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions federal programme vice-president Larry Lind said: “These capabilities are critical to achieving a resilient EGS and the agility needed to survive the new realities of space.

“In the past, the demonstration of a new satellite ground command and control station has taken months and in many cases years to execute. The test and demonstration of this first live contact run out of the Space Mission Battle Lab was made possible in less than three weeks and its success validated TRL 8 readiness of Kratos EGS technology.”

TRL is used to determine the maturity of critical technology elements of a programme during the acquisition process. The TRL 8 readiness of Kratos EGS confirms the completion of the actual system and makes its mission qualified through test and demonstration in an operational environment. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

01 Feb 19. OneWeb’s Satellite Launch is Being Delayed Due to Soyuz ST Anomaly. Greg Wyler, the Chairman of OneWeb, as said that the launch of OneWeb communications satellites from the Kourou space center in French Guiana, planned for February 20, has been delayed due to problems with the equipment from the Russian carrier. He tweeted that the information is true, that there is an anomaly on the rocket which will cause the company to push out the launch. OneWeb satellites are fine and ready to go.

The statement comes after Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos told the Sputnik news site on January 30 that preparations for the launch of OneWeb communications satellites from the Kourou space center in French Guiana were proceeding normally and the detected flaws would be repaired before the launch.

Sources in Russia’s space industry earlier told Sputnik that a seam rupture in a pipeline that supplies helium to fuel tanks of the Fregat booster on the Soyuz-ST carrier rocket, which is scheduled to put the first test satellites of the UK’s OneWeb constellation into orbit, had been detected during pre-launch preparations.

In June of 2015, Roscosmos inked a deal with OneWeb and French company Arianespace for 21 commercial launches of 672 satellites on Soyuz launch vehicles with Fregat boosters from the Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny spaceports. The developer and manufacturer of the Soyuz rockets are Samara-based RSC Progress. The Fregat booster is manufactured by Khimki-based NPO Lavochkin.

OneWeb plans to create a constellation of satellites that will provide broadband internet access to users around the world fully covering the Earth’s surface. (Source: Satnews)

05 Feb 19. Gilmour space reveals ‘One Vision’ rocket ahead of suborbital test launch. Australian rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies recently unveiled its “One Vision” rocket, which the company plans to launch later this month.

The Gold Coast-based company unveiled the rocket system and conducted a live demonstration of its automated mobile launcher, the first of its kind in Australia.

The nine-meter-tall rocket — which will be carrying payloads from universities in Australia and Singapore — is slated to launch from a private property in far north Queensland later this month.

Gilmour Space CEO and founder Adam Gilmour said, “One Vision is a scaled version of our Ariel sounding rocket, and its main objective will be to flight-test our proprietary hybrid rocket engine for commercial orbital launches starting in 2020. We’re in the final stages of obtaining launch approvals from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.”

The coming launch will also be a test of the company’s new mobile launch platform and ground control station.

“There are currently no commercial launch sites for orbital launches in Australia. What you see here today will enable us to launch from remote areas in Australia and elsewhere,” Gilmour added.

Members of the Queensland parliamentary committee inquiring into the job-creation opportunities from space were first to view the demo.

“I congratulate Gilmour Space for being such active and innovative entrepreneurs, really driving the development of the Queensland space industry. It’s so critical that other Queensland companies see that they too could be active participants in Space 2.0,” said the committee chairperson, Chris Whiting.

Gilmour Space believes that a dedicated commercial launch site in Queensland could form the cornerstone of upstream space manufacturing in Queensland and Australia.

“It’s becoming clear to everyone that space is a real business. It is an industry that is developing cutting-edge technology, attracting real investments, employing highly skilled talent within Australia, and bringing new and valuable skills into the country,” Mr Gilmour added.

The company plans to launch Eris-100 in 2020, a three-stage commercial vehicle capable of carrying 100 kilograms to LEO, followed by Eris-400 in 2021, a clustered-engine vehicle for payloads of up to 400 kilograms.

The Eris system provides orbital launch capacity (LEO) with an estimated launch price of US$25,000-38,000 per kilogram depending on the payload mass, with a max payload of 400 kilograms. Eris is a three-stage launch system propelled by eight of the G-70 hybrid rocket engines developed by Gilmour Space Technologies.

Mr Gilmour called for additional support from the Australian government, saying, “With stronger support from the government, I believe this growth could be nurtured and accelerated, helping us put Australia on the global space map.”

Gilmour Space plans to launch its first hybrid rockets to suborbital space in 2018, and to LEO in 2020-21. (Source: Space Connect)

04 Feb 19. Infostellar and Teledyne Paradise Datacom Announce Interoperability of Systems, an Advancement Enabling More Customers’ Access to LEO CubeSat Data. Infostellar and Teledyne Paradise Datacom (Paradise), part of the Teledyne Defense Electronics Group, are pleased to announce the interoperability of Infostellar’s ground station sharing platform, StellarStation, with the groundbreaking QubeFlex™ LEO satellite modem, a flagship product of Paradise.

Infostellar and Paradise aim to provide LEO Satellite operators and ground station owners with a single seamless system able to integrate with existing ground stations by installing StarPass, Infostellar’s sharing device, at the ground station site. This device provides a link between the ground station hardware and StellarStation, which in turn allows Infostellar to rent unused antenna idle time from ground stations and supply it to satellite customers.

This interoperability between the QubeFlex™ modem and StellarStation bridges an “access gap” in the current market. It enables a much larger swath of smaller end users globally to affordably access CubeSat data, without a capital investment in earth station equipment, while also giving ground station operators the opportunity to sell unused capacity.

Andrew Young, Head of Ground Systems Engineering at Infostellar, said, “The QubeFlex Satellite Modem is the first off-the-shelf satellite modem we’ve seen that was designed specifically for CubeSat and Smallsat users. This, along with its track record of interoperability with a variety of CubeSat transmitters, is the reason we’ve added support for it to our StarPass device.”

“Interoperability between space assets and ground segment has always been important to users,” said Paul McConnell, Business Development Director for Paradise. “StellarStation takes the concept of interoperability a step further and together with Q-Flex provides a seamless, quick and flexible ground solution for new space.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

01 Feb 19. Delay to MoD’s military space strategy causes concern. Defence sector waits for clarity eight months after Gavin Williamson promised plan. Some of the UK’s SkyNet 5 system of military communications satellites are due to go out of service in the early 2020s. When defence secretary Gavin Williamson announced the UK’s first military space strategy last May, he promised an ambitious plan that would ensure Britain was “primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space”. Almost eight months later — and despite promising to deliver the strategy last summer — the UK defence industry is still waiting. Neil Fraser, a business director for satellite company ViaSat, said there was “concern amongst many of the industry players that the MoD is taking a long time to . . . make the space strategy a reality”. The problem for Mr Williamson and his military chiefs is that, while everyone at the Ministry of Defence agrees space is now fundamental to the smooth operation of a modern military, there is no consensus over who should be in charge, what capabilities the UK military should have and how much it can afford. “Sometimes our military has champagne taste but beer money,” added Mr Fraser, a former army officer. “There is a need to leverage private sector investment and technology to make better use of defence finances.” In an effort to make some progress, Britain’s second most senior military officer, General Sir Gordon Messenger, last month ordered a sweeping audit of Britain’s military space capabilities. (Source: FT.com)

01 Feb 19. Canada Pays $46m for Arctic Surveillance Contracts – Defence Ministry. Canada has awarded two contracts – one to study long-range radar detection and another to develop a microsatellite for air and maritime surveillance – in an effort to keep tabs on the Arctic, the Defence Ministry announced in a press release on Friday.

“Raytheon Canada Limited has been awarded a contract for $31.2m for the construction of transmit and receive electronics for a study of over-the-horizon radar detection at long range,” the release said. “A contract for $15m has also been awarded to UTIAS SFL for the development of a prototype of a multipurpose microsatellite equipped with state-of-the-art sensor technology for air and maritime surveillance.”

The UTIAS SFL acronym represents the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Space Flight Lab. The technology is being sought to support Canadian sovereignty in the far North, to provide greater safety and security, while supporting transportation and commercial activity in Canada’s Arctic, the release said.

In addition, the technology could augment efforts by Canada and the US to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the release added. (Source: Google/sputniknews.com)

 

28 Jan 19. Ball Aerospace’s Flat Panel Antenna Communicates with Telesat’s LEO Phase 1 Satellite – First Demo Completed. The test took place at Telesat’s Allan Park ground station in Ontario, Canada, where Ball Aerospace successfully completed the first communication demonstration between Telesat’s LEO Phase 1 satellite and Ball’s fully electronically-steered flat panel antenna. Ball and Telesat are collaborating on the development of satellite communications (SATCOM) terminals based on Ball’s advanced antenna technology.

As part of the demonstration, Ball’s electronically-steered antenna tracked and communicated with the Telesat LEO Phase 1 satellite and captured real-time video data, which showcased the low latency characteristics of the Telesat LEO system. Electronically-steered flat panel antennas enable non-stationary satellite tracking and support quick and seamless switching between satellites, which is necessary for large LEO constellations. In addition, electronically-steered antennas have enhanced reliability due to no moving parts, are easy to install and may be manufactured in volume at low cost.

Telesat’s LEO Phase 1 satellite was launched in January 2018 and provides an in-orbit platform for development of Telesat’s high performance global constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that will offer low latency high throughput data services that are truly competitive with terrestrial networks. End-user terminals capable of tracking LEO satellites, handing off between beams and between satellites, and operating maintenance-free in remote locations will further enhance the Telesat LEO value proposition.

Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager, Tactical Solutions, Ball Aerospace said that for decades, Ball Aerospace has been developing and building electronically-steered flat panel antennas for military and government customers.  They’re thrilled to work with Telesat to demonstrate this technology for their LEO satellite constellation and other commercial applications.

Michel Forest, director of Engineering, Telesat added that by successfully tracking their LEO Phase 1 satellite through multiple passes, Ball has demonstrated that their electronically-steered antenna technology is fully compatible with Telesat’s system architecture. Ball is an industry leader in advanced antenna technology and has proven expertise in the development of user terminal solutions that will allow them to meet their objective of providing fiber-like broadband and world-wide connectivity. (Source: Satnews)

29 Jan 19. C-COM Satellite Systems’ First Electronically Steerable Phased Array Antenna and a Big Speaker at SmallSat Symposium. The company’s history reveals why they are thriving today as a result of their past forays in the realm of antennas. C-COM Satellite Systems are pioneers in the manufacturing of motorized antenna systems for the delivery of broadband internet to any location via satellite. The company manufactures its iNetVu® brand in Driveaway (vehicle mount), Flyaway (transportable), Manpack (backpack) and FMA (fixed motorized) format. Currently there are more than 8,000 systems deployed in over 100 countries.

That was then and this is now … where their latest endeavor finds them in partnership with the University of Waterloo creating its first Electronically Steerable Phased Array Antenna. C-COM tested its Ka-band, chip-based modules using the company’s patent-pending phase shifter technology in the summer of 2016. The proof of concept prototype is expected to come out in 2019.

Coming from Ontario, Canada, to the SmallSat Symposium in California’s Silicon Valley, will be Drew Klein, the Director of International Business Development for C-COM Satellite. Klein will be a participant in a panel about Antennas Tracking and Phased Array Antennas on Wednesday, February 6th, 12:15 pm.

Drew is responsible for the sales and marketing departments at C-COM and directs the promotion of the iNetVu®mobile antenna, the auto-deploy and fully motorized VSAT solution.

Prior to joining C-COM in 2010, Drew worked in Los Angeles for 10 years where he was the President of a national commodity brokerage firm. The company’s key business line was sold to a Chicago based FCM.

In the year 2000, Drew graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Honours Science faculty (Biology) as the class valedictorian and as President of the local chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Drew and others will be attending the SmallSat Symposium which takes place from February 4 with workshops, then on to the Conference from February 5 – 7. The event is hosted by SatNews, which since 1983 has been a provider of a satellite news, media and events. The SmallSat Symposium is created to enable you and your company to secure a larger portion of the market share and then take part in the next stages of your growth. You can register here. The interpersonal connections at SmallSat have also been given careful consideration so that attendees are assured of having the opportunity to network with both established organizations and new space entrants. (Source: Satnews)

28 Jan 19. No Aloha for Alaska Aerospace’s Proposal for Small Satellite Launch Facility. The CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corp. said the organization will have some homework to do after a contentious meeting with Department of Hawaiian Home Lands residents Friday about its proposed small satellite launch facility. The meeting at the Panaewa Community Center was held in advance of a public meeting planned for Feb. 6 in Hilo. About 50 people from Panaewa and Keaukaha attended, and none appeared interested in rockets being launched in the area. The site being explored is on W.H. Shipman land between the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and the ocean, about 3 miles from the nearest Panaewa homestead lot.

Many of the attendees said enough has already been built on or around homestead communities, whether it be the airport, landfill or drag strip.

“We’re surrounded by pilau,” said Maile Lu‘uwai, who led efforts to relocate a proposed composting facility away from Panaewa.

A common point of view was the proponents need to bring more than promises about jobs or education, but also an understanding of the culture and history. That’s where some said they thought Craig Campbell, Alaska Aerospace Corp. CEO, was lacking during his talk.

“I don’t hear a word you say because you don’t do your homework,” said Sandra Claveria.

Campbell said he thought he needed to meet with the community to hear the concerns and questions before the public meeting. A time and place is still to be determined.

“The community spoke from the heart,” he said. “I learned a lot about some of the sensitive areas I need to focus on.”

While he and other proponents, including the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems and University of Hawaii’s space flight laboratory, gave an overview of the project, there was no formal presentation or handouts.

Campbell said the rockets would have an average height of 40 feet, and there would be a cap of 24 launches a year.

He said it would only be used for commercial satellite launches, and the site would be smaller than the organization’s existing launch site on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. Two launch pads — one 20 feet by 20 feet, the other 20 feet by 60 feet in size — would be built, but there would be little overall infrastructure.

“It’s not going to be Kodiak here,” he said.

The interest in Hawaii Island is that it can accommodate equatorial launches. Campbell told the Tribune-Herald that other sites were explored in Saipan and Guam, but the project likely will come to an end if the facility can’t be built in East Hawaii.

Peggy Farias, Shipman CEO, said during the meeting that the company has not decided whether to agree to host the site.

She referred to the proposed site, about 13 acres in size, as being 1.5 miles from Haena beach, also known as Shipman beach. Campbell said not all of the site would be disturbed.

The meeting concluded after a few activists led by Terri Napeahi entered the community center, resulting in shouting and finger pointing with some of the other attendees.

The group of about 10 stood outside for most of the meeting, holding signs in protest.

In addition to blasting the proposal, Napeahi criticized community leaders for agreeing to a meeting she claimed was being organized in secret. She said she grew up next to the Hilo airport in Keaukaha, and sees the proposal as another facility that will cause harm to Hawaiians.

“Our leaders do not speak for me,” Napeahi said. “You are being used.”

Such comments prompted objections from other attendees, with one accusing her of lying.

Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager, said Napeahi was emailed about the meeting, along with board members for the Keaukaha and Panaewa community organizations. A board member said they then asked other community members to attend. (Source: Satnews)

28 Jan 19. The System Requirements Review for the Telesat LEO Constellation Completed by Thales Alenia Space and SSL. As previously announced, Telesat selected the consortium of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies, the owner of SSL and MDA, as one of two contractors for their LEO system design phase. The consortium, led by Thales Alenia Space, is designing an end-to-end communications system, including satellites, landing stations, user terminals, operations centers, and ground network.

Development of key technologies for both space and ground segments will enable Thales Alenia Space to offer solutions that meet Telesat’s ambitious requirements as well as provide cost effective and stable approaches for the firm’s longer term business objectives.

Thales Alenia Space’s past cooperation with Telesat in communications satellites means it is eager to build on and deepen that partnership. Thales Alenia Space is defining with Telesat, a LEO satellite constellation that will transform global communications by offering an unsurpassed combination of capacity, speed, security, resilience, low cost and low latency, comparable to, or better than, today’s terrestrial networks.

The advanced capabilities of Telesat LEO will be able to satisfy many of the world’s most challenging communications needs, such as accelerating 5G expansion, bridging the digital divide and setting new levels of performance for commercial and government broadband communications on land, sea and in the air.

Thales Alenia Space will bring its wide range of expertise covering the full end-to-end communication system with satellite constellation and ground segment architectures, design, manufacturing and operations based on its strong heritage in GEO and unrivaled experience in innovative technologies, design and automated production of LEO satellite constellations.

Executive Comments

Martin Van Schaik, SVP Sales and Marketing at Thales Alenia Space said that this consortium is applying the latest technologies to optimize system network performance and assure that the constellation design is the best one for achieving Telesat’s goals. The project team, consisting of engineering specialists at both Thales Alenia Space and Maxar’s SSL, is developing game-changing solutions as we successfully complete one milestone after another. Thales Alenia Space leads the industry in successfully deployed constellations and the company is delighted to be supporting this new constellation from Telesat that will bring unprecedented levels of capacity and flexibility for broadband services around the world.

Dario Zamarian, Group President, SSL, added that the consortium of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar’s SSL has made great progress in developing innovative solutions for the Telesat constellation. Completing the SRR is a significant milestone and demonstrates the success of the company’s collaboration with Thales Alenia Space and the value of SSL and MDA businesses working together to bring integrated solutions that drive competitive advantages for satellite operators, and help build a better world. (Source: Satnews)

27 Jan 19. Euroconsult Report Focuses on Satellites to be Built and Launched by 2027. Three thousand, three hundred satellites are to be built and launched during the next decade for a market value of $284bn, driven by governments and commercial constellations — this information according to a 2018 forecast by research and analysis firm, Euroconsult. The company anticipates that 330 satellites with a mass over 50kg. will be launched on average each year by 2027 for government agencies and commercial organizations worldwide. This is a threefold increase over the past decade, as the satellite market experiences a paradigm shift with the rise of smallsats and large constellations. The 3,300 satellites that weigh more than 50kg. to be launched over the 2018 to 2027 timeframe should represent a market of $284bn for the space industry in terms of building and launching, up 25 percent over that of the past decade. At the same time, a price decrease is visible in the satellite industry, driven by the commercial constellations of smallsats introducing new production and operation concepts including economies of scale, softwarization, and vertical integration up to data analytics. Governments will remain the largest customer of the satellite and launch industries, with 1,300+ satellites to be launched over the next 10 years by about 70 countries for a market value of over $200bn. Governments dominate the space industry as established space countries replace and expand their on-orbit satellite systems and more countries acquire their first operational satellite systems, usually for communications, Earth Observation (EO) and imagery intelligence — 85 percent of the government market will remain concentrated in the 10 countries that already possess an established space industry (U.S., Russia, China, Japan, India and the top five European countries). The remaining 60 countries will invest in satellite systems to develop domestic space capabilities, or to acquire their first systems (usually for communications, Earth observation and imagery intelligence) in order to be more responsive to national social and economic development needs.

In the commercial space sector, Euroconsult believes about 50 companies will launch almost 2,000 satellites, of which 1,700 units will be for 22 commercial constellations (of which one single constellation accounts for 70 percent).  Commercial space still means communications and broadcasting satellites in geostationary orbit; these satellites represent almost 50 percent of the $70bn of commercial revenues expected over the decade. The two other large commercial markets are for non-geostationary orbit satellite constellations for communications (25 percent of revenues) and EO (11 percent of revenues). New commercial markets are emerging for in-orbit services such as satellite life extension, and for on-orbit tourism (mostly lunar). (Source: Satnews)

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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.

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