Sponsored By Viasat
18 Mar 19. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, in partnership with MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, today announced Viasat’s KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminal (STT) was selected by the Canadian Department of National Defence in September 2018 to support its ASCCM project. Viasat’s STT is the world’s only multi-channel, software-upgradable radio capable of performing Link 16 communications in a small form factor and includes interoperable functionality to improve communications between U.S. and international military agencies requiring information from multiple networks. Through the award, Viasat and MDA will support the Canadian Armed Forces’ efforts to modernize computer suite and data link radios. Viasat’s STT will be a key enabler of improved interoperable network communications by significantly enhancing voice and data capabilities across air, land and sea platforms.
“This award once again validates the field-proven interoperability and performance capabilities of Viasat’s STT,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “Viasat and MDA remain committed to delivering today’s most comprehensive portfolio of Link 16 tactical data link solutions that meet the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements needed to support assured communications across a variety of Canadian Armed Forces platforms.”
“This award is yet another example of the growing partnership between Viasat and MDA, which leverages a dedicated and skilled Canadian workforce to meet the critical communications needs of the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Mike Greenley, group president, MDA.
Viasat is an industry leader in Link 16 tactical data links with today’s most extensive portfolio of terminal configurations and form factors and thousands of systems fielded to allied countries around the globe. Viasat’s Link 16 radio communications systems provide U.S. and international allied warfighters with greater situational awareness by exchanging digital data over a common communication link that is continuously and automatically updated in real-time, reducing the chance of fratricide or duplicate assignments, while significantly enhancing mission effectiveness even in harsh and severely contested environments.
21 Mar 19. NSW space sector to blast off with Space Agency MOU. The New South Wales space sector is set to benefit after the announcement of the development of a new space manufacturing capability in western Sydney, as well as the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and the NSW state government.
The federal government will invest $2m to support the space manufacturing facility at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, which hopes to “boost and transform the local and national space industry”.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the funding would “complement the MoU, which outlines key industry and infrastructure opportunities that will bring massive benefits to the state and national space economies”.
“The coalition is committed to taking our space industry to the next level, and working closely with the Berejiklian government will assist us to achieve this mission,” Minister Andrews said.
“We are contributing $2m to support the development of infrastructure to help start-ups and SMEs in western Sydney deliver future space manufacturing capability.
“The Liberal National government established the Australian Space Agency last year and is investing $53m over four years to grow the Australian space industry.
“Investments into Australia’s burgeoning industries are part of our plan to grow the economy and help reach our target of creating 1.25m jobs in the next five years.”
The ASA will work with the state government for the design and development of infrastructure required for the Aerotropolis, for start-ups, SMEs and researchers to develop future space manufacturing capability.
“Facilities such as these support the development of high-tech skills for the space sector, provide infrastructure to support the development of new space objects, and will be the central hub around which new space start-ups and SMEs come together,” said NSW Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair.
“There’s a lot of potential at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, which could be the central hub around which new space start-ups and SMEs could collaborate.”
The NSW government also confirmed it would contribute funding for the project.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark, AC, said, “The agreement and facilities will help to grow and develop our national space industry.
“The Australian Space Agency is pleased to be a part of growing a significant global aerospace presence in western Sydney.”
The ASA also confirmed that “more MoUs” with state governments are “expected to follow”. (Source: Space Connect)
21 Mar 19. Myriota releases toolkit for integration of satellite technology. Myriota has launched its Developer Toolkit, which will enable developers to integrate their direct-to-satellite communications technology with internet of things (IoT) products. Myriota said the toolbox will accelerate the availability of IoT technology across the global tech community, after “extensive” trialling and testing over the past six months by early access partners across Australia, Europe and the US.
CTO and co-founder of Myriota, Dr David Haley, said, “The toolkits provide a complete, mature platform for the rapid development of satellite IoT solutions, from smaller developers to multinational businesses alike.”
“We’re excited to be putting the power of IoT into the hands of those able to apply it most effectively – the developer community.
“Enabling a myriad of applications, the Myriota Developer Toolkit supports the development of innovative IoT devices for a wide range of industries. It will enable developers to add the lowest cost, most secure and longest battery life IoT connectivity to their products for truly remote applications.”
The Myriota Software Development Kit (SDK) is publicly available via GitHub, providing “a simple, yet powerful application programming interface (API) for job scheduling, sensor input/output, diagnostics, and access to Myriota’s communication stack”.
The use of SDK is being employed to monitor water throughout Australia by smart metering solutions provider WaterGroup, which took part in the early access program.
“With increased stress being placed on our water supplies, particularly in drought stricken rural areas, there has never been greater demand or greater capability to monitor water – our most precious resource,” Rian Sullings, manager smart metering and IoT at WaterGroup, said.
“Traditional terrestrial wireless networks cover only around one-third of Australia’s geographic area, but we’re now able to connect to the previously unconnected – monitoring critical water infrastructure no matter where it is located. Using Myriota’s direct-to-orbit connectivity, our digital water metering solutions can operate practically anywhere; collecting vital data on our water networks, and enabling data analytics and efficiency improvements.”
Myriota’s Developer Toolkit includes:
- 1 x Development board;
- 1 x Satellite simulator USB dongle and antenna;
- 1 x Enclosure and Mounting Brackets;
- 1 x Antenna with coaxial cable;
- 1 x USB cable; and
- 1 x Battery holder cover. (Source: Space Connect)
20 Mar 19. Orbit Communication Systems and Inmarsat Government Announce Airborne Satcom Terminal Agreement. New compact Ka-band airborne multi-purpose terminal supports military, government and commercial service requirements/. Orbit Communication Systems Ltd. (TASE: ORBI), a leading global provider of compact ground stations and tracking aeronautical and maritime terminals, and Inmarsat Government, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications and managed network services to the U.S. government, have today announced a long-term agreement to offer end-users a new modular, multi-role aviation terminal, optimized for use over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) network.
The new terminal will operate over Inmarsat’s GX constellation, the world’s first and only globally available, high-throughput wideband network. It will deliver Inmarsat’s ‘SATCOM as a Service’, featuring commercial Ka-band and military Ka-band capabilities, which are fully interoperable with the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system.
The new compact Orbit terminal, GX46, features a 46cm (18”) antenna and will be delivered fully integrated with modems, electronics and related software. The lightweight, small-foot print terminal couples high performance and Orbit’s industry-leading reliability, which will open new communication opportunities for business jets, military mission aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Following completion of the Inmarsat certification process, volume production of the terminal is planned at Orbit’s U.S.-based facilities.
“We are very pleased to unveil our new multi-role terminal, which has been several years in the making with Inmarsat,” said Stav Gizunterman, Vice President of Research and Development at Orbit. “This flexible, integrated terminal is uniquely capable of supporting both Global Xpress and WGS services, and represents a truly innovative way to help expand their airborne services.”
“The implementation of the GX46 benefits from Orbit’s years of experience developing airborne satcom systems,” said Steve Gizinski, Chief Technology Officer of Inmarsat Government. “The GX46 will expand our airborne connectivity solutions with an Inmarsat type-approved terminal that is suitable for an important market segment. This terminal will support operations in mil band (Inmarsat-5 and WGS) and will operate seamlessly on Inmarsat’s global Global Xpress network.”
About Orbit’s Airborne Terminals
With over 1600 terminals delivered, ORBIT offers a range of versatile and highly reliable airborne satellite communications systems. The AirTRx and MPT series offer a choice of multiple antenna sizes, frequency bands and profiles, and are operational on a wide range of airborne platforms such as commercial airliners, business jets, military aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. The systems are offered in Ku, Ka and X-band and provide outstanding RF, tracking and inter-satellite transition performance in harsh operating environments. They are modular, ready for installation, and simple to operate and maintain. Drawing on long cooperation with leading aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, Airbus, and Gulfstream, Orbit airborne systems meet stringent size, weight, power and environmental requirements. Orbit delivers tested, certified, and reliable terminals, ready for service. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Mar 19. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced a new generation of space technology launching this year that will allow satellites to change their missions in orbit. Satellites that launched one, ten or even fifteen years ago largely have the same capability they had when they lifted off. That’s changing with new architecture that will let users add capability and assign new missions with a software push, just like adding an app on a smartphone. This new tech, called SmartSat, is a software-defined satellite architecture that will boost capability for payloads on several pioneering nanosats ready for launch this year.
“Imagine a new type of satellite that acts more like a smartphone. Add a SmartSat app to your satellite in-orbit, and you’ve changed the mission,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space. “We are the first to deploy this groundbreaking technology on multiple missions. SmartSat will give our customers unparalleled resiliency and flexibility for changing mission needs and technology, and it unlocks even greater processing power in space.”
This year Lockheed Martin is integrating SmartSat technology on ten programs and counting, including the Linus and Pony Express nanosats, which will be the first to launch. These are rapid-prototype, testbed satellites using internal research and development funding, ready for 2019 launches on the first LM 50 nanosatellite buses:
- The Linus project delivers two 12U cubesats performing a technology demonstration mission, validating SmartSat capabilities as well as 3D-printed spacecraft components.
- Pony Express builds multiple 6U satellites destined for a low earth orbit and will space qualify state-of-the-art networking technologies. Pony Express 1 is a pathfinder for a software-defined payload that will test cloud computing infrastructure and was developed in nine months. Follow-on Pony Express missions will prove out RF-enabled swarming formations and space-to-space networking.
“SmartSat is a major step forward in our journey to completely transform the way we design, build and deliver satellites,” said Ambrose. “The LM 50 bus is the perfect platform for testing this new, groundbreaking technology. We’re self-funding these missions to demonstrate a number of new capabilities that can plug into any satellite in our fleet, from the LM 50 nanosat to our flagship LM 2100. And the same technology not only plugs into ground stations, improving space-ground integration, it will one day connect directly with planes, ships and ground vehicles, connecting front-line users to the power of space like never before.”
Cyber security is at the core of this new technology. SmartSat-enabled satellites can reset themselves faster, diagnose issues with greater precision and back each other up when needed, significantly enhancing resiliency. Satellites can also better detect and defend against cyber threats autonomously, and on-board cyber defenses can be updated regularly to address new threats.
SmartSat uses a hypervisor to securely containerize virtual machines. It’s a technology that lets a single computer operate multiple servers virtually to maximize memory, on-board processing and network bandwidth. It takes advantage of multi-core processing, something new to space. That lets satellites process more data in orbit so they can beam down just the most critical and relevant information—saving bandwidth costs and reducing the burden on ground station analysts, and ultimately opening the door for tomorrow’s data centers in space.
SmartSat uses a high-power, radiation-hardened computer developed by the National Science Foundation’s Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing, or SHREC. Lockheed Martin helps fund SHREC research, and in turn gains access to world-class technologies and student researchers.
20 Mar 19. Companies to exhibit space capabilities at SpaceFest in Australia. Several companies are set to showcase their capabilities to detect and track objects in space at SpaceFest 2019, a Department of Defence (DoD) sponsored event in Australia. The DoD aims to forge partnerships with the industry to develop the department’s space capabilities.
SpaceFest is a capability demonstration and equipment trial organised by Australia Defence Science and Technology (DST) on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Several companies are expected to take part in the event, including EOS Space Systems, HEO Robotics, Inovor Technologies, Lockheed Martin Australia, Silentium Defence, Western Sydney University (WSU), Curtin University and DST.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne stated that the event will enable the department to assess Australian industry and university space surveillance capabilities first-hand.
Companies participating in SpaceFest 2019 need to undergo a series of trials designed by DST to assess their ability to detect and track objects in space.
Capability trials will be conducted at the Woomera Test Range within the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia.
Pyne said: “The Woomera Prohibited Area is a significant national security asset and provides defence with a secure environment for the testing and evaluation of advanced systems and capabilities.
“The area has a low-risk of electromagnetic interference, and clear visibility conditions with reduced risk of cloud, which is helpful when testing optical sensors.
“Defence is also seeking to partner with industry on existing and emerging space surveillance capabilities through a request for tender, which is currently open to the industry through AusTender.”
SpaceFest 2019 commenced on 18 March and will run until 29 March.
The event is backed by Plan Jericho, which aims to develop a future force that is agile, adaptive, and fully immersed in the information age.
Plan Jericho seeks to transform RAAF into a fifth-generation-enabled and fully integrated combat force.
According to abc.net.au, Silentium Defence has been working with the RAAF on the development of a radar system for the detection of orbiting objects. The company won a contract from the Australia DoD in July to advance the concept of a system to provide enhanced space situational awareness. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Mar 19. Cedar Park Aerospace Firm To Launch Airbus Satellites. Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a Cedar Park-based provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus Defence and Space to develop new space launch solutions for Airbus customers, company officials announced on Tuesday.
“Firefly is pleased to enter into an MOU with Airbus to formulate an integrated market offering that will provide Airbus customers rapid deployment of Airbus manufactured satellites,” Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic confirmed in a prepared statement. “We are very impressed by the versatility and low cost of the Airbus ARROW platform and Airbus’s investment in leading edge satellite mass production capabilities.
The pact yields a launching pad for the Cedar Park firm to provide satellite launches for the big European aerospace company, Markusic added: “We look forward to working closely with Airbus to bring economical launch solutions to their customers. This initial MOU covering several launches is the first step of a long-term relationship which will provide Airbus customers the highest level of flexibility for their small satellite launches.”
Frederic Sotenberg, Head of constellations Launch Solutions at Airbus Space Systems, added: “Our partnership with Firefly will provide launch options with direct access to specific orbits, flexibility, and short notice. The Alpha vehicle addresses an unmet need in small satellite launch and will provide a further option for our customers in addition to legacy medium and large launchers in Europe.”
Les Kovacs, Firefly Vice President of Business Development, explained the aim of the partnership: “This flexibility will enable rapid deployment of and replenishment of Airbus customer constellations. We look forward to working closely with Airbus to develop integrated solutions that accelerate the global small satellite revolution and the commercialization of cis-lunar space.” (Source: Google/https://patch.com)
20 Mar 19. Defence partners with industry to utilise Woomera launch site.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a partnership between defence and industry as part of SpaceFest 2019 to enhance the unique space capabilities required by Defence.
Defence is partnering with industry to develop Defence’s space capability at SpaceFest 2019, a Defence-sponsored capability demonstration and equipment trial conducted by Defence Science and Technology (DST) on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force, supported by Plan Jericho.
Minister Pyne said SpaceFest 2019 provided Defence an opportunity to observe Australian industry and university space surveillance capabilities first-hand.
“Participants will complete a series of trials designed by Defence Science and Technology to assess their ability to detect and track objects in space, which will inform future capability decisions. The Woomera Test Range within the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia was selected as the site to conduct this activity and capability trial,” Minister Pyne explained.
The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is a globally unique military testing range. It covers 122,188 square kilometres in north-west South Australia, about 450 kilometres north-west of Adelaide. It is the largest land testing range in the world, the WPA is mainly South Australian Crown land covered by pastoral leases, exploration and mining tenements and native title.
The WPA is a Prohibited Area regulated by legislation and is a Defence premise used for the testing of war materiel under the management of the Royal Australian Air Force. The WPA is an important Defence capability and testing and evaluation asset that plays a significant role in Australia’s national security.
The WPA comprises extensive lands north of the Indian Pacific railway, from north of Watson in the south-west up to its north-west corner in the Great Victoria Desert (that stretches across the SA-WA border), across to Coober Pedy, and west of Roxby Downs down to Woomera in the south-east.
“The area has a low-risk of electromagnetic interference, and clear visibility conditions with reduced risk of cloud, which is helpful when testing optical sensors. Defence is also seeking to partner with industry on existing and emerging space surveillance capabilities through a request for tender, which is currently open to industry through AusTender,” Minister Pyne added.
SpaceFest 2019 industry participants include: EOS Space Systems, HEO Robotics, Inovor Technologies, Lockheed Martin Australia, Silentium Defence, Western Sydney University (WSU), Curtin University and DST. SpaceFest 2019 will take place from 18-29 March 2019. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Mar 19. US, Brazil close to finalising space technology safeguard agreement. Key Points:
- The US and Brazil are close to finalising an agreement that would bring US space companies one-step nearer to launching from Brazil
- The companies are enticed by the fuel-efficiency savings from launching so close to the equator
The US and Brazil are close to finalising a space technology safeguard agreement (TSA): an important step toward allowing US companies to launch out of the Brazilian Air Force’s (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB) Alcantara Launch Center (ALC) in the country’s northeast. The US and Brazil are making progress toward allowing US companies to fly from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center in the country’s northeast. (Microcosm Inc)
Scott Pace, executive director of the US National Space Council, said on 18 March at a Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) industry group event that the TSA could be signed later that day. The remaining hurdle is approval by Brazil’s congress, David Logsdon, head of CompTIA’s Space Enterprise Council, told Jane’s after the event. Coincidently, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is in Washington to meet with US President Donald Trump.
A TSA prevents unauthorised access to and transfer of protected technologies. US companies are interested in flying out of ALC due to its location for equatorial launches. Equatorial launches are advantageous as the Earth spins the fastest at the equator, giving launches an extra boost to reach orbit.
However, ALC’s remote location poses a challenge. Flying out of ALC would require US companies to first fly into Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo before connecting to a flight to ALC, adding an extra day of travel. An industry source told Jane’s that it is still challenging for US companies to close their business case with flying out of ALC due to the distance between the two countries, corruption, Bolsonaro’s mercurial personality, and the tendency of Brazilians to run hot-and-cold when dealing with the US. However, the source said if a company can work out the logistics and partner with an honest local broker, the 30% efficiency savings for launching that close to the equator can be a major incentive. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Mar 19. ESA approves UK’s air-breathing rocket engine system. The European Space Agency together with the UK Space Agency (UKSA) have taken a significant step forward in the development of the world’s first air-breathing rocket engine, with testing milestones to be undertaken within the next 18 months. ESA and UKSA have finalised the preliminary design for the demonstrator engine core of the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which Reaction Engines will use to undertake ground-based testing at test facility at Westcott, Buckinghamshire, which is currently under construction.
Mark Ford, head of ESA’s propulsion engineering section, said, “The positive conclusion of our preliminary design review marks a major milestone in SABRE development. It confirms the test version of this revolutionary new class of engine is ready for implementation.”
SABRE is uniquely designed to scoop up atmospheric air during the initial part of its ascent to space at up to five times the speed of sound. At about 25 kilometres it would then switch to pure rocket mode for its final climb to orbit.
In the future, SABRE could serve as the basis of a reusable launch vehicle that operates like an aircraft. Because it would carry much less bulky onboard oxygen supplies, such a vehicle could deliver the same payload to orbit with half the vehicle mass of current launchers, as well as potentially offering a large reduction in cost and higher launch rate.
The SABRE system is similar in design and function to the scramjet rocket engine design developed by a joint British and Australian team including QinetiQ and the University of Queensland, which successfully demonstrated a scramjet working in an atmospheric test. This successful test paved the way for collaboration between Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation, now Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) on the development and successful testing of a Mach 10 scramjet vehicle.
ESA’s involvement began in 2010 with an independent review of SABRE’s viability, opening the way to UK government investment. Reaction Engines launched a significant new element of its development program in October 2016 to design, build and demonstrate a SABRE engine core.
The test item consists of an engine core, which is a key module of the complete SABRE engine, but without the pre-cooler and rocket nozzle in place. Following completion of this core design and development activity major elements of the world’s first air-breathing engine capable of accelerating from zero to Mach 5 will have been demonstrated.
The complete air-breathing core demonstrator will be fully representative of the SABRE thermodynamic core cycle, fuelled by liquid hydrogen, and will contain heat exchangers plus combustion and turbo-machinery modules.
Chris Castelli, director of programmes at UKSA, said, “As the home of the jet engine, the UK has a rich aerospace heritage and world-renowned skills and expertise. This is an exciting landmark for Reaction Engines in the development of its SABRE engine, which could revolutionise both access to space and international travel by powering aircraft to five times the speed of sound.”
Richard Varvill, chief technology officer of Reaction Engines, said, “One of the great advantages of the SABRE propulsion concept is that it is totally modular from both design and operational perspectives. Therefore it is possible to subject each of the key components of the engine to rigorous ground testing, which fully mimic the operational conditions the engine will face up to Mach 5 flight at 25-kilometre altitude.” (Source: Space Connect)
19 Mar 19. Adelaide City Deal to provide boost stage for Australian space industry. The Commonwealth government has announced $12m in funding initiatives to support the development of the Australian Space Agency as part of the Adelaide City Deal. A Mission Control Centre will receive $6m in funding and an additional $6m will go towards establishing a Space Discovery Centre in Adelaide, the home of the Australian Space Agency.
The funding will form part of the Adelaide City Deal, which will soon be signed by the three levels of government. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that the Mission Control Centre will be built at Lot Fourteen and complement the work of the agency.
“The Mission Control Centre will be a focal point for space missions in Australia, providing facilities to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing and the accelerated development of Australian satellite technology,” Minister Andrews said.
Both the Mission Control Centre and the Space Discovery Centre are being built with the support of and in collaboration with the South Australian government. The Space Discovery Centre will provide STEM education, engagement and inspiration for young Australians, as well as activities such as mission simulation and training for tertiary education.
“It will be available for use by space start-ups and small-to-medium enterprise space businesses, as well as research and educational institutions from across Australia,” Minister Andrews added.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the Adelaide City Deal was providing funding for innovative projects and supporting job creation in South Australia.
“This is another example of how the Morrison government is backing South Australia to grow and create more jobs. Through our investments, Adelaide has become a major centre for defence and space industries and this is another step in that direction,” Minister Tudge explained.
The Commonwealth government established the Australian Space Agency in July 2018 and is investing $41m over four years in its development as part of our plan to grow this sector, and create an additional 1.25 m jobs in the next five years.
The agency and investment in Australia’s space sector is part of the government’s plan to further grow Australia’s economy, with the aim to triple the size of the sector to $12bn and create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2030. (Source: Space Connect)
18 Mar 19. Frequency Electronics to qualify atomic clocks for GPS IIIF satellites. Frequency Electronics has received a contract to qualify atomic clocks for potential use on the US Air Force’s (USAF) next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites. The $5.9m contract was awarded by Lockheed Martin Space as a risk reduction effort for the GPS IIIF satellite programme.
Through the contract, Lockheed Martin Space intends to qualify Frequency Electronics’ Digital Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (DRAFS) for potential use on the satellites. This will help secure the industrial base for high-accuracy GPS atomic clocks.
Frequency Electronics CEO Stanton Sloane said: “We are extremely pleased to be awarded this contract and the opportunity to play a significant role in the GPS IIIF programme. This award is the culmination of 50 plus years of research and development of advanced quartz and atomic clocks based on FEI’s proprietary technologies. We are also pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Lockheed Martin Space on critical national security programmes.”
Lockheed Martin Space designed and built the GPS III satellite under a contract for ten units to help the USAF modernise its GPS satellite constellation with new technology and capabilities.
Last year, Lockheed Martin was selected to build up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites, equipped with new features and resiliency to the flexible satellite design. The first GPS III satellite was launched in December.
Frequency Electronics executive chairman Martin Bloch said: “I congratulate the FEI team on the development of this digital Rubidium clock for GPS IIIF programme. FEI will continue the development of advanced clock technologies for future generations of satellites and terrestrial applications.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
14 Mar 19. ULA launched 10th USAF Wideband Global SATCOM satellite. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the US Air Force (USAF) on board the Delta IV rocket. The planned launch will take place at Space Launch Complex-37 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US. Boeing developed the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system as part of a contract for ten WGS satellites. It is designed to provide two-way X-band and Ka-band communications along with Ka-band broadcast services for the US and allied troops around the world. Boeing has implemented an enhanced Wideband Digital Channelizer upgrade for the last three satellites in the ten-satellite WGS constellation. The upgraded digital channelisers will nearly double the available bandwidth of earlier satellites in the series, according to Boeing. ULA government and commercial programmes vice-president Gary Wentz said: “ULA is proud to be the exclusive launch provider for all ten WGS missions. Our focus on mission success continually demonstrates that safely and reliably delivering these critical national assets is our highest priority.”
ULA lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on March 15 at 8:26 p.m. EDT. the mission on board the Delta IV vehicle in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration. The 218ft-tall rocket includes a 5m payload fairing.
Aerojet Rocketdyne supplied two engines for the vehicle. An RS-68A engine will power the rocket’s common booster core, while the RL10B-2 engine will power the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage. Northrop Grumman delivered four solid rocket motors for Delta IV.
The WGS programme is aimed at providing high data rate and long haul communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, the White House Communication Agency, the US State Department, international partners and other special users. Other nations involved in the project are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
14 Mar 19. The Development of LTE for Satellite Finds Sequans Communications and Lockheed Martin Pairing Up. Sequans Communications S.A. (NYSE: SQNS) has announced that Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is working with the company to develop new 4G LTE for satellite technologies for worldwide deployment — the two companies are enabling LTE end user devices to connect directly to geostationary satellites in a world-first achievement with wide application.
According to industry analysts, satellite is a critical component of communications networks, including IoT and M2M networks, as the industry evolves to 4G, 5G and beyond. Northern Sky Research predicts that by 2023 there will be 5.8 m machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT connections via satellite worldwide.
This project with Lockheed Martin is the latest development Sequans has undertaken as part of its “Custom Technology Solutions” initiative where company experts have addressed some of the world’s most difficult and exciting communications challenges. In addition to satellite, Sequans has adapted its technology for projects in other markets, including aviation, transportation, public safety, and government.
Scott Landis, a director at Lockheed Martin, said Sequans has expertise adapting LTE technology for special purposes such as this one. Their engineers modified their existing LTE chips to enable a new LTE-to-satellite communication specification developed by Lockheed Martin. LTE to satellite represents an important breakthrough in mobility and connectivity.
Georges Karam, Sequans CEO, added that the work the company is doing with Lockheed Martin to integrate LTE with satellite represents a significant evolution as the firm’s LTE chips are modified to take advantage of the huge satellite opportunity now developing for M2M and IoT applications. Enabling the LTE modem to speak to satellite networks as simply and as easily as possible will have a major impact on handling the huge potential volume of broadband and IoT applications that require space-based, ubiquitous communications, such as connected cars, shipping, and navigation. (Source: Satnews)
13 Mar 19. First Broadband Provider Signs On for Telesat LEO Services. Telesat and OmniAccess have signed a major, multi-year contract for broadband service on Telesat’s LEO satellite constellation, which is planned to enter commercial operations in 2022. OmniAccess specializes in maritime connectivity solutions and is the first broadband provider worldwide to contract for Telesat’s LEO services. They will become an important partner for Telesat LEO and the agreement provides OmniAccess with certain limited exclusivity to serve the superyacht market.
Telesat LEO’s advanced combination of high throughput, low latency and full global coverage (including over the poles) will allow OmniAccess to deliver an unsurpassed user experience to its customers, including vessels on the most difficult to serve ocean routes. Telesat LEO will have the added capability to concentrate capacity into areas of highest demand, such as major seaports, providing substantially more capacity than is available from other systems.
Bertrand Hartman, CEO and founder of OmniAccess, said t is difficult to overestimate the impact the advent of Telesat’s unique LEO service will have on the maritime industry at large,” said. “Telesat LEO will allow us to offer a truly global service, combining an extreme level of availability, unprecedented speed levels and an ultra-low latency that rivals, or even exceeds, the fastest of today’s landbased fiber-connections. For the first time in history, onboard systems and services will no longer be restricted by the limits imposed by today’s GEO & MEO-based technologies, finally bridging a digital divide that has held back onboard IT applications for so long.
Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat, added that OmniAccess is a leader in providing broadband connectivity to superyachts and other high-end maritime segments and Telesat is delighted to be building on this longstanding partnership by signing them as the firm’s first Telesat LEO customer. This commitment by OmniAccess to Telesat LEO is another strong endorsement of the transformational design and performance advantages of the company’s system. Telesat’s state-of-the-art LEO constellation will deliver an unmatched broadband experience — affordable, high throughput, ultra-low latency and ubiquitous coverage — providing companies like OmniAccess with a sustainable competitive advantage in their markets. (Source: Satnews)
12 Mar 19. LeoSat Selected by Skyband to Implement Low-Latency Network. LeoSat Enterprises has entered into an agreement to upgrade Skyband’s existing satellite solutions, giving customers access to a unique, low-latency network which, according to the company, is expected to revolutionize data connectivity.
LeoSat’s system of LEOs satellites can achieve lower latency and stronger end-to-end security compared to traditional satellite and terrestrial solutions that are in use today, achieved through a system architecture using optical inter-satellite laser links which connect the satellites. Fiber-like symmetry is achieved at gigabits speeds, while providing total security, as the data is encrypted and secured from end-to-end across the network with no terrestrial touch points.
Big Data is clearly driving the need for new communications infrastructure and data volumes are exploding, with global networks already carrying more than 1 Zeta Byte of traffic and this is forecast to grow exponentially. This increasing demand to move large quantities of data quickly and securely around the world is fast outpacing the infrastructure needed to carry it.
LeoSat’s unique new network has been designed to solve these essential communications and connectivity issues and provide new opportunities for business sectors such as multi-national enterprise, telecommunications, oil & gas, maritime and government services.
For Enterprise customers, the key attributes of the LeoSat system can be used for a number of applications, such as to give banks secured networks with their foreign offices, providing enormous uploading bandwidth for oil & gas exploration, enabling seamless connectivity for shipping and fleet management or providing the only native 4G and 5G satellite backhaul connectivity for cellular operators. LeoSat can offer competitive advantage in existing satellite services markets in the MENA region and beyond and the firm will help to expand these markets by enabling new opportunities through previously unavailable levels of performance combined with worldwide reach.
LeoSat is backed by leading satellite operators SKY Perfect JSAT and Hispasat and the system is being developed in conjunction with Thales Alenia Space. The High-Throughput Satellites (HTS) in the constellation will form a mesh network interconnected through laser links, creating an optical backbone in space that is about 1.5 times faster than terrestrial fiber backbones, thus creating a paradigm shift in the use of satellites for data connectivity—– rather than a gap filler or last resort where no terrestrial alternative is available. LeoSat has already secured more than $1.5bn in pre-launch customer agreements and was recently granted a license by the FCC to operate its network in the U.S.
LeoSat’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ronald van der Breggen, said global enterprises today require instant infrastructure from anywhere to everywhere which is fast, secure and reliable. LeoSat is taking data networking into space, setting a new bar for high speed data connectivity. With capabilities beyond satellite and fiber, including transmission speeds of 10+ gigabits per second and latency of 20 milliseconds, the company’s infrastructure is what data communications has been waiting for — a game-changing service that realizes the synergies of both worlds to re-define connectivity in terms of capacity, latency, security, efficiency and coverage. For companies such as SKYBAND looking to provide innovative connectivity solutions, LeoSat can help to open-up new markets and deliver business growth.
Osman Oueida, CEO of SKYBAND, added that the company relies on the latest satellite and VSAT communication technologies for data, voice and video transmission. The firm’s network provides high-speed, reliable, robust, cost-effective, scalable, and secured communication across the Kingdom which can be used by all Industry segments. (Source: Satnews)
12 Mar 19. Time for More Turbulence for Intelsat and SES. The C-Band Alliance’s (CBA) plans for the sale of 180 MHz of satellite spectrum over the U.S. is creating turbulence for the two main players, Intelsat and SES, via an article from journalist Chris Forrester, posting at the Advanced Television infosite.
Both companies have seen their share prices suffer significant fluctuations this past two weeks. The reason is that investors are concerned that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might rule against the proposal, or impose such limiting restrictions that the financial benefits will not benefit the satellite players.
One of the main opponents to the CBA’s scheme is T-Mobile which, last week, suggested that owners of C-band Earth Stations (often cable operators themselves) mount a competitive action against the CBA. The CBA, in a formal filing to the FCC on March 7th, said, “This shiny substitute is fool’s gold: The Communications Act does not permit Earth station registrants to participate in an incentive auction.”
A spokesman for the CBA said, “There are fundamental problems with regards to the involvement of Earth stations in an FCC-run incentive auction for each of 416 geographic zones. First, the Communication Act does not permit Earth stations to participate in an incentive auction because they are not licensees with respect to the C-band downlink. And second, even if they were permitted to participate, it would be exceedingly complicated and create endless delay to have 17,000 Earth stations in 416 geographic zones participate in auctions. Moreover, the idea to potentially auction different chunks of spectrum to different sets of participants in these zones would not only create insurmountable complexity and delay but also fails to consider the basic laws of physics. If a different amount of spectrum is cleared in adjacent zones, the 5G signals will not stop at the border of a zone but could interfere with co-frequency satellite operations in the neighbouring zone. This could have a daisy chain effect on ultimately all 416 zones, of course, driving the amount of available spectrum nationwide for 5G operations to the lowest common denominator. The whole concept is ill construed.”
The CBA, in its March 7th filing, added, “The New Proposal vastly underestimates the herculean challenge of getting different sets of Earth station registrants to agree on a purchase price with respect to each [geographic area]. Without agreement, the spectrum clearing target continues to decrease until a Commission-mandated minimum is reached. The likelihood of non-agreement is high—if not guaranteed—and thus the 500 MHz of spectrum T-Mobile touts as an advantage of the New Proposal is illusory.” (Source: Satnews)
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