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03 May 19. SA Premier heads to US to promote Australia’s space and defence state. South Australian Premier Steven Marshall will showcase SA as Australia’s defence and space state at the Sea-Air-Space expo, the largest maritime defence show in the US. As well as attending the expo, Mr Marshall will meet with leaders in the space, defence and cyber security industries in Washington, DC and the state of Maryland. Mr Marshall will also deliver the keynote address at the US-Australia Dialogue on Defence Industries in Washington.
He said that was an opportunity to brief US officials and leading defence industry experts on the extraordinary opportunities in South Australia, Australia’s home of space industry and naval shipbuilding.
“South Australia is now driving the growth of Australia’s space sector and defence industry, creating high-tech jobs and generating interest from interstate and overseas,” he said.
“We need to ensure that everything taking place at Lot Fourteen is being showcased on an international scale, to attract investment from major companies, create more jobs and drive growth across South Australia’s burgeoning space and defence sectors moving forward.”
In Washington, Mr Marshall will meet NASA officials to discuss future collaborations between Australia and the US in the space sector.
“The headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, the SmartSat CRC, Mission Control and the Space Discovery Centre are all major drawcards for prominent players in the space industry to seriously consider South Australia as one of the best places to do business,” he said.
“There are hundreds of companies from the United States already operating in South Australia, which demonstrates how crucial this relationship is to grow our economy.”
Mr Marshall said American defence companies including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing Defence already had a significant presence in SA and the government was committed to building on this to create local jobs across these high-growth industries.
“We need to make the most of these investments which are now presenting unprecedented opportunities to our current and future generations,” he said.
The Premier will visit the National Cyber Security Centre of Excellence in Maryland, the state widely recognised as a hub international cyber security.
He said that by forging connections with Maryland and learning from its success, SA could grow this rapidly expanding sector.
“We are working to bring together these fast-moving sectors in South Australia, by providing companies with unparalleled collaborative opportunities, and bringing them within proximity of other major players in their fields,” Mr Marshall said.
“Driving growth across these sectors means we can stop the brain drain we’ve seen from South Australia in recent years and create jobs for our young people right here in our state.” (Source: Space Connect)
02 May 19. Maxar Technologies Reports Growth in its Geospatial Subscription Products Line. Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a global technology innovator powering the new space economy, today announced significant customer growth for its subscription data products line, which includes SecureWatch, EarthWatch, Spatial on Demand and GBDX.
With Maxar’s cloud-based geospatial subscription products, a wide variety of customers are solving location-based problems by leveraging premium content that includes the world’s highest resolution, most accurate commercial satellite imagery. Customers can log-in on any internet-connected device to securely use imagery and analytics of any place on the planet and they only pay for what they view, stream or download.
“In the past year, we have more than doubled the number of the customers that rely on Maxar’s subscription products to inform their decision-making,” said Jeff Culwell, Maxar’s Chief Product Officer. “These products combine the unrivaled quality of Maxar’s imagery with additional data sources, cloud computing and machine learning technology in ways that provide unique value to our customers.”
SecureWatch, a product for on-demand access to geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), enables government agencies to monitor areas of interest using multisource data from Maxar’s WorldView constellation, MDA’s RADARSAT-2 satellite and industry partner data to interpret activities on Earth using multispectral bands and analytics. The platform enables analysts to quickly produce imagery to their specific needs and create graphical intelligence reports that users rely on to make mission-critical decisions with confidence. Forty customers ranging from ministries of defense and intelligence agencies to national mapping agencies now use SecureWatch for applications such as mission planning, border and facility monitoring and disaster response.
EarthWatch, a product for viewing, streaming and downloading Maxar’s industry-leading geospatial data, gives commercial customers access to a comprehensive suite of products, including Maxar’s 100-petabyte optical satellite imagery library, while allowing them to incorporate analytics to extract insights at scale for better and faster decision-making.
Within a year of EarthWatch’s release, 70 international customers from a variety of industries have subscribed to the product, such as information and analysis customers like Jane’s by IHS Markit, automotive customers like Ushr, insurance customers like Betterview, and governments and non-government organizations like South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Vulcan’s Skylight, iMMAP, Agencia Nacional de Mineria, Colombia, Western Riverside County Regional, California, USA, Municipalidad de Cartago, Costa Rica, and Municipalidad de Liberia, Costa Rica.
Spatial on Demand, an imagery and geospatial data platform built specifically for the energy industry, integrates with the workflows and software of energy customers, enabling them to explore and oversee operations and facilities on a global scale and monitor pipelines and right-of-ways over vast distances without leaving their office. More than 50 energy industry customers, such as ConocoPhillips,Anadarko and Pioneer Natural Resources, trust Spatial on Demand to monitor their critical assets, host and manage their proprietary geospatial data and inform their decision-making.
GBDX, Maxar’s Geospatial Big Data analytics platform, empowers customers with full access to the company’s deep and ever-expanding imagery library hosted side-by-side with the compute power needed to train and deploy machine learning models on a global scale. GBDX’s functionality enables customers to extract location intelligence from satellite imagery, enabling decision-making with confidence, speed and at scale. TRI-AD, Toyota’s automated driving software development company, and NTT DATA Corporation use GBDX to detect and map roads to create high-definition maps of urban environments for autonomous vehicles.
The operations of DigitalGlobe, SSL and Radiant Solutions were unified under the Maxar brand in February; MDA continues to operate as an independent business unit within the Maxar organization. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
02 May 19. Teledyne Paradise Datacom (Paradise), part of the Teledyne Defense Electronics Group, announced today that it has begun shipping the latest version of its innovative line of Q-Flex modems, the 400 Series. The flagship 400 Series features faster data rate speeds, providing up to 345Mbps, while also being both smaller and lighter in weight. Expanding on the groundbreaking flexibility the Q-Flex has long been known for, the 400 Series offers more powerful FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) that will accommodate further firmware upgrades and features in the future.
“We are also pleased to announce that the new QMultiflex-400 delivers DVB-S2X on outbound and return carriers as well, in line with the rest of the Q-Flex range. With this upgrade, customers can rest easy knowing their Q-Flex platform supports the most powerful bandwidth saving technology available today,” said Mike Towner, Senior Director of Business Development for Paradise Datacom.
“The new Q-Flex 400 Series operates seamlessly with the current Q-Flex platform, so customers can continue to optimize operations by simply adding 400s to their existing network infrastructure,” Towner added.
The 400 Series features Paired Carrier+™, the enhanced carrier overlap technology pioneered by Paradise which enables transmit and receive carriers to share the same space segment. The 400s also utilize XStream IP™, more bandwidth-saving Paradise technology including adaptive coding and modulation (ACM), acceleration, and header and payload compression.
The Q-Flex 400 platform is currently moving through the process of WGS (Wideband Global SATCOM) certification.
Current Q-Flex modems are factory upgradeable to the Q-MultiFlex platform by simply adding accessory demodulator cards which enables a single earth station modem to establish two-way communications with up to 16 remote sites. The point to multi-point functionality is retained in the 400 Series with remote sites utilizing a preconfigured version of the QFlex-400, the QFlex-400 P2MP.
The complete 400 Series is now shipping to customers and includes the following models: the Q-Flex 400, the Q-Multi-Flex 400, and the Q-Flex 400 P2MP. The platform will be featured at the Teledyne Defense Electronics Booth 1501 May 6-9 in Washington, DC. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
02 May 19. Comtech Xicom Technology Announces New High Power, High Efficiency and Very-Low Leakage X-band SSPAs and BUCs. Comtech Xicom Technology, Inc., a subsidiary within Comtech Telecommunications Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMTL) Commercial Solutions segment, announced today a new series of industry-leading X-band solid-state power amplifiers (“SSPAs”) and block upconverters (“BUCs”).
The XTSLIN-25X, XTSLIN-80X, XTSLIN-150X and XTSLIN-250X lines of linear power X-band amplifiers provide the highest linear power density solutions available while drawing very low prime power and operating in the toughest environments. These units are designed to meet all RF requirements in challenging X-band networks, including Wideband Global Satellite (“WGS”) requirements and support for multi-carrier systems. X-band is one of the most difficult satellite communications bands to operate in because the transmit and receive bands are directly adjacent. Xicom’s proprietary very-low leakage designs ensure that any transmit noise or spurious signals in the receive band is attenuated and contained to avoid disruption of the received signal, enabling multi-carrier operation with low Passive Intermodulation (“PIM”) antennas.
These X-band SSPAs are all offered with optional built-in upconverters; with a range of monitor and control interfaces including SNMP; and options for redundancy or output power combining. The compact size and high efficiency of these units provide unparalleled linear power density, achieving 25W of linear output power (using MIL-STD-188-164 definition) with a 5.3lb. package; and 150W linear output power with a 32lb. package. These units operate air-cooled in -40C to +60C temperatures and meet stringent outdoor environmental requirements per MIL-STD-810G. “Xicom’s X-band SSPAs take advantage of the latest GaN technology for high efficiency and power density, and also incorporate our extensive institutional knowledge gained by developing high-power X-band tube-based amplifiers with extremely low leakage,” commented Mark Schmeichel, Senior Vice President, and General Manager for Comtech Xicom Technology, Inc. “With the addition of these innovative GaN-based SSPA products, Xicom has become a clear global leader in X-band satcom uplink amplifiers.”
Additional information will be available to satcom integrators and operators by visiting Comtech Xicom Technology representatives in Booth 1401, at SATELLITE 2019, May 6-9, in Washington, DC. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
02 May 19. Optisys, Inc. is pleased to announce the completion of the design, manufacturing, and testing of the NAPA (Novel Active Phased Array); an aluminum 3D printed hybrid phased-array antenna that balances the high performance and thin profile of a phased array, with the reduced cost and low loss of a passive aperture. Optisys’ revolutionary design and manufacturing approach will finally provide a high-performance antenna solution for a single aperture transmit and receive broadband terminal.
“Optisys is excited about the impact NAPA will have on the satellite, aerospace, and ground SATCOM industries,” stated Clinton Cathey, CEO. “We anticipate that our technology will finally provide the right mix of high performance, lightweight, robustness, low power and cost effectiveness the customer has not been able to obtain to date.”
This highly customizable, high-bandwidth phased array also incorporates filtering, diplexers, polarizers, combiners as well as thermal management and structural mounting features, into one single part. All performance aspects of the array can be customized to customer specifications, using modular and scalable design approach only enabled using 3D printing. Optisys currently has options for C, X, Ku, K and Ka band, allowing for customer specific customization. For example, frequency, gain, heat management, and filtering requirements can easily be configured and manufactured.
“The NAPA was designed to have features and specifications that balance the needs of a low-profile antenna terminal with the complexity of a phased array antenna.” commented Mike Hollenbeck, CTO. “By balancing the technical approach and leveraging metal 3D printing to produce a single aperture to address the full Ka SATCOM frequency bands, Optisys is able to exceed current specifications at a reduced price. This single-aperture solution for both transmit and receive at Ka-band allows for a custom antenna solution on every platform without the price tag associated with custom design. Hybrid electronic scanning of a metal waveguide aperture produces the highest performance and greatest flexibility of any electronically scanned array approach.”
02 May 19. HUBER+SUHNER is set to launch the SMP Self-Lock (SMP-SL) connector – a key solution for New Space market applications at SATELLITE 2019, 6-9 May, Washington D.C. Low-cost, robust and providing dependable connectivity for the OneWeb Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite constellation, the SMP-SL connector was developed specifically for the needs of the New Space market and is ideal for the harsh and mission-critical environment of space.
Weighing 66% less than other lockable connectors in the market, the simple push-on connector is designed to meet the challenges of space applications which require light-weight, small components to operate effectively. The connector is also MIL-SPEC qualified to meet industry standards and the stringent space flight requirements.
“It is vital that connectivity is and remains dependable in space. There is no room for error or downtime,” said Roman Buff, Market Manager of Aerospace at HUBER+SUHNER. “Our SMP-SL connector ensures this, with a secure locking mechanism and robust connection of up to 40 GHz. Unlike any other push on connector, the SMP-SL can only be disconnected with a specific removal tool to ensure there is no interruption in connectivity. The mated connections are also securely monitored for any interferences. The red colour band signals when the connector is locked during satellite deployment for simple and dependable connectivity.”
As a recognised manufacturer of Space connectivity solutions, HUBER+SUHNER is the sole supplier of both customized coaxial connectors and cable assemblies to Airbus OneWeb Satellites, the manufacturer of the OneWeb Satellite constellation. The company has chosen low loss mini141 and Minibend L cable assemblies to provide a solderless, preassembled, space qualified and high-performance solution within a cost-effective package.
Alongside the key solutions developed for the LEO project, HUBER+SUHNER will showcase its series of CT (Consistent over Temperature) cable assemblies developed for phase critical applications requiring precise electrical connectivity. The portfolio which includes flexible, semi-rigid, and hand formable variations provides a stable and reliable interconnect solution where phase vs. temperature performance is paramount. The company will also showcase the Power Sub Miniature (PSM) connector system, RF over Fiber (RFoF) and all optical switching technologies; providing customers with a holistic range of solutions to maximise overall system performance.
Mr Buff added: “With over 25 years of heritage in Space applications coupled with extensive R&D and vertical integrated manufacturing capabilities, we are able to meet and exceed the specific and evolving requirements of the industry as demonstrated by our contribution in the OneWeb constellation. We are delighted to be presenting the SMP-SL connector at SATELLITE 2019 and we look forward to sharing it with visitors.”
Attendees of SATELLITE 2019 can find the SMP-SL connector, Minibend cable assemblies and other HUBER+SUHNER technologies at booth #1140.
02 May 19. Kleos Space confirms all systems go for NZ launch by Q2 2019. ASX-listed space company Kleos said it will be ready to launch its first cluster of small satellites, called the Kleos Scouting Mission, by mid-year. The Luxembourg-based company, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in August last year, plans a constellation of 20 small satellites able to geo-locate maritime radio transmissions.
That allows accurate location of vessels in distress, as well as those not broadcasting automatic identification system (AIS) signals. Kleos said that would allow governments and organisations to detect activity such as drug and people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy, as well as identify those in need of search and rescue at sea.
In its latest advice to the ASX, Kleos Space chief executive Andy Bowyer said the company remained on track for the revenue generating Scouting Mission satellites to be launched by the end of second quarter.
“Our satellites achieved key technical milestones this quarter and our build partner GomSpace is focused on completing final testing on time and budget,” he said.
“Negotiations continue to progress with prospective end customers in the defence and intelligence sectors where our commercially independent maritime reconnaissance data is able to verify existing anti-terrorism and crime monitoring data sets.”
Kleos Scouting Mission satellites will be launched aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from New Zealand.
Improving the company’s financial position, Kleos received a $619,000 grant from the government of Luxembourg in February. Kleos has also signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Israel-based geospatial intelligence company ImageSat International to explore opportunities to use Kleos’ data to enhance intelligence analytics.
Kleos has also signed a non-exclusive commercial agreement with specialist US firm Victoria Falls Technology to enable integration of Kleos’ data into US defence programs.
“The agreement includes projects proposed to the US Air Force Small Business Innovation and Research program, which are designed to accelerate development and production of emerging technologies that can be utilised by the Air Force,” Kleos said.
Should a proposal from Victoria Falls Technology win US Air Force acceptance, that would start next year and run for up to two years, generating revenues of more than $4m. It could also lead to further longer term projects. During the quarter, Kleos also engaged a Frankfurt, Germany, based corporate consultant for liaison with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and investor engagement in Europe as it prepares to start selling its services commercially. (Source: Space Connect)
02 May 19. SAS Global moves closer to new satellite constellations. Australia-based space company Sky and Space Global (SAS) said it has achieved good progress towards its launch plans, despite cash flow problems.
The company remains in a trading halt as it seeks to fill positions vacated by two non-executive Australian directors. In a quarterly report to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), SAS said their resignation impacted on the company’s ability to legally close the $7.4m Second Tranche and Priority Offer capital raising required to fund ongoing operations and the business plan.
SAS, which plans a global satellite communications network, said it was finalising negotiations on the new 6U Agreement and the Pearls Agreement with Danish satellite maker GomSpace.
Once this new 6U Agreement is settled, SAS will be able to address the increased demand to provide global internet of things (IOT) and machine to machine (M2M) services outside of the equatorial region.
“Should new definitive agreements not be finalised with GomSpace (by May 8, 2019, or such longer period as the parties may agree), it is likely that SAS will need to delay its operating strategy within the time frame as currently planned,” it said.
On the plus side, SAS said the response to the new global coverage constellation for IoT and M2M services has been highly positive. Sixteen of SAS’ existing customers had expressed their intent to increase the value of their existing contracts. That includes major telecommunication companies such as BT Telecom, Telespazio, Globe Teleservices and Gondwana.
Based on preliminary commercial discussions, new market opportunities were also opening with the potential for new revenue generating agreements.
During the quarter, SAS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Brazilian telco Arycom Capacidade Satelital and seven new reseller agreements.
SAS said negotiations with US debt financing for launch were progressing, with a term sheet being finalised.
The company has also made good progress in reducing operating costs, now down around $2m per year. Founders and directors have taken a 50 per cent pay cut.
SAS, based in Perth, is planning what it calls the Pearls constellation of around 200 nanosatellites in equatorial orbit, providing low cost communication and internet services for markets in Africa, South America and Asia.
Under its new 6U agreement with GomSpace, there will be an additional constellation of eight to 16 satellites in high inclination orbits, allowing full global coverage.
Launch is planned for early next year. The company has signed launch MoUs with Arianespace and Rocket Lab.
SAS managing director and chief executive Meir Moalem said it was unfortunate that recent developments had affected company progress.
“However, we have an exciting path ahead and due to hard work and determination, we believe we found the best path forward,” he said.
“The board and management are very focused on delivering on the opportunities we see for the business, and look forward to updating the market in relation to future progress.” (Source: Space Connect)
29 Apr 19. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is excited to announce the successful completion of AEHF-4 spacecraft on-orbit test and available for Satellite Control Availability (SCA). The AEHF-4 on-orbit test (A4 OOT) successfully activated the payload, built by its major subcontractor, Northrop Grumman, and demonstrated that AEHF-4 met all of its requirements. A4 OOT was the first ever test to have all six AEHF operational terminals communicating over XDR. The terminal types include AEHF SMART-T, FAB-T, MMPU, NMT, Global ASNT and ACF-IC2.
“This is a major milestone to celebrate with our customers at Space and Missiles Systems Center (SMC) the U.S. Air Force and our teammates Northrop Grumman, L3 Communications and Aerojet. As we turn our focus on launching AEHF-5 in June, one month early, I want to congratulate everyone involved in completing this one of a kind, high-performance network in space. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the AEHF program and I am proud of the team for consistently exceeding the customer’s mission needs,” said Mike Cacheiro, vice president of Protected Communications for Military Space.
The addition of AEHF-4 to the constellation provides a new capability of global extended data rate (XDR) communications. XDR communications provides data rates to its users five times higher than medium data rate (MDR) and 350 times higher than low data rate (LDR) communications. Milstar, the predessor to AEHF, uses both LDR and MDR communication modes to directly support the warfighter.
This was the last step before control authority of the satellite is handed over to the U.S. Air Force SMC where it will join the combined AEHF-Milstar constellation.
The AEHF constellation provides global, survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The jam-resistant system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
01 May 19. ANU leads development of enhanced silicon solar technology. An international research team led by the Australian National University (ANU) has made a new type of silicon that better uses sunlight and promises to cut the cost of solar technology.
The researchers said their world-first invention could help reduce the costs of renewable electricity below that of existing coal power stations, as well as lead to more efficient solar cells.
Senior researcher at ANU Professor Jodie Bradby said silicon was used as the raw material for solar cells because of its abundance, low-cost and non-toxicity.
“But the standard form of silicon does not use all available sunlight. Just by poking silicon with a tiny hard tip, we’ve created a more complex silicon capable of absorbing more sunlight than the standard type commonly used in solar cells,” Professor Bradby explained.
“We have proved that we can easily make this new kind of silicon – previously thought unobtainable under normal room temperature and pressure – which could be used for making more efficient solar cells and lead to cheaper energy.”
Dr Sherman Wong, who worked on the study for his PhD at ANU, is the first author of the paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
He said the team was exploring a little-known property of silicon – its ability to exist in different crystal forms.
Dr Wong, now based at RMIT University, explained, “Silicon can also take many crystal forms that have different and useful properties. The new type of silicon we’ve created is called r8-Si. Instead of the atoms being square or cubic like in standard silicon, it’s more complex – shaped a bit like a diamond on playing cards, only it’s in 3D.”
Professor Bradby said the team would use unique high-pressure facilities at ANU to develop ways of making enough material to produce a prototype solar cell.
“We also need to scale up and then work on integrating this material into existing solar industries. This will take another three to five years,” Professor Bradby added.
The shape and complexity of the r8-Si was measured using X-ray diffraction at the Advanced Photon Source in the US. The study was conducted with a large group of colleagues at the University of Melbourne and several overseas organisations. (Source: Space Connect)
01 May 19. Comtech EF Data Expands Satellite Modem Product Line to Provide More Form Factor and Performance Options. Comtech EF Data Corp., a subsidiary within Comtech Telecommunications Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMTL) Commercial Solutions segment, announced today that it expanded its Satellite Modem product line, introducing more form factor choices, the SLM-5650C and SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx™ Software Defined Modems, and enhanced performance options.
The SLM-5650C and SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx Software Defined Modemsare the latest generation modem solutions featuring extremely compact form factors and software options. The new modems can be integrated with a variety of platforms and provide an upgrade path to support future requirements. The modems are designed to comply with the widest possible range of U.S. Government and commercial standards, and are compatible with the largest number of satellite modems in the industry.
The SLM-5650C CyberLynx model is an indoor product that operates from -10°C to +55°C using conductive cooling. The heat is transferred from the electronics to the housing and then to an external mounting surface, such as a trailer wall. The SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx model is a true IP67 rated Outdoor Unit (“ODU”) that is designed to meet MIL-STD-810G and operates from -32°C to +65°C.
The modems offer unparalleled protection of critical network traffic using advanced physical layer waveforms and proven TRANSEC protection. The SLM-5650C and SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx feature AES-256 TRANSEC that is fully compatible with Comtech EF Data’s new SLM-5650B and legacy SLM-5650A Satellite Modems.
“Building on our expertise with the installed and proven SLM-5650A and SLM-5650B Satellite Modems, we reduced the form factor (volume) of the SLM-5650C & SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx approximately 90%, doubled the processing resources, reduced the maximum power consumption by 80% and increased the functionality compared to the SLM-5650A,” commented Jeff Harig, Senior Vice President Government Systems for Comtech EF Data. “The proven performance of our offerings translates into reliability, scalability, and adaptability while optimizing space segment for mission-critical communications for government, military and commercial applications.”
In addition, the previously announced SLM-5650B Satellite Modem is now USARSTRAT Wideband Global SATCOM (“WGS”) certified, making it the ideal modem solution to enable protected communications for all WGS operators, including the United States Government and partner nations. The SLM-5650B Satellite Modem is targeted for critical commercial backhaul and government and military applications. It is fully compliant with MIL-STD-188-165A/B and fully complies with STANAG 4486 Edition 3, Annex E (“EBEM”). The SLM-5650B leverages the heritage and feature set of Comtech EF Data’s very successful SLM-5650A modem. The SLM-5650B supports backwards compatibility / inter-operability for existing SLM-5650A networks while providing enhanced performance. The SLM-5650C and SLM-5650C ODU CyberLynx Software Defined Modems and the SLM-5650B Satellite Modem are all commercially available. For additional configuration and pricing information on the modems, contact Comtech EF Data sales.
Comtech EF Data Corp. is a leading supplier of communications equipment with a focus on satellite bandwidth efficiency and link optimization. The high-performance satellite communications ground equipment is deployed globally to support mission-critical and demanding applications for government, mobile backhaul, premium enterprise and mobility. Service providers, satellite operators, governments and commercial users wanting to optimize communications, increase throughput and delight customers, are leveraging the performance and flexibility of the Comtech brand. The solutions are facilitating fixed and mobile networks in 160+ countries and across every ocean. For more information, visit www.comtechefdata.com.
Comtech Telecommunications Corp. designs, develops, produces, and markets innovative products, systems and services for advanced communications solutions. The Company sells products to a diverse customer base in the global commercial and government communications markets.
Certain information in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature and involve certain significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from such forward-looking information. The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings identify many such risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by the risks and uncertainties described in such Securities and Exchange Commission filings. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
01 May 19. Romania joins global space situational awareness agreement. Romania has joined Australia and 18 other nations to sign a space situational awareness (SSA) agreement with the US Strategic Command. That was the 100th SSA signed with USSTRATCOM – two are with intergovernmental organisations, the European Space Agency and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the remaining 78 agreements are with commercial satellite owners, operator and launchers.
Signatory nations are Australia, Japan, Italy, Canada, France, South Korea, the UK, Germany, Israel, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Brazil, the Netherlands, Thailand, New Zealand, Poland and now Romania.
USSTRATCOM said these data sharing agreements foster openness, predictability of space operations and transparency in space activities.
In 2011, USSTRATCOM was delegated responsibility for signing SSA agreements on behalf of the US government with governmental agencies and commercial satellite owners and operators.
Signatories agree to provide SSA space information such as conjunction assessment, launches, de-orbits and re-entry. USSTRATCOM deputy Vice Admiral Dave Kriete said signing the 100th SSA agreement was an enormous milestone.
“Effective monitoring and space situational awareness requires co-operation – we cannot do it alone,” he said.
“We encourage others to join us. Agreements like these build our relationships and allow the space community to be more effective in space activities, enhancing the safety of space for all nations.
“USSTRATCOM will continue to work with all responsible space-faring nations to ensure a safe, secure, sustainable and stable space environment.”
USSTRATCOM director of plans and policy Rear Admiral Richard Correll said space situational awareness agreements formalise relationships with other nations and were crucial to normalising future space operations.
“As space becomes more contested, agreements like these move us closer to creating norms for space activities,” he said.
President of the Romanian Space Agency Marius-Ioan Piso said the agreement with USSTRATCOM was a cornerstone of Romania’s present and future developments in space surveillance and tracking.
“For the past decade, the Romanian Space Agency has constantly been investing in Space Safety projects and programs, being aware of the importance of space assets as critical infrastructure for our society,” he said.
“In this context, this agreement is at the core of our SSA efforts, but also an important step forward, built upon a long-term collaboration between Romania and the United States.”
Dr Piso said Romania was one of the first eastern European countries to sign agreements to collaborate with NASA in the ’70s. That involved processing images from US satellites.
Currently, Romania and the US collaborate in space exploration, the International Space Station, nano-satellites and planetary defence, as well as on space applications for agriculture, telemedicine and disaster monitoring.
Australia was an early signatory, signing an SSA agreement with USSTRATCOM in 2013. Australia and the US agreed to co-operate on space at the Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting in 2010.
As space becomes more and more crowded and more nations start to launch their own satellites, SSA – knowing what’s out there so collisions and interference can be avoided – has become increasingly important. (Source: Space Connect)
30 Apr 19. Portugal follows suit in creation of space agency. Australia was late in establishing a domestic space agency but certainly not the last to take this important step in establishing a national space industry. Portugal has now formed what it calls Portugal Space, with the aim of launching small satellites from its territory by 2021.
Portugal’s new space agency will be based at Ponta Delgada, capital of Portugal’s Azores archipelago, the country’s offshore island group in the North Atlantic. The Azores island of Santa Maria is likely to be the location of the new Portuguese spaceport. Portugal points to the geographical location of its proposed launch site 1,500 kilometres out in the Atlantic as a key advantage for its space business.
Launching east from the Azores to make maximum use of the the Earth’s spin, rockets are in orbit before they overfly the European landmass.
Portugal seems to have followed a path not dissimilar to Australia. Like Australia, it’s already home to significant space-related infrastructure.
Santa Maria is the location of the European Space Agency (ESA) Hill of Flowers ground station, which tracks and monitors launches from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This is one of 10 stations that make up the European Space Tracking Estrack network.
Portugal has been a member state of the ESA since 2000 and the government agency, the Foundation for Science and Technology, has had a space program since 2009.
The decision to establish the Portuguese space agency flowed from a strategic report that examined priorities for the country’s approach to space.
Portugal Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor wrote in the report that the Azores has a particularly suitable geo-strategic position for space infrastructure for launching satellites.
With ocean in every direction, Santa Maria offered “absolutely unique advantages” for the promotion and development of new satellite launch services, he wrote.
Along with plans for the new spaceport, Portugal Space also plans to build rockets to launch from the facility.
It’s considering allowing private companies like Virgin Galactic and Sierra Nevada to use the spaceport for launches, including for space tourism.
Australia formed the Australian Space Agency late last year. That followed an inquiry, which found that an over-arching organisation was essential for development of the Australian space industry. A number of companies are proposing to conduct satellite launches.
Australia’s formation of a national space agency last July was followed by Turkey in December and now by Portugal.
More than 70 nations now have their own space agencies but just over a dozen possess the capability to build and launch rockets. That’s expected to change dramatically in the next few years. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Apr 19. UHP Networks has announced the availability of enhanced solutions for High-Speed Communications On-The-Move (COTM) of their award-winning VSAT product which will be demonstrated at the upcoming Satellite 2019 show in Washington, DC. These solutions comprise several key features, such as seamless switchover of mobile VSAT terminals between satellite beams, load balancing across the beams and ultra-high throughput to match the state-of-the-art High Throughput Satellites (HTS).
UHP Networks is known for its disruptive innovation, and the new product release is true to the form. Multiple satellite footprints are stored in a super-compact remote terminal IDU which only consumes 9W and can be installed outdoors inside the mobile antenna enclosure. The remote has multiple DVB-S2X demodulators which can be used to accelerate monitoring of the adjacent beams. It implements a standard protocol to connect to the majority of COTM antenna controllers. The Hub is capable of fast assignment and de-assignment of bandwidth to terminals entering or leaving a satellite beam. It can also balance the traffic load across the beam based on beam priority and/or aggregate traffic load.
A super compact form-factor, typical in many UHP products, is also used in the new 200 Msps DVB-S2X-enabled Hub modulator. Used as a Hub or as a SCPC modem for wideband HTS transponders, this expands the range of applications in conjunction with the previously announced 500 Msps/256APSK Hub modulator for super-wideband transponders. The new 200 Msps modulator supports all the DVB-S2X MODCODs to 64APSK as well as some advanced mechanisms such as time-slicing.
The company CEO Vagan Shakhgildian explains. “On-the-move and in particular maritime networks, have become a significant part of our business. It suffices to say that two of our largest mobile networks have 10,000 remote VSAT and 3,000 remote VSAT accordingly. As many of such networks will be migrating to HTS, we will roll out the new features”.
28 Apr 19. RAAF to equip some C-130Js with upgraded satcom suite. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will equip half of its fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules airlifters with an upgraded satellite communications (satcom) suite. Under the upgrade, which was announced by the Department of Defence (DoD) on 29 April, six of the RAAF’s 12 C-130J-30 aircraft will be fitted with a Honeywell Ka-Band sitcom antenna and suite by 2022. As noted by the service, the decision to begin rolling out the high-speed communications system later this year follows a successful trial that was launched aboard one aircraft in 2017.
The system enables streaming of high-definition video and supports complex mission planning while the aircraft is in flight, and is geared at improving the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF’s) ability to respond to a crisis. The RAAF’s 12 C-130J Hercules already carry L-Band satcom, which permits global voice communications and data transfer. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Apr 19. CSIRO US and ASA reach out to US space industry players. The Australian Space Agency, in partnership with the US branch of CSIRO, Australia’s premier national science research organisation, have reached out to US players to talk about space commercialisation.
Earlier this month, the two organisations co-hosted their first roundtable on the future of global space commercialisation. Participants included thought leaders from such big actors as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Accel and Koolock.
The CSIRO partnership with the Australian Space Agency focuses on new technologies that further the commercialisation of space with the aim of tripling the size of the Australian space industry by 2030.
Following the roundtable session, CSIRO US and the newly created Australian Space Agency co-hosted a luncheon reception for over 60 investors, start-ups, scientists, industry experts, Australian government representatives and Fortune 100 aerospace companies.
The objective was to expand the US and Australian open innovation ecosystem to commercialise space.
Susan Lucas-Conwell, executive vice president of CSIRO US, said Australia had a long tradition of space initiatives, from satellites to communication.
“Our partnership with the Australian Space Agency, as their technology partner, positions CSIRO to play a key role in driving the future of space commercialisation,” she said.
The roundtable and reception followed the participation of CSIRO US in the 35th Annual Space Symposium held in Colorado.
CSIRO sponsored the G’Day reception organised by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided opening remarks and participated in the panel of experts discussion that included CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) deputy director Sarah Pearce.
CSIRO US is based in California’s Silicon Valley and is the North American innovation centre for CSIRO. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Apr 19. Australia could incidentally acquire ASAT capability as part of Navy upgrades. The Australian Defence Force could eventually end up with a capability to shoot down satellites following upgrades to the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart class guided missile destroyers.
That would be delivered from the Navy’s three new Hobart Class Aegis DDGs, among the most advanced warships in the world. Successive Australian governments have long pondered the prospect of an anti-ballistic missile capability, which could most easily be acquired through equipping the Hobarts with the Raytheon SM-3 missile. SM-3 is designed to kill ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere, guided to the target by the ship’s SPY radar and Aegis combat system. Not as well appreciated is that SM-3 can also destroy satellites in low-Earth orbit.
It demonstrated this ability in February 2008 when a single SM-3 fired from the Aegis DDG USS Lake Erie destroyed a malfunctioning spy satellite about 250 kilometres above the Pacific Ocean. Ostensibly, this was to minimise the risk that the satellite, launched in December 2006 and which had almost immediately failed, would make an uncontrolled return to Earth with a full load of toxic fuel aboard. Plenty of others, including the Russian and Chinese, saw this as the US conducting a test of new missile defence technology, likely in response to a Chinese ASAT test in January 2007. The US test worked as planned with the satellite destroyed. As it was in a decaying low-Earth orbit, all the debris entered the atmosphere and burned up within a few months.
Australia most recently canvassed an ABM capability following the latest round of North Korean missile tests. A maritime ABM capability has some advantages over land-based systems – it’s deployable to provide point defence of a task force or an at risk city, the technology is proven and it’s relatively affordable.
However, in order to head down this route, the Hobart Class’ Aegis combat system would need to be upgraded to the latest Baseline 9, which includes the ABM capability. Currently these ships are equipped with a version of Aegis, which, with Australian modification, is equivalent to Aegis Baseline 7.
That was the latest version when Australia purchased Aegis through a US foreign military sale deal at the start of the project around 15 years ago.
An upgrade is planned through Project SEA 4000 Phase 6, which the Defence Integrated Investment Program said will be run over the period 2017-28 at a cost of $4-5bn. Last month, India test fired its own anti-satellite missile, successfully destroying one of its own satellites in low-Earth orbit. That test made India the fourth nation with acknowledged ASAT capabilities. (Source: Space Connect)
28 Apr 19. Fly me to the moon – Germany eyes slice of lucrative space market. Facing tough competition from China, the United States and even tiny Luxembourg, Germany is racing to draft new laws and attract private investment to secure a slice of an emerging space market that could be worth $1trn (774bn pounds) a year by the 2040s. The drive to give Germany a bigger role in space comes as European, Asian and U.S. companies stake out ground in an evolving segment that promises contracts for everything from exploration to mining of outer-space resources.
Firms likely to benefit from any future spending rise in Germany include Airbus, which co-owns the maker of Europe’s Ariane space rockets, and Bremen-based OHB. The new legislation would limit financial and legal liabilities of private companies should accidents happen in orbit, set standards for space operations and offer incentives for new projects, the German economy ministry told Reuters.
The ministry’s aerospace and space commissioner, Thomas Jarzombek, could submit the laws to parliament later this year. The move comes as companies and trade groups press for German authorities to establish a regulatory framework for the lucrative new market to encourage private investment.
“We are sounding the alarm that Germany and Europe are falling behind in space vis-a-vis China and the United States,” Dirk Hoke, defence and space chief at Franco-German-led aerospace group Airbus, told Reuters. “We’re at a critical juncture to ensure we stay in the top league.”
Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse and the world’s fourth-largest economy. However it had just the world’s seventh-largest national space budget in 2018, an estimated $1.1bn, just over half the amount generated by fifth-placed France, according to preliminary data from Paris-based research firm Euroconsult.
The figure, which excludes contributions to pan-European programmes, is dwarfed by the United States – by far the largest spender on space at almost $40bn.
Ironically, American space ambitions could offer a lifeline.
Hoke said a new lunar Gateway programme backed by U.S. space agency NASA offered a chance for Germany and others in Europe to stake a claim to a key role in the market.
“In my view, it is hugely important that we participate as equal partners so that we are primed to develop and build technologies for such a gateway,” he said.
The programme involves designing and developing a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon and serve as a temporary home for astronauts and as a base for work on the moon’s surface and, later, missions to Mars. NASA had aimed to finish the Gateway by 2026, but Washington is now aiming to put humans back on the Moon by 2024, which could lead to an accelerated schedule.
Even before then, Germany is facing a brain-drain as companies worldwide ponder how to extract minerals from asteroids and water from the moon within a decade.
Some companies are already considering moving to Luxembourg, which has taken a lead in Europe by enacting laws to limit liabilities and ease restrictions on mining operations. It has also set up a 100m-euro ($112m)investment fund for projects.
“It’s a global market. We have our customers and we will keep them, even if we have to run the company from somewhere else,” said Walter Ballheimer, CEO of German Orbital Systems, a Berlin-based start-up that builds small satellites.
“Germany was overtaken a long time ago,” he said. “But it’s not too late. If they are courageous enough and adopt a clear space policy … then we can still have a piece of the cake that we should have as a leading export nation.”
Two other heads of small German space companies told Reuters they were considering leaving the country.
But Germany is not standing still.
Space commissioner Jarzombek is working with trade groups, companies and other experts to draft the space laws, and plans to submit it them parliament sometime after September.
“We are aiming for a lean basic law that is open to the future,” said a spokeswoman for Jarzombek and the economy ministry. “A national space law should focus above all on incentives and make it possible for the German space industry to play a bigger role in global developments.”
Berlin is also pressing the United Nations to set standards for mining of the Moon, asteroids and other objects in space.
The United States passed a law in 2015 that encouraged private companies to undertake mining work beyond Earth, and gives its firms the right to claim resources they may one day be able to extract from celestial bodies.
Jarzombek helped secure a 269m-euro increase in planned funding for the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2020-2023. But Germany’s total space funding, which includes ESA and national programmes, is not expected to rise in that period. It edged slightly lower to 1.57 bn euros in 2019.
The 18-member ESA oversees cooperation on space exploration and launches, but individual countries have their own research and interests, funded outside the ESA budget.
Matthias Wachter, aerospace expert at the BDI German Federation of Industry, said advances in space were crucial for future technologies such as autonomous driving.
“Germany is limping behind,” he said.
Any spending plans would have to contend with rising budget pressures and an economic slowdown. Germany is in its 10th year of expansion, but only narrowly avoided recession last year.
Senior executives from Deutsche Bank and Munich Re and others met in Berlin this month to brainstorm ways to fund and insure new space projects.
One problem is Germany’s conservative approach to investment and financing as entrepreneurs seek capital, said Sebastian Straube, CEO of investment firm Interstellar Ventures.
Straube is building a 100m-euro investment fund that will fund projects. He is also working with companies like rail operator Deutsche Bahn to encourage them to support new ventures that build applications taking advantage of increased access to space through satellites in low-earth orbit.
Marco Fuchs, CEO of satellite builder OHB, said Germany needed bigger increases in national space funding to pay for pioneering developments, citing growing competition worldwide.
The company carried out a privately funded commercial mission with China to orbit the moon in 2014, and teamed up this year with Israel Aerospace Industries to offer the commercial delivery of payloads to the lunar surface for ESA. OHB is a key player in the battle between Europe’s new Ariane 6 rocket and the Falcon 9 built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch the first of two new OHB spy satellites, called Georg, for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency in 2022. The contract, worth tens of millions of dollars, is drawing political attention after SpaceX and Ariane traded barbs about access to each other’s markets, which could presage a transatlantic trade dispute in coming years. OHB and the German government are expected to select the winner by late 2020, and Fuchs said the decision would be based on many factors, including launch dates and available budgets. “In the end, it’s always a question of the price – or a political decision,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
29 Apr 19. DA–Group and Elbit Systems signed an agreement to partner on the production and marketing of immune solutions to Global Navigation Satellite Systems. Under the agreement DA-Group will produce and market Elbit Systems’ Immune Satellite Navigation System (iSNS).
“DA-Group is pleased to start collaborating with Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT – Elisra, a clear industry leader”, states Sami Kotiniemi, CEO of DA-Group, adding: “The iSNS solution is in high demand due to rapidly increasing GPS jamming threats. There has recently been GPS interferences in the Nordic region. For example, media reported earlier this year that the GPS navigation of passenger aircraft in northern Scandinavia was repeatedly paralyzed, also having an interference impact on the Finnish territory. iSNS superior performance provides effective and efficient solution to this rising operational need.”
Edgar Maimon, General Manager of Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT – Elisra, commented: “Europe is a key market for us. We are proud to join forces with DA-Group, a technology leader in Finland, in order to address the growing demand for robust and operationally proven immune solutions.”
Elbit Systems’ iSNS has an operationally proven capacity to provide reliable, non-stop GPS operation providing comprehensive jamming immunity over extensive geographical areas for multiple satellite channels, handling multiple interfering signals and/or jammers that operate on concurrent frequencies. iSNS is compatible with all types of GPS systems, without prior knowledge of the locations of GPS satellite or GPS receiver antenna. Modular and customizable, iSNS is designed for a wide variety of land, sea and airborne applications, in the defence and in other governmental areas. Its small footprint enables adaptation to compact platforms, and it can be installed as an independent add-on kit.
“As a technology company, DA-Group’s important business sector is the defence industry, and therefore, we are constantly seeking to offer the state-of-art solutions for our defence sector clients domestically and abroad”, adds Kristian Tornivaara, DA-Group’s Chief Business Development Officer, Defence.
28 Apr 19. China’s rocket start-ups go small in age of ‘shoebox’ satellites. During initial tests of their 8.1-metre (27-foot) tall reusable rocket, Chinese engineers from LinkSpace, a start-up led by China’s youngest space entrepreneur, used a Kevlar tether to ensure its safe return. Just in case. But when the Beijing-based company’s prototype, called NewLine Baby, successfully took off and landed last week for the second time in two months, no tether was needed.
The 1.5-tonne rocket hovered 40 metres above the ground before descending back to its concrete launch pad after 30 seconds, to the relief of 26-year-old chief executive Hu Zhenyu and his engineers – one of whom cartwheeled his way to the launch pad in delight.
LinkSpace, one of China’s 15-plus private rocket manufacturers, sees these short hops as the first steps towards a new business model: sending tiny, inexpensive satellites into orbit at affordable prices.
Demand for these so-called nanosatellites – which weigh less than 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) and are in some cases as small as a shoebox – is expected to explode in the next few years. And China’s rocket entrepreneurs reckon there is no better place to develop inexpensive launch vehicles than their home country.
“For suborbital clients, their focus will be on scientific research and some commercial uses. After entering orbit, the near-term focus (of clients) will certainly be on satellites,” Hu said.
In the near term, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments. Universities conducting experiments and companies looking to offer remote-sensing and communication services are among the potential domestic customers for nanosatellites.
A handful of U.S. small-rocket companies are also developing launchers ahead of the expected boom. One of the biggest, Rocket Lab, has already put 25 satellites in orbit.
No private company in China has done that yet. Since October, two – LandSpace and OneSpace – have tried but failed, illustrating the difficulties facing space start-ups everywhere.
The Chinese companies are approaching inexpensive launches in different ways. Some, like OneSpace, are designing cheap, disposable boosters. LinkSpace’s Hu aspires to build reusable rockets that return to Earth after delivering their payload, much like the Falcon 9 rockets of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“If you’re a small company and you can only build a very, very small rocket because that’s all you have money for, then your profit margins are going to be narrower,” said Macro Caceres, analyst at U.S. aerospace consultancy Teal Group.
“But if you can take that small rocket and make it reusable, and you can launch it once a week, four times a month, 50 times a year, then with more volume, your profit increases,” Caceres added.
Eventually LinkSpace hopes to charge no more than 30m yuan ($4.48m) per launch, Hu told Reuters.
That is a fraction of the $25m to $30m needed for a launch on a Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Pegasus, a commonly used small rocket. The Pegasus is launched from a high-flying aircraft and is not reusable.
LinkSpace plans to conduct suborbital launch tests using a bigger recoverable rocket in the first half of 2020, reaching altitudes of at least 100 kilometres, then an orbital launch in 2021, Hu told Reuters.
The company is in its third round of fundraising and wants to raise up to 100m yuan, Hu said. It had secured tens of millions of yuan in previous rounds.
After a surge in fresh funding in 2018, firms like LinkSpace are pushing out prototypes, planning more tests and even proposing operational launches this year.
Last year, equity investment in China’s space start-ups reached 3.57bn yuan ($533m), a report by Beijing-based investor FutureAerospace shows, with a burst of financing in late 2018.
That accounted for about 18 percent of global space start-up investments in 2018, a historic high, according to Reuters calculations based on a global estimate by Space Angels. The New York-based venture capital firm said global space start-up investments totalled $2.97bn last year.
“Costs for rocket companies are relatively high, but as to how much funding they need, be it in the hundreds of millions, or tens of millions, or even just a few million yuan, depends on the company’s stage of development,” said Niu Min, founder of FutureAerospace.
FutureAerospace has invested tens of millions of yuan in LandSpace, based in Beijing.
Like space-launch startups elsewhere in the world, the immediate challenge for Chinese entrepreneurs is developing a safe and reliable rocket. Proven talent to develop such hardware can be found in China’s state research institutes or the military; the government directly supports private firms by allowing them to launch from military-controlled facilities. But it’s still a high-risk business, and one unsuccessful launch might kill a company.
“The biggest problem facing all commercial space companies, especially early-stage entrepreneurs, is failure” of an attempted flight, Liang Jianjun, chief executive of rocket company Space Trek, told Reuters. That can affect financing, research, manufacturing and the team’s morale, he added.
Space Trek is planning its first suborbital launch by the end of June and an orbital launch next year, said Liang, who founded the company in late 2017 with three other former military technical officers.
Despite LandSpace’s failed Zhuque-1 orbital launch in October, the Beijing-based firm secured 300m yuan (£34.5m) in additional funding for the development of its Zhuque-2 rocket a month later.
In December, the company started operating China’s first private rocket production facility in Zhejiang province, in anticipation of large-scale manufacturing of its Zhuque-2, which it expects to unveil next year.
China’s state defence contractors are also trying to get into the low-cost market.
In December, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) successfully launched a low-orbit communication satellite, the first of 156 that CASIC aims to deploy by 2022 to provide more stable broadband connectivity to rural China and eventually developing countries.
The satellite, Hongyun-1, was launched on a rocket supplied by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), the nation’s main space contractor.
In early April, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), a subsidiary of CASC, completed engine tests for its Dragon, China’s first rocket meant solely for commercial use, clearing the path for a maiden flight before July.
The Dragon, much bigger than the rockets being developed by private firms, is designed to carry multiple commercial satellites.
At least 35 private Chinese companies are working to produce more satellites.
Spacety, a satellite maker based in southern Hunan province, plans to put 20 satellites in orbit this year, including its first for a foreign client, chief executive Yang Feng told Reuters.
The company has only launched 12 on state-produced rockets since the company started operating in early 2016.
“When it comes to rocket launches, what we care about would be cost, reliability and time,” Yang said.
28 Apr 19. Satellite-Based Laser Communication. Laser links enable data exchange at high data rates. In the Airbus network, Tesat-Spacecom is the specialist for the development, manufacture and implementation of laser communication terminals (LCT). The LCT 135 used in Airbus’ SpaceDataHighway enables data to be transmitted at speeds of up to 1.8 gigabits per second over distances of up to 80,000 kilometers. This allows data to be transmitted almost in real time to any point on earth in a secure and completely interference-free manner.
The technology supports time-critical and data-intensive applications such as those required for the operation of RPAS in defence operations or disaster management. Tesat showed mockups of used LCT at AFCEA exhibition, some of which have been used in space for years. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
25 Apr 19. US Air Force develops ‘EAGLE’ ESPA satellite ring with propulsion capability. into a fully functioning satellite. This model is not to scale. The US Air Force (USAF) has developed an ‘ESPA’ ring that is traditionally used to attach secondary payloads to upper stages on space launches and turned it into a completely independent and functional satellite. The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Augmented Geosynchronous Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE) not only increases the number of satellites that can be put into space on a single launch, but its on-board chemical thruster propulsion capabilities also allow it to move its satellites to desired orbits, Captain Chris Tommila, EAGLE chief engineer, told Jane’s on 25 April at the Pentagon’s 2019 Lab Day.
Brian Weeden, director of programme planning at Secure World Foundation, told Jane’s on 25 April that the propulsion capabilities make EAGLE unique. While normal ESPA rings are usually simply places to attach secondary payloads to an upper stage, Weeden said EAGLE can separate from the upper stage, manoeuvre and operate on its own, then independently deploy the satellites attached to it. Capt Tommila said EAGLE can launch spacecraft larger than CubeSats and on the smallsat level.
EAGLE was launched in April 2018 on the Air Force Space Command-11 (AFSPC-11) mission and has been on orbit for roughly one year. One of EAGLE’s missions is to demonstrate a manoeuvrable ESPA-based space vehicle design that allows six or more deployable, or hosted, spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit.
EAGLE provides the opportunity to share the cost of launch as well as provide essential services on orbit, such as power, communications, propulsion, pointing, and navigation for payload experiments unable to afford the full cost of a host rocket.
One of EAGLE’s key payloads was the AFRL-developed separable, fly-away Mycroft spacecraft. The goal of Mycroft is to perform safe automated spacecraft operations near geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), according to AFRL. The Secure World Foundation said in an April 2019 report that EAGLE separated from the AFSPC-11 upper stage in the GEO region and subsequently deployed at least three small satellites. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Apr 19. ViaLite Launches C-Band RF over Fiber Link. ViaLite has launched a new C-Band RF over fiber link. With a C-Band uplink/downlink frequency range of 3.4–7.1 GHz, the link is suitable for use in a wide range of satcom and broadcast applications, as well as some surveillance and weather radar systems. The link’s full frequency range is 500 MHz – 7.5 GHz. By removing the requirement for an up/down converter to convert signals to an IF band, the module reduces deployment costs and complexity. Another benefit is that there is virtually no signal attenuation across the site from the dish to the operations center. The ViaLiteHD C-Band Link is available either as a rack chassis card or as a new purple OEM module, and comes with a five year warranty as standard. “The C-Band Link has the highest frequency band of all our RF over fiber links and we anticipate it generating a lot of interest,” said ViaLite Marketing Manager: Natasha Miller. The new C-Band Link products will be showcased at CABSAT in Dubai this March, where the company has a stand on the Satellite exhibition floor (stand: B5-22).
25 Apr 19. This year at Satellite 2019, Paradigm is showcasing their new MANTA® terminal, a game-changing comms-on-the-go and comms-on-the-pause self-pointing single case terminal. The MANTA is the complete solution for ‘anywhere’ IP data connectivity via Wi-Fi and Ethernet by just adding power – satcom made simple. The versatile MANTA operates straight ‘out-of-the-box’ for simple Deploy & Go satcoms or can be quickly fitted to any vehicle (land or sea) for comms-on-the-move. The MANTA uses software beam forming for satellite acquisition and tracking; the on-board PIM® provides an optimised satellite service requiring no specialist skills to offer easy, high speed data service anywhere. The MANTA is Paradigm’s latest PIM-enabled terminal providing rapid, high-speed connectivity from a single case. Rugged, versatile and discreet, the MANTA is the complete solution providing integrated RF, modem and terminal control, as well as a Paradigm Communication Systems Ltd. Paradigm House, 14 Wilsom Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2PP, UK Tel: +44 (0)1420 88199 – Fax: +44 (0)1420 88842 – Email: email@example.com – www.paracomm.co.uk handheld or dash-mounted ‘Remote’ for live beam heading, signal strength and system status and control info. Paradigm’s other PIM-enabled terminals include the ‘internet in a backpack’ SWARM® and the flyaway CONNECT100T and HORNET range; both terminals integrate the PIM to point the antenna. At Satellite 2019, videos of all Paradigm’s PIM-enabled terminals will be available to view on our booth (#938) with both the SWARM and MANTA available for attendees to be hands-on with.
25 Apr 19. Satcube, a disruptive development company in the satellite communications arena that manufactures game-changing portable terminals enabling high-performance broadband access anywhere, today announced it will demonstrate its award-winning Satcube Ku satellite terminal at Satellite 2019, May 6th – 9th. Throughout the exhibition, Satcube will hold feature demonstrations at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Booth 2511. Satcube Ku highlights and Satellite 2019 demonstrations: • Compact and light weight, feature-rich GUI: Red Dot Design winner 2019 • Benchmark, portable satellite terminal enabling rapid broadband connectivity almost anywhere on earth, with no need for engineering expertise • Significantly outperforms BGAN devices and services in size, speed, ease-of-use and cost • Designed for broadcast media, emergency responders, public safety organizations, telemedicine, NGO´s, those in remote work locations needing high capacity communications -” The Satcube mission is making seamless high-capacity satellite broadband made easy,” says Jakob Kallmér, CEO, Satcube. Comparable to a large laptop, the lightweight Satcube Ku terminal provides the ease of an iPhone and deployment of broadband in less than a minute.” -” Tapping Satcube’s market-leading offering, couple with best-in-class technology and portable design, we are serving industry verticals and work places requiring broadband connectivity where limited or no 3G/4G connectivity is available.” Satcube provides seamless broadband connectivity over satellite through easy to use, lightweight terminals. The innovative Satcube Ku portable satellite terminal is a highly compact, user-friendly device that delivers quick connectivity empowering people at work, businesses and global organizations, to communicate and deliver critical services at any time. To meet the Satcube team at Satellite 2019, stop by Booth 2511
25 Apr 19. Comtech EF Data’s Heights™ Networking Platform’s Newest Family Addition, H-Pico Heights™ Remote Gateway. Comtech EF Data Corp., a subsidiary within Comtech Telecommunications Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMTL) Commercial Solutions segment, has expanded their Heights™ Networking Platform product line to add a new, low-cost, high-performance remote gateway, the H-Pico Heights™ Remote Gateway (“H-Pico”). The H-Pico will address CAPEX-sensitive end users while retaining Comtech EF Data’s position as the high-performance, Very Small Aperture Terminals (“VSAT”) solution. H-Pico supports multiple remote to hub throughput tiers up to 10 Mbps, which is managed via a centralized licensing capability. This scheme allows users to standardize on a single remote platform for low to medium capacity sites, simplifying stocking and sparing. Additionally, H-Pico supports inbound hub to remote symbol rates up to 500 Msps with standards-based DVB-S2X MODCODs supporting up to 256QAM.
H-Pico incorporates a quad-core processor enabling high efficiency and throughput with multi-layer optimization. The increased EIRP and G/T performance of new High Throughput Satellites (“HTS”) spacecraft allows for significantly higher user capacity. This increased capacity cannot be met if the underlying packet processing is not able to keep up with the increased traffic flow. H-Pico can support demanding user applications in a HTS environment enabling service providers to take full advantage of these new HTS designs and grow service levels as end users’ demands grow.
Purpose-built to unleash the potential of these tight spot beams, Heights remote gateways provide the strongest processing performance, maximizing user IP bits per Hz while realizing significant gains in user IP bits per Amplifier Watt.
The Heights™ Networking Platform combines Comtech EF Data’s most efficient waveforms, Heights™ Dynamic Network Access (“H-DNA”), header and payload compression engines, WAN optimization, multi-tier Quality of Service, proven dynamic bandwidth and power management along with bi-directional Adaptive Coding & Modulation (“ACM”) capability to provide the highest user throughput, highest availability, and most optimal resource utilization available in the industry.
Heights meets the demands of those operating on traditional wide beams while providing distinct advantages for those using or considering migrating to HTS in their future. Heights can economically scale from tens to thousands of sites. The platform leverages a single comprehensive user interface teamed with a powerful traffic analytics engine that allows users to easily design, implement, monitor, control and optimize networks. The result is an elevated Quality of Experience for end users.
Louis Dubin, SVP, Product Management and Marketing, Comtech EF Data said that this latest addition to the company’s Heights™ Networking Platform product line will provide cost-effective, high throughput capabilities to support increasing end user traffic demands. The flexibility provided by the multiple transmit throughput tiers combined with the high-performance waveforms and multi-layer optimization makes H-Pico the ideal choice for a range of applications – mobile backhaul, offshore communications, latency sensitive business applications, IP trunking and Internet access, satellite news gathering and content distribution networks (Source: Satnews)
23 Apr 19. C-Band Alliance Proposal for 5G Spectrum Roll-Out Gains Independent Support. Independent voices have come out in support of the C-Band Alliance’s (CBA) proposals to make available 180 MHz of satellite spectrum to help 5G’s roll-out in the U.S., as is detailed in a report by journalist Chris Forrester at the Advanced-Television infosite.
WAY Media, a major Tennessee-based national religious broadcaster which reaches 25 million radio regular listeners (and 1 million weekly) and currently depends on usage of the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum band, said in a letter to the FCC that it supports the ‘market-based’ approach proposed by the CBA.
“Of the various proposals in the record, the market-based approach is the clear choice,” said WAY Media’s FCC letter. “The CBA has thoroughly explained why repurposing 200 MHz is a sound approach. It will ensure that current satellite customers, like the many non-profit broadcast ministries like WAY-FM, can continue utilizing the C-band to distribute radio content to American listeners nationwide.”
Link-Up Communications is another supporter and said the CBA’s market-based approach “is the clear choice. No other plan explains how programmers and broadcasters that continue to reach 90 percent of Americans over the age of 12 who listen to AM/FM radio at least once a week. No other plan has offered details regarding technical rules needed to ensure that Earth stations receiving C-band will be protected from terrestrial mobile interference should some spectrum be repurposed for flexible use as proposed by the FCC.”
Additionally, the CBA issued a ‘Public Interest’ list of responses to the various grumbles presented to the FCC. Notably, the Alliance stresses that US consumers, businesses and society in general will benefit from a ‘market-based’ sale of spectrum. “The CBA proposal benefits all Americans by ensuring the continued delivery of highly reliable television services and other critical applications already using mid-band spectrum—something we all take for granted, but which could be put at risk.” (Source: Satnews)
22 Apr 19. The Latest Lost Satellite is Now Space Junk that Could Put Other Spacecraft at Risk. On Thursday, satellite service provider Intelsat announced that one of its communications satellites is now completely lost in orbit above Earth, rendering the vehicle an unmovable piece of space debris. Intelsat says that something damaged the satellite, causing its onboard propellant to leak out into space. Now, without the ability to maneuver and communicate, the satellite could pose a potential threat to other vehicles in the same orbit.
For Intelsat, the most obvious consequence of the loss is a financial one. Built by Boeing, the satellite, called Intelsat 29e, cost between $400 and $450m and was supposed to operate up to 15 years in space. But now its lifetime has been cut short after just three years in orbit, preventing Intelsat from receiving any planned revenue from the spacecraft’s communications coverage over North and South America.
But the now-dead satellite is also a liability for other satellites that are on a similar trajectory. The spacecraft’s orbit is a high one above Earth known as geostationary orbit, or GEO — a path above the equator where satellites match the eastward rotation of the planet. That means they essentially “hover” over the same patch of the Earth at all times. It’s a popular spot to deposit communications and surveillance satellites because they just sit in one location of the sky for years.
The problem with this orbit, though, is it’s incredibly high up — around 22,000 miles above the planet’s surface. Satellites in this orbit are less affected by the Earth’s atmosphere and aren’t dragged down as easily as satellites in lower orbits. So if a satellite fails in this orbit, like Intelsat 29e did, it’s basically stuck up there for hundreds of years and won’t be coming down. Because of the damage Intelsat 29e sustained, the satellite is now slightly off track on this orbit, which means it could cross paths with other GEO satellites in the years to come. That means there’s a chance of future collisions that could cause even more debris.
“It’s a big problem, because now basically you have a floating bomb in GEO,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard and spaceflight tracker, tells The Verge.
It’s unclear exactly what caused the damage to Intelsat 29e. Intelsat says it is working with Boeing to determine if something like space debris is to blame or if the damage was caused from something on the satellite itself. Whatever happened occurred on April 7th, which is when customers stopped receiving communication from the satellite. Video footage from a company called ExoAnalytic Solutions showed the satellite’s propellant leaking into space. Intelsat also clarified that a second failure occurred during efforts to recover the vehicle, resulting in the total loss of the satellite.
Now, Intelsat 29e is moving slightly faster than it would be if it was in its proper geostationary orbit, Intelsat confirms. The satellite now takes less than 23 hours and 56 minutes to complete one rotation around Earth, the normal time for most other operational geostationary satellites. “All the other GEO satellites are keeping pace with the Earth,” says McDowell. “So every day or so it’s going to move past another few satellites.”
Additionally, the satellite’s orbit is now slightly more elliptical than it used to be, so it’s moving in and out from the Earth by around 160 miles, McDowell says. Intelsat confirmed that the orbit is more elliptical now. Most of the other satellites in geostationary orbit are in a fairly circular path. So not only is Intelsat 29e moving slightly faster than everything else, but it’s also weaving in and out of the orbit much more wildly.
It’s likely this orbit will get even more different over time, too, as the satellite is still drifting and gravity from the Sun and the Moon will tug on the spacecraft. Plus, if there is still fuel leftover in the spacecraft, the fluid could continue to vent out into space, causing more orbital changes. And without any way to maneuver the satellite, there’s nothing to be done. Intelsat 29e is now at the mercy of the space environment.
Fortunately, Intelsat 29e is a rather large spacecraft, weighing more than 14,000 pounds, and it can be easily tracked by the US Space Surveillance Network, an array of telescopes operated by the US Department of Defense. Intelsat is also keeping a close eye on it, too, according to the company. So if the spacecraft comes too close to another operational satellite, the Air Force will send an alert and the operator can temporarily move the functioning vehicle while Intelsat 29e passes.
But it’s possible that there are still other tiny pieces of debris that broke off from Intelsat 29e during its weird failure that cannot be seen. If those pieces are smaller than a baseball, then the Space Surveillance Network won’t be able to pick them up because it’s beyond the system’s capabilities. And these objects can still cause damage if they run into a functioning satellite, since they’re moving at super high speeds in orbit. “Collisions are more likely to be on the order of hundreds of miles an hour,” says McDowell. “So more like a highway car crash.” Intelsat could not confirm to The Verge if there were any associated pieces of debris from the accident.
This isn’t exactly a new problem, though, as Intelsat 29e isn’t the only dead satellite in geostationary orbit. But this region of space is a very precious resource for the aerospace industry. It’s one of the go-to destinations for communication satellites, and if it becomes too cluttered with debris, it won’t be usable anymore. That’s why adding another drifting satellite into this arena is a big concern.
For now, there’s nothing to be done except keep tabs on Intelsat 29e and figure out what happened to it, so that it doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, if you have a satellite passing near Intelsat 29e, you may have to do some tricks to get it out of the way. (Source: Satnews)
22 Apr 19. Final Phase of Construction by Boeing for the Kacific1 Satellite. Following the successful completion of payload and bus integration, Boeing Satellite Systems International (Boeing) will begin antenna range testing and core testing of the Kacific1 satellite.
Kacific Broadband Satellites Group’s (Kacific) first satellite is a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) currently in production at Boeing’s El Segundo, California, facility for satellite technology. The satellite has completed 75 percent of module level testing and about to move into the final phase of construction. The HTS satellite will then undergo mechanical vibration and acoustic environmental testing.
Bob Perpall, CTO, Kacific, said the company is looking forward to seeing the fully formed satellite and are regularly in touch with Boeing for progress updates. The Kacific team is counting down the months to service commencement and are currently working with customers to help them prepare for the high-speed, Ka-band broadband through installation of ground technology and developing tailored solutions for people and organizations in Asia Pacific, such as enterprise level broadband services and community-based WiFi solutions.
Chris Johnson, President of Boeing Satellite Systems International, noted that this summer, Kacific1 is poised to complete major milestones at the Boeing factory in California. Boeing looks forward to the delivery of the completed satellite to the launch site in preparation for an exciting launch. (Source: Satnews)
22 Apr 19. Blue Canyon Technologies’ New Mexico Expansion is One of the Largest to Create Some of the Smallest Satellites. Success results in the need for more of the product or service that the particular business provides. And so it is with Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT), which is currently supporting numerous successful missions with a cumulative total of 9 spacecraft, 11 attitude control systems, 49 star trackers and 150 reaction wheels on-orbit. Additionally, BCT has orders for nearly 60 spacecraft, ranging from 3U CubeSats to 200kg ESPA-class microsatellites, for missions in LEO to GEO, for commercial, academic, and Government customers.
As a testament to their recent successes, Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) has expanded their business operations to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The new facility is in the hub of the space technology business environment to enable close coordination with current and future Government and commercial customers. Located near Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) and the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), the new lab and office space will aid in managing programs with Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles (AFRL/RV) and Directed Energy (AFRL/RD) Directorates, Space and Missile Systems Center Advanced Systems and Development Directorate (SMC/AD), Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpRCO), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Sandia National Laboratories.
This growth allows for collaboration with government and commercial partners interested in Blue Canyon’s successful small satellite technology. The new space will be an advantage to support execution of the DARPA Blackjack Phase 1 program, as well as the AFRL ASCENT program.
Prior to the development in New Mexico, BCT expanded their satellite manufacturing facilities in Boulder, Colorado to over 54,000 square feet. The state-of-the-art facility supports high-volume spacecraft production, including constellations, by leveraging cleanrooms, thermal vacuums, vibration, integration, and test capabilities. The combined expansions have made their facilities one of the largest for small satellite production in the world. (Source: Satnews)
22 Apr 19. Amid Worry Over Space Wars, America Already has Tools to Shoot Down Satellites. A hot topic during the Space Symposium at The Broadmoor this month was India’s anti-satellite test, which shocked some leaders and solidified arguments that space is quickly becoming the next war zone. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan embraced the theme in his speech that kicked of the symposium.
“The next war may be won or lost in space,” he said.
Russia and China, too, have anti-satellite technologies. They are including space in the future war plans.
The race is on to reconfigure the American military’s leadership in space with the new U.S. Space Command at Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases.
Leaders from President Donald Trump on down have warned that America risks falling behind in a new orbiting version of the Cold War.
But what no one is talking about are the tools America already possesses to defend American satellites and to threaten enemy spacecraft.
America has a space arsenal that China and Russia could only dream about, although the U.S. has no declared anti- satellite weapons.
In response to a Chinese anti-satellite test, America showed off a piece of that arsenal, shooting down an aging National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite.
A single missile fired by a Navy cruiser destroyed the satellite during a 2008 test. And the Navy’s cruisers and destroyers typically carry the SM-3 missile, which is designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles, but can also hit space. If the Navy can take out satellites, it is also likely that the Army has a similar capability with its missile defense system that’s located in Alaska and controlled by the Colorado Springs-based 100th Missile Defense Brigade. The ground-based missile defense system can take out enemy nuclear missiles at the edge of space and has proven more accurate than the Navy’s system. In addition to taking out enemy satellites, the U.S. has systems that can determine what America’s rivals are doing on orbit. From ground-based telescopes and radars to satellite systems used to spy on other satellites, no nation has a fuller picture of what’s going on in space. America’s space troops also have the best satellites looking back at Earth, including missile-warning satellites that quickly spotted India’s anti-satellite test and allowed leaders to monitor it. That means if the enemy attacks our satellites, we’ll instantly know who to blame.
There’s also a game-changing technology that the military doesn’t talk about. Air Force Space Command’s X-37B is a robotic, reusable space plane with ample thrusters to change orbits and a cargo bay loaded with classified payloads. It’s essentially a robotic, miniature version of the space shuttle, which was retired in 2011.
Those who remember the shuttle program remember its classified roots. The shuttle was frequently used for military missions, including delivery of satellites to orbit and the capture and recovery of others.
Being able to nab an enemy satellite in orbit and bring it back to Earth to learn its secrets would be the ultimate anti-satellite technology.
It’s a skill that America already has demonstrated, and something none of our rivals has achieved. While the Air Force won’t talk about what the X-37B carries to space, if it has a robotic arm, it could accomplish that mission. That means Americans can rest easy. Yes, rivalries in space are heating up and anti-satellite weapons are proliferating. But America has a clear, unquestionable lead. (Source: Satnews/TheGazette)
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