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02 Aug 19. Aussie space company toiling through ‘challenging’ period. Australian space company Sky and Space Global (SAS) said it is working through a challenging period and was focused on securing appropriate funding, while also moving towards launch of its satellites. In its second quarter report to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), SAS cited significant achievements in signing up new business, with six reseller agreements and six memorandums of understanding. The company said its board and management have worked diligently and strategically to secure the company’s financial position.
“We are working our way through a challenging period for Sky and Space, and are very focused on securing appropriate funding while also moving forward operationally towards launch,” said SAS managing director and chief executive Meir Moalem.
“We are working hard on all fronts as seen from the many new MoUs and reseller agreements signed over the second quarter of this year. We continue to be very excited by the potential of our technology and the nanosatellite communications solutions we have developed, which continue to receive a strong response from potential customers and channel partners.”
SAS, based in Perth, is well advanced in plans for what it calls the Pearls constellation of as many as 200 nanosatellites in equatorial orbit, providing low cost communications, data and internet services for markets in Africa, South America and Asia.
The company is proposing an additional satellite constellation, allowing full global coverage, including Australia, Russia, China, South Africa, Argentina and Canada.
The first launch is planned for early next year, though that may be delayed.
SAS and Danish satellite manufacturer GomSpace are continuing to formalise required changes to the existing Pearls nanosatellites manufacturing agreement, with the deadline extended to 31 August.
“The extended negotiation time frame may result in a delay to the proposed launch time frame and the company will confirm the agreed schedule upon finalising the manufacturing agreement and associated timeline with GomSpace,” SAS said.
As an additional source of funds, SAS is pursuing innovation grants from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
It’s succeeded in round one, with the Pearls Constellation project awarded the Seal of Excellence for demonstrating high quality and business potential. That’s limited to €50,000 and SAS is now focusing on Phase 2, where potential grant funding is up to €2.5m. (Source: Defence Connect)
31 Jul 19. Space insurance costs to rocket after satellite crash. Space rockets and satellites are likely to cost more to insure after the European Vega rocket crash this month, which hit insurers with a record space market loss of 369m euros ($411.21m), insurance industry sources say.
The Vega rocket carrying a military observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates veered off course shortly after take-off and crashed.
Prior to the accident, Italian aerospace company Avio Aero (AVI.MI), which built the Vega, said it had a 100% success rate.
The insurance loss for the rocket and satellite represents the largest recorded loss in the space market, satellite analysis firm Seradata said.
Until now, insurance premiums for commercial satellite and rocket accidents have been falling due to strong competition among insurers and improved rocket reliability.
But that could change in the aftermath of the Vega crash, leading to higher costs for space rocket launches.
“Space insurers have suffered two major claims within the past year and the cost of these losses far exceeds the premiums earned in this sector,” said Nick Brown, group chief executive at insurer Global Aerospace, which is backed by major reinsurers Munich Re and Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N).
“Insurance rates for both launch and in-orbit have been at historically low levels and … need to increase significantly.”
The Vega loss follows the failure of Maxar Technologies’ (MAXR.N) WorldView-4 imaging satellite in January, resulting in a $183m insurance claim.
Last year, space insurance payouts were $600m, according to Seradata SpaceTrak data, outpacing premiums of around $450m.
“Space rates could double as a result of this (Vega) failure combined with poor results last year,” said one insurer, who said the Vega loss alone was expected to cancel out the whole of 2019 global space premium, with further launch and in-orbit risks still remaining for the year.
There were 114 space launches globally in 2018, according to Avio Aero, builder of the European Vega launcher.
Unlike with most car insurance, cover for satellites or rockets is not compulsory. Only 60% of satellites launched in 2017 were insured, according to insurer Mapfre (MAP.MC).
For those who do buy insurance, an all-risk policy covers damage of any kind and there is also liability cover available, in case a rocket hits something belonging to someone else.
Space insurance providers include the specialist Lloyd’s of London market and insurance heavyweights AIG (AIG.N), AXA (AXAF.PA) and Allianz (ALVG.DE), as well as reinsurers like Munich Re (MUVGn.DE).
Munich Re said earlier this month it was one of the insurers of the Vega policy. Aon (AON.N) was the broker, two sources told Reuters. Aon declined to comment.
Global Aerospace said it did not insure the Vega launcher.
Prices to insure satellites against damage have fallen by 50% in the past two to three years, one insurer said.
Space insurance premiums have dropped 75% in the past 15 years and 60% in the past 10, said a second insurance source, who expected rates to bounce after the recent losses.
But due to the intense competition in the insurance industry, a rise in premiums is not guaranteed.
David Todd, head of space content at Seradata, said it hinged on whether significant insurance underwriting capacity started to leave the market.
Andreas Berger, a Swiss Re (SRENH.S) board member in charge of the corporate insurance arm, said on Wednesday that the company would be reducing its exposure to the space industry, as part of an overhaul of the loss-making division.
Space tourism will add a new dimension as space passengers may also want insurance.
U.S. space agency NASA plans to allow private citizens to stay at the International Space Station for month-long getaways at a cost of about $35,000 per night, with the first mission as early as 2020.
British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is also competing with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin in the race for space.
Space travel could straddle both the space and aviation insurance sectors.
“The advent of space tourism represents a completely new area of risk for insurers,” Global Aerospace’s Brown said. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
02 Aug 19. Component failure halts Gilmour Space rocket launch. Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies’ planned rocket launch this week didn’t make it off the ground due to failure of a component seconds before blast-off.
Gilmour chief executive Adam Gilmour said that at T-7 seconds to launch, the test rocket experienced an anomaly that resulted in the premature end to the mission. Initial investigations showed that a pressure regulator in the oxidiser tank had failed to maintain required pressure, he said.
“This anomaly resulted in some damage to the tank and rocket. There was no explosion due to the safe nature of hybrid rocket engines and no observable damage to the engine,” he said.
The launch of the One Vision rocket was to have taken place from a property in outback Queensland and followed extensive testing. It was planned it would reach an altitude of 20-30 kilometres, about halfway to space.
This was intended as a flight test of the proprietary orbital class hybrid rocket engine and to demonstrate mobile launch capability and would have been the company’s second launch. In July 2016, the prototype “reusable ascent separation article” (RASTA) reached a height of about 5,000 metres.
“Our team is safe and understandably disappointed not to have completed the mission,” he said.
“It was a third-party component that failed and we will be following up on the matter with them. In any case, rocket engineering is all about testing, failing, learning and rebuilding.
“One Vision was a development and test rocket, and our learnings from here have already informed many of the design features in our next vehicle.
“Gilmour Space will now look to launch an enhanced version of this suborbital rocket in the near future, and test more of the technologies we will require for our orbital launches.”
While the rocket failed to launch, everything else worked as intended.
“Our team successfully tested the mobile launch platform and mission control centre, which had journeyed over 1,800 kilometres to the test site,” Gilmour said.
“The automatic load-and-launch ground support system performed nominally through countdown and went automatically into safe mode to dilute the oxidiser when the tank was compromised.”
Gilmour said with this mobile launch system, the company had the capability to launch a light orbital vehicle from anywhere in Australia.
“We would appreciate your continued support as we work to build a safe and reliable road to space for the next generation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit,” he said.
“We look forward to achieving more and greater things together. To the stars.” (Source: Defence Connect)
02 Aug 19. NASA inspects proposed NT space base. NASA has conducted a site inspection of the area of the Northern Territory from which it plans to launch a series of sounding rockets. Scientists Todd Barber and Tom Nolan, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, this week visited the proposed launch site outside Nhulunbuy in north-eastern Arnhem Land.
Space company Equatorial Launch Australia has named this the Gulkula Launch Site, the Aboriginal name for the locality.
NASA plans to launch at least three suborbital sounding rockets from there next year.
“NASA will have more places to launch, but it’s not just about NASA, we need the whole international partners, all of industry to come and use this place for more and more and more launches,” Nolan told the ABC.
“We need remoteness. We can’t launch out of Los Angeles – it’s not going to work.
“So having the remote area is the beginning … being out in the middle of nowhere is a great advantage. It’s unpopulated. It’s a great opportunity.”
Late last year, Gumatj, the corporation representing the Gumatj people, granted ELA a 40-year sub-lease for a 60-hectare parcel of land for its launch site.
That’s adjacent to the site for the annual Garma festival and Gulkula mine near Nhulunbuy. As yet there’s no launch infrastructure on the site – the NASA scientists likened the local red dirt landscape to their Mars landscape mock-up at JPL. However for launch of sounding rockets, extensive infrastructure isn’t necessary.
Gumatj chief executive Klaus Helms told the ABC he wanted to get started.
“We hope that within this year I’d like to be able to put the roads in and start a clearing, if all the applications come through,” Helms said.
He said the involvement of NASA helped move the space centre plan into reality.
“It needed a kickstart, and this is a very good kickstart to get it going,” Helms said.
“If it goes ahead, we’ve got the building of the roads, the building of the infrastructure, we’ve got the delivery of water, the delivery of fuel, we’ve got communications, security; there’s a multitude of jobs.”
ELA chose this location for its launch site as it has significant advantages, including its remoteness and proximity to the equator, which takes advantage of the Earth’s rotation and allows greater launch payloads for less fuel.
While the NASA scientists visited the proposed ELA launch site, the main purpose of their visit was educational – to talk to local high school students about the booming space sector.
Among schools visited was the Nhulunbuy High School, the closest to the new space base. (Source: Defence Connect)
01 Aug 19. A new launch date for the Air Force’s next comms satellite. Officials at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center said that despite recent delays, they expect an anti-jamming communications satellite to launch as early as Aug. 8
The satellite in question is the fifth satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system, a constellation that will ultimately be composed of six satellites providing highly robust, anti-jamming satellite communications for the military and high priority national leaders. The first AEHF was launched back in 2010. Lockheed Martin is the program’s prime contractor.
The satellite was slated to be launched into orbit from Florida June 27, but was delayed after a vehicle battery failure was found on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to carry AEHF-5 into orbit. The launch was then rescheduled for July 17, giving the technical time to analyze the problem and replace the battery. But less than a week before the launch, it was delayed again “due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern.”
“During final acceptance testing of the component, the support equipment measured off-nominal voltage. The team is reviewing the data and inspecting the hardware to determine root cause,” Heather McFarland, a spokewoman for ULA, told C4ISRNET.
The launch has been rescheduled for Aug. 8.
Officials at the Space and Missile Systems Center said there will be no impacts on the program if the satellite is launched in August, although they didn’t say whether further delays would have an impact.
“There are no impacts through the month of August. The spacecraft is in a safe environment on the Atlas V,” the center said in a statement.
The Space and Missile Systems Center also said on-orbit test teams have been aligned to the new schedule created by the delay, and since there was no set date for the Air Force taking over the satellite, that action by definition can’t be pushed back. They also noted that this delay would not affect the launch of AEHF 6, which has not been scheduled yet.
The launch window for the rocket carrying AEHF 5 is now set for 5:44-7:44 a.m. on Aug. 8. (Source: Defense News)
01 Aug 19. The Satellite Applications Catapult, leading a consortium of innovative UK companies, has successfully created a system that can automatically detect oil slicks from space and forecast their movement. The system has since enabled Malaysian authorities to avert a potentially major environmental disaster from a 5 km2 oil slick in what was a major success for the UK-built Earth And Sea Observation System (EASOS).
EASOS was built in the UK by a consortium of companies led by the UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult and was funded by the UK Space agency as part of the International Partnership Programme (IPP). Malaysian authorities used the solution to detect a spill of over 40 tonnes of oil off the coast of Johor, South Malaysia.
The Malaysian team, operating from the Borneo Centralised Monitoring Centre (BCMC), were able to pass information on the oil slick directly to the Johor Marine Department who deployed two vessels to search, locate, contain and disperse the slick before it was able to reach the Malaysian coastline. Work continues to estimate the likely financial and environmental benefit from this averted environmental disaster, however, early estimates based on impact to fisheries, tourism, the marine ecosystem and clean-up along 13km of coastline could have exceeded RM 8m/£1.5m.
This was the second time that the EASOS system supported the Malaysian Government in its efforts to reduce the impact of marine pollution. In April, an oil slick hit the coast around Tanjung Balau, Johor. Working in partnership with KASI (the company operating the BCMC), the system was used to identify potential sources of the original slick.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said, “The EASOS system is a remarkable example of what satellite data, combined with machine learning and on-the-ground information, can do. Today we can monitor oil slicks automatically, we can predict the impact of flooding on communities up to 7 days in advance and we can provide vital information on illegal deforestation activities, all using satellite data. By supporting the Malaysian authorities in their battle against pollution in the Malacca Straits, we’re proving the value and power of these solutions created by innovative UK companies.”
01 Aug 19. Australia and NZ need to co-ordinate space efforts, says NZ academic. Australia and New Zealand must to work together in space, co-ordinate activities, play to strengths and avoid replicating each other’s efforts, according to an Auckland-based academic. That could mean Australia staying out of launch services entirely, as New Zealand already has a considerable lead, says an article in The Diplomat magazine.
Author Nicholas Borroz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland, said the new Australian Space Agency was aiming high but there were questions as to whether the small budget could really support the government’s goal of building a $12bn national space industry by 2030.
“To increase its likelihood of success, Australia must target its resources. And to do this most effectively, it should co-ordinate with neighbouring New Zealand,” he wrote.
“Both countries have recently created space agencies to build their space sectors. But New Zealand is further along in its efforts and Australia should avoid replicating the niche New Zealand is building for itself in the space economy.
“For the benefit of both countries’ space sectors, Australia should complement, not compete with, New Zealand.”
New Zealand is already conducting commercial rocket launches at a facility set up by US company Rocket Lab, founded by New Zealander Peter Beck.
In Australia, two spaceports are under development, in the Northern Territory and South Australia, but there’s no clear commercial reason to build this launch capacity, the article said.
Australia’s main international space partners are NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and hosts satellite ground stations for each.
But neither seem likely to provide enough demand to support Australia-based launch services as each already has new launch providers coming on board – NASA is using the Rocket Lab facility in New Zealand and a new facility being developed in the US. ESA can use Portugal’s proposed new Atlantic Ocean launchpad.
“Some launch service start-ups exist in Australia, but it seems improbable that they will catch up with Rocket Lab anytime soon. Australian officials tout the country’s southern hemisphere location as having benefits for launches, but New Zealand shares similar geographical advantages,” the article said.
“Given how new its space agency is, Australia is still in the process of developing its space strategy. Its policymakers ought to take advantage of this opportunity to formulate a strategy that complements New Zealand.
“If Australia cannot catch up with New Zealand as a launch services provider, it will end up wasting money and time. And even if it instead does manage to catch up to New Zealand, then the two countries will compete with each other and undermine their ability to make any profit.”
So to avoid this occurring, Australia should position its space economy to harmonise with New Zealand, and it can do that in three ways.
Australia could offer different launch services, for larger satellites or missions beyond Earth’s orbit.
Australia could target different customers, such as Chinese payloads.
Or Australia could stay out of launch services and focus on areas of competitive advantage, such as ground stations and astronomy.
“Alternatively, Australia could focus on entirely new areas such as space debris management. The agency has indicated interest in debris management, which is of growing importance as space becomes more crowded, so specialising in it now may set Australia up for long-term gains,” Borroz said.
“Both Australia and New Zealand have signed agreements with several other countries’ space agencies, but they have not yet signed an agreement with each other. As a first step, Canberra should sign an agreement with Wellington that defines complementary areas for the two countries to grow their space sectors.
“Only by co-ordinating with its neighbour here on Earth can Australia succeed as an important actor in the space economy.”
(Source: Space Connect)
31 Jul 19. ATLAS Space Operations Extends Global Reach with Nine New Ground Stations. Unprecedented growth in network improves data delivery latency for customers and enhances value of FREEDOM™ constellation management platform.
ATLAS Space Operations, Inc., a leading innovator in communications for the space industry, announced it has brought online nine new ground stations in its network. This brings the total to thirteen ground stations, with an additional seventeen sites planned by 2020. These new stations have all become fully operational in the span of the last two quarters – a rapid and unprecedented broadening of ground communication capabilities that indicates growth in the satellite industry and demand for ATLAS’ solutions. The additional stations expand ATLAS’ global presence and will help facilitate the growth of its customer base in both the public and private sectors. To date, ATLAS has added to its global network one new ground station per month, and will continue the pace moving forward. With its automated scheduling, allowing for set-and-forget tasking, ATLAS saw an over 100% increase in the amount of passes in second quarter 2019, and are on track to quadruple that rate in the third quarter.
By increasing the number of sites available in the network, ATLAS can reduce the amount of time between when a satellite can communicate with its owners. This translates to faster data and reduced costs to the customer.
The new ground stations cover a range of polar and equatorial locations, including: Sodankyla, Finland; Cedar, Michigan; Harmon, Guam; Mojave, California; Chitose, Japan; Tahiti, French Polynesia; Longovilo, Chile; Ningi, Australia; and Usingen, Germany. Coming soon in Sept 2019 are Brewster, Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“The new locations are highly strategic and enhance the geographical dispersion of the ATLAS ground network,” said Sean McDaniel, CEO and Founder of ATLAS. “Due to the locations of the sites we prioritized, our customers can realize near real-time latency when it comes to getting their valuable and time-sensitive data.”
Notably, eight of the new stations are capable of receiving data in S and X-band frequencies. This allows for much faster transfer rate of large files whose value depends on timeliness, such as the high-resolution data generated from earth observation satellites.
In addition to faster data, pairing the new sites with ATLAS’ FREEDOM™ platform offers other benefits. FREEDOM™ enables autonomous constellation management, reducing the human cost of having to manage satellites and schedule connections through multiple ground stations. With a secure, cloud-based platform, customers can log into ATLAS’ entire network through a single VPN, giving them the power to get their data on their terms. ATLAS has enabled customers to get that data even faster with the new locations in its network.
This network expansion also represents an even larger network for FREEDOM™ customers who use the platform to access data using AWS Ground Station. Earlier this month, ATLAS announced support for AWS Ground Stations through the easy to use FREEDOM™platform, making scheduling across an even larger ground station network a snap.
ATLAS Space Operations is at the SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah from August 5-8 at booth 212. There, attendees can learn more about the ATLAS ground network and FREEDOM™ platform. ATLAS industry experts will also be on hand to discuss the latest trends in space communications, including technology, security and the new space economy. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
31 Jul 19. After historic rocket launch, Chinese startup to ramp up missions. Beijing-based startup iSpace is planning up to eight commercial rocket launches next year, after last week becoming China’s first privately funded firm to put a satellite into orbit, its executives told Reuters.
iSpace’s success has turned up the heat on the country’s other 15-plus startups to develop vehicles capable of delivering satellites into orbit. Since late last year, two other firms have attempted but failed.
China envisions constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments. Reliable, low-cost and frequent deployment by private firms will be key.
“If you don’t have a rocket that can go into orbit, that shows that you don’t have a product. What business model can you speak of then?” iSpace’s Vice President for Finance Huo Jia said in an interview on Tuesday.
“The threshold for orbital launches is extremely high, and 99% of companies will fail,” Huo said, predicting only one or two firms in China would be successful in the next five to 10 years.
Clients from Singapore, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, as well as mainland customers, have already either signed up for a spot on iSpace’s rockets or expressed interest.
iSpace is open to both private and government clients.
“It’s the same for us whether it’s a private or a state-owned company,” Vice President for Marketing and Communications Yao Bowen said.
The price tag to launch a rocket is 4.5m euros ($5m), Yao added.
That compares with the $25m to $30m needed for a launch on a Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Pegasus, a commonly used small rocket.
Since its founding in late 2016, iSpace has completed six rounds of fund-raising totaling over 700m yuan ($102 m). The last round took place in June.
To help develop the Hyperbola-2, which will also be a reusable rocket, iSpace will “definitely” complete a large round of fund-raising later this year, Huo said, declining to give more details.
Many of iSpace’s rivals are designing cheap, disposable boosters. Only one other firm – LinkSpace – aims to build reusable rockets that return to Earth after delivering their payload, much like the Falcon 9 rockets of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The reusable design of Hyperbola-2 will cut costs by 70%, Huo said.
iSpace estimates a first launch of its reusable rocket in 2021.(Source: Reuters)
30 Jul 19. A new satellite antenna could save the USAF time and money. A new antenna could revolutionize Air Force satellite operations and significantly reduce maintenance costs over time ― if it works.
On behalf of the Air Force, the Defense Innovation Unit has awarded contracts to companies to develop prototype multi-band, multi-mission phased array antennas, capable of connecting with multiple satellites simultaneously by reaching out to them on different frequencies.
“One electronically steered antenna can replace multiple dishes, enabling better performance, connectivity and affordability,” said Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager of tactical solutions for Ball Aerospace, one of the companies developing a prototype.
Lockheed Martin announced July 17 that the Defense Innovation Unit had awarded Ball Aerospace, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, and Lockheed Martin a joint $7.2 m contract to develop such a prototype. That follows a May 30 announcement from Harris Corporation that the company had received a $6.26 m from the Defense Innovation Unit to build a prototype multi-band, multi-mission phased array antenna.
“Until recently, there hasn’t been a need to increase the number of simultaneous satellite connections, and doing so was cost prohibitive,” Harris spokesperson Kristin Jones told C4ISRNET at the time. “A congested space domain is now driving the need for a solution, and Harris has a cost-efficient way to meet the demand. We’ve developed a unique approach using state-of-the-art technology for 5G systems that makes the business case for the Air Force to transition to an operational solution.”
If the prototype works, it could be incorporated into the Air Force Satellite Control Network, which is used to operate and maintain Department of Defense satellites. According to a Lockheed Martin press release, the new antenna could support multiple satellites in low earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit at the same time.
The three companies ― Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace and Kratos ― will work as a team in developing their prototype. Lockheed Martin will develop the actual prototype arrays, with Ball Aerospace contributing phased array technologies and Kratos providing signal processing technology. Lockheed Martin claims that phased arrays will be cheaper than parabolic antennas in the long run due to lower maintenance needs, even though the latter are cheaper up front.
Multi-band, multi-mission antennas are “a smarter way to quickly and affordably scale satellite transmission while lowering long-term maintenance costs for the Air Force,” said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Mission Solutions, in a statement. “Today, when a parabolic antenna goes down, it can take days to repair; with MBMM, it will take hours and won’t take the entire site offline ― that’s a tremendous advantage.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
31 Jul 19. Saber Astronautics selected to support CUAVA satellite. Australian space company Saber Astronautics has been awarded the satellite operations contract to provide flight software, satellite integration and mission control support for the inaugural flight of the first CUAVA satellite. For the CUAVA-1 mission, Saber Astronautics will provide three months of continual spacecraft operations from its mission control centres in Sydney and Boulder, Colorado, US. Saber, based in Sydney, will also support the CUAVA partners by providing training on new methods of space operations.
Professor Iver Cairns, director of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs and their Applications (CUAVA) at the University of Sydney, said this was a very exciting opportunity for both CUAVA and Saber Astronautics.
“Together we are going to develop a spacecraft control, data management and ground station solution that links to our new spacecraft software. This could also provide a template for many future Australian space projects,” he said.
“It is an example of two Australian entities coming together to develop an Australian solution to a global problem.”
Saber Astronautics chief executive Dr Jason Held said the challenges came with rewards.
“CubeSats are small, susceptible to damage and prone to failure, so the willingness to take a risk and learn-by-trying is what innovation is all about,” he said.
“The reward is high because a successful flight will qualify several new Australian products for the space industry. That’s exciting.”
This partnership will also work on ground station development, which will help pave the way forward for standardised operations for multiple Australian and international spacecraft.
It is planned to launch CUAVA-1 in the next 12 months. In March, CUAVA signed an agreement with Japanese space start-up Space BD for satellite deployment services from the International Space Station for the two satellites CUAVA is developing.
Saber Astronautics lead avionics engineer Andreas Antoniades said the company encouraged amateur radio operators around the world to tune in and receive data from CUAVA-1.
“Our infrastructure will allow for maximum international engagement and increases the chances for successful downlink, particularly in the first few days of launch,” he said.
CUAVA was officially launched only last month and aims to lift Australian CubeSat technology and form a primary part of Australia’s future space development.
Key projects include research that has commercial potential in the small satellite market, including plasma thrusters, high speed communication and snap-together CubeSat systems.
CUAVA also focuses on novel, miniature, world-leading imagers for satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as variable spacecraft drag devices based on Saber’s DragEN Deorbit Tether technology. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Jul 19. The next cybersecurity concern for NATO? Space. A new report warns that the cybersecurity vulnerabilities related to military space systems, specifically terminals and command-and-control systems, deserves renewed attention from NATO countries. The report, titled “Cybersecurity of NATO’s Spaced-based Strategic Assets,” was produced by Chatham House, which is part of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a policy institute in London. The paper, by Beyza Unal, was released July 1.
“There is an urgent need to study and address cyber-related challenges to strategic assets within NATO and its key member countries, particularly the cyberthreat to space-based command and control systems,” the report read. “The increasing vulnerability of space-based assets, ground stations, associated command and control systems, and the personnel who manage the systems, has not yet received the attention it deserves.”
The report highlights cybersecurity vulnerabilities to space systems used by countries in the NATO alliance, notably singling out commercial products used in military operations as a particular risk. These vulnerabilities can come from back door encryption, supply chain security, and personnel and procedural practices, according to the report. NATO uses space assets to defend territory, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism and conflict prevention.
“There is an increasing need to apply higher-grade military hardening and cyber protection specifications to civilian capabilities that have the potential to be used in support of military applications,” the report read. “If military standards are not met, items procured from commercial industry with design flaws may expose NATO’s systems to additional vulnerabilities.”
The report also points to the importance of securing satellite terminals.
“Terminals located in ground stations constitute a critical vulnerability, as a terminal is an access point to a satellite and is usually not protected by authentication in order not to hinder operational actions,” the report said. “Terminals house software systems that can be compromised and require patching and upgrading.”
Data flowing between satellites, especially ground stations, can become vulnerable, according to the report.
“Adversaries infiltrating ground- or space-based systems could exploit weak software implementation, or the incompatibility of network or data transfer protocols in the chain,” the report read. “While the absence of data is easy to detect, the manipulation of data or erosion of confidentiality at such an interface is potentially more difficult to discern.”
Among the report’s recommendations is that NATO strengthen its cyber defense through increased collaboration between the public and private sector. This would allow for more timely information sharing of cyberthreats.
The report also urges NATO to emphasize that commercial manufacturers meet basic cybersecurity standards and possibly event meet more stringent military protection standards.
“In the future, military systems will be increasingly connected to non-military systems,” the report states. “This has important implications for the laws of armed conflict, as the combination of civilian, commercial and military capabilities in the cyber domain and space raises the risk that civilian capabilities used for military purposes qualify as legitimate military targets.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
30 Jul 19. Statement of strategic intent a boost to Aussie space sector. Canberra defence and security company XTEK, which specialises in advanced lightweight composite materials, has signed a statement of strategic intent and co-operation with the Australian Space Agency. Composite materials are ideal for many space applications and the agreement aims to strengthen the capability and competitiveness of Australia’s space industry.
XTEK managing director Philippe Odouard welcomed this move and plans to continue discussions on building Australia’s strategic capability in design and development of space systems and space hardware components.
“XTEK has in-depth process engineering knowledge, product development and prototyping capabilities which enable it to provide the necessary design, build and testing support to Australia’s space sector,” he said.
“These unique capabilities provide a substantial edge, which can strengthen Australia’s position in contributing to international programs.”
Australian Space Agency head Dr Megan Clark said the Australian space industry was a vibrant and evolving sector and the agency was committed to tripling the Australian space economy.
“This statement of intent will assist in the development of space-related industries as the Australian Space Agency aims to grow the local space sector from $3.9bn to $12bn over the next 10 years, and create up to 20,000 new space jobs,” she said.
XTEK, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2005, emerged after the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing to supply security equipment to defence and police.
That’s grown to include tactical and unmanned systems, small arms and ballistic protection using advanced composite materials.
XTEK has a suite of unique and patented technologies, including the XTclave that offer unique solutions for space applications. The company has developed and and continue to grow, design and test capabilities in Australia.
For the space sector, XTEK is developing new satellite structures, launcher platform hardware and deployment systems to virtually validate and model for the complex load cases and requirements of launch and the harsh environment of space.
Last month, XTEK signed a memorandum of understanding with space company Skykraft to jointly develop a range of new small spacecraft and launcher systems.
XTEK plans to employ 45 new engineers, technicians and machinists over the next three to five years to boost capability in the space sector.
XTEK said the statement of strategic intent and co-operation represents a formal relationship with the Australian space industry, validating the broader application of the novel XTclave technology.
“It also provides us access to a potential significant market in which we can continue developing and commercialising our advanced composite solutions. We look forward to supporting the agency’s purpose to grow and transform a globally respected space industry,” Odouard said. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Jul 19. Skyworks Launches High Reliability Military and Space Solutions. Hermetically Sealed Devices Offer Best-in-Class Performance That Meet Stringent Requirements. Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: SWKS), an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors connecting people, places and things, today unveiled its latest high reliability solutions for demanding military and space applications with stringent operating requirements. Skyworks’ hermetically sealed, broadband low-noise and impedance-matched amplifiers function in harsh environments and can be leveraged in a multitude of communication platforms. With all peripheral components integrated into an optimized ceramic QFN package, these devices simplify the design process and reduce board space while delivering robust performance for next generation aerospace and defense applications such as satellites and avionics systems.
“Skyworks is excited to introduce advanced products that operate seamlessly under severe conditions,” said Achim Soelter, general manager of defense and space for Skyworks. “With the expansion of our portfolio, we continue to push the performance envelope, powering mission critical functions across navigation, communication and radar networks that must work day-in and day-out without fail.”
According to an estimate from BCC Research, the global satellite communications market, one segment of the aerospace and defense industry, is estimated to reach nearly $7.5bn by 2022, up from nearly $4.6bn in 2017, or a compounded annual growth rate of 11 percent.
About Skyworks’ High Reliability Solutions
Skyworks provides upscreened and hermetically sealed high-reliability optocouplers, RF diodes and RFICs including multi-chip modules (MCM) as part of its portfolio. Product upscreening includes the equivalent of Class B and Class S of MIL-PRF-38535, Class H and Class K of MILPRF-38534, and JANS, JANTX and JANTXV level of MIL-PRF-19500. Select solutions include:
- SKYH22001 – Hermetically sealed, integrated broadband low-noise amplifier with -55° to +125°C performance. Internally tuned for 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz and tunable up to 3.8 GHz.
- SKYH22002 – Hermetically sealed, integrated gain block amplifier with -55° to +125°C performance. Internally tuned for 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz and tunable from 0.1 to 6 GHz(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Jul 19. Two Satellite Launches Suffer Delays. According to journalist Chris Forrester’s post at the Advanced Television infosite, the upcoming launch of two communication satellites — one (I-39) for Intelsat and the other a scientific mission for the European Space Agency but which also includes a payload for Avanti (and is called Hylas 3) — has reportedly been delayed. Originally expected to launch on a giant Ariane 5 rocket on July 24, the launch will now not take place before July 30th and could slip even further. The reason is the loss of a Vega rocket on July 10, which failed to carry a military satellite into orbit for the United Arab Emirates. The Vega vehicle is a smaller rocket but also operated by Arianespace. It fell into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after launch from French Guiana. Reports suggest that Arianespace is carrying out fresh checks on its normally ultra-reliable Ariane 5 vehicle.
Intelsat I-39 will, once in operational geostationary orbit at 62 degrees East, replaces I-902, which itself was launched by Arianespace back in 2001. I-39 is a Maxar-built (formerly Space Systems/Loral) and will serve Africa, Europe, the Mid-East and Asia.
By the time of its replacement by Intelsat I-39, Intelsat 902 will have exceeded its expected 13-year design life by six years, or 45 per cent, which is an impressive use of orbital resources.
The new I-39 satellite has both C- and Ku-band transponders and will use hybrid electric and chemical propulsion to reach its orbit, where it is designed to provide service for a minimum of 15 years. Once on-orbit, the satellite will maintain its position using all-electric propulsion, which provides efficiency for satellite operators by reducing launch mass while increasing spacecraft flexibility and performance. (Source: Satnews)
23 Jul 19. Capable of Building Two Satellites a Day. OneWeb Satellites and Airbus Open Advanced Satellite Production Facility. OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus, has officially opened the world’s first high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility to bring transformative internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere.
Historically, satellites are custom built, costing tens of millions of dollars to build and requiring more than a year to produce a single craft. The OneWeb Satellites facility is the first to employ industrial-scale mass production techniques for satellites, enabling dramatically reduced costs and production times that can deliver one satellite per production shift or two a day, while significantly expanding internet connectivity and making space technology far more accessible.
The facility’s production capabilities will first support the rapid scaling of the OneWeb network, starting with a constellation of 650 satellites and scaling to 1,980 satellites delivering global connectivity. With half the world’s population unconnected and inconsistent connectivity persisting as people travel more at sea and in the skies, the high-performance communication satellites built in this facility will enable high-speed internet access that can unlock healthcare, education, and economic advancements.
The 105,500 square foot production facility, which has two production lines capable of producing two satellites a day, is helping to revitalize Florida’s Space Coast with 250 new high-tech jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs through the supply chain.
For Airbus, this new facility is the latest step in the company’s continued and long-standing growth in U.S. manufacturing, job creation and investment. Airbus uses 450 U.S. suppliers in 40+ states and has spent more than $187bn in the U.S. since 1990. Airbus spending in the U.S. supports more than 275,000 American jobs.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said this is a defining moment in the history of OneWeb and the space industry. With today’s opening, the company is one step closer to connecting the unconnected for the benefit of societies all over the world. As OneWeb gears up for more satellite launches at the end of the year, this facility will ensure the firm can start delivering global connectivity in some areas as early as next year and globally by 2021.
Tony Gingiss, CEO of OneWeb Satellites, added that the company and partners are transforming the satellite and space industry. By producing high quality satellites at a fraction of the cost and schedule of traditional manufacturers, OneWeb Satellites is enabling the company to connect the planet as well as making space dramatically more accessible to everyone.
- Jeffrey Knittel, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, noted that Airbus is manufacturing products in the U.S. from all of the firm’s business divisions — commercial aircraft, helicopters and now satellites. They take seriously their partnerships in the communities where they do business, and they’re proud to contribute their aerospace manufacturing expertise to the Space Coast with 250 new high-tech jobs in Florida. They are equally excited to welcome these new employees to the Airbus OneWeb Satellites team in the U.S.
OneWeb Satellites’ game-changing manufacturing technology and facility also represent a tremendous opportunity for other commercial and government customers, providing end-users with dramatic cost savings and opening the door to missions that were previously unthinkable.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who attended the official opening, said that the avenue for unlocking untapped human potential lies, yet to be paved, in space. Private industry is a key partner in this effort as the nation is well on its way to a $1 trillion space economy and fueling a new revolution in technology in orbit.
FCC Chairman Pai, who was also in attendance, added that since his first day as Chairman of the FCC, his number one priority has been to close the digital divide and bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans. Promoting innovative technologies will be critical to accomplishing that priority. Satellite constellations have the ability to deliver broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies. The FCC will continue to work to make access to high-speed internet available across the country. (Source: Satnews)
29 Jul 19. Next Rocket Lab mission to focus on satellites and R&D. Rocket Lab has confirmed its next launch mission will carry satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the US Air Force Space Command. The mission is manifested with a CubeSat that will form the cornerstone of a new maritime surveillance constellation for French company UNSEENLABS. The constellation aims to deliver precise, reliable and secure maritime data, enabling organisations to monitor their own vessels and observe those that present risks, such as pirates and illegal vessels.
Mission management and ride-share aggregator Spaceflight also manifested three satellites on its second rideshare mission with Rocket Lab. Among the ride-share payloads is BlackSky’s Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite.
Rocket Lab senior vice president of global launch services, Lars Hoffman, said Rocket Lab’s ability to deploy multiple satellites to individual and precise orbits, even when flying as part of a ride-share mission, is a significant advantage for small satellite constellation operators.
“Our focus is on providing a frequent, reliable and precise launch service, whether small satellite constellation operators want to fly as a dedicated payload or as part of a ride-share mission,” Hoffman said.
The satellite will join BlackSky Global-3, which was launched to low-Earth orbit on an Electron vehicle in June 2019. BlackSky’s constellation delivers rapid-revisit satellite imagery to assist with monitoring economic activity such as crop development and herd migration, or surveying damage following natural disasters.
“Rocket Lab’s innovative Kick Stage enables a level of flexibility and precision that simply wasn’t available to small satellite operators until Electron began orbital launches 18 months ago. We’re proud to be delivering that service to orbit every few weeks now,” Hoffman said.
The final spacecraft manifested on the mission are two experimental satellites for the US Air Force Space Command, designed to test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft.
The mission will be Rocket Lab’s eighth Electron launch overall and fourth mission of 2019, following on from the successful ‘Make It Rain’ mission for Spaceflight in late June. Rocket Lab has monthly missions scheduled for the remainder of 2019 for government and commercial small satellites. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Jul 19. Yass has its own space company. Demonstrating how space is permeating Australia’s economy, the town of Yass in country NSW, noted for its rich colonial history and fine wool production, now has a space company. That’s Cingulan Space, which was founded in 2016 and provides ground services for satellite operators, with terminals outside Yass and south of Perth, Western Australia.
“Cingulan Space is a ground segment as a service company. We are 100 per cent Australian-owned and we are proud that we have Australia’s first Space 2.0 east coast and west coast satellite tracking stations,” said founder and chief executive Keith Rosario.
“We provide ground segments services to people flying their spacecraft. They need to get their spacecraft health, the telemetry, command it and get the all-important data from the spacecraft.
“Based on our expertise, we also provide engineering consultancy services to our customers to try and help them achieve their space mission. Their success is ours. The more launches and spacecraft … that’s the market we are looking to service.”
Cingulan Space’s big upcoming mission is to track the launch of the Gilmour Space Technologies rocket from outback Queensland.
“We have been working in support of Gilmour for their test flight. We have been providing radio frequency engineering test and field support to that team. For launches, that’s launch tracking and range telemetry. For that we have to be relatively close to the launch site,” he said.
Cingulan expertise spans core satellite radio frequency capabilities, as well as RF spectrum and regulation matters.
“That is really critical. There is a lot going on in that areas the old space catches up to the new space,” he said.
For the launches, Cingulan has a deployable capability.
When Australia ends up with a fixed launch site, Cingulan could provide launch tracking and range telemetry from the site.
“Working in support of Gilmour is giving us the opportunity to try out some of our field capabilities,” he said.
Rosario said Cingulan was a proud member of the Canberra region space industry.
“We have collaborations and customer relationships with some organisations and entities in the ACT,” he said.
“It’s a fast moving sector. I have been in the satellite game for a bit over 20 years.
“As with any sector there are ebbs and flows. In the mid to late ’90s there was a spike in interest in satellites with the big LEO (low-Earth orbit) and little LEO constellations, of which only really Global Star, Iridium and Orbcomm managed to succeed.”
Rosario said what was happening now was really exciting.
“I am really enjoying seeing the breadth of engagement. We are all passionate about STEM education and outreach. That’s fantastic – just seeing kids eyes light up about the opportunities to work in technology,” he said.
So, why Yass?
Rosario said Yass, about 60 kilometres from Canberra, was a fantastic place, with proximity to government and the ACT space industry but also sufficient distance from all the radio frequency interference generated by a capital city. He grew up in Perth and studied electronics and communications engineering.
“That’s a bit of a rare degree now, though maybe there’s a resurgence. It’s relatively difficult to find people coming through with RF and communications expertise. There was a massive spike in IT,” he said.
“I have had a long association with Defence and government with various projects and capabilities. It’s a great sector to be working in.”(Source: Space Connect)
26 Jul 19. Trump’s Space Force proposal might shrink. As the House and Senate prepare to enter conference talks on the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one major area negotiators will debate is the creation of a new Space Force under the Air Force. Both NDAA bills that passed the individual chambers included some version of a new agency devoted to space sitting under the Department of the Air Force, although some differences remain between the two. To start, the Senate’s NDAA authorizes a Space Force, as requested by the Trump administration, while the House’s bill approves a Space Corps, reflecting a previous effort by the House to stand up a new agency under the Air Force. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have supported the need to place more focus and investment on space capabilities but have been cautious about the level of additional funding and bureaucracy needed to make it happen.
Speaking to reporters July 24, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he believes there is enough backing to create some sort of Space Force or Space Corps within the NDAA, but it will more likely be “a lean space force designed to meet the objectives we all want to achieve.” He added that many of the elements that were laid out in Defense Department memos since February related to a new Space Force may not make it into the final bill, and noted that the Pentagon has not always been able to agree on a path forward. “We’ll listen to what they say, but there’s a lot of different voices saying things coming out of DoD, depending on where you are,” Thornberry said. Areas of debate include the amount of new four-star-level positions that would be created to stand up the Space Force. The House and Senate have differing opinions about how the leadership will be established, with the Senate requesting that the new U.S. Space Command Commander serve as the Space Force chief of staff for one year before the two four-star positions are separated, and requires the chief of staff to wait one year before becoming a permanent member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Defense Daily, May 23).
The House version would not require a one-year buffer before the chief of staff could serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs, and provides for a separate Space Force secretary – the Senate version provides for an undersecretary for the Space Force who would be subordinate to the Air Force secretary. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Tuesday that he does not anticipate any challenges to coming to agreement on the Space Force in conference. The Pentagon has proposed establishing the Space Force between fiscal years 2020to 2024, and requested $72m in the FY ’20 presidential budget request to begin standup. It estimates the Space Force will cost an additive $500m per year through 2024, for a total of $2bn. It remains to be seen how the Senate Appropriations Committee will seek to fund the proposed Space Force in the FY ’20 defense bill, as the committee has not yet released draft legislation. Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters earlier this week he intends to move swiftly once members return from August recess. The House Appropriations Committee’s defense spending bill, passed in May, approved $15m to study the concept of a Space Force. President Donald Trump worked to drum up support for a new Space Force during a welcome ceremony July 25 for new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, saying supporters at his rallies “go absolutely wild” when he mentions the effort. Esper reaffirmed his commitment to establish “for the first time in 70 years, a new branch of the service: A United States Space Force.” (Source: Defense Daily)
28 Jul 19. Israel’s Spacecom looks to rebound from rough patch with Africa satellite. Israel’s Space Communication Ltd plans a satellite launch next weekend which it hopes will mark a rebound from a couple of major setbacks in recent years. Amos-17, which will provide communication services to Africa, had a total budget including manufacturing, insurance and launch of about $250m, and will join three others Spacecom operates.
It was manufactured by Boeing Co and has an expected lifespan of about 20 years. Spacecom hopes a successful launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug. 3 will end a rough patch. In 2015 the company lost contact with its Amos-5 satellite and a year later Amos-6 was destroyed days before its scheduled launch when a SpaceX rocket exploded.
“We learned lessons from those catastrophes,” CEO David Pollack told Reuters on Sunday following a news conference. For example, he said Amos-17 would not be combined with the launcher before the latter is fully tested.
“What happened with Amos-5 and Amos-6 was a setback for the company. So we know what to do. We believe we know how to grow. And it’s just a wonderful opportunity that comes with Amos-17, which is the most advanced satellite for the continent most in need,” Pollack said.
Amos-17 is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will orbit 36,000 kilometers above central Africa, providing TV, internet and cellular services as well as services to governments.
The company said it has a sales backlog of $58m for communication services to Africa and for other services.
Pollack said he expects to recoup Amos-17’s costs in line with industry standards, which is about six to seven years. Spacecom shares remain well below their peak of 78.30 shekels set in June 2010 but have rallied in recent weeks and closed at 11.60 shekels on Friday. (Source: Reuters)
29 Jul 19. Comtech wins funding to continue AEHF terminal development. Comtech Telecommunications has won funding to continue the development of the advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) protected ultra (P-Ultra), protected SATCOM fly away terminal. The company will develop the AEHF terminal in support of the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE), which is a provider of rapidly deployable communications capabilities in order to quickly enable the joint force.
The $3m funding was awarded to Comtech’s Command & Control Technologies group by the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) of the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Comtech Telecommunications president and CEO Fred Kornberg said: “This funding begins an effort by Comtech to deliver secure, protected communications to the warfighter at the battle’s edge.
“This terminal will ensure that our soldiers have continued communications even when near-peer adversaries attempt to interfere.”
The contract is part of the US Army’s Network Modernization Strategy and the end state for the future army network.
Under this programme, the army intends to equip troops with the ability to fight, shoot, move, communicate, protect and sustain.
Additionally, the programme seeks to acquire the capability to enable reliable communication ‘anywhere, anytime, in all domains, in all environments, against any foe’.
The company’s command and control technologies group provides mission-critical, highly mobile C4ISR solutions to clients.
Earlier this month, the group secured $4.2m funding from the army for the development of an enhanced version of its next-generation MT-2025 Blue Force Tracking (BFT) satellite terminal. The company will incorporate a dual-mode BFT satellite transceiver and new antenna nulling technology in the satellite terminal. (Source: army-technology.com)
26 Jul 19. French Defence Minister announces anti-satellite laser weapons. France has announced plans to develop a weapons system to defend French satellites in an effort to close the gap on developments by other countries. In light of growing advancement into space, French defence minister Florence Parly announced ambitions to develop an area in which France has fallen behind.
She said: “If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries.”
“We reserve the right and the means to be able to respond: that could imply the use of powerful lasers deployed from our satellites or from patrolling nano-satellites.”
The US, Russia and China invest heavily in developing new arms and surveillance technology for space, and there are currently over 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth.
While most satellites are used to transmit commercial and military communications or to track the weather, the ability to detect and disable enemy spy satellites is crucial for a country’s security.
Parly, speaking at the Lyon-Mont-Verdun airbase, detailed further potential weapons capabilities, including machine guns capable of shooting the solar panels of enemy satellites to disable them, and swarms of nano-satellites that would patrol around French satellites.
The announcement follows the French President’s announcement of the creation of a French space force command, earlier this month.
Macron’s initiative mirrors recent US developments, highlighting the French desire to keep up with international competition. During her speech, Parly said: “Our allies and adversaries are militarising space… we need to act.”
One of the biggest challenges facing France will be developing these weapons with a considerably lower budget than her rivals. China invests €10bn and Russia €4bn each year which, even discounting the US, dwarfs French annual investment.
Annual investment has previously levelled at €2bn, but the French military space programme has been given €3.6bn for 2019 to 2025, with an extra €3.6m announced on Thursday.
Despite competition with the US, China and Russia, Parly insisted that France was not joining a new space arms race: “I want to be precise: active defence has got nothing to do with an offensive strategy.”
France is one of only five declared nuclear powers and will have the largest armed forces in the European Union following Britain’s exit from the union. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
22 Jul 19. OneWeb Delivers Real-Time HD Streaming from Space. OneWeb announced positive feedback from their six satellites in Low Earth Orbit. OneWeb’s mission is to enable internet access everywhere for everyone, and to that end they are well on their way with the announcement of the successful test of its six satellites in Low Earth Orbit. All satellites delivered high-speed, low-latency services, with speed of more than 400 Mbps which enabled the fastest real-time video streaming in Full HD from Space. The tests, which took place in Seoul, South Korea, represent the most significant demonstration of the OneWeb constellation to date, proving its ability to provide superior broadband connectivity anywhere on the planet.
OneWeb’s satellites are performing well, enabling the company to continue its path forward towards a fully functioning global constellation in 2021 and delivering partial service beginning as early as 2020. OneWeb’s service will broaden and innovate the use cases of satellite connectivity and will represent an important step towards enabling quality access everywhere for everyone.
OneWeb is aggressively moving forward on the implementation of its first phase of the network which will start with an initial 650 satellites and grow up to 1,980 satellites. This first phase of the constellation will provide global coverage; and further additions to the network will be focused on adding capacity to meet growing customer demands.
The recent satellite tests were conducted in partnership with Intellian, the developer and manufacturer of OneWeb user terminals and SatixFy, developer and manufacturer of the 125 MHz SCPC test modem. The tests included: latency, speed, jitter, seamless handover between satellites and power control. During its test, OneWeb demonstrated:
- Extremely low latency with an average of 32 milliseconds
- Seamless beam and satellite handovers
- Accurate antenna pointing and tracking
- Live streamed video at resolutions up to 1080p (Full HD)
- Test speed rates of more than 400 Mbps
From real-time gaming to Facetime, streaming HD movies to operating Google maps on the move to using cloud software, OneWeb’s service offers new applications that are needed to meet the connectivity needs. These initial tests are only the beginning and OneWeb will continue testing as it prepares for its next launch later this year.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb stated that their tests prove that OneWeb will enable very high speed and low latency connectivity everywhere and they are on schedule to offer the service globally in 24 months. OneWeb is going to transform the way they think about connectivity and how they use it.
Eric Sung, CEO of Intellian added that this demonstration in Seoul shows the strength that OneWeb and Intellian have together to provide global coverage. The technology in the Intellian user terminals connecting with OneWeb satellites shows their capabilities for now and for the future. They will succeed on this mission with OneWeb. (Source: Satnews)
24 Jul 19. Maxar Technologies is Now Involved with NASA’s TEMPO Earth Science Instrument. Maxar Technologies will provide satellite integration, launch and data transmission services for NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO), an Earth science instrument that will observe air pollution over North America in unprecedented detail from a geostationary orbit.
A contract with Maxar was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center through its Hosted Payload Solutions contract, a procurement mechanism that provides a pool of qualified vendors that meet the government’s needs for various hosted payload space missions at a cost savings to the government
Scheduled to fly in 2022 on a 1300-class commercial satellite provided by Maxar, TEMPO will make hourly measurements of atmospheric gases —including ozone, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde as well as aerosols — across North America, from a geostationary vantage point 35,786 km. (22,236 miles) above Earth’s equator.
While ozone is a major protector of life on Earth and filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation, it is also a greenhouse gas and air pollutant. TEMPO’s new stream of data will provide near-real-time air quality products that will be made publicly available and will help improve air quality forecasting. TEMPO will also enable researchers to improve pollution emission inventories, monitor population exposure, and evaluate effective emission-control strategies.
The TEMPO instrument project is led by Principal Investigator Kelly Chance, from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The instrument was developed by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, and is in storage awaiting shipment to Maxar’s satellite manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California.
TEMPO will contribute to a global air-quality monitoring constellation that will include similar satellites: the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-4, currently in development, and South Korea’s Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer, scheduled to launch in early 2020.
The instrument’s international science team includes partners in North America, Asia and Europe — scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration play key roles in the TEMPO science team.
In 2012, TEMPO became the first instrument to be awarded by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program in the Earth Venture Instrument Class Series. Earth Venture projects address new scientific priorities using advanced instrumentation carried on airborne platforms, small satellites, or as hosted payloads on larger platforms. The ESSP Program is located at NASA’s Langley Research Center.
Stephen Hall, TEMPO project manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, said that with the TEMPO instrument fully spaceflight qualified and safely delivered, NASA is excited about this important step and look forward to working closely with Maxar for the successful deployment of TEMPO. (Source: Satnews)
23 Jul 19. Thales Alenia Space Selects Syrlinks to Contribute to the Kinéis Smallsat Constellation. Syrlinks has been selected by Thales Alenia Space to contribute to the design and delivery of the payloads for the future Kinéis constellation smallsats. These miniaturized payloads will recover the data transmitted from the beacons to the satellites before beaming them back to the ground-based stations. Syrlinks has been selected for proven expertise in space technology the design of methods to reduce system energy consumption.
The company has already been closely involved in this area, having worked as subcontractor of Thales Alenia Space since 2017 on the development of the Argos Néo payload for the demonstration nanosatellite built by the CNES (the French National Center for Space Studies). Syrlinks has now completed the development phase of this demonstration nanosatellite and delivered its flight model. The launch is scheduled for October 2019.
With 25 smallsats in service, Kinéis will operate the first European nanosatellite constellation for IoT. As announced last September, Kinéis has entrusted Thales Alenia Space with the development of the payloads, in partnership with Syrlinks, while Hemeria (a Nexeya corporation) will design and build the smallsats.
Syrlinks teams will develop a data collection instrument for the Kinéis constellation, incorporating highly evolved calculators to process the information collected. Thanks to component miniaturization, the hardware and firmware of the data collection instrument developed by Syrlinks weighs only 2 kg., while performing the same functions as the former generation 18 kg. system. This new equipment will be produced with the brand-new lab instruments and production tools acquired to produce Syrlinks equipment for the OneWeb constellation.
By 2022, Kinéis aims to connect several million objects located anywhere on Earth. Professionals and the general public will have access to a global, easy-to-use and affordable satellite localization and connectivity service. This global coverage is made possible by the coupling of the Argos and AIS systems.
The need to monitor goods and people is increasing and the number of connected objects is growing exponentially, with 30 billion connected objects by 2030. Finding a fishing vessel in distress, locating a lost container, tracking an extreme hiker in the wilderness… Extreme leisure, agriculture, fishing, logistics, yachting and science are all sectors of activity that will be able to rely on Kinéis’ global connectivity services. This new space adventure opens up new development prospects for Syrlinks because its solutions are easily and quickly adaptable to other programs and other uses at competitive prices.
Guy Richard, CEO of Syrlinks, said this new program has allowed the company to expand its range of space radiocommunication products with more advanced features to expand the firm’s range of smallsat products and solutions. This has opened up new international markets for the firm — by entering this complementary space market segment, the company also aims to offer new generation Argos beacons adapted to the constellation.
Jean Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, added that the company is extremely proud to be able to contribute the firm’s expertise to the development of this structuring project for both Thales Alenia Space, subcontractors and partners. This is the completion of a fruitful collaboration between CLS, Nexeya, Syrlinks and Thales Alenia Space, which has credited an innovating system approach based on a high performance and high reliability nanosatellite constellation.
Christophe Vassal, CEO of CLS, noted that the company is strong contributor to the French excellence in space — with the unshakable support of the CNES and high accounts, the ocmpany will participate in a future round table and have decided to create Kinéis to make accessible, to the greatest number, satellite geolocation and data collection.
For its first space contract, Syrlinks participated in 2012 in the development of the CNES Myriade Evolutions platform’s radio links for Earth Oobservation missions. The popularity of Syrlinks was also based on the Rosetta space mission, initiated by the ESA, aimed at exploring Comet Tchouri. Syrlinks team designed and manufactured the wireless communication systems connecting the Rosetta probe to the Philae robot-lander. (Source: Satnews)
23 Jul 19. Gogo and Phasor Complete Initial Core Technology Performance Objectives. Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO) and Phasor have a development partnership that has achieved its initial core-technology performance objectives and will progress to the productization phase — during the next phase, the technology will be packaged as an airborne terminal to address the commercial aviation market.
Phasor’s very low-profile ESA will enhance the reliable and robust delivery of high-bandwidth airborne connectivity services. The antenna is solid-state, with no moving parts, eliminates several components associated with traditional connectivity solutions, and allows dual satellite signals to be tracked electronically. The ESA can be flat or conformal in form and is designed to be well-suited for traditional geostationary (GSO) satellite networks, high throughput satellites (HTS), as well as non-geostationary (NGSO) satellite networks.
Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo, said the company is focused on continuing to add to the firm’s leading portfolio of technology solutions, which provides the highest quality Inflight Internet across the broadest range of aircraft types. Gogo identified the promise of Phasor’s innovative solution due to a range of factors, including its multi-constellation capabilities and form factor. The company sees a number of potential applications for this technology, with initial applicability targeted at smaller commercial aviation aircraft. Gogo is pleased with the progress to-date and look forward to continuing this partnership during the next development phase.
David Helfgott, CEO of Phasor, added that Gogo is a technology and services leader in the in-flight connectivity market the company is pleased to partner with them so that together the growing demand for communications in the aeronautical broadband sector may be successfully addressed. The company is grateful for Gogo’s ongoing support and confidence and looks forward to progressing through the next stages of the program together. (Source: Satnews)
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