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24 Dec 19. What the Pentagon needs before it makes a decision on satellite communications. A new Government Accountability Office report provides details on a Department of Defense Analysis of Alternatives for Wideband Global SATCOM.(Air Force Space Command)
The U.S. military will likely take a hybrid approach to meet its satellite communications needs in the future, relying on bandwidth from commercial services and government-owned systems. But the mechanics of how the Pentagon will get there isn’t exactly clear.
According to a Government Accountability Office report released Dec. 19, an analysis of alternatives for wideband satellite communications conducted by the Department of Defense more than two years ago determined the military should depend on a mix of government-owned and commercial satellites for satellite communications. What the report lacked, however, were recommendations on how to get there.
The analysis instead determined the department needed more information to make any recommendations, although the GAO warned the Pentagon does not have a formal plan to gather that information. As a result, Congress’ watchdog agency recommended the Secretary of Defense ensure military leaders develop such a plan.
Pentagon officials estimate that they spend about $4 billion for wideband satellite communications annually. These services are used for voice, video and data communications throughout the world. The primary system for those communications is the Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM, a constellation of 10 satellites in geostationary orbit, but military leaders expect the satellites’ capabilities will begin to degrade in the 2020s. While an additional WGS satellite could extend those capabilities into 2031, that purchase only delays the Air Force’s inevitable decision to buy a new satellite communication system or to rely more on commercial service providers. In order to maintain SATCOM capabilities in the 2030s, the government would need to begin launching new satellites in the late 2020s.
The Pentagon conducted the analysis of alternatives to provide recommendations for that decision. While the report was completed June 2018 and identified 11 alternatives for SATCOM acquisitions, it has not been made public.
However, the report from the GAO said the Pentagon’s findings focused on three broad sets of alternatives: purpose-built systems supplemented by commercial services; commercial-focused SATCOM procurement, and an approach that would transition from purpose-built system to a more commercial-oriented model.
Specifically, the GAO report said that the military concluded a hybrid architecture of purpose-built government-owned satellites and commercial services would be more cost effective and capable than settling for one approach or the other. Specifically, the study found that commercial providers did not have enough X-band coverage to meet government needs, requiring purpose-built systems. At the same time, purpose-built systems cannot fill all of the government’s SATCOM needs, meaning the military will need to supplement its purpose-built systems with commercially provided services.
The GAO said complicating factors remain. This includes the instability of commercial technology and the huge costs associated with replacing or modifying user terminals to take advantage of a new SATCOM architecture. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Dec 19. Boeing [NYSE: BA] has developed a new variant of its 702 satellite for the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation, one that offers both greater bandwidth efficiency and signal power than previous satellites in the fleet. The new WGS-11 will be delivered on a recently negotiated contract award from the Air Force.
Advances in Boeing digital satellite technology mean WGS-11 will deliver hundreds of coverage beams and provide a more flexible and efficient use of bandwidth. These innovations will enable the spacecraft to support more users in theater and allow dedicated beams to follow aircraft in flight.
“WGS-11 incorporates the latest advances in Boeing commercial satellite technology combined with a resilient and robust design specifically for military use in contested environments,” said Troy Dawson, Boeing vice president, Government Satellite Systems. “We look forward to delivering this critically important asset to the U.S. Air Force in 2024.”
WGS provides dedicated high capacity broadband communications connectivity to U.S. and allied forces around the world. Boeing has been the lead contractor on the program since it began in 2001.
23 Dec 19. SME space companies to benefit from UK funding commitments to ESA. Skyrora, a pioneering space launch company, has welcomed the recent announcement by the UK government to commit nearly £400m per year to the European Space Agency (ESA) for the next five years.
The new commitment, which represents a significant increase, will open the doors for smaller space businesses to access new funding.
This is because it includes funding of up to £15m ($28.3m) in total, over the next three years, specifically for small launch vehicles. This allows companies such as Skyrora to deliver viable alternatives faster, while also strengthening the sector as a whole.
Skyrora’s goal is to open up access to space for smaller satellite manufacturers, who have been underserved by a lack of dedicated launchers to place their satellites in orbit.
This situation has forced many manufacturers to send their satellites as secondary payload on large launchers, creating a huge backlog for manufacturers and putting critical Earth-observation research programs, such as climate change monitoring, on pause.
Volodymyr Levykin, chief executive of Skyrora, said, “This is a very welcome development for our growing industry and presents us with a real opportunity. It is a game-changer in terms of how quickly we will be able to move ahead with our ambitious plans.”
Skyrora is a leading European private launch vehicle company. It is headquartered in Edinburgh, with a team of more than 120 personnel in facilities throughout the UK and Europe.
“Back in 2010, the UK government and the wider space industry agreed an ambitious Space Innovation and Growth Strategy and much of this decade has been spent laying the groundwork,” Levykin added.
The company aims to cater for the growing demand to send commercial satellites into space using a combination of proven technology, advanced manufacturing and detailed knowledge. It is in the process of developing cost-effective launch vehicles that will launch from a UK spaceport by 2022. (Source: Space Connect)
22 Dec 19. Mitsubishi Electric Chosen as Prime Contractor of the New Satellite for Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-2.
Small Satellite will be Part of Global Constellation for Delivery of New Services.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today it has been designated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as the prime contractor of the new satellite for Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-2. Under the program, Mitsubishi Electric aims to establish a standardized platform for designing, manufacturing and operating small 100kg-class satellites incorporating standard parts for key functions such as attitude control and power supply. The new platform will enable unified functions and services provided via a global constellation of small satellites.
Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-2 is a part of a Japanese government program aiming for the stable supply of core components to the nation’s space program. The purpose of the new satellite developed under JAXA for this program is for in-orbit verifications and demonstrations of equipment, parts and microsatellites developed by private companies, universities or other entities. In particular, it will help to establish a standardized platform for developing small 100kg-class satellites equipped with standard components and equipment, selected for use by JAXA through an open invitation in fiscal year of 2018. The program requires the prime contractor to develop a platform that will facilitate the faster and less costly development of small satellites in comparison to the development of midsized or large satellites. The satellite is scheduled to be launched on an Epsilon Launch Vehicle from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan in the fiscal year ending in March 2022. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Dec 19. The Space Force is officially the sixth military branch. Here’s what that means. Air Force officials on Friday told reporters that people are clamoring for information on how to join the military’s latest branch. The short answer is, they’re going to have to wait a while.
President Trump officially signed the Space Force into law Friday, but for now, all that means is everyone at Air Force Space Command will now be assigned to Space Force. Over the next 18 months, officials said, the finer details of manning and training the new branch will be hammered out and set in motion.
“It’s going to be really important that we get this right. A uniform, a patch, a song ― it gets to the culture of a service,” said Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command, who will lead Space Force until a chief of space operations is confirmed by the Senate. “There’s a lot of work going on toward that end. It’s going to take a long time to get to that point, but that’s not something we’re going to roll out on day one.”
For now, the 16,000 active-duty airmen and civilians who work at Air Force Space Command will be assigned to the Space Force, but nothing else will change. Uniforms, a rank structure, training and education are all to be determined, and for the foreseeable future, Space Force will continue to be manned by airmen, wearing, Air Force uniforms, subject to that service’s fitness program, personnel system and so on.
Meanwhile, U.S Space Command, which stood up in August, will continue to exist as a combatant command, similar to Cyber Command, Special Operations Command and others.
“There have been Army and Navy, especially, participants in the planning and the development of the staged roll-out that we have underway,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said.
Barrett will be the Space Force’s service secretary, as the service will be nestled within the Air Force Department, the same way the Marine Corps is part of the Navy Department.
Eventually, she said, those services’ space commands will be rolled into Space Force, and those personnel will transfer branches. In the more immediate future, officials said, soldiers and sailors could be detailed to Space Force.
About 2,000 of the initial personnel are specifically Air Force space professionals, who spend their careers in those billets, will be transferred to the Space Force when it gets its own personnel system up and running. There are several thousand more airmen who support Air Force Space Command, including contracting personnel, engineers, security forces and others. They will move on to other Air Force billets once their tours are over.
There is also a likelihood that Air Force bases that have dealt mainly with space operations could see a re-0brand ― think Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, or Shriever Space Force Base, Colorado.
Officials drew some comparisons to the birth of the Air Force, which came out of the Army Air Corps, and the process it took to grow a new service ― though at the time, the Army Air Corps was a fairly self-contained organization, with a shared history and unique cultural identity to pass on.
“There’s not a really good playbook on, how do you stand up a separate service?” Raymond said. “We haven’t really done this since 1947.”
Officials did not answer definitively when or whether Space Force would be standing up support commands, to include logistics, security forces, medical, legal, financial or other specialties.
“There’s still a lot of things that we don’t know,” Raymond said.
As the saying goes, the Army equips soldiers and the Navy mans equipment. The Space Force will be more like the latter, Barrett said, as technology will be its main mission, and its manning needs will be rather lean. She offered the Global Positioning System as an example of a mission that is vital and far-reaching in scope, but has a relatively small personnel footprint.
“The whole GPS system that the world depends upon so significantly — 40 operators run that system,” she said.
Without sharing details of the plan, a senior Air Force official said on background, because he was not authorized to speak on the record, there will be 30, 60 and 90-day benchmarks to meet. Where it took three years to stand up the Air Force, he said, the Space Force hopes to be off and running in 18 months or less. That includes, he added, sending a four-star officer to represent the service on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Airforce Times)
20 Dec 19. Trump Signs Law Establishing U.S. Space Force. President Donald J. Trump signed into law legislation creating the first new armed service since 1947 — the U.S. Space Force.
Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md, today. The $738bn fiscal year 2020 authorization funds military and civilian pay raises, new aircraft, ship construction, tanks and armored vehicles and more.
Since Trump took office, there has been almost $2.5trn in defense spending.
A provision of the voluminous law created the service that will be totally focused on organizing, training and equipping Space Force, said Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett during an earlier Pentagon briefing.
“Space is the world’s newest warfighting domain,” Trump said at Andrews. “Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, and very shortly, we’ll be leading by a lot.”
Space Force will help the United States deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground, the president said.
The new service will immediately amalgamate all members of the Air Force Space Command into the new service, Barrett said. “We are moving forward with alacrity and in accordance with presidential direction, congressional legislation and DOD guidance,” she said. “Personnel assigned to the initial Space Force headquarters located within the Pentagon will now take over the Space Force planning.”
Consistent with our National Defense Strategy, the United States Space Force will ensure we compete, deter and win from a position of strength, securing our way of life and our national security.”
Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command
Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the commander of U.S. Space Command, will direct the effort. The president named Raymond the chief of Space Operations, and the general will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The new service emphasizes the importance the nation places on space to U.S. and allied security, Raymond said.
The Space Command, a combatant command, will not go away. It will be DOD’s warfighting arm in space. The Space Force, like the services in other domains, will be responsible for organizing, training and equipping the mission.
“U.S. Space Command will only be as strong as the capabilities it is provided by the United States Space Force,” Raymond said. “Let there be no mistake, the United States is the best in the world in space today. Consistent with our National Defense Strategy, the United States Space Force will ensure we compete, deter and win from a position of strength, securing our way of life and our national security.”
The new service is small by DOD standards with about 16,000 Air Force personnel — active duty and civilian — to start. “They will effectively be the Space Force immediately,” Barrett said.
Raymond said there are many actions that are going to have to take place — from uniform, to a logo, to who’s in the Space Force and who’s not in the Space Force. They will also rename some Air Force bases to reflect the new missions, he said. (Source: US DoD)
19 Dec 19. Space Force to Officially Call Colorado Home, earmarks $322m. In what is seen as a major accomplishment for a bitterly divided Congress, America’s Space Force will call Colorado Springs home thanks to a defense policy bill that lavishes construction cash on the Pikes Peak region and gives troops here bigger paychecks.
The bill redesignates Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs as the Space Force, a new armed-service branch responsible for America’s military efforts in space and defense of satellites.
“It helps cement Colorado Springs as the center of military space,” said Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.
The bill also earmarks $322m for construction at Colorado Springs bases, including a project that Lamborn says could keep U.S. Space Command here permanently.
Lamborn said while impeachment proceedings are widening some divides in Congress, they did the opposite for lawmakers hammering out the National Defense Authorization Act.
Instead, Lamborn, a member of a conference committee that crafted the policy bill, said the proceedings have “actually helped” bring lawmakers together. The bill has all sides claiming victory — from President Trump, who has eviscerated House Democrats in recent days, to House Democrats, who introduced two articles of impeachment against the Republican president on Tuesday.
“The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act advances many of President Donald J. Trump’s priorities, including a 3.1-percent pay raise for our troops, providing up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for Federal employees, ensuring survivors of deceased service members receive the benefits they deserve, and establishing the United States Space Force, fulfilling the President’s promise to maintain America’s leadership in space,” the White House said Tuesday in a statement emailed to The Gazette.
Lamborn said the biggest winner of them all could be Colorado Springs.
“I think it has some tremendous victories for national defense and for the Pikes Peak region,” Lamborn said in a Tuesday phone interview from Washington D.C.
Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was appointed in September to the conference committee assigned to work out differences between the House and Senate on the Defense policy bill.
The congressman delivered the biggest military construction bonanza seen in the Pikes Peak region in more than a decade.
Schriever Air Force Base will get $148m for a space operations center to help house U.S. Space Command, he said. That could seal the command’s location in Colorado Springs, were it has been headquartered temporarily for the past several months as the Pentagon mulls a permanent location.
Another $71m will go to Fort Carson, where a new brigade will help advise and train foreign troops.
At Peterson Air Force Base, $54m is planned for a facility to house U.S. Northern Command’s special operations contingent and $49m will go to the Air Force Academy for construction of dormitories at the Preparatory School.
“It represents a lot of hard work,” Lamborn said of the provisions.
Democrats who control the House and Republicans who run the Senate came together for the measure. In the end, thorny issues including whether Congress will allocate cash for a wall along the Mexican border, were put off for battles that are sure to rage amid the 2020 election.
Both sides claimed victory on other provisions, including the family leave policy that will give troops and federal workers more time with newborns and newly adopted children.
“Including paid family leave is a victory for all workers because it will help push more employers in the right direction and ensure more workers get paid family leave,” Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in an email.
But the most heralded provision in the bill is the Space Force, the first new armed service for America since the Air Force was formed in 1947.
The Space Force will largely consist of the troops who fall under Air Force Space Command, including space troops at Peterson, Schriever and Buckley Air Force bases in Colorado.
Air Force Space Command, and soon the Space Force, is responsible for training and equipping space troops. U.S. Space Command oversees the space efforts of all military branches and would take the lead if war reaches orbit.
And the bill has another provision that firmly plants the new service here.
“Nothing in this subtitle, or the amendments made by this subtitle, shall be construed to authorize or require the relocation of any facility, infrastructure, or military installation of the Air Force,” the bill says in bureaucratic language that means space things in Colorado Springs stay in Colorado Springs.
Whether U.S. Space Command will stay in Colorado Springs isn’t settled by the bill, but its provisions narrow the chances that another state, like Alabama, could grab it, Lamborn said.
The bill also all but names the first head of the Space Force: Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command boss Gen. Jay Raymond.
Raymond gets a nod in the bill’s language, which says the Air Force Space Command leader will be the Space Force chief of staff.
While the Space Force’s general gets a seat on the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the measure establishes little in the way of Pentagon management structure for the new service.
The Space Force, with 15,000 troops, will fall under the Air Force, with an assistant secretary at the Pentagon to represent the new service. Space troops will also get a new acquisition office to buy satellites, rockets and other products.
And the new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy will push space issues at the top of the Pentagon’s bureaucracy.
All of the changes in the defense policy bill, however, will have to wait for a new Pentagon budget. The Pentagon has operated on temporary budget bills that don’t include cash for a Space Force.
Lamborn said getting the policy bill passed builds momentum for a budget accord. And the partisan wars may have a ceasefire when it comes to military issues.
“When it comes to national defense, we have a lot of common ground,” Lamborn said. (Source: Satnews)
17 Dec 19. GomSpace, Lockheed Martin Space and Orbital Micro Systems to Combine Expertise for Smallsat Project. GomSpace (GS) and Lockheed Martin Space have agreed to develop and deliver a tailored GS 6U smallsat to Orbital Micro Systems (OMS) in the United Kingdom (UK). The contract is worth 17 MSEK and will be financed through an industrial corporation commitment made by Lockheed Martin to the state of Denmark.
The project stems from initial introductory meetings first held in 2017, during B2B17 a business networking event aimed at developing new business relationships for the US-based technology company in Denmark.
OMS has developed a proprietary microwave sensor with significant potential to add value to weather forecasting and climate understanding to the benefit of users in a range of commercial and institutional segments. OMS is planning a future nanosatellite constellation to capture data for their intended service offerings and is currently in the early stages of constellation deployment.
Lockheed Martin will financially assist GS to design, develop an optimised 6U smallsat platform for the OMS sensor and GS will deliver the integrated 6U satellite to OMS by the end of 2020 for expected launch and evaluation in 2021. Lockheed Martin will also assist GS by providing technical assistance to review and improve GS quality systems, as well as enhance the smallsat’s design life. For Lockheed Martin, which has launched more than 150 smallsats, investing in this project aligns with the company’s expectations that many future space missions will be flown using hybrid architectures with a mixture of SmallSats and traditional larger satellites in a variety of orbits.
Niels Buus, the GomSpace CEO, said this is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how GomSpace’s flight-proven systems can be tailored into a dedicated solution for OMS that will hopefully prove itself as the building block for OMS’ intended constellation.
CEO, William Hosack, from OMS, added that the company looks forward to working with GomSpace and are truly impressed with their demonstrated capabilities in space and the prospect of leveraging these capabilities in a new 6U platform, adding robustness to the company’s supply chain.
Amber Gell, International Advanced Programs Development Manager from Lockheed Martin, noted the company is pleased to be able to bring together this project to help create a state-of-the-art nanosatellite and microwave sensing capabilities. (Source: Satnews)
16 Dec 19. Team Rubicon and Maxar and BAE Systems Respond to Hurricane Dorian. On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the highest rank is a Category 5 storm, which has sustained winds at 157 miles per hour or higher. When Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas and stalled for more than a day, it had wind gusts up to 220 miles per hour. Before the storm, Marsh Harbour was the largest town on Great Abaco Island and served as the commercial hub, according to NPR.
After the storm, NPR reports almost every building in Marsh Harbour was damaged or destroyed. Maxar’s GeoEye-1 satellite imaged the downtown area of Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island before Hurricane Dorian on October 25, 2018 (left image) and after the hurricane on September 5, 2019.
As the world waited for damage reports from the Bahamas, Maxar activated its Open Data Program, releasing pre-hurricane and post-hurricane satellite imagery of the Bahamas. This high-resolution data supports the humanitarian community by providing critical and actionable information to assist response efforts and fulfilling Maxar’s purpose, For a Better World.
Simultaneously, Team Rubicon started notifying its response teams of military veterans to prepare to go to the Bahamas. They would be treating patients and assessing communities and medical clinics on Abaco Island before transitioning to clearing storm debris to accelerate recovery efforts. Before they deployed teams, Team Rubicon needed to know where in the Bahamas these teams would have the greatest impact. Team Rubicon deployed 555 volunteers to the Bahamas to assist in the Hurricane Dorian disaster response and recovery efforts.
Maxar and BAE Systems have worked together since 2017 to provide Team Rubicon with the geospatial insights they need for planning and executing disaster response missions. Leveraging Maxar’s SecureWatch platform, BAE Systems integrates high-resolution satellite imagery of the affected area into a comprehensive ecosystem of software solutions developed by its Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP) technology.
GXP Xplorer® provides Team Rubicon personnel with data discovery and management applications to quickly access Maxar imagery, as well as other types of data, from a web browser anywhere in the world. With a direct connection to Maxar imagery, Team Rubicon’s Geospatial Visualization (GeoVis) analysts can then stream those files in GXP WebView®, a web-based geospatial exploitation tool. This allows analysts to determine heights, distances, and other measurements; create informative annotations; and publish imagery-based products to assist decision makers in the field.
Both GXP Xplorer and GXP WebView are deployed in the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud, allowing the GeoVis team to support operations from anywhere in the world, including their own home. The visual to the right shows part of an imagery product produced by a Team Rubicon GeoVis analyst over the town of Marsh Harbour on Abaco Island. The analyst used a Maxar WorldView-3 image collected after the hurricane hit the town and used GXP WebView to identify and annotate damaged homes and roofs.
This integration of Maxar and BAE Systems capabilities allows Team Rubicon’s GeoVis team to create geospatial situational awareness reports for the Planning and Operations Team at Team Rubicon. These reports informed the deployments of medical teams and debris clearing teams. The visual above shows part of an imagery product produced by a Team Rubicon GeoVis analyst that identifies buildings of good structural status and high elevation on Abaco Island, The Bahamas. This was used for contingency planning and identified hardened locations for our deployed teams to evacuate to should a storm threaten the island.
The GeoVis team has been training for two years on how to create these reports based on Maxar imagery and BAE Systems’ GXP software. Team Rubicon’s GeoVis team encompasses approximately 100 volunteers, who typically build products and support mission planning teams remotely. Over the last two years, the GeoVis training has been conducted as part of the PATRIOT North and South exercises, which are annual training exercises with the National Guard that prepare civilian and military entities to work together during a disaster.
The first day is dedicated to learning how to use the software and build products, followed by three days of actioning requests injected into the exercise. This allows the volunteer to immediately apply the skills learned.
After the training, Team Rubicon will initiate the GeoVis team during large-scale disasters to provide situational awareness and help Team Rubicon make informed decisions after a disaster or humanitarian crisis.
The team is led by the National Planning Team and is now operating nearly independently. Team Rubicon volunteers muck out a community-focused facility in Abaco that would eventually be used to house a large number of returning survivors.
In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the GeoVis team created more than 50 reports detailing things like concentration of damaged vs. destroyed properties, identification of potential locations our teams could stay, confirmation of roads blocked and identification of high-ground evacuation locations. Team Rubicon leverages these reports to:
- Deploy 555 volunteers to the Bahamas
- Provided medical care to 93 people and assessed 11 communities and medical clinics
- Cleared debris from over 375 homes/structures/roadways
Team Rubicon leveraged the geospatial insights provided by Maxar imagery and BAE Systems software to deploy their military veteran volunteers to the hardest hit areas needing assistance after Hurricane Dorian.
Team Rubicon puts Maxar and BAE Systems capabilities to work on the ground, exemplifying the power of geospatial data in disaster planning and response. First responders can assess the extent of a disaster’s damage prior to arriving on the scene, create plans based on the most recent data and more efficiently help those in need. This partnership is just one example of the work that Maxar and non-profit organizations can do together to make a positive difference in the world.
Select this direct link if you are interested in joining Team Rubicon.
Maxar empowers non-profit organizations that uniquely benefit from the company’s geospatial data and analytics to advance their global development efforts. These Purpose Partners, including Team Rubicon, reflect Maxar’s purpose, For a Better World. These organizations receive donations of imagery, analytics and service. (Source: Satnews)
16 Dec 19. China’s First LEO 5G Satellite to Launch This Month. China’s first LEO 5G broadband satellite with high capacity to meet international competition will be launched by Chinese commercial aerospace company, Galaxy Space, at the end of December, according to a statement sent to the Global Times.
The satellite is the first in China to be built with a capacity of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) and it will be, according to the company, the world’s first LEO broadband satellite in the Q-/V-band, an extremely high frequency band. The satellite has already been developed and ground tests have been carried out with stable results. Once in place, the satellite will be able to cover an area of 300,000 square kilometers, roughly 50 times the size of Shanghai. It is expected to narrow the technological gap between Chinese and U.S. companies OneWweb and SpaceX, who have already deployed LEO communications satellites.
Aerospace expert, Zhang Shijie, said it is increasingly important for Chinese commercial aerospace companies to achieve high spectrum band resources, alongside the rapid development of global commercial communications satellites.
The broad coverage of LEO satellites could mean easier access to internet for people in remote areas, as well as more simultaneous data transmission for time-sensitive professions, including live news broadcasting and trading. (Source: Satnews)
16 Dec 19. SpooQy-1 Smallsat Now Operated by SpeQtral for the Centre for Quantum Technologies. SpeQtral has now accepted the operations of the SpooQy-1 smallsat on behalf of the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore. SpooQy-1 is a shoebox-sized, 3U cubesat hosting a quantum payload developed at CQT. The smallsat was launched April of 2019 and then deployed from the International Space Station on June 17, 2019. The quantum payload is the world’s first entangled photon source compact enough to fit on a smallsat and qualified for the harsh space environment.
The primary objective of the SpooQy-1 mission is to produce and characterize entangled photon pairs in space such that they violate the CHSH (Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt) Bell’s inequality. This is a core capability for future quantum communication networks. The CQT team is analyzing scientific data from the mission and expects to publish results on the source’s performance in 2020.
In the meantime, CQT and SpeQtral have signed an agreement allowing SpeQtral to manage ongoing operations. Formed as a spin-out company to commercialize quantum communications technologies developed at CQT, SpeQtral will monitor the long-term performance of the quantum payload for radiation damage and other degradation effects in the space environment. This information will help guide the development of long-lived quantum systems in space, necessary for the commercial deployment of space-based QKD systems.
Artur Ekert, Director of CQT, said establishing a partnership for the SpooQy mission plays to all of the firm’s strengths: at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, the organization will concentrate on scientific objectives, while SpeQtral focuses on commercial applications.
Chune Yang Lum, Co-Founder and CEO of SpeQtral, added that SpooQy-1 is pioneering quantum technologies for space-based quantum key distribution (QKD) systems. Being involved in this mission gives SpeQtral know-how that serves the company;s goal of delivering next-generation secure communication networks. (Source: Satnews)
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