30 Nov 17. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has completed the major assembly of Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 and has shipped the communications satellite to its Sunnyvale, California facility to undergo critical environmental testing. The first of the modernized LM 2100 satellites, Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 is being built for Arabsat/Hellas Sat and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. It will provide advanced telecommunications capabilities, including television, internet, telephone and secure military communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Hellas-Sat4/SaudiGeoSat-1 is the first of two LM 2100 satellites in the Arabsat-6G program. The second is Arabsat-6A. During environmental testing, the satellite will undergo a series of tests to simulate the launch and space conditions to ensure a successful mission. This testing includes simulating the launch environments with acoustic and vibration testing, simulating the harsh space environment with vacuum and extreme temperature testing, and radio frequency compatibility and performance testing to validate the payload meets critical performance expectations.
“Environmental testing is an essential set of activities to ensure the satellite can operate as designed in the extreme conditions of space and will meet our customers’ needs,” said Joe Rickers, Lockheed Martin’s Arabsat-6G program manager. “Now that assembly of the Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 satellite is complete and environmental testing is on the horizon, we’re one step closer to providing greatly improved communications capabilities for our customers.”
The satellite recently went through comprehensive testing as a part of a baseline integrated systems test at the company’s Littleton, Colorado facility where the satellite was designed, assembled and integrated with its payload. Remaining baseline testing will be completed before environmental testing. The rigorous baseline test ensures the fully integrated satellite is working properly before moving on to environmental testing. While in California, but prior to the environmental tests, the satellite’s large communications antennae and large flexible solar arrays will be installed. The four deployable antennas use a new design that allows them to be tuned with higher accuracy and efficiency. The multi-mission modular solar arrays incorporate three key features: higher power, less mass and compact stowage. This compact flexible array design delivers 50 percent more power than previous rigid array designs at 30 percent less mass. The satellite is scheduled for delivery to the launch site in third quarter 2018.
30 Nov 17. Draper Labs targets natural forces for satellite control. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory is using natural forces in space to control spacecraft, satellites, and potentially nanosatellites.
Smaller satellites are more difficult to manoeuvre due to the impact that drag, solar radiation pressure, and magnetic field forces have on them. The result on standard 10×10×10 cm cube satellites (CubeSats) is that up to half of the mass is taken up by conventional stabilisers, leaving little room for sensors, radios, and antennae, Draper Labs said in a statement. Draper Labs researchers have leveraged those same disruptive natural forces and discovered a way to harness them that could lead to the development of new steering technologies for nanosatellites, according to the statement. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Nov 17. British military to test space-based intelligence gathering. The British military is to test the ability of constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide tactical intelligence gathering.
The military has taken a share in a prototype space vehicle about to be launched by Surrey Satellite Technology, or SSTL. The satellite, known as Carbonite-2, sometimes referred to as EiX2, will give the military hands-on experience on a spacecraft able to offer customers high-resolution, full-motion video imagery in color fo