After leading over the last five years several R&D activities for the Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on Space Robotics Technologies set up by the European Union within Horizon 2020, Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %) and its Partners have been awarded by the European Commission a preparation project (phase A/B1) for in-orbit demonstration dedicated to In-Orbit Servicing space vehicles. An in-orbit demonstration is expected by 2026.
Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network.. The satellites will be based on Airbus’ OneSat product line, the latest generation of fully flexible, in orbit reconfigurable, Software Defined Satellites (SDS). OneSat is designed to deliver the optimal balance between performance, flexibility and competitive cost per bit.
Broadband satellite company OneWeb announced Jan. 15 it has raised $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems, allowing the company to continue deployment of its constellation raising a total at 1.4 billions.
OneWeb says it’s sharply reducing the size of a proposed next-generation satellite system from nearly 48,000 to less than 6,400 satellites
The original Phase Two proposal filed with the FCC envisioned a system with 32 planes of 720 satellites each at an inclination of 40 degrees, 32 planes with 720 satellites each at an inclination of 55 degrees, and 36 planes with 49 satellites each at an inclination of 87.9 degrees, for a total of 47,844 satellites, all in orbits 1,200 kilometers high. The revised system retains the same number and arrangement of orbital planes, but reduces the number of satellites in each of the 40-degree and 55-degree planes from 720 to 72. The satellites in the 87.9-degree orbital planes are unchanged, reducing the total size of the system to 6,372 satellites.
NASA and Japan Formalize Gateway Partnership for Artemis Program / Artemis Accords, October 13, 2020
Under this agreement, Japan will provide several capabilities for the Gateway’s International Habitation module (I-Hab), which will provide the heart of Gateway life support capabilities Under an arrangement with Northrop Grumman, Japan also will provide batteries for the Gateway’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO). Japan joins two other international partners in committing to the Gateway with NASA. In November 2020, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to collaborate on the Gateway.
The core section of China’s space station is scheduled to launch in the next several months, the first of 11 missions carrying lab elements, cargo, and astronauts to the fledgling outpost over the next two years, according to Chinese space program officials.
NASA’s 1st Mission to the Trojan Asteroids “Lucy” is one step closer to launch as L’TES, the Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer, has been successfully integrated on to the spacecraft. “Having two of the three instruments integrated onto the spacecraft is an exciting milestone. Lucy is on schedule to launch in October 2021 as originally planned
Virgin Orbit’s carrier aircraft, a customized 747-400 dubbed Cosmic Girl, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port and flew over the Pacific Ocean, about 50 miles south of the Channel Islands. After a smooth release from the aircraft, the two-stage rocket ignited and powered itself to orbit.
NASA’s plan to test its new moon rocket fell short of a scheduled eight-minute test-firing Saturday in Mississippi as the engines were shut down at just over a minute into the test
Blue Origin says it is “very, very close” to flying humans on suborbital launches to the edge of space after a successful test flight of a human-capable rocket and capsule Thursday.
Iceye is preparing to send three Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites into orbit on the SpaceX Falcon 9 small satellite rideshare mission scheduled for launch Jan. 21.
Exotrail reports the full success of the first-ever cubesat mission equipped with Hall-effect electric propulsion technology. Through an In-Orbit Demonstration mission launched to LEO on November 7, 2020, onboard a PSLV rocket, Exotrail nominally ignited its ExoMG Hall-effect electric propulsion system on the first attempt.
Earth Observation [EO] data provides a billion-dollar opportunity for economies on the African continent, one that could create jobs and build new resilience after COVID-19.
Space Safety News
The U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, was picked as the preferred location of U.S. Space Command’s headquarters.
Science & Technology News
Rolls-Royce has signed an innovative contract with the UK Space Agency for a study into future nuclear power options for space exploration. This first contract between both organisations represents an exciting opportunity to define and shape the nuclear power solutions required in space in the decades to come. Rolls-Royce is the only company in the world with a singular focus on creating mechanical, electrical and nuclear power solutions that will be essential in tackling the challenges of
Less than a month after issuing a policy directive on space nuclear power, the White House released an executive order Jan. 12 seeking to promote the development of small nuclear reactors for space and defense applications.