Satellite News

SKY Perfect JSAT signs contract with Airbus to build Superbird-9 telco satellite

 SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, the main satellite operator in Japan and the world leading Fixed Satellite Service provider, has selected Airbus to build Superbird-9, a fully digital in-orbit reconfigurable satellite.  it marks the fairst time a Japanese telecommunications operator has ordered a satellite from Europe. Superbird-9 will deliver broadcast and broadband missions in Ku band, primarily over Japan and Eastern Asia.. The contract announcement comes days after Airbus said it secured the first commercial GEO signed order of 2021. Eutelsat Communications said March 22 it picked Airbus to build Eutelsat 36D, which is also a replacement satellite slated for launch in 2024

Processing begins with the Pleiades Neo 3 satellite for Arianespace’s next Vega launch

Pleiades Neo 3 arrived in French Guiana along with Pleiades Neo 4, the second satellite scheduled to join the Pleiades Neo constellation – which is funded, manufactured, owned, and operated by Airbus Defence and SpaceWhen fully deployed, Airbus’ Pleiades Neo constellation will comprise four identical satellites to provide commercial and institutional customers with high-resolution imaging. Phased at 90 degree and operated in the same orbit, these satellites are to be capable of visiting any point on the globe at least twice daily.

Exploration News

NASA primed for historic flight of experimental Mars helicopter

NASA’s Perseverance rover will soon release a small rotorcraft onto the surface of Mars and drive a safe distance away to observe a series of historic test flights in the ultra-thin Martian atmosphere, which could begin around April 8, officials said this week.

NASA to offer funding for initial studies of commercial space stations

At a March 23 industry briefing, agency officials outlined what it calls the Commercial LEO Development (CLD) program, NASA said it would issue solicitations to support funding for both a free-flyer station as well as access to an ISS docking port for a commercial module. Both would be done through the existing Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program.

Launcher News

ESA boost for UK space transportation initiatives

As part of its Boost! programme, ESA has awarded 7.45m euro of co-funding to Orbex and its partners, and 3m euro to Skyrora. Skyrora plans to offer launch services to low Earth Sun-synchronous and polar orbits for payloads of up to 315 kg through Skyrora XL, its 23-meter 56-tonne three-stage microlauncher.Skyrora XL is based on liquid propulsion using a mix of high-test (hydrogen) peroxide/Ecosene (an in-house developed rocket fuel) and will be prepared for its first test flight targeted in 2022.

EUMETSAT and Arianespace confirm deal to launch of two Meteosat satellites with Ariane 6

The launch planning will see MTG-S1 satellite be placed into orbit in the first half of 2024, while the MTG-I2 would be planned for the second half of 2025 onwards. In both cases, the satellites will be reaching Geostationary Earth Orbit, a destination made reachable by high-standard capacities of Ariane 6. Both organizations also confirmed that Arianespace will place into orbit the MTG-I1 satellite with an Ariane 5 launcher by the end of 2022. The launch orderbook includes two more state-of-the-art meteorological polar satellites (METOP-SG A1 and METOP-SG B1) as well as one additional launch, still in option.

GAO: DoD should better coordinate hypersonic weapons programs

The Defense Department’s push to achieve hypersonic weapons should better define the roles and duties of those in leadership.The Government Accountability Office noted that the development of hypersonic weapons and related technologies has cost about $14 billion since it started in 2015, through 70 identified efforts. China and Russia have also invested heavily in the weapons, and in October 2020, Russia announced the successful test-firing of its Zircon hypersonic missile, which it said struck a target 300 miles away after traveling at over 6,100 mph.

SpaceX 15th anniversary of first launch with Starlink mission & SpaceX readies Starship prototype

ABL Space Systems raises $170 million

Small launch vehicle developer ABL Space Systems announced March 25 it raised $170 million in funding to help it build up infrastructure and launch sites ahead of its first launch. That first launch, which will carry two satellites for L2 Aerospace, will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. In February, Lockheed Martin selected ABL to perform a “UK Pathfinder” launch from the Shetland Space Centre in 2022.

NewSpace  News

Italy’s Leaf Space to establish U.S. office

Italian ground segment provider Leaf Space announced plans March 24 to establish a U.S. office to serve government and commercial customers. Leaf Space, founded in 2014, offers ground segment services to customers including Astrocast of Switzerland, D-Orbit of Italy, the European Space Agency, Toronto-based Kepler Communications, Kleos Space of Luxembourg, and U.S. firms Momentus and Swarm Technologies.

Space M&A boom appears right on time

Long-term space investors aren’t surprised by the recent surge of space industry mergers and acquisitions. In fact, they say, it’s right on time. Voyager sees complementary capabilities in Altius Space Machines, The Launch Company, NanoRacks and Pioneer Astronautics, firms it has acquired since it was founded in 2019

Redwire has a similar strategy. Formed in 2020 by private equity firm AE Industrial Partners, Redwire is creating a space infrastructure company.In less than a year, Jacksonville, Florida-based Redwire has snapped up Adcole Space, Deep Space Systems, Deployable Space Systems, LoadPath, Made In Space, Oakman Aerospace and Roccor.

Pixxel raises seed round for hyperspectral satellites

An Indian startup raised $7.3 million to allow the company to continue work on a constellation of hyperspectral imaging satellites, the first step in its much bigger ambitions.

Space Safety News

GAO to probe choice of Alabama as Space Command’s headquarters

The Government Accountability Office will open a review of the selection of Huntsville, Ala., as the permanent headquarters of the U.S. Space Command. I believe the process the Department of the Air Force used was fundamentally flawed. Lawmakers allege that the Air Force intended to propose to leave the headquarters in Colorado Springs, adding that former Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett was told by the Trump administration to recommend that it be relocated to Alabama as a gift to the former president’s political allies.

Science & Technology News

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