Space

The U.S. Treasury Department hasn’t issued final regulations implementing the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), but space industry entrepreneurs already feel the law’s effect. “It hurts,” Mike Collett, founder and managing partner of Promus Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Chicago, said at the World Satellite Business Week conference in September.
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WASHINGTON — An Ariane 5 rocket from European launch provider Arianespace successfully lifted off Nov. 26, carrying a communications satellite for the Egyptian government and a satellite for Inmarsat. The rocket launched at 4:23 p.m. Eastern from the Guiana Space Center in South America following a two-day delay due to a launch site power issue and
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WASHINGTON — Eutelsat Communications, having already left the C-Band Alliance of satellite operators pushing for a private spectrum auction, told the FCC it supports the commission’s pan to run a public auction, but still wants satellite operators to get some of the auction proceeds to cover costs associated with losing the spectrum.  The FCC announced
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HOUSTON — Commercial spaceports are increasingly portraying themselves as centers of economic development, including those without any launch activity. This increased focus of spaceports as part of broader aerospace and other industry development strategies was on display at the Nov. 19 meeting here of the Global Spaceport Alliance, a spaceport industry group whose members include
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French propulsion startup ThrustMe unexpectedly made it into orbit early this month with its innovative propulsion system placed aboard a Chinese cubesat. Dianfeng, or Xiaoxiang-1 (08), a six-unit cubesat developed by privately owned Spacety, was a secondary payload on the launch of the Gaofen-7 civilian Earth observation satellite Nov. 2, along with a first satellite
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Europe’s space industry won’t be able to keep its technological edge without government support, the European Space Agency concludes in a report released ahead of the Space19+ ministerial conference. By ESA’s estimates, commercial and non-European sales generated 45% of Europe’s space industry revenue in 2015. Those revenues kept space companies healthy enough to support ESA’s
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GAO disagreed with Blue Origin that the terms of the launch procurement unduly restrict competition WASHINGTON — Blue Origin won a favorable ruling last week from the Government Accountability Office in its protest of the Air Force launch contract rules. GAO, however, dismissed outright one of the company’s central complaints that the Air Force set
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Top acquisition executive Will Roper said the Air Force will amend the solicitation “to make clear that each award will be made solely on the basis of the defined criteria.” WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force will change the criteria for evaluating launch providers that have submitted proposals for the National Security Space Launch program,
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BREMEN, Germany – Development of spaceplanes for suborbital tourism, satellite launches and point-to-point terrestrial transportation are benefiting from advanced technology, panelists said at the Space Tech Expo Europe here. “It was completely different 30 years ago,” said Koichi Yonemoto, co-founder and chief technical officer of Space Walker, a Japanese startup developing a suborbital spaceplane to
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BREMEN, Germany – Capella Space won a U.S. Air Force contract to adapt its commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for military applications. Capella won the $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 contract for its presentation at Air Force Space Pitch Day, a competition in San Francisco in early November to identify commercial technology
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HOUSTON — The first prototype of SpaceX’s next-generation launch system was damaged Nov. 20 during a tanking test, a setback the company claimed would not serious affect their development plans. Video from several observers in the vicinity of SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville, showed a white plume erupt from the top
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HOUSTON — The government of Brazil is ready to move into the next phase of efforts to attract commercial launch business to the country with the ratification of an agreement with the United States. Brazil’s Senate formally approved Nov. 12 a technology safeguards agreement that the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, signed in March during a
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The report titled ”Iran Military Power” is part of a Defense Intelligence Agency effort to inform government leaders and the public on major foreign military challenges. WASHINGTON — The Defense Intelligence Agency released a new unclassified report that highlights Iran’s space program as a means to advance that nation’s civilian and military technologies. The report
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BREMEN, Germany — Portugal’s newly created space agency is considering a national constellation focused on maritime activity in the Atlantic Ocean.  Luís Serina, the Portuguese Space Agency’s industrial relations and projects officer, said Portugal, as a coastal nation, is concerned about illegal fishing, maritime piracy and ocean pollution, among other topics.  “We are putting some
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BREMEN, Germany — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai informed Congress Nov. 18 that the agency will run a public auction of C-band spectrum instead of allowing a consortium of satellite operators to sell it directly to 5G wireless operators.  Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat, acting as the C-Band Alliance, have been lobbying the Federal Communications
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WASHINGTON — Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat on Nov. 15 detailed how they would calculate the proceeds they have pledged to contribute to the U.S. treasury if the Federal Communications Commission accepts their proposal to privately auction C-band spectrum sought by 5G network operators.  The satellite operators, acting collectively as the C-Band Alliance, would
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Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting said the transfer of space traffic management responsibilities can’t happen until Commerce gets the necessary resources. WASHINGTON — Military space operators at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, are working with the Department of Commerce to help ease the transfer of space traffic management responsibilities, Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting said Nov. 15.
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WASHINGTON — With growing bipartisan skepticism that NASA’s current plan to return humans to the moon by 2024 is achievable, members of the House Science Committee used a Nov. 13 hearing to advocate for a different, and arguably more conventional, approach. In statements at a hearing of the committee’s space subcommittee on human exploration of
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The 10-year contract is for operations and support of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System constellations. WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $3.3 billion contract for support services on classified military communications satellites, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced Nov. 15. The 10-year indefinite-delivery
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WASHINGTON — EchoStar has ordered two tiny S-band satellites from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to jumpstart a low-Earth-orbit constellation using spectrum gained through its October acquisition of IoT startup Helios Wire.  Anders Johnson, Echostar’s president, said during a Nov. 7 earnings call that EchoStar has signed contracts for the construction and launch of a first batch of
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WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully tested Nov. 13 the thrusters used as part of the abort system for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, nearly seven months after a similar test resulted in the loss of another spacecraft. The test of the Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco thrusters took place shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern at Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX,
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WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee approved Nov. 13 a NASA authorization bill introduced a week earlier to extend the life of the International Space Station and support other agency programs. The committee approved, on a voice vote, the NASA Authorization Act of 2019. That bill, S.2800, was introduced Nov. 6 by a bipartisan group
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Chairman Adam Smith said the House-Senate divide is deepening over the establishment of a Space Force WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Nov. 13 that negotiations on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act are “proceeding reasonably well” but he expressed doubt that the NDAA will include language to authorize a
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HELSINKI — China launched six remote sensing satellites into orbit with two launches inside three hours from sites in north China. A commercial Kuaizhou-1A solid rocket lifted off from a transporter erector launcher at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China, at 10:40 p.m. Eastern Tuesday. The payload was the Jilin-1 Gaofen-2A optical Earth observation
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The senior secured loan will help fund BlackSky’s infrastructure and product development. WASHINGTON — Geospatial data provider BlackSky announced Nov. 12 it has secured a $50 million loan from global communications satellite operator Intelsat. The senior secured loan will finance BlackSky’s infrastructure and product development for commercial and government customers, BlackSky CEO Brian O’Toole told
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WASHINGTON — A NASA space telescope recently completed a major review and is making good progress, project officials say, despite uncertainty about its funding. NASA announced Nov. 1 that the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) passed its preliminary design review (PDR), a major milestone in the development of the space-based observatory. That overall PDR came
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WASHINGTON — The Russian company that markets launch vehicles commercially says it doesn’t expect the new Soyuz-5 medium-lift rocket to be available until the mid-2020s, despite leveraging existing designs and facilities. In an interview during the International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, Evgeny Solodovnikov, sales director of GK Launch Services, says the Soyuz-5 rocket, whose design
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SAN FRANCISCO — Ursa Space Systems, a geospatial analytics company specializing in applications for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, raised $15 million in a Series B funding round led by Razor’s Edge Ventures. With the additional funding announced Nov. 7, Ithaca, New York-based Ursa plans create new data products. “We’re seeing a number of new
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