Space

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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WASHINGTON — Telesat Canada will likely choose the winner of a now three-way race to build its low Earth orbit broadband constellation in the first few months of 2020 instead of this year, CEO Dan Goldberg said Nov. 5.  Goldberg, in an earnings call, said Telesat still anticipates having 200 satellites orbiting in 2022 and
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The Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment (IA-Pre) program will be run by the Air Force Space Command’s commercial satellite communications office. RESTON, Va. — The Air Force starting in 2020 will rate the cybersecurity of commercial satellite communications providers in an effort to increase the protection of military networks. The new program is called Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment
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WASHINGTON — A NASA astronaut flying to the International Space Station next spring could be the only American on the station for an extended period because of uncertainty in the status of commercial crew vehicles. NASA announced Oct. 30 that Chris Cassidy will fly to the station next April on a Soyuz spacecraft with Russian
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SAN FRANCISCO – Fiber Optic Manufacturing in Space (FOMS) Inc. presented the results Nov. 7 of its successful campaign to produce optical fiber on the International Space Station. FOMS “successfully completed the calibration of the manufacturing hardware and demonstrated the first optical fiber manufacturing on orbit,” FOMS Principal Investigator Dmitry Starodubov announced at the 6th Workshop
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WASHINGTON — The White House warned Congress in a recent letter that without funding increases for its exploration programs, NASA won’t be able to achieve the goal of landing humans on the moon in 2024. The Oct. 23 letter from Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to Sen. Richard
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DIU received 25 proposals for the Dismounted Assured PNT System WASHINGTON — The Defense Innovation Unit’s Boston office is reviewing vendor proposals for handheld navigation devices that don’t rely on Global Positioning System satellite signals. They would be used by U.S. Army soldiers in future military conflicts when they expect GPS signals to be disrupted.
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WASHINGTON — Spire Global has opened its sixth office, setting up a team of 10 employees in the nation’s capital as it seeks to gain more U.S. government business.  Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire, said the company will soon number 200 people spread across the United States, Scotland, Luxembourg and Singapore.  Spire established its Washington
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WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies on Nov. 4 said an undisclosed customer has agreed to buy a geostationary communications satellite, providing what Maxar offered as proof that retaining and resizing Space Systems Loral was a worthwhile decision.  Maxar executives said that the resizing effort progressed further with a $291 million property sale in Palo Alto, California,
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WASHINGTON — Finding international consensus on deployment milestones for constellations of non-geosynchronous satellites is a top space-related priority for the U.S. delegation attending the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference, officials said Nov. 1.  Grace Koh, the ambassador leading the U.S. delegation at WRC-19 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this month, said there are several space-related topics the
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Two Air Force cubesats were among many experimental projects encapsulated in the NG-12 Cygnus mission. WASHINGTON — Two identical cubesats developed by the Aerospace Corp. for the U.S. Air Force were aboard a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket that flew a cargo resupply mission Nov. 2 to the International Space Station. The shoebox-size satellites, named Rogue
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WASHINGTON — With revenue down and its just-launched satellite in trouble, Eutelsat Communications is preparing to layoff around 100 of its 1,000 employees, freeze wages and suspend hiring as it looks to return to growth.  Sandrine Téran, Eutelsat’s chief financial and IT officer, said Oct. 30 that the company hopes the initiative, called LEAP-2, will
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HELSINKI — China is aiming to launch its complex Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission in late 2020, following launch vehicle-related delays.  The ambitious mission is now scheduled to launch atop the fifth Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket. The mission will launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center situated on Hainan island. Chang’e-5 will attempt to
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WASHINGTON — Top officials with the European Space Agency remain confident that they will be able to resolve the parachute problems that threaten to delay next summer’s launch of the ExoMars 2020 rover mission. In two high-altitude tests earlier this year, parachutes intended to slow down the ExoMars 2020 lander suffered tears in their canopies.
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WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a spending bill Oct. 31 that provides $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, but final agreement on funding for agency programs may still be weeks, if not months, away. On an 84–9 vote, the Senate approved a so-called “minibus” appropriations bill that combined several separate measures, including the
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To receive FIRST UP Satcom, a weekly SpaceNews newsletter for satellite and telecom professionals, sign up here. TOP STORIES The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference began this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The satellite industry and the cellular industry are both hoping to gain new spectrum — cellular operators for 5G networks, and satellite operators for earth stations
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WASHINGTON — While NASA achieves milestone assembling and testing the James Webb Space Telescope, a key manager said the mission only has a few months of schedule reserve left ahead of a March 2021 launch. In a presentation to NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee Oct. 29, Greg Robinson, program director for JWST at NASA Headquarters, said
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WASHINGTON — Intelsat, SES and Telesat on Oct. 28 acquiesced to demands for more spectrum, saying their group, the C-Band Alliance, would offer 300 megahertz of satellite spectrum to cellular operators for 5G services instead of 200 megahertz as previously planned.  The increase — to 280 usable megahertz plus a 20 megahertz guard band — follows
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WASHINGTON — A heat flow instrument on NASA’s InSight Mars lander suffered a setback Oct. 26 in its efforts to penetrate into the Martian surface. Images returned late Oct. 26 by the lander showed that the probe, or mole, emerging from a hole onto the surface. The most recent images show most of the mole
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WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Oct. 25 that the agency would send a robotic rover to the moon in 2022 to look for water ice, confirming plans that had been taking shape for months. In a speech at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, Bridenstine said the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission
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