Space

WASHINGTON — The Canadian Space Agency announced June 26 it plans to award a contract to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to build a robotic arm that will be Canada’s contribution to the lunar Gateway. The deal covers development of what the agency calls Canadarm3, which is an overarching robotic system for the Gateway rather
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WASHINGTON — The European Space Agency formally started the search for its next leader June 25, with the current head of the agency recommending it select a “dynamic young successor.” ESA formally posted the job opening for director general a day after the conclusion of a meeting of the ESA Council, featuring representatives of its
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The contract would keep the Defense Support Program early-warning satellites in service until 2030. WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $222.5 million contract for technology upgrades to the Defense Support Program, a constellation of early warning satellites that has been in operation since the 1970s. The contract announced on June 26 by the
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Reexamining the impact of tech regulation on the satellite industry Until recently, satellites were niche players in the communications industry, used primarily to relay long distance telephone signals and broadcast TV programming. The technology was not sufficiently advanced for a robust and diverse commercial satellite market to emerge.  Today, commercial satellite services are going mainstream,
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SAN FRANCISCO – Ball Aerospace won a $96.9 million contract June 25 to build, integrate and operate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Follow On (SWFO) satellite destined for Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1. Under the firm fixed-price contract awarded by NASA on behalf of NOAA, Ball Aerospace will design and manufacture the satellite
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SAN FRANCISCO – Capella Space, a San Francisco startup preparing to operate a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, announced a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement June 25 with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The agreement “formalizes the relationship between Capella and NGA,” Payam Banazadeh, Capella CEO and founder, told SpaceNews. “We can start
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The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee will introduce the “Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act.” WASHINGTON — Five associations representing users of the Global Positioning System will be joining forces against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to permit Ligado Networks to operate a terrestrial wireless
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Companies are selected based on data provided to DoD leaders by the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency. WASHINGTON — Companies are selected to receive emergency coronavirus rescue funds from the Defense Department based on multiple factors, said the Pentagon’s top procurement official Ellen Lord. “We have a team” that reviews data
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Cooper: “We continue our focus on increasing the resilience and capability of our space assets.” WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee on June 22 advanced its portion of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes multiple provisions on space procurement and use of commercial space technologies. “Regarding space, we continue
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By the end of the year, the National Reconnaissance Office plans to issue “multiple operational commercial imagery contracts to support defense, security and many other U.S. government missions,” said Pete Muend, director of NRO’s Commercial Systems Program Office. “We’re very excited to begin to leverage all the capabilities that our U.S. domestic commercial industry base
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WASHINGTON — Smallsat builder Blue Canyon Technologies is moving employees into a recently opened factory designed to build 100 satellites a year, and more in the future.  The Crescent Satellite Constellation manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Colorado, near the city of Boulder, opened June 3, Matt Beckner, Blue Canyon chief operating officer, told SpaceNews.  Because the
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WASHINGTON — European smallsat builder GomSpace has entered a settlement agreement with Aerial & Maritime, a company Gomspace helped start and for which it had already built eight satellites.  GomSpace said June 16 that Aerial & Maritime will be liquidated, and that GomSpace will retain ownership of the eight satellites, designed to track ships and
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WASHINGTON — Two years after a space policy directive gave it responsibility for space traffic management, the Commerce Department says it is making progress on implementing that policy as it continues to seek additional funding from Congress. On June 18, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited the headquarters of Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI) outside of Philadelphia
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WASHINGTON — Boeing announced late June 19 several changes in management of its work on the International Space Station and CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle. In a memo to employees of Boeing Space and Launch, Jim Chilton, senior vice president in charge of the division, announced that Mark Mulqueen will retire from the company July
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Aevum, Astra, X-Bow, Rocket Lab, Space Vector and VOX Space each will receive contracts to launch two rideshare missions. WASHINGTON — Six space launch companies were selected to receive Defense Department contracts funded under the Defense Production Act to shore up domestic industries financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aevum, Astra, X-Bow, Rocket Lab, Space
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Small satellites and responsive launch are areas of particular interest to the NRO. WASHINGTON — The National Reconnaissance Office is keeping an eye on the commercial space industry and is looking for opportunities to use private sector-funded technologies to support intelligence and defense agencies, a senior official said. “We’re tracking what’s going on in the
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WASHINGTON — NASA officials say they’re confident that the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will launch this summer amid the special measures the agency had to take to keep the mission on track during the coronavirus pandemic. The mission is currently scheduled for launch July 20 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Cape
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DoD says the growth of commercial space capabilities has added complexity to the space operating environment. WASHINGTON — The new space race that has propelled advances in science and technology also has had broad implications for national security, DoD points out in a strategy document released June 17. “Rapid increases in commercial and international space
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SAN FRANCISCO – In-space transportation provider Momentus announced agreements June 16 with Bulgaria’s EnduroSat to provide transportation for two cubesats scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare flight in February 2021. Under the agreement, Momentus will enclose Kuwait’s first spacecraft, QMR-KWT, and EnduroSat’s Shared Platform for Applied Research and Technology Affirmation (SPARTAN) in
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SAN FRANCISCO – Raytheon won a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contract to study High-Resolution Infrared Sounder (HIRIS), a weather instrument designed to offer detailed views of cloud tops and the dry line, where moist and dry air meet. Under the May 12 NOAA contract valued at nearly $295,000, Raytheon will spend seven months fleshing
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission remains unconvinced that low Earth orbit satellite internet constellations are worth subsidizing through its $16 billion rural broadband program despite tweaking the rules for that program to give LEO constellations a better chance to qualify for funding.  In a move meant to benefit the likes of SpaceX, Telesat,
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WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket successfully launched a set of payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office and two universities June 13 on a mission delayed two and a half months by the coronavirus pandemic. The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 1:12 a.m. Eastern. The company
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WASHINGTON —  Spaceflight Industries has completed the sale of its satellite rideshare business, Spaceflight Inc., to a pair of Japanese companies following a U.S. regulatory review and the modification of an Intelsat loan.  Spaceflight Industries said the sale to Mitsui & Co., in partnership with Yamasa Co., closed June 12, roughly four months after it
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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected the longtime manager of its commercial crew program to be the next head of its overall human spaceflight efforts. NASA announced June 12 that Kathy Lueders will take over as associate administrator for human exploration and operations, effectively immediately. Lueders, the first woman to hold that post, had been manager
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The contract awarded to Raytheon is for Overhead Persistent Infrared sensor payloads. WASHINGTON — Raytheon received a $37.4 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for space-based early warning sensors for the Blackjack program, the agency announced June 12. Blackjack is a program to demonstrate the utility of a constellation of small satellites
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s inspector general found that former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden continued to use the services of an employee to manage his activities for almost two years after leaving the agency. The NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report June 11 summarizing an investigation into allegations that Bolden’s former executive assistant, or
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SASC aide: “The acquisition piece was never formally transmitted to the Congress.” WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 25-2 following three days of closed hearings, the committee announced June 11. The markup authorizes $740.5 billion for national defense
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WASHINGTON — A launch vehicle processing “hiccup” has pushed back next month’s launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission by three days. NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk revealed the delay in a presentation to a joint meeting of the National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board (SSB) June 9. “We had
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Blue Canyon received a contract for satellite buses. SA Photonics’ contract is for optical communications terminals. WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced on June 10 it awarded Blue Canyon Technologies a $14.1 million contract for satellite buses for the Blackjack program. DARPA on June 9 also announced a $16.3 million contract award
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