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Space

ICEYE initiates large scale manufacture of satellite

Space exploration has revolutionized over the years, with the space industry launching different rockets’ designs to the moon and the universe. Additionally, space exploration brought the universe closer to the earth through live pictures, consequently increasing scientific space knowledge. The revolution was instigated by commercial space exploration that attracted different investors to venture into space exploration. ICEYE is among the space companies that have ventured into space exploration.

ICEYE’s operations are based in Finnish and involve satellites that capture pictures of the earth’s surface while utilizing the Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) technology. Resultantly, SAR technology obtains geospatial data that aids its client to get a clear and intellectual decision. Surprisingly, ICEYE is the first global industry to construct a SAR satellite weighing up to 100kgs. The company recently raised funding of $87 million, totaling $152 million from the initial rounds. ICEYE’s plans include launching four SAR satellites by the end of 2020 and an extra eight SAR’s by 2021. 

Dr.Mark Matossian, the managing director of the U.S. ICEYE, noted that the company is in the progress of space exploration and they are well equipped with a five-year experience of space exploration. He further added that the new move would transform the company’s goal and increase the market scope. On the other hand, the company has been in service since 2018 with its three satellites that serve the customers. The clients are exposed to quality imagery of the earth’s surface through cloud storage. 

ICEYE also delivers precise services that help meteorologists predict the weather and monitor the formation of weather catastrophes like floods and tornados. Conversely, the company also offers services to companies in the mining, insurance, and utility sector. For example, Tokio Marine, a global insurance organization based in Japan, is a client to ICEYE. The company seeks to establish its customer base in the U.S. Matossian, a former Google employee who worked with the Terra Bella Earth-imaging constellation, came on board to help ICEYE progress its market scope.

Matossian further notes that the funding will propel the company into an expansion phase, and more organizations will seek the services. Additionally, Matossian explains that construction companies will access the company’s services through distant asset monitoring. The benefit of expanding into different company sectors makes the clients uninformed about the source of data. For example, raw data given to the insurance company may seem irrelevant. Moreover, the company will provide a spreadsheet that will comprise of every possession they insure.     

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Space

New Strategies unveil as NASA and Space Force partner

As humankind continues to advance in space exploration expeditions, new cohorts help facilitate humanity’s mission to explore other outer space bodies. Several space corporations and state agencies are collaborating to develop space technologies that draw humans closer to achieving the vision of living and working on a planet such as Mars. Every commercial space company seeks to bring onboard NASA as its potential customer or funder because of the agency’s comprehensive network, state-of-the-art space technologies, and expertise. Initially, numerous speculations about the much-anticipated partnership between the two United States agencies circulated public media, but all is clear. NASA officially affirmed the association between the agency and the United States Space Force to develop policies, research studies, and space industry technologies. The partnership seeks to protect the planet against hazardous bodies like asteroids. 

Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, and General John Raymond, the director of Space Operations, discussed the terms of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on September 22 during an online forum that the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies conducted. The MoU substitutes a prior agreement between NASA and the United States Air Force Space Command endorsed over two decades ago. The creation of Space Force back in December 2019 disestablished the cohort between the two agencies. Raymond said that the Space Force anticipates future partnership because NASA continues to advance into space exploration technologies for humanity’s benefits. The central objective of the Space Force is to ensure freedom of operation in space to support NASA’s program that aims to take a man back to the Moon and attain the most remarkable space exploration in the history of humanity by reaching Mars.

NASA is an agency that plays no military operations. NASA plans to sort for military support from agencies such as the Space Force to protect its assets, currently in orbit, against hostile attacks. Bridenstine said that there are many challenges in the space industry, and NASA faces the same risks, just like the agency’s peers who are commercial operators. The Space Force plays a vital role in supporting NASA to help the agency achieve its mission while protecting its space assets. 

Bridenstine stated that nations are designing, developing, and deploying laser technology and other techniques that interfere with satellite communications. Some countries use cyber weapons to enable them to hack and hijack space systems. Every nation using the space network domain is at risk from these potential threats. When an attack occurs on any spacecraft, the perpetrator’s identity becomes critically essential; however, it is challenging to point out space networks’ culprits.

In conclusion, NASA plans to take advantage of the agency’s international standing to foster new cohorts to facilitate peaceful space use. The agency continues to prepare for its lunar lander mission, encouraging private corporations to utilize the Moon’s resources.

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Space

Germany’s Space Industry proposes the construction of a mobile Launchpad for satellites in the North Sea

The German government is reviewing a proposal from its space industry to develop mobile satellite launchpads. The initiative plans to use the launchpads for small satellites’ inauguration, not weighing more than one tonne, carried in Germany-built launch vehicle rockets. Although the government still intends to announce the site selected for the launchpad officially, many people speculate its location within Germany’s economic zone.

Current mainstream media reports show that the Federation of German Industries (BDI) advocates implementing the project. The German government declared that the project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The BDI proposal for the country’s launchpad project is technically viable and seeks to develop strategic and economic meaning. Germany’s digital economy heavily relies on satellites that provide a network for upcoming technological advancements such as autonomous cars and other self-driving vehicles. 

Developments within the space industry unlock the potential for growth of the digital economy; such projects make the sector attractive to start-up companies. The Isar Aerospace, based in Ottobrunn, is one of the three German start-up companies involved in the launchpad project proposal. The Isar Aerospace specializes in the design and manufacture of two-stage rockets that measure 89ft high. The company plans to conduct its space launch missions for the rockets as of next year. Bulent Altan, formerly the deputy director at SpaceX, is among the advisors at Isar Aerospace. Elon Musk, a tech billionaire, is the CEO of SpaceX based in the United States.

The vision is to design launchpads to inaugurate rockets with no boosters, unlike the rockets that the European Space Agency launches at its Kourou inauguration site in French Guiana. The German government plans to develop launchpads, particularly for mini-rockets. Several space companies and agencies around the world continue to build miniature rockets of similar architecture. 

There is a growing popularity for compact satellites that operate on low-cost, miniature electronics. Space cooperations continue to launch these satellites in constellations of 30 to 60 satellites carried in big launch vehicle rockets. Space regulatory continues to urge companies within the industry to develop miniature and agile rockets that are more responsive to the market’s demands. The German government stated its intentions to finance projects within the country’s micro-launcher sector. Other Northern European states such as the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden are at the forefront of the initiative. 

In summary, there is unlimited potential for the development of the space industry as many space cooperations innovate technological advancements designed to help humankind reach for planets beyond. Countries that foster policies and regulations that favor growth in the space industry continue solidifying their digital technology economy’s reputation. 

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Space

Speculations about Space Force developing heavy-lift military launch vehicles

Last month, the United States Space Force selected the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy as launch vehicles that satisfied the state security requirements to fly its satellites. 

Brig. Gen. Jason Cothern, the procurement supervisor of inauguration services at the U.S. Space Force, expressed the excitement and anticipations for future space exploration missions. Cothern made the statement as the vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) during an online forum conducted by the RAND Corporation on September 8. 

However, Cothern’s statement omitted the speculations that the Space Force plans to utilize ultra heavy reusable launch vehicles such as Blue Origin’s New Glenn or SpaceX’s Starship for future satellite inaugurations. While responding to a question on whether the military plans to employ super heavy-lift launch vehicles for its space missions, Cothern said that their providers satisfy both the current and later goals of the agency.

Space and Missile Systems Center strive to attain 100% success in every space mission it conducts. SMC anticipates partnering with ULA and SpaceX in the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 program. Currently, the most crucial concern is the requirements for the next generation of lift-off vehicles for upcoming military space missions. Cothern said that the type and design of the launch vehicles depend on the kind of threats involved during the mission. The development process consists of acknowledging the risks and determining the applicable requirements and architectures that neutralize the hazards.

The RAND forum involved a panel discussion focused on the market research study for the cooperation’s space launch missions. The recommendations from the research prompted an endless debate on the responsibility of the United States military in fostering strategies for the future of the launch industry.

Bonnie Triezenberg, a senior engineer at RAND and the lead author of the market study, insisted that the Air Force took a decisive step to select two space companies for the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 program procurement. However, the Air Force considers a move to support more space corporations to boost development within the United States commercial base.

Cothern said the Space Force is yet to consider plans to financially support space launch companies aside from the two contract awardee of Phase 2. Launch providers such as Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin are to incur the costs for conducting all the National Security Launch certification procedures on their new launch vehicles. Cothern said that the Space Force looks forward to working with any other launch provider not selected for Phase 2 launch, but at their own expense. To conclude, the future of the space industry is promising for any launch provider considering working with the Space Force. 

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Space

A continuing resolution (CR) is an enigma for Space Force – Raymond

Congress will be authenticating a continuing resolution to finance the US government when the new financial year starts this October. If Congress decides to lengthen the CR to the next financial year, then the US Space Force will be under financial strain since its funds embedded in the Air Force budget will delay. All monies in the Air Force budget are only apportionable when the budget is within one financial year. This explanation implies that Space Force will have to halt some of its projects which need money.

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond of the US Space Force explained that an extended CR would barricade some of their essential projects on Tuesday. He stated this in a virtual Air Force Cyber Conference.

Raymond revealed that billions of cash that would have moved from the Air Force’s budget to Space Force would hold until the extended CR comes to its end. He argues that this would decapitate their operations and programs. The funds in question are vital in operations and programs like maintenance, research and development, test flights, acquisition of payloads, and emergency war spendings.

The US president and his Congress legislators discuss terms of the CR to prevent governmental paralysis of various operations. The CR in question would be partially effective in 2020 and wait until Congress apportions the fiscal budget that terminates it next year.

Raymond explained that their biggest problem is the vast funds planned for their operations, which the CR impedes their descending to Space Force. The White House tabled a report which contains ambiguities in the CR to Congres for it to resolve them quickly and amicably. One of the titles is the challenge of the Space Force accessing crucial funds through the CR.

Raymond explained the essence of Congress resolving these ambiguities as quickly as possible. He added that the legislators must amend some terms and clauses in the CR to prevent financial tussles and tugs. Space Force will encounter changing accounts when Congress passes a new appropriation bill.

The CR bars agencies like Space Force from initiating new programs that can be essential for their projects’ performance. Some of the projects that would be affected by the CR include the acquisition of new GPS satellites and the upscaling of the National Space Defense Center at its Colorado Springs facility.

In conclusion, Raymond expressed his fear that these important projects would be back-pedaled by the CR extension. Additionally, he worries that there will be arguments with the National Reconnaissance Office over terrestrial space if the facility in Colorado Springs does not expand to completion and in time.

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Space

NASA’s fresh call for Moon Lander payload from the agency’s commercial partners

NASA published new calls for the agency’s partners in the private space industry to manufacture more lunar landers. According to NASA’s request for more scientific and trial Moon lander payloads, the agency anticipates to receive them later on in 2022. The agency plans on using the payloads to help make the path for NASA’s Artemis program that seeks to take humankind back to the Moon in 2024. After the successful Apollo Moon landing mission, NASA continues to roll out plans to return humankind to the Moon. The agency’s Artemis Project is one such program that continues to develop lunar lander equipment and spacecraft. 

Recently, NASA’s Search and Rescue office partnered with Australia’s SmartSat Cooperative Research Center to develop beacon technologies for astronauts on the Moon. The network is expected to facilitate the transmission of distress-related signals from the astronauts, whether on the Moon or in case something goes wrong during deployment of a rocket’s lunar payload. 

NASA announced a call for innovation to help the agency deal with dust particles’ messy problems on the Moon’s surface. The agency conducts a yearly idea competition to attract students from college and universities to ideate, prototype, test, and demonstrate resilient dust mitigation projects. 

Initially, NASA established its own Commercial Lunar Payload Service (CLPS) project to ensure a stable number of approved special services suppliers. The types of services include producing lunar landers capable of withstanding last-mile deployment of special lunar payloads. NASA’s CLPS comprises 14 corporations listed as vendors, to name some such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Firefly, and Astrobotic make up space companies that are eligible for bidding on contracts NASA creates to deliver specific payloads to the surface of the Moon.

NASA awarded contracts for two groups of payloads from the CLPS project, part of four scheduled launches under contract. Firstly, the planned launches are June 2021 Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One launch; secondly, October 2021 Intuitive Machines IM-1 inauguration; thirdly, December 2022 Mansten’s Mission One launch; lastly, Astrobotic’s VIPER mission set for 2023.

An in-depth look at the new payloads indicates that the list consists of different scientific instruments such as the lunar regolith, adhesion testing apparatus, X-ray imaging devices, a dust-resistant shield. 

NASA’s private lunar lander partners under the CLPS program are eligible to submit contract bids to conduct the new list of 10 trials and demonstrations; the plan is to deliver the stated instrument by 2022. The agency anticipates selecting a bid winner for the new contract award by late this year. 

To conclude, NASA’s effort to improve the life of humankind through space exploration is truly remarkable. NASA continues to plan more projects, programs, and idea competitions to improve their existing space technologies and expertise; with new challenges come fresh opportunities to develop a thing or two. 

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Space

A report observes ways Artemis backs sustainable human Red planet (Mars) exploration

The Artemis program from NASA of the human lunate survey can aid make way for human Red Planet operations, as per a recent publication, even though some nips to those strategies might be necessitated. The publication, unveiled through the space survey support group Explore Mars at the time of the virtual Human to Mars Summit, is founded on a workspace conducted latter November that brought together officials of NASA, industry as well as academia to survey methodologies for an inexpensive human survey for the Red Planet.

The workspace recognized 85 activities or tasks related to the human Red Planet survey, stretching from human health to touchdown technologies and surface systems. A substantial figure of them can gain from the Artemis slate or current study on the International Space Station.

It would be increased by task on the Red Planet-specific technologies. Lisa May from Lockheed Martin remarked that they had to be focusing on removing dangers, showing technologies as well as staying and tasking on the moon in equivalence with advancing those particular, distinct technologies.

One site of research panellists observed that it is attaining experience in partial gravity like the one the moon’s surface or the Red Planet. The workspace stated that some modifications to the Artemis slate might be necessitated so that it can work well on the Red Planet survey. Lisa highlighted that getting people on the moon’s surface to conduct their tasks, perform their survey and science, and making a maintainable presence was not enough.

One instance of alteration has prolonged operations on the lunate Gateway that NASA currently suggests to utilize for comparatively short stopovers by spacemen. She added that they could imitate Mars operations, Mars transportation time by getting crews to stay for a longer period around the Gateway.

The other tasking group at the workspace concentrated on situ resource usage, specifically gaining access to water ice residues that probably exist on the red planet as well as the moon. That comprises of a sequence of predecessor operations on the two universes to establish how reachable the ice is.

An instance of such operation in NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration that shall search for water ice around the south pole of the moon. Clive Neal, a university lecturer from the University of Notre Dame, concurred, stressing the significance of recognizing reserves of water ice on the moon and the Red Planet that could be utilized by crewed operations. He remarked that comprehending how much they would obtain and utilize was going to determine the structure of what they set together to travel to the moon and then the Red Planet.

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Space

Satellogic’s 11th satellite lift-off to Earth’s lower orbit

Great news as Satellogic confirms reports of another spacecraft launch from Guiana Space Center via a Spaceflight Inc. procured inauguration. The NewSat Mark IV satellite reached the Sun-synchronous low-Earth path aboard the Vega rocket launched from Arianespace.

The spacecraft received the name Hypatia, a well-renowned astronomer, ideologist, and mathematician in Alexandria. A little bit of history, she was famous for her life as a renowned teacher, wise advisor, and iconic women’s rights activist, the precursor to our modern-day feminist movement.

Satellogic remains the pioneer company to create a scalable platform for Earth Observation with the capability of remapping the world at both high frequency and resolution.
Hypatia incorporates a sub-meter multi-spectral camera and a 30-meter hyper-spectral camera after the successful launch of NewSat Mark IV into the orbital path. Satellogic integrated new systems into the NewSat Mark IV satellite to serve the needs of the company’s advancements in Earth Observation capacities. Once successfully commissioned, Satellogic plans to make available the new abilities to current clients.

The iconic inauguration of NewSat is a clear demonstration of Satellogic’s adaptability to different deployment systems and launch rockets. The space mission offers the company chance to experiment with the sub-meter mapping technology. Currently, Satellogic’s butch of satellites continues to remap the Earth with high resolution, in addition to the company’s low-cost offering, unlocking more potential applications for many industries. Upon fine-tuning sub-meter imaging, the company seeks to push down the cost incurred in performing high-frequency geospatial data analytics. 

Gerardo Richarte, Satellogic Founder and CTO, said that the company is fully responsible for every satellite’s design and manufacture; this offers a chance for the teams in Research and Development to validate upcoming technologies in each launch. The company incorporates new products into every generation of satellites, advancing the goal to achieve new space.

Satellogic and China Great Wall Industry Corporation worked together to launch two spacecraft back in January. Satellogic owns 11 satellites, drawing the company nearer to its vision of using a satellite constellation that seeks to provide weekly, high-quality planet remaps at a different standard for market accessibility and affordability. 


Stephane Israël, director of Arianespace, said that rapid and aggressive research and progressive efforts are vital to achieving the space industry’s advancement and general development of humanity. Satellogic’s satellite is anticipated to provide data to help attain increasing demand for the company’s data analytics services and other solutions to serve Dedicated Satellite Constellation clients in 2020. In conclusion, Satellogic’s demonstration of resilience, persistence, and adaptability is a remarkable drive to deliver high-frequency and high-resolution remap imagery.

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Space

The Pentagon studies reveal that China is developing anti-satellite weaponry

At the beginning of this month, Pentagon gave a press statement outlining how China is designing missiles and electronic arsenal that can blast satellites in low and high-Earth orbits into pieces. The Defense Department of the United States submitted a report detailing the capability of China to wage space war through its military weapons. The report states that China has a ground facility where it develops missiles that can pursue and knock out space apparatus like satellites no matter their position above the Earth’s globe. 

DoD had the task of filing this report as early as two decades ago but was adamant about doing so since it lacked adequate evidence to support these allegations. The Pentagon views the idea of China’s military troops utilizing their capabilities in space and the denial of the same privilege to their enemies as the new space war. The report details China’s incessant efforts to widen its military space prowess while sternly vouching against the militarization of space. 

Nevertheless, China is yet to make a public acknowledgment of the allegations leveled by the US concerning its space weaponization, saying that it is only responsible for pulling the trigger to scatter its weather satellite thirteen years ago. However, the DoD report exclaims at the steadily expanding militarization of China’s space facilities and programs. Some of the so-called threatening programs include space surveillance systems, navigator space robots, kinetic-retard missiles, and the Earthbound lasers.

Key electronic weapons that the DoD is talking about include focused energy weapons, cybersecurity systems, and satellite signal compacters. These weapons are what the Pentagon has received submissions about detailing that they are countermeasures in case China’s space resources come into conflict with those of another country. The report articulates that these Chinese resources would observe an approaching enemy satellite or spacecraft and send alert signals to its weaponry servers to send out a blinding and deafening reply before they strike their enemy.

The report adds that China’s growing space industry is the likely propeller of its advancing anti-satellite weapons technology. The report notes that the satellites, space vehicles, detectors, and moon systems that China is developing are a worry to the international community since they are preparing to be the leading nation or superpower in space activities.

Finally, the report seems to focus on China’s developing space capabilities. There is a likelihood that the other countries are feeling threatened by China’s prowess in advancing their space industry. For this reason, the developed nations are trying to chicken out China so that it can slow down on the expansion of its space resources. 

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Air Force Research Laboratory intends to widen the scope of its scientific space experiments

The Air Force Research Laboratory plans on expanding its scientific knowledge base by conducting two more space experiments. One of the experiments will evaluate the performance of the equipment and instruments hosted by satellites within the low-Earth orbit. The other investigation is a technical upscale of the ongoing detection technology that oversees the orbital path aligning towards the moon. 

These experiments will be under the Space Vehicles Directorate’s supervision based at the New Mexico Air Force facility. The chief of Space Vehicles Directorate, Col. Eric Felt, admitted that over 20 teams applied to conduct these experiments with only two winnings since their proposals focus on vital space details concerning national security. 

The low-Earth orbit experiment will be within an altitude ranging between 85 and 600 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The agency offering the contract for this experiment states that the investigation will investigate how this zone’s atmospheric conditions affect communication and exploration. The experiment intends to evaluate the ionosphere’s alterations due to the composite gases utilizing detector satellite instruments. 

Felt stated in a virtual meeting that they would be investigating the cause of the high repulsive force that presses the spacecraft, making it invoke a high propulsion power to maintain the motion. The other experiment crowned CHPS will be working on the operations beyond the low-Earth orbit towards the other planets. 

The CHPS experiment seeks to understand objects’ behavior in this realm and track their movement to other systems. The team going for this expedition will be collecting samples in space from the moon and analyze their details before further exploration. The program engineer for AFRL, Capt David Buehler, states the experiment will be evaluating the possibility of clearing the path for the upcoming US space flights heading for the moon. 

The CHPS expedition will evaluate a mechanism for tracking the suspended pieces in space and a plausible way to avoid knocking them if the debris is rigid. The principal facilitator of this mission, Jaime Stearns, stated that the task would help NASA experts to understand how to draw realistic trajectories for their spacecraft that head out into the deep space. 

To conclude, the project developers will be submitting their budgets to facilitate quick negotiations with the financiers on the way forward. Felt stated that this mission is a revolutionary move that the other stakeholders must implement to focus on new tasks.