Advantech and TXMission Reveal a Technology and Distribution Partnership 

Combining their talents and business acumen Advantech Wireless Technologies Inc. (“Advantech”), has signed a sales and distribution agreement with the California and Watford, England based TXMission, a designer and manufacturer of high performance SmallSat modems for the New Space Industry. This announcement precedes their participation at Satellite 2020 in Washington, DC, March 10-12 where Advantech Wireless Technologies will be available at booth #1216.

The companies will together develop a comprehensive suite of SmallSat, Airborne and Comms-On-The-Move (COTM) communication products for markets requiring versatile, extremely low size, weight and power (SWaP) products that provide leading-edge performance. The range of fully integrated SmallSat and UAV/Airborne products to be developed will include advanced RF transceivers, multi-gigabit modems for onboard and ground segment applications, low SWaP satellite terminals, antennas, network management systems and 5G technology solutions.

John Restivo, President of Advantech Wireless Technologies is pleased to announce the partnership with TXMission, a professional off-the-shelf, end-to-end satellite communications company.  He said that Advantech plans to integrate their microwave RF technology with the TXMission modem, resulting in a system level solution that will work across multiple Satcom markets. They are certain this relationship will present new opportunities for Advantech.

Steve McHugh, Chairman of TXMission added that this is an exciting development that combines their unique SDR technology with Advantech’s renowned RF capabilities.

Ball Aerospace’s Advanced Spectrometer Instrument Completes PDR for MethaneSAT

Ball Aerospace has successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the advanced spectrometer instrument for the MethaneSAT Flight System, a 350 kg. satellite that will locate and measure methane emissions around the globe — with the completion of PDR, Ball will proceed with the critical design phase.

MethaneSAT is expected to be launched in 2022 by MethaneSAT LLC, a subsidiary of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The non-profit is dedicated to creating innovative science-based solutions to critical environment challenges, including anthropogenic methane emissions, a significant contributor to global climate change.

Two extremely sensitive spectrometers sit at the heart of the Ball-designed instrument that will measure a narrow part of the shortwave infrared spectrum where methane absorbs light, allowing it to detect concentrations as low as two parts per billion. In addition to the MethaneSAT instrument, Ball Aerospace is providing flight systems integration and testing, launch support, and commissioning services.

Artistic rendition of the Environmental Defense Fund’ MethaneSAT.

Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, VP and GM, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace, said the firm is excited to be a part of a mission that aims to study and address the impact of methane on the environment and climate. MethaneSAT fits well with Ball’s long history of Earth science.

Mission co-lead Dr. Steven Hamburg, who also serves as Chief Scientist for Environmental Defense Fund, noted that MethaneSAT is built around a set of high performance technologies and sophisticated analytics tools that, when combined, provide a major leap in the ability to measure and quantify even low-level methane emissions across the globe from space. A lot is being asked of the technical partners and Ball Aerospace is rising to the occasion.

Altitude Lowering Underway for ALE’s Shooting Star Efforts

ALE Co., Ltd.(ALE), led by CEO Lena Okajima, has reported that the company’s first man-made shooting star satellite that was launched on January 18, 2019, has begun its mission to lower its altitude.

ALE-1, the first satellite jointly developed by ALE and National University Corporation Tohoku University (Tohoku University) to try to create a man-made shooting star, was launched on January 18, 2019, on the JAXA Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-1 (Epsilon Rocket No. 4) with six other satellites and was placed into orbit at an altitude of about 500 km.

The operating altitude for releasing particles to create man-made shooting stars is targeted for about 400 km., which means the satellite will need to lower its altitude for about 100 km. to a required altitude for operation.

A thin film orbit release device, DOM®: De-Orbit Mechanism (DOM®), jointly developed with Nakashimada Engineering Works, Ltd. and Tohoku University, that is attached to the satellite is used to lower the altitude gradually using atmospheric drag.

ALE-1 will reach the altitude of 400 km. in about one year and, after technological verification, it will begin its emission operation of the man-made shooting stars.

This ALE-1 satellite photo is courtesy of the company.

Change in schedule of altitude descent

At the time of its launch, ALE-1’s altitude descent was originally planned to start from March of 2019; however, due to additional post-launch trials, detailed orbit data collection and technological verifications for the use of second satellite (ALE-2) operations, the starting date for ALE-‘s altitude descent was postponed.
     After the initial trials, completion of data accumulation, and technological verifications for ALE-2 operations, the DOM® thin film unfolded on December 25, 2019, and ALE-1’s altitude started to descend. The results from monitoring orbit transition for one month confirmed that the speed of altitude descendant of ALE-1 has accelerated.

New Dual Band SSPA Debuts from Teledyne Paradise Datacom

Teledyne Paradise Datacom (Paradise), part of the Teledyne Defense Electronics Group, has rolled out their new L- and S-Dual Band solid state power amplifier (SSPA).

Both S- and L-band frequencies have been the industry’s bands of choice for positioning and tracking applications such as global positioning systems (GPS) and Tracking, Telemetry, and Control (TTC) ground stations. This new dual band product offers customers a virtual ”two for the price of one” SSPA solution that dramatically lowers the costs of command and control, leaves a much smaller footprint, but also delivers higher reliability compared to traditional klystron power amplifiers. Download the Product Overview.

Teledyne Paradise Datacom’s L/S Dual Band SSPA with Compact Outdoor Enclosure from Paradise Datacom.

Photo is courtesy of the company.

An ideal fit for Military and Commercial command and control environments, the L/S-band SSPA provides the high reliability of solid state technology required to support critical communications between the earth and satellites, in a rugged, outdoor-rated enclosure.

Compared to older vacuum-based technology, the enhanced reliability and ease-of-use gives operators the opportunity to support command and control facilities with non- or semi-technical staff. In instances where modular solid-state deployments with n+1 redundancy are used, it is often even possible to benefit from unmanned or remotely manned uplinks.

The L/S Dual Band SSPA is available in two power levels, both of which are housed in rugged, outdoor-rated enclosures. Power levels up to 800W are available in the High Power Outdoor SSPA package (part number HPAS2800GHXXXXXG) and up to 400W in the Compact Outdoor SSPA enclosure, (part number HPAS2400GCXXXXXG). Both units are available covering sub-band “G” (1.75 to 2.12 GHz).

Mike Towner, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing, said that smaller satellites and new deployment technology are reducing satellite launch costs and the number of satellites on-orbit is increasing dramatically. This is increasing the demands on operators that are performing station keeping and their need for reliable command and control systems. The introduction of the industry’s first, outdoor, dual band SSPA gives the flexibility of a single amplifier covering both bands, and the reliability and reduced maintenance costs that come with a solid state solution.

For more information, visit Teledyne booth #708 at the Satellite 2020 show in Washington, DC March 9-12.

Propulsion Systems from Exotrail to Empower AAC Clyde Space’s Smallsats

Exotrail has signed a contract with AAC Clyde Space to equip that firm with propulsion solutions for their customers, including Eutelsat for their ELO 3 and ELO 4 spacecraft.

Exotrail will provide propulsion systems for the two 6U cubesats that will be manufactured and delivered to orbit by AAC Clyde Space. The Eutelsat mission is a precursor to a potential constellation called ELO (Eutelsat LEO for Objects). The contract is to be delivered before the end of the year, both satellites will be launched in 2021.

Artistic rendition of a smallsat powered by Exotrail’s propulsion system.

Image is courtesy of the company.

Exotrail started its propulsion system development with a flight demonstrator project that was designed, built, qualified and delivered in only 10 months. The launch of the flight system demonstrator, initially scheduled to fly in November of 2019 on board a PSLV, is now planned for March of 2020 (due to a launcher delay).

The resulting heritage acquired with this project, along with the expertise and innovation put forward in Exotrail’s product development, has allowed the company to secure their first customers.

Artistic rendition of Eutelsat’s ELO constellation on-orbit.

Image is courtesy of the company.

According to the company, these customer contracts demonstrate that Exotrail’s strategy is paying off and that the company has moved quickly from vision to reality, a vision to provide a propulsion system as well as a set of software, hardware and services and to change the way satellites are launched and operated on orbit. This vision is now translating into revenue and success.

AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes said the company is looking forward to working with Exotrail. Their product is a perfect fit for both the firm’s needs and the customer’s requirements. Their modular ExoMG™ product has a highly compact and flexible form factor with industry leading performance levels, in particular with respect to thrust levels.

David Henri, Co-founder and CEO of Exotrail, added that the firm is an established specialist in advanced smallsat missions and provides market-leading New Space solutions. Exotrail is delighted to be able to assist AAC Clyde Space for this mission with the ExoMG™ – smallsat. This underlines the relevance of the company’s solutions for optimizing global constellations and the firm’s expertise in this growing sector.

Shetland Space Centre Receives £2 Million for Launches this Year

Plans that would see a remote island in the far north of Scotland become home to the UK’s first spaceport have come a step closer to fruition after a major funding boost, this according to a report in The Scotsman national newspaper’s infosite.

Unst in Shetland, the most northerly inhabited island in the UK, has been selected as the ideal spot to construct a commercial satellite launch pad as the nation bids to join the new and rapidly growing global space sector.

Photo of the Shetland Space Centre is courtesy of the company.

Now Shetland Space Centre (SSC) is set to benefit from investment of more than £2 million from private equity firm Leonne International, which will own a 20 per cent stake in the venture. The cash will be used to develop the Unst facility, including a vertical-launch site for smallsats and a ground operations station.

The first high-altitude, commercial, payload launches are set to take place later this year, with the spaceport expected to be fully operational by 2021. A mixture of commercial and government clients will be able to use the space hub, but it is also predicted to attract an increasing number of tourists to the rugged outpost.7

To read the entire, informative article, please access this direct link to The Scotsman infosite…

Financial Inflow of 3.1 Million Euros for Kleos Space S.A.

Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1) has secured a €3.1 million loan agreement with Dubai-based family office Winance to progress its commercialization plans and repay the extant convertible note— Winance will further provide optional €6.0 million through a convertible note agreement, subject to final documentation.

Dubai-based Winance reached out to Kleos Space during the trade mission organized in Dubai by the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy, the Luxembourg Embassy and the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Abu Dhabi at the end of January.

Artistic rendition of Kleos Space’ Scouting Mission smallsat.

Image is courtesy of the company.

These funds will allow Kleos to repay extant Evolution Equities convertible notes for the development and launch of the firm’s second cluster of satellites and increase its presence within the US defence sector. The Loan Agreement ensures Kleos is well-funded to execute its commercialization plans while awaiting revenues from early adopter contracts.

Kleos will commence generating first revenues after the launch of its Scouting Mission satellites from Chennai, India, in the coming weeks. This initial satellite cluster is the foundation of a larger constellation which will geolocate radio frequency transmissions to provide global activity-based intelligence irrespective of the presence of positioning systems, unclear imagery and targets out of patrol range.

CEO of Kleos Space, Andy Bowyer, said that the Loan Agreement provides Kleos with working capital to progress the development of the company’s second cluster of satellites while awaiting revenues from the Scouting Mission satellites. Luxembourg has a successful economic partnership with the UAE, developed over the past decades. This collaboration provides Luxembourg-based organisations operating in the space sector, such as Kleos Space, with access to investment and financing opportunities.

Waqas Ibrahim, Director & CFO of Winance, added that this new partnership is in line with Winance’s vision of investing in proficient and progressive thinking management teams. The firm is convinced that this collaboration can serve as a springboard for both our companies in the GCC, Australian and Luxembourg markets. Kleos technology has never been more relevant than today in addressing a real world need and has attracted interest from governments and private organizations.

Marc Serres, CEO of the Luxemboug Space Agency, noted that Luxembourg and the UAE share the same commitment to support the economic development of the commercial space industry. The agreement between a Luxembourg-based company and a Dubai family office shows that our bilateral cooperation with the UAE is successful when it comes to developing high technology space products and services through financing instruments tailored to meet the needs of private companies.

New Satellite Manufacturing Facility is Opened by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503)  has completed construction of a new facility for the production of satellites at the company’s Kamakura Works in Kamakura, Japan.

Together with existing facilities, Mitsubishi Electric’s combined annual capacity will increase to 18 satellites, up from 10 at present, which will enable the company to satisfy the growing demand for governmental satellites in Japan and commercial communication satellites worldwide. New facility at Kamakura Works.

Photo of the new Mitsubishi satellite factory is courtesy of the company.

The new facility will increase production efficiency, shorten production time, reduce costs and elevate product quality for enhanced competitiveness. It will incorporate information technologies based on Mitsubishi Electric’s e-F@ctory solutions, which extract hidden benefits from existing resources through integrated automation to realize improved efficiencies, reduced costs and increased productivity.

In addition, the new facility will incorporate Mitsubishi Electric products, such as a heat pump air-conditioning system, LED lights and high-efficiency transformers to further reduce energy consumption.

The Japanese market for governmental satellites is expected to grow under the country’s Basic Plan for Space Policy, which calls for the development of observation, communication and positioning satellites that support daily life and facilitate the commercial use of space for the enhancement of Japan’s industrial and scientific foundations.

Last year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced its participation in the U.S. government’s Gateway project targeting a manned station near the moon, which is expected to stimulate increased demand for governmental satellites. Separately, the global market for small communication and observation satellites also is envisioned growing.

Mitsubishi Electric’s long involvement with satellites includes the Himawari-7, -8 and -9 weather satellites, the Superbird-C2-Japan’s first commercial communications satellite, QZS high-accuracy positioning satellite systems, and the Es’hail-2 for Qatar Satellite Company in Qatar. Going forward, Mitsubishi Electric aims to more widely apply technologies it cultivates for governmental satellites to enhance its position in expanding fields, such as next-generation-engineering test satellites.

Another First for Gilat — ESA Terminal Achieves In-Flight Connectivity over NGSO

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: GILT) has announced that Gilat’s first-to-flight Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) terminal achieved another industry-first with in-flight connectivity over NGSO (Non-Geostationary Orbit) — this success well-positions Gilat to win opportunities within the ESA market.

Artistic rendition of Telesat’s Phasae 1 LEO satellite.

Image is courtesy of the company.

The demonstration showed high performance and instantaneous Ka-band switchovers between and operating on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite and its Anik-F3 GEO satellite, onboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 commercial test aircraft, across several flight tests.

Gilat’s high throughput and small form factor ESA operated continuously over GEO and then instantaneously switched connectivity to operate on LEO when it came into view and then back to GEO after operating on LEO. The ESA terminal demonstrated high performance, with broadband throughput of up to 58 Mbit/sec on both FWD and RTN, round trip delay as low as 18 msec. and robust operation at low elevation angles of down to 20 degrees.

Gilat’s ESA has a no moving parts and is a full electronic beam steering flat panel antenna with an extremely low profile. The company’s innovative design combines the benefits of ESA with the advantages of Ka-band, as highlighted by the performance achieved in this testing. The ESA terminal serves both GEO and NGSO constellations and, as such, opens the market to low latency, real-time applications.

Michel Forest, Director of Systems Engineering for the LEO Program at Telesat, said that Gilat’s multi-orbit ESA switchover capabilities will enable airlines to future-proof their connectivity decisions. Airlines will be able to access high-performing Ka-band connectivity today and easily incorporate LEO low-latency connectivity without replacing terminals. The company’s ongoing development efforts with valued partner Gilat will ensure airlines have flexibility and ability to meet their inflight data requirements of the future.

Roni Stoleru, the VP of Antenna Products & Strategy at Gilat, added that the company’s innovative ESA terminal opens up great opportunities in the commercial and business aviation markets with a winning proposition that addresses the two major ESA industry growth dynamics: mobility, with emphasis on in-flight connectivity and the upcoming NGSO constellations. Gilat is appreciative of the collaboration with the firm’s long-standing partners, Honeywell and Telesat, and looks forward to continued cooperation.

Note: Gilat’s ESA terminal will be displayed at Satellite 2020 in Washington DC, booth #1017.

ICEYE US Acquires a CEO

ICEYE has named Dr. Mark Matossian as the CEO of ICEYE US, Inc.—he most recently served for more than a decade in program management at Google, including carrying the responsibility of manufacturing and launch of the Terra Bella Earth imaging constellation. This hire marks a significant expansion in the US activities of ICEYE, including plans to extend satellite manufacturing to the US.

Dr. Mark Matossian

Initially, Dr. Matossian will be working with ICEYE’s current partners in the US, including R2 Space, Ursa Space, RS Metrics, and others, to fully use ICEYE’s growing satellite constellation with three satellites operating in orbit and additional satellites launching later this year. In addition, Dr. Matossian will be focused on evaluating ICEYE satellite manufacturing in the US. The ICEYE US, Inc subsidiary is evaluating locations for manufacturing based on access to facilities, people, suppliers, partners, and interest from the local governments.

A veteran of Silicon Valley telecom and IT startups, Dr. Matossian most recently spent 13 years managing global projects at Google – from data centers to Android to satellites. There, he specialized in scaling up new products and services, leading projects across Asia, Europe, and South America. He is a co-founder of Solstar Space Co., which partnered with Blue Origin and NASA to develop innovative satellite constellation telecom services for spacecraft.

As part of his aerospace work at Google, Dr. Matossian worked on the precursor to OneWeb; led program management of the Titan Aerospace UAV effort; and guided substantial growth at Terra Bella. At Terra Bella, he managed Earth imaging spacecraft production and launch operations, shifting the organization from a prototype-focused startup to a process-driven, scalable venture. Prior to moving to Silicon Valley, Dr. Matossian worked on the first wave of commercial constellation efforts, including Iridium and Teledesic, as well as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder, ICEYE, said Mark’s leadership is instrumental as the company fully expands into the American market. His experience will be invaluable in this exciting new chapter for ICEYE. While the firm already works with customers around the globe, Mark’s expertise will help ICEYE focus on the value the firm creates for customers in the US, building higher quality and faster technology capabilities to meet their needs.

Dr. Matossian added that ICEYE’s leadership in New Space technology is already undeniable in Europe and he’s looking forward to further expanding ICEYE’s best-in-class imaging capabilities to US government and industry leaders. ICEYE’s innovative SAR technology, growing constellation, and compelling value are a winning combination for the sophisticated US SAR market.