Space 

Pentagon budget funds ‘small launch services’ to gain greater access to space

Defense budget establishes a “small launch” program with a dedicated funding line of $192.5 million over five years WASHINGTON — It’s been widely reported that the U.S. military views its satellites in space as prime targets of enemy aggression. But opinions diverge over how to deter and defeat potential attacks. One school of thought is that satellites could be made less attractive targets if the military were able to launch new ones into orbit at will, within minutes or hours of an attack. This approach appears to be gaining traction…

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Science 

SpaceX launch: Elon Musk to send internet satellites into space THIS WEEKEND

After achieving huge success with Falcon Heavy, space entrepreneur Mr Musk hopes to now build a worldwide broadband network with satellites after approval was given by the top US communications regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fibre optic cables and cell towers do not reach.” This weekend’s main launch involves a PAZ satellite being blasted skyward for Hisdesat of Madrid, Spain. Along with the observation satellite, two demonstration ones –…

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Space 

FCC chairman urges approval for SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation. In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet. “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S.…

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Space 

Largest cubesat operators say 25-year deorbit guideline a priority

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Planet and Spire, operators of the two largest commercial cubesat constellations in orbit, say they manage their fleets to prevent retired spacecraft from lingering in space beyond internationally accepted guidelines. Speaking at the SmallSat Symposium here Feb. 7, officials from Planet and Spire said the companies have self-imposed rules to ensure their satellites burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 25 years of shutting down, as suggested by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination (IADC) committee. Earth-observation company Planet has 200 satellites in low Earth orbit, making its…

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Space 

ESA awards five smallsat launcher study contracts

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — The European Space Agency on Feb. 8 announced five companies will study potential small launch vehicles for the agency’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). ArianeGroup, MT Aerospace, European Launch Vehicle, Deimos and PLD Space are all proposing “microlaunchers” for dedicated missions to low-Earth orbit that can be “economically viable,” and “commercially self-sustaining” but “without public funding,” ESA said. “A European commercial microlauncher can meet the growing need for dedicated launch services to companies with small satellites,” Jerome Breteau, manager of ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme,” said…

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Space 

Mattis incensed there’s still no budget – DepSecDef at Space Command – Military pulling for Falcon Heavy

The SN Military.Space newsletter delivers news and insights to military space professionals every Tuesday. Sign up for your free subscription. HOT TOPIC: Mattis to Congress: Do your job; defense strategy, nuclear posture mean nothing if they’re not backed by resources U.S. government funding again expires this week and the only budget proposal in sight is one on the House floor today to fund the military for the remainder of FY-18 but only extend funding for the rest of the government for six weeks. The Senate is not expected to go…

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Space 

SoftBank interested in more satellite, OneWeb-related investments

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — SoftBank is actively considering future investments in the satellite industry, including investments related to low-Earth orbit broadband startup OneWeb, the head of SoftBank’s merger and acquisition and corporate finance division said today. Alex Clavel, executive vice president at SoftBank, said the Japanese tech giant, which in December 2016 invested $1 billion in OneWeb, is “very actively looking at new opportunities for OneWeb,” as well as “new opportunities throughout the smallsat space, and advances in manufacturing and communications.” OneWeb is building a first-generation constellation of 900 high-throughput,…

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Space 

Trump administration continues support of outer space norms of behavior

WASHINGTON – A former Obama administration official is optimistic that the Trump administration will continue to pursue the development of non-binding international agreements to promote norms of behavior in outer space. In a Feb. 1 speech at a U.S.-Japan space policy forum here, Frank Rose, chief of government relations at the Aerospace Corporation and a former assistant secretary of state and deputy assistant secretary for space and defense policy, said he was encouraged by statements by administration officials calling for continued development of such agreements on issues like orbital debris…

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Space 

Air Force attempts to bring private-sector investment, innovation to space

The Air Force will develop a “space architecture” to experiment with new types of satellites, hosted payloads and encryption tools. WASHINGTON — For years Air Force officials have talked about building a “space enterprise” as a way to connect the military, the intelligence community and companies that are developing cutting-edge technology that the government needs. But first, the Air Force says it needs to have in place a “space architecture” to experiment with new types of satellites, hosted payloads and encryption tools to protect space systems. So a contract was awarded…

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Space 

New companies needed to maintain small satellite market growth

WASHINGTON — The number of small satellites launched in 2017 exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts, but continued growth of the market will require new companies to start deploying constellations in the next few years. The annual report by Atlanta-based SpaceWorks Engineering, published Jan. 30, found that more than 300 satellites weighing between 1 and 50 kilograms launched in 2017. That total far exceeded the 182 the company has forecast for 2017 in its previous report a year ago, and even eclipsed the more than 250 it projected for the…

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