Hughes and OneWeb to Demonstrate Low Earth Orbit Service in Arctic Region for U.S. Air Force Research Lab

The OneWeb gateway in Svalbard, Norway, capable of 10,000 hand-offs per second, is one of the gateways developed by Hughes that will orchestrate handover and tracking of gigabits of data for NORTHCOM. (Credit: OneWeb/Kongsberg Satellite Services)

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2021 (Hughes/OneWeb PR) — Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks for 50 years, and OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, today announced their selection by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to demonstrate managed LEO satellite communications (SATCOM) services to connect the Arctic region to sites around the globe. Under the agreement, Hughes will test and implement these end-to-end services on the OneWeb system between selected U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) locations, a first step in harnessing the power of LEO satellites for high-speed, low-latency broadband access in the Arctic.

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60 Years Ago: Alan Shepard Becomes the First American in Space

HOSUTON (NASA PR) — In 1961, the United States and the Soviet Union found themselves in a race to put the first human being into space. The United States initiated Project Mercury in 1958 to put the first American into space and selected its first group of astronauts in 1959 to begin training for that mission. The Soviets kept their plans secret but began their own human spaceflight program and selected their own team of 20 cosmonauts in 1960.

The Soviets won the race in April 1961 when cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin completed a single orbit around the Earth aboard his Vostok capsule. On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space during a suborbital flight aboard his Mercury capsule named Freedom 7. Three weeks later, based on the success of Shepard’s brief flight, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to achieving a lunar landing before the end of the decade.

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SpaceX Successfully Lands Starship SN15 in Major Program Milestone

Starship SN15 takes off on May 5, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX website)

SpaceX successfully launched and landed its SN15 Starship after a 6 minute 8 second flight to 10 km from its Boca Chica test facility in Texas.

It marked the first time SpaceX has successfully landed a Starship prototype. Video of the flight indicates it touched down on the edge of the landing pad with two its three Raptor engines firing.

SN15 after landing. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX is developing Starship for crewed voyages to the moon and Mars and point to point travel between distant locations on Earth. NASA recently awarded the company a contract worth $2.9 billion to adapt Starship for use the Human Landing System that will take astronauts to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program.

Sateliot, Together with Spanish Ministry of Defense, Promoting First IOT Nanosat Constellation for IoT and Secure Information Exchange

BARCELONA (Sateliot PR) — Sateliot, the satellite telecommunications operator, is preparing with a dozen companies and the Spanish Ministry of Defense -as a potential user- the deployment of a constellation of low-orbit nanosatellites that, in addition to the democratization of IoT with 5G coverage, will also enable a secure information exchange system using QKD quantum keys.

This is a cross-cutting project led by Sateliot, which will involve an investment of more than 176 million euros and has just been submitted to the Spanish Ministry of Industry as part of the Program for the Promotion of Industrial Competitiveness and Sustainability projects that will serve as a guide for the allocation of European Next Generation funds. With this project, the consortium seeks to position Spain as a world reference in 5G IoT constellations and secure global communications, enabling the Spanish industrial sector to digitize as a priority.

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SpaceFund Intelligence Announces Space, Military, and Finance Expert Consulting Team

HOUSTON, May 5, 2021 (Newswire.com) – SpaceFund venture capital firm announced today that it is spinning off a new aerospace strategic consulting company to serve growing government, corporate, and investment industry demand for advice and informed diligence. The new firm, SpaceFund Intelligence (SFI) builds on the skills and team already assembled by the rapidly growing SpaceFund venture capital firm while adding high-level players to its roster of top-flight experts. The new team includes engineering, biomedical, geopolitical, and policy experts as well as former high-ranking U.S. military and government leaders.

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Blue Origin Announces Bidding War for the 0.1% for First Seat on New Shepard

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Credits: Blue Origin)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — On July 20th, New Shepard will fly its first astronaut crew to space. We are offering one seat on this first flight to the winning bidder of Blue Origin’s online auction. Starting today, anyone can place an opening bid by going to www.BlueOrigin.com.  

Here are the three phases of the auction: 

  • May 5-19: Sealed online bidding – you can bid any amount you want on the auction website (no bids are visible)  
  • May 19: Unsealed online bidding –  bidding becomes visible and participants must exceed the highest bid to continue in the auction 
  • June 12: Live auction – the bidding concludes with a live online auction 
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Blue Origin to Auction Off First Seat on New Shepard

Video Caption: On July 20th, #NewShepard​ will fly its first astronaut crew to space. We are offering one seat on this first flight to the winning bidder of our online auction. Starting today, anyone can place an opening bid by going to BlueOrigin.com. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. This seat will change how you see the world. #GradatimFerociter

Editor’s Note: I sincerely hope there’s more to their announcement than this.

NASA, DLR Begin New Test Run for Plant Cultivation on the Moon and Mars in Antarctica

Jess Bunchek holds her first harvest in her hand. (Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Ort)
  • NASA guest scientist Jess Bunchek will conduct research in the Antarctic greenhouse until early 2022.
  • Crop yield, plant irrigation, microbiology, crew time and effects on the wellbeing of the wintering team are the focus of the new research mission.
  • The YouTube livestream for the DLR press conference “EDEN ISS – Antarctic Greenhouse Mission 2021” was held on May 4th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CEST.

NEUMAYER STATION III, Antarctica (DLR PR) — Nine weeks of darkness and cold to minus 50 degrees Celsius. A joint series of experiments begins under the harsh conditions of the Antarctic by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for growing vegetables on the moon and Mars. NASA guest scientist Jess Bunchek is researching until the beginning of 2022 how astronauts can grow lots of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs with as little time and energy as possible. 

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Law Firm Investigating Virgin Galactic Holdings for Potential Securities Violations and Breach of Fiduciary Duty

NEW YORK, May 4, 2021 (Labaton Sucharow PR) — Labaton Sucharow, a nationally ranked and award-winning shareholder rights law firm, is investigating potential securities violations and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SPCE).

On May 4, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. closed down over 9% on enormous volume after the space tourism company said it would restate certain past financial results in the wake of recent comments by the Securities and Exchange Commission on the accounting treatment of deals involving special-purpose acquisition companies.

The Company reported in a Current Report on Form 8-K that, following its review of the SEC Statement and consulting with its advisors, the Company will restate its consolidated financial statements included in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. The restatement is due solely to the accounting treatment for the warrants of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. that were outstanding at the time of the Company’s business combination on October 25, 2019.

About the Firm

Labaton Sucharow LLP is one of the world’s leading complex litigation firms representing clients in securities, antitrust, corporate governance and shareholder rights, and consumer cybersecurity and data privacy litigation. Labaton Sucharow has been recognized for its excellence by the courts and peers, and it is consistently ranked in leading industry publications. Offices are located in New York, NY, Wilmington, DE, and Washington, D.C. More information about Labaton Sucharow is available at  http://www.labaton.com.

SMC Awards $32.5 Million to Palantir USG Inc. for Data-as-a-Service

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise (ECX) has awarded a firm-fixed price contract totaling $32.5 million, to Palantir USG Inc on April 30, 2021. 

This sole source award provides a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) Platform and converges three separate mission areas (Space C2, NORAD-NORTHCOM, and Project Brown Heron) using the same tech stack called Warp Core. It supports the Project Brown Heron effort under the U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, by providing a common data foundation that improves readiness information, which is a critical component of DAF-wide COVID-19 analysis and decision-making effort.

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Raytheon Intelligence and Space to Lead New Center Dedicated to Advancing U.S. Weather Forecasting

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA has announced that Raytheon Intelligence and Space has been chosen to design and develop the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC), an extramural center that will unite academia, industry and government to help create the most user-friendly and user-accessible comprehensive Earth modeling system.

Raytheon Intelligence and Spaceoffsite link brings to EPIC proven expertise in scientific leadership, software engineering, software infrastructure, and delivery of support services to government, academia and industry researchers who will collaborate within the EPIC framework.

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SMC Awards $228 Million OCX 3F Contract to Raytheon Intelligence and Space

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) awarded a $228 million contract to Raytheon Intelligence and Space for the Global Positioning System (GPS) Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) Follow-On (OCX 3F) on April 30.

The OCX 3F program is part of the GPS Enterprise Modernization effort.  GPS is a satellite-based radio navigation system that provides accurate positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) for military and civil users worldwide. The GPS OCX Blocks 1 & 2 System, planned for delivery in 2022, will represent a major evolution in capabilities for the GPS enterprise.  In addition to supporting the latest DoD standards and practices for cybersecurity, it also supports a number of advanced features over the legacy GPS Ground Segment. 

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SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches from Florida on May 4, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Elon Musk’s company has now launched 1,565 Starlink spacecraft, with 1,498 in orbit.

The Falcon 9 first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the ninth landing for the booster, which previously supported the launches of Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and six Starlink missions.

Spaceflight Inc. Readies the Next of Four Dedicated Electron Launches for BlackSky

By providing a mix of both traditional rideshare and dedicated options, launch services provider delivers maximum flexibility for BlackSky’s growing constellation

SEATTLE, May 4, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc.) — Global launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. recently secured four dedicated Rocket Lab launches on behalf of its customer, BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services. Spaceflight will provide the integration and launch services for eight BlackSky smallsats across four dedicated Electron missions throughout 2021. The agreement also includes options for an additional two dedicated missions on Electron in Q4 2021.

The first of these four dedicated missions is scheduled to launch in May 2021 from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The mission, called “Running Out of Toes” by Rocket Lab and “RL-7” by Spaceflight to signify its seventh mission with Rocket Lab, will carry two 55-kilogram class BlackSky smallsats to low Earth orbit. The following three dedicated launches under contract will each take two more BlackSky satellites, furthering BlackSky’s goal to launch nine satellites in 2021.

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Second Successful 2021 Launch for Spire

Spire grows LEMUR CubeSat platform with newly deployed satellites

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. & RESTON, Va. (Spire PR) — On April 29 Spire successfully deployed two new satellites into its LEMUR constellation. The satellites bring Spire to 143 total satellites launched, with more than 110 currently in orbit. This is the second launch of 2021 for Spire and 30th launch overall.

The Low Earth Multi-Use Receiver (LEMUR) is Spire’s CubeSat platform used to track maritime, aviation, and weather activity from space. Each satellite is equipped with multiple sensors, capable of capturing data day and night and during extreme weather conditions.

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