AFWERX Awards Accion Systems $2.25 Million Phase II SBIR Contract

Air Force Award Will Drive Advanced Development and Commercialization of Multi-Mode In-Space Propulsion System.

BOSTON, Mass., August 11, 2020 (Accion Systems PR — In-space propulsion pioneer Accion Systems announced today that it has been awarded a follow-on Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract through AFWERX, in partnership with Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN). The award recognizes the successful completion of the Phase I SBIR contact earlier this year and exciting promise for Accion’s TILE ion electrospray propulsion for use in national security missions. 

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Sierra Nevada Unveils Two New Satellite Platforms

SNC Platforms Offer Increased Capacity and Range, Maximizing Versatility

SPARKS, Nev. (August 06, 2020)  Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security company owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, added two new satellite platforms to its spacecraft offerings, the SN-200M satellite bus designed for medium-Earth orbit (MEO) and the SN-1000, offering increased payload capacity for MEO and other orbits.

The SN-200M variant specifically adapts SNC’s standard SN-200 bus for the MEO radiation environment. The SN-1000 is a demonstration platform based on the SN-200M bus flying an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA).  Both satellites build on the flight heritage gained from the Air Force Demonstration and Science Experiment (DSX) program. Last June, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) launched DSX into MEO and it has been operating successfully on-orbit for the past year.

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Kleos Space Awarded Contract on Micro-Satellite Military Utility Project

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

LUXEMBOURG, 19 May 2020 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), a space-powered RF reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, has been awarded a contract to prepare Kleos data to be accessed by the Micro-Satellite Military Utility (MSMU Project) Project Arrangement (PA) which is an agreement under the Responsive Space Capabilities Memorandum of Understanding involving the Departments and Ministries of Defense of Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom and United States.

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Atlas V Launches X-37B Space Plane

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Credit: ULA)

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 17, 2020 ULA PR)  A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

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AFRL, Masten & NASA Collaborate on Successful Testing of Methane Engine

The Masten 25k lbf thrust Broadsword rocket engine. (Credit: Masten Space Systems/Matthew Kuhns)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and Masten Space Systems Inc. successfully tested a liquid methane rocket engine, the first of its kind tested at AFRL.

AFRL and Masten signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement in December 2018. The agreement enabled Masten to test the Broadsword 25K engine at AFRL’s rocket testing facility at Edwards Air Force Base in Test Area 1-125 and complete NASA’s Tipping Point contract requirement of a ten second hot fire test.

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AFRL, Blue Origin Partner on Test Site for BE-7 Lunar Lander Engine Development

The Altitude facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California, does tactical scale research on next generation rocket motor and engine components, propellant formulations, and subsystems; and high vacuum research on satellite components, subsystems, and systems. Research testing includes solid rocket motor testing at simulated altitudes up to 120,000 feet. The complex has been used for space simulation to validate thrust vector control systems, baseline a standard for solid rocket motor propellants, research extendible nozzle cones, and systems, and research space qualified ignition systems. (Credit: Blue Origin)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory and Blue Origin are developing a new test facility for the Blue Origin BE-7 lunar lander engine at the AFRL rocket lab here.

Capital improvements, funded by Blue Origin, will allow BE-7 testing in a simulated space-like environment. Planned work includes adding liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) propellant capabilities, along with other facility upgrades.

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Northrop Grumman, AFRL Partner to Provide Critical Advanced Technology in Space Solar Power

An artistic representation showcases the capture of solar energy in space that is precisely beamed it to where it is needed through the Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research (SSPIDR) Project. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Project directly supports the Space Solar Power Initiative converting solar power in space to radio frequency on Earth.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman is working with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on a project to rapidly infuse space technological innovations to incrementally develop component technologies needed for a prototype solar energy collection system.

The project is designed to provide constant, consistent and logistically agile power to expeditionary forces operating in unimproved areas such as forward operating bases. These forces require assured power that will be transmitted via radio frequency (RF) from spacecraft.

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China Making Aggressive Moves to Dominate Commercial Space Sector

China satellite launch

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s growing commercial space industry. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using aggressive state-backed financing to capture increasing shares of the commercial launch and satellite markets, making it more difficult for American companies to compete and threatening to hollow out the U.S. industrial base.

China is also leverage “military-civil” fusion to create a burgeoning commercial space sector by providing substantial state support. Nearly 90 new space companies have been created since 2014, most of which enjoy the support of the Chinese military, defense industrial base, or state-owned research and development institutions.

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General Atomics Orbital Test Bed Satellite Payload Commissioning Underway

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, CA, 26 August 2019 – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that commissioning of NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC), the primary hosted payload on-board the Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite, is now underway. GA-EMS’ OTB was successfully launched at 2:30 a.m. EDT on June 25, 2019 on board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

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AFRL Puts New Technologies into Space Aboard World’s Most Powerful Launch Vehicle

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complex 39A, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

by Bryan Ripple
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) — The Air Force Research Laboratory successfully put new technologies into space, June 25, as part of the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP-2) mission, managed by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.

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General Atomics Orbital Test Bed Satellite Successfully Launched and Deployed

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed successfully launched on board SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, CA (General Atomics PR) – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that its Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite was successfully launched on-board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral. OTB was then successfully deployed into orbit after launch, and communication was established between the spacecraft and ground operations to begin satellite commissioning and operations.

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NASA Spacecraft to use ‘Green’ Fuel for the First Time

A Ball Aerospace engineer adjusts the thermal insulation on NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission spacecraft bus following integration of the propulsion system. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

BOULDER, Colo. (NASA PR) — A non-toxic, rosé-colored liquid could fuel the future in space and propel missions to the Moon or other worlds. NASA will test the fuel and compatible propulsion system in space for the first time with the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), set to launch this month on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

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Air Force Research Laboratory Announces Third Space Technology Accelerator Cohort

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFRL PR) — Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and Catalyst Space Accelerator have announced the selection of the Accelerator’s third space technology cohort, this one with a focus on Resilient Commercial Space Communications.

The semi-residential, 12-week, cohort-based Catalyst Space Accelerator program is hosted by Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) at Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs and includes seed investment by Space Capital Colorado, network connections, mentorship, workshops, and opportunities for future investment and growth.

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Rocket Lab to Launch 3 More Defense Satellites Later This Month

Ellectron launches NASA’s Venture Class CubeSats. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., April 3, 2019 (Rocket Lab PR) — U.S. small satellite launch company Rocket Lab announced today that it will launch three experimental research and development (R&D) satellites for the U.S. Air Force in April. The mission will lift-off from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying three R&D spacecraft to Low Earth Orbit aboard an Electron launch vehicle. The launch will be Rocket Lab’s second orbital mission of 2019, and fifth orbital mission overall.
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