Astranis Passes Major Technical Milestone for MicroGEO Product Line

Astranis engineers load their small communications satellite into a thermal-vacuum shroud. (Credit: Astranis)

SAN FRANCISCO (Astranis PR) — Microsatellite developer Astranis has successfully concluded thermal-vacuum testing of a qualification vehicle developed for their MicroGEO product line of small communication satellites.

This critical test validates the technology’s ability to operate in the harsh environment of space and marks a major milestone on the path to delivering low-cost broadband internet to underserved populations around the world, starting with Astranis’s first commercial satellite that will provide broadband internet in Alaska.

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Astranis Raises $90 Million Round Led by Venrock

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2020 (Astranis PR) — Astranis, the company building the next generation of telecommunication satellites, today announced a $90 million financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.

Astranis aims to solve a problem in the modern space race that hasn’t been cracked: bringing the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The $120 billion market is growing quickly – demand for internet is rising 40% per year, every year – but until now, there has been no practical, cost-effective solution for bringing internet access to remote parts of the world. Astranis is singularly focused on solving this problem.

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Astranis, NanoRacks Team to Offer CubeSat Launch to SEDS

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 1, 2018 (Astranis/NanoRacks PR) — Satellite telecommunications company Astranis Space Technologies Corp., in partnership with NanoRacks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, is donating a 1U CubeSat launch to Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA (SEDS-USA) to kick off the SEDS SAT-2 competition next month.

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Astranis Selects Bradford’s ECAPS thrusters

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Bradford PR) — Astranis (www.astranis.com), the San Francisco-based company building the next generation of telecommunications satellites, announced today the selection of Bradford’s (www.bradford-space.com) high performance green ECAPS propulsion for the Astranis MicroGEO spacecraft. The selection slates the integration of eight ECAPS thrusters aboard each Astranis spacecraft, with an initial order for up to twelve spacecraft. The selection also included Electrical Propulsion (EP) feed systems and a set of 8 CoSine Sun Sensors, all produced by the Bradford Space group, involving both the Netherlands and Swedish locations.

This announcement marks the introduction of the ECAPS (www.ecaps.space) propulsion system to geostationary orbit activities, a domain typically dominated by very large telecommunications satellites needing long duration station-keeping capabilities. Traditionally, these satellites have used hydrazine-based thrusters, which are expensive to handle in the loading and pre-launch phase of a spacecraft’s preparation.

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First Quarter Commercial Space Investment Reached Nearly $1 Billion

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX received $500 million of the nearly $1 billion in investment raised by commercial space companies during the first quarter of 2018, according to the Space Investment Quarterly report from Space Angels.

“SpaceX shows no signs of slowing down—after the inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy, the company secured $500 million from Fidelity Investments to drive development of their satellite communications network, Starlink,” the report added.

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New Company Emerges in Satellite Internet Race

Another company has emerged that is aiming to provide satellite Internet to under served areas, Tech Crunch reports.

Launching from stealth today with a fresh $13.5 million investment led by Andreessen Horowitz is Astranis — the developer of a novel satellite technology that aims to transmit data down to specific terrestrial locations with each satellite it launches.

That’s a significant shift from the way companies like SpaceX and OneWeb are building their satellite networks. Both of those companies are launching satellites into low earth orbit — which means that their satellites orbit the earth every ninety minutes.

For those companies to provide the kind of uninterrupted connectivity that consumers demand, they’d need to have a network of hundreds — if not thousands — of satellites in place to have a fully operational network.

Astranis is planning to launch its satellites into geostationary orbit — farther from the earth and in a location that will remain fixed… which means its satellites can provide connectivity almost immediately after launch.

Read the full story.











Matthew Isakowitz

Matthew Isakowitz

Some very sad news to report. Matthew Isakowitz passed away on May 25. He was 29.

Matthew served as associate director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) for three years after graduating from Princeton University in 2009. While an undergraduate, he worked for two months at SpaceX on the Dragon spacecraft.

After leaving CSF, Matthew worked at the asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources. More recently, he was working at Astranis, a startup focused on building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites that would deliver Internet connectivity to areas of Earth not currently being served.

Matthew was the son of Steve Isakowitz, who is president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation. He is survived by his mother, Monica, and three sisters: Jennifer, Rachel, and Sophie.

Future Space Leaders is collecting donations for a “to-be-announced initiative that will further Matthew’s legacy in the field of human space exploration.”

Matthew’s Obituary

Editor’s Note: My deepest sympathies to Matthew’s family for their loss. It’s terrible to lose someone so young. His contributions to advancing space exploration will not be forgotten.

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