Russian Defense Ministry Boasts of ASAT Accuracy, Dismisses Orbital Debris Risk & Blames United States for Militarizing Space

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite condemnation from Western governments, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu seemed rather pleased with the results of an anti-missile test (ASAT) test that destroyed a defunct Soviet satellite, scattered more than 1,500 pieces of debris in Earth orbit, and endangered the seven-member crew of the International Space Station (ISS). TASS reports:

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Virgin Orbit to Launch Again by End of Year

LauncherOne (Credit: Mojave)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Coming off flawless back-to-back launches, the Virgin Orbit team has settled into a steady flight preparation rhythm with LauncherOne. [Earlier today], the fully assembled rocket that will carry our next customers’ satellites to space has left our rocket factory in Long Beach and headed up to the bare concrete pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port that serves as all the spaceport we need. Already, the rocket has been mated to the customized 747 that serves as our flying launch pad, mobile mission control, and fully re-usable first stage all at once.

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Capella Space To Become First Commercial SAR Company to Demonstrate Compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture

Capella satellites will use laser communications from Mynaric to  rapidly send and receive data

SAN FRANCISCO, November 9, 2021 (Capella Space PR) — Capella Space today announced the company will become the first commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) supplier to demonstrate Optical Inter-Satellite Link (OISL) compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA)’s new NDSA. SAR data is a highly valuable asset for the SDA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The next generation of Capella’s persistent SAR monitoring capabilities will leverage new technology that enables high delivery speeds and direct access to its 24/7 all-weather data for U.S. Government customers.

Capella Space will install optical communications terminals (OCTs) on its commercial SAR satellites, starting in late 2022. This will enable the company to utilize highly efficient laser communications technology to send and receive data to and from its satellites in low Earth orbit, relaying data to compatibly equipped government satellites and military operations on the ground. The integration of OCTs onto Capella’s SAR constellation will drastically reduce latency from image collect to download and ensure spaceborne data is quickly available to inform critical decision-making for terrestrial missions.

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Intelsat and OneWeb Demo Global Multi-Orbit Satellite Service to U.S. Department of Defense

McLean, Va. (Intelsat PR) – Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, OneWeb (OWT), a global provider of innovative, secure satellite communications, and Linchpin Solutions, a leader in C5ISR systems and programs, successfully demonstrated a multi-orbit satellite communications solution for representatives of the U.S. Army and Department of Defense (DoD).

This is a strategic demonstration to the U.S. DoD that shows transport diversification between the geostationary orbit (GEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) constellations with seamless switching between them.

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AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Holds First-ever Space Cyber Summit

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate held an inaugural Space Cyber Summit October 13–14. More than 140 space professionals participated in the in-person and virtual event held at Kirtland AFB.

The gathering included space experts from across AFRL, the U.S. Space Force, several federally funded research and development centers, NASA, and many other organizations. 

Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, initiated the first-ever event, prompted by anticipated R&D technology challenges:

  • A future space domain where space systems will become increasingly software-defined, autonomous, and connected
  • Possible methods to improve cyber resilience of legacy space systems
  • The continuing trend of the commercialization of space
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Rogue Space Moves Forward with Seed Round Offering and Closes Pre-Seed Round to Provide Orbital Services

Laura spacecraft (Credit: Rogue Space)

Rogue Space Systems is developing a smart spacecraft program to offer transport, and in-space services to the growing space market today announced it has closed its initial round of investment to support the development of their spacecraft programs

LACONIA, NH, October 20, 2021 (Rogue Space PR) — Rogue Space Systems Corporation, a U.S. company that is developing a smart spacecraft program and is planning to offer transport, and in-space services to the growing space market today announced it has closed its initial round of investment to support the development of their spacecraft programs. Rogue’s first generation of orbital servicing vehicles, (Orbots™) Laura, Charlie, Fred, and Bob are equipped with highly sophisticated sensors, cameras, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) software.

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Kendall, Raymond Stress Importance of Space and Space Force’s Success in Separate, High-profile Speeches

Frank Kendall

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall offered unambiguous support Aug. 24 for the still evolving U.S. Space Force, noting the critical role space plays in the nation’s security, the essential functions space enables in everyday life, and why access must be assured as space becomes more congested and contested.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of space-based systems to national security,” Kendall said during his keynote address at the 36th Space Symposium, an influential, weeklong gathering of military, commercial, and academic space experts from around the world. The speech was Kendall’s first major address since becoming the 26th Secretary of the Air Force on July 28.

“Strategic stability depends on space-based reliable early warning and communications systems,” Kendall said. “… I can assure you that this Administration will continue the work of establishing, equipping, training, and sustaining the newly formed Space Force and of increasing the resiliency of our essential space systems.”

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Kleos Builds its Military Knowledge under US DOD Program

Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, has appointed Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mario E. Zaltzman as a military advisor for a 12-week period under a secondment program with the US Department of Defence.

LTC Mario Zaltzman is a member of the US Army Reserve, where he is responsible for critical technology and product acquisitions. He has also held several senior positions in the private sector, including Process Engineer, Product Manager, Regional Business Unit Manager, National Accounts Manager, Director of Commercial Operations and Director of Integration Projects.

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U.S. Air Force Explores Cargo Delivery by Rocket

Cargo delivery by rocket. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Department of the Air Force announced June 4 the designation of Rocket Cargo as the fourth Vanguard program as part of its transformational science and technology portfolio identified in the DAF 2030 Science and Technology strategy for the next decade. Additionally, the U.S. Space Force was designated as the lead service for Rocket Cargo Vanguard, marking the service’s first such program.

Under the Rocket Cargo Vanguard, the Air Force Research Laboratory will lead a science and technology effort to determine the viability and utility of using large commercial rockets for Department of Defense global logistics, potentially expanding the portfolio of capabilities the USSF presents to combatant commanders. The Space and Missile Systems Center will serve as the Program Executive Officer.

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NASA Laser Communications Satellite to Empower More Data Than Ever Before

Illustration of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Test Program Satellite-6 (STPSat-6) with the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) payload communicating data over infrared links. (Credit: NASA)

By Katherine Schauer
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Launching this summer, NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration  (LCRD) will showcase the dynamic powers of laser communications technologies. With NASA’s ever-increasing human and robotic presence in space, missions can benefit from a new way of “talking” with Earth.

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DARPA Selects Performers for Phase 1 of Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) Program

Credit: DARPA

Industry teams to develop propulsion design, spacecraft concepts for demonstrating on-orbit Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) system

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA has awarded contracts for the first phase of the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program. The goal of the DRACO program is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system above low Earth orbit in 2025. The three prime contractors are General Atomics, Blue Origin, and Lockheed Martin.

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Report: Biden to Retain National Space Council

NASA’s Orion spacecraft that flew Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014 is seen on the South Lawn of the White House, Sunday, July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. Lockheed Martin, NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, began manufacturing the Orion crew module in 2011 and delivered it in July 2012 to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where final assembly, integration and testing was completed. More than 1,000 companies across the country manufactured or contributed elements to the spacecraft. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Politico reports that the Biden Administration will retain the National Space Council. The council was revived by the Trump Administration in 2017 to coordinate national space activities after a 24-year gap in operation.

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U.S. Space Force Awards $280 Million Contract Extension to Bluestaq for Unified Data Library

Work will significantly increase the scope of the Unified Data Library

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Bluestaq PR) – Bluestaq LLC today announced a two-year, $280M extension to its current Advanced Command and Control Enterprise Systems and Software (ACCESS) contract by the General Services Administration (GSA). This contract modification will allow Bluestaq to continue the development and data integration of the Unified Data Library (UDL) for the US Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center Data Program Management Office.

This award follows Bluestaq’s 2019 $37 million GSA Phase III SBIR contract award to integrate data supporting Space and Air and Multi-domain operations. In support of Space Force operations, Bluestaq will continue to build a secure, modern data management platform from a wide range of sources spanning commercial, Department of Defense (DoD), and the United States Intelligence Community (IC).

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DoD Inspector General to Investigate Decision to Locate US Space Command Headquarters n Huntsville

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has announced an investigation into the U.S. Air Force’s controversial decision to locate U.S. Space Command’s headquarters at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

In a letter to the U.S. Air Force secretary, the office said it would investigate whether the decision process:

  • “complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process;
  • used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and
  • calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”
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