Space Systems Command Selects General Atomics & Orion Space Solutions for Weather System Program

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF SSC PR) — The USSF Space Systems Command (SSC) Space Development Corps has completed all System Final Design Reviews (FDRs) for the Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program, and, through competitive evaluation, subsequently exercised options to develop and launch two separate sensor prototypes to Orion Space Solutions and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA-EMS).

Orion Space Solutions, a non-traditional vendor, will launch a one-year EO/IR CubeSat prototype demonstration in fall 2022. Next, GA-EMS has been selected to launch a three-year EO/IR SmallSat prototype with the capability to deliver operational data by 2025.

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BridgeComm Names Rich Tortorelli as Chief Systems Engineer

Veteran in Large Scale Constellation Design and Development of Space Systems Joins Leader in Optical Wireless Communications to Spearhead Satellite Optical Communications Product Development

DENVER, February 10, 2022 (BridgeComm PR) — BridgeComm, Inc., a leader in optical wireless communications (OWC) solutions and services, today announced that Rich Tortorelli will join the company as a chief systems engineer. Having developed, managed and executed 160 plus satellites with space-based constellations, Tortorelli brings thirty years of invaluable experience to BridgeComm to enhance its OWS space produce development efforts.

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EO Vista Passes Sensor Final Design Review For U.S. Space Force Weather Program

ACTON, Mass. (EO Vista PR) — EO Vista (EOVista.com) has completed the Sensor Final Design Review for the U.S. Space Force Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System (EWS) Program.  EO Vista, a member of the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) EWS Program team, is developing and building EOV-1, a modernized, electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) weather sensor, to deliver cloud characterization and theater weather imagery to meet the DoD’s critical need for up to the minute high quality weather products.  The EWS program will provide enhanced weather imaging capabilities beyond those performed by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), which is nearing its end of life. 

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Working Overtime: NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Completes Mission

This illustration shows NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock technology demonstration and the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed spacecraft that hosts it. Spacecraft could one day depend on such instruments to navigate deep space. (Credits: NASA)

Geared toward improving spacecraft navigation, the technology demonstration operated far longer than planned and broke the stability record for atomic clocks in space.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — For more than two years, NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock has been pushing the timekeeping frontiers in space. On Sept. 18, 2021, its mission came to a successful end.

The instrument is hosted on General Atomics’ Orbital Test Bed spacecraft that was launched aboard the Department of Defense Space Test Program 2 mission June 25, 2019. Its goal: to test the feasibility of using an onboard atomic clock to improve spacecraft navigation in deep space.

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Rocket Lab Provides First Half 2021 Financial Results

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)
  • Revenue of $29.5M, representing 237% Year-on-Year revenue growth, accompanied by an expansion in gross margins from negative 67% to a positive 13%.
  • Increasing diversity in revenue, with Space Systems contributing 18% of total revenue in the period, compared to 3% in the prior year, accompanied with gross margins of 65%.
  • Backlog grew 136% Year-on-Year to $141.4 million as of June 30, 2021 as compared to backlog of $59.9 million as of June 30, 2020.

LONG BEACH, Calif., September 08, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today reviewed financial results for the six months ended June 30, 2021, which were previously released in its 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on August 31, 2021.

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Space Development Agency Successfully Launches First Missions

WASHINGTON (SDA PR) — The Space Development Agency today announced the successful launch of its first two satellite missions, Mandrake II and Laser Interconnect Networking Communications System (LINCS) and the Prototype On-orbit Experimental Testbed (POET) payload, on June 30 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.

The launch, supported by SpaceX’s Transporter 2, an all-rideshare Falcon 9 mission, carried aboard SDA’s first two sets of experimental satellites, designed and built with government and industry partners, to gather data on optical communication terminal (OCT) performance in low-Earth orbit (LEO), along with the POET payload to demonstrate on-orbit data fusion, proving out core capabilities required for SDA’s future development efforts.

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General Atomics Partners with Space Development Agency to Conduct Space-to-Air Optical Communication Experiment

Laser Interconnect and Networking Communication System (LINCS) CubeSats. (Credit: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems)

SAN DIEGO, 02 JUNE 2021 (GA-EMS PR) – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it was awarded a contract by the Space Development Agency to demonstrate space-to-air optical communication using GA-EMS’ Laser Interconnect and Networking Communication System (LINCS) and a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper®. This contract is in conjunction with an upcoming experiment where GA-EMS and SDA are partnering to launch the LINCS system and conduct a series of experiments demonstrating space-based optical communication starting later this summer.

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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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General Atomics Awards Contract to Firefly Aerospace to Launch NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols Mission

Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite carrying NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) instrument. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, February 18, 2021 (GA-EMS PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has awarded a contract to Firefly Aerospace Inc. to launch a GA-EMS developed Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite carrying NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) instrument. The launch vehicle delivering the satellite to space will be Firefly’s Alpha rocket and is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2022.

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Nuclear Tech in Space: What’s on the Horizon?

Illustration of a Mars transit habitat and nuclear propulsion system that could one day take astronauts to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

La Grange Park, Ill. (American Nuclear Society PR) — NASA aims to develop nuclear technologies for two space applications: propulsion and surface power. Both can make planned NASA missions to the moon more agile and more ambitious, and both are being developed with future crewed missions to Mars in mind. Like advanced reactors here on Earth, space nuclear technologies have an accelerated timeline for deployment in this decade.

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General Atomics Acquires the Business of Guidestar Optical Systems

SAN DIEGO, October 28, 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the business of Guidestar Optical Systems, Inc., a leader in adaptive optics technologies for commercial and defense uses in Longmont, CO.

The business will be integrated into the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) group. Guidestar Optical Systems’ cutting-edge innovations in adaptive optics align with GA-EMS’ focus on delivering groundbreaking technologies for the defense and space markets.

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General Atomics Receives Contract Extension for NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission

A glimpse of the Deep Space Atomic Clock in the middle bay of the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

SAN DIEGO, CA, (Oct. 6, 2020) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has received a contract extension for a second year of operations of their Orbital Test Bed (OTB) spacecraft supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Deep Space  Atomic Clock (DSAC) mission. GA-EMS will continue to provide operations support services from GA-EMS’ spacecraft development and mission operations facilities in Colorado through August 2021. 

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Astroscale U.S. Appoints Becky Yoder as Senior VP for Finance and Business Operations

DENVER, July 9, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale U.S. Inc., (“Astroscale U.S.”), the U.S. unit of Astroscale Holdings Inc., the market leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, today announced that Becky Yoder, an experienced and highly respected space industry professional, has joined the Astroscale U.S. management team. Ms. Yoder is serving as Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Operations as of June 2020.

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General Atomics Partners with Space Development Agency to Demonstrate Optical Intersatellite Link

SAN DIEGO, CA, June 5, 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has partnered with the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA) to demonstrate and conduct a series of experiments for an Optical Intersatellite Link (OISL) utilizing GA-EMS’s internally developed 1550nm (nanometer) wavelength laser communication terminals (LCTs).

This will be one of the first Department of Defense contracted efforts to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art 1550nm LCT to test capabilities to increase the speed, distance, and variability of communications in space.

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SMC Awards $309 Million Contracts for Rapid Weather Prototyping Efforts

EWS Notional Distributed Architecture (Credit: SMC EWS Program)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded three Other Transaction Authority agreements, totaling $309 million, to develop prototypes for the Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program. The awardees, each a member of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), are:  

  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (subcontractors: EO Vista/Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER)/Braxton Technologies)
  • Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) (subcontractors: Tyvak/Science & Technologies Corps (STC)/AER/Lockheed Martin)
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