Space Flight Laboratory Announces Successful Deorbiting of Nanosatellite with Drag Sail Technology

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (Space Flight Laboratory PR) – Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) announced the successful deorbiting of the 3.5kg CanX-7 demonstration nanosatellite using drag sail technology designed to reduce the time retired small satellites spend in orbit as space debris. CanX-7 burned up in Earth’s atmosphere in April, just five years after drag sail deployment and roughly 178 years before it would have without any deorbit technology.

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NASA Statement on Launch Failure, Loss of TROPICS Spacecraft

TROPICS mission CubeSat (Credit: Blue Canyon Technologies)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — While we are disappointed in the loss of the two TROPICS CubeSats, the mission is part of NASA’s Earth venture program, which provides opportunities for lower-cost, higher risk missions. Despite a loss of the first two of six satellites, the TROPICS constellation will still meet its science objectives with the four remaining CubeSats distributed in two orbits.  With four satellites, TROPICS will still provide improved time-resolved observations of tropical cyclones compared to traditional observing methods.

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Astra Space Rocket Launch Fails Again, Two NASA TROPICS Satellites Lost

Rocket 3.3’s second stage Aether engine flashes as it fails during a launch on June 12, 2022. (Credit: Astra Space/Nasaspaceflight webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The second stage of an Astra Space Rocket 3.3 rocket failed less than a minute before planned shutdown on Sunday, sending two NASA TROPICS mission satellites plunging into the atmosphere instead of entering orbit.

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NASA to Launch 6 Small Satellites to Monitor, Study Tropical Cyclones

An image of Tropical Cyclone Batsirai over Madagascar captured by the TROPICS Pathfinder satellite in February of 2022. (Credit: NASA)

Update: The launch aboard an Astra Space Rocket 3.3 booster failed after the vehicle’s second stage shut down prematurely on Sunday. NASA said in an update that the TROPICS constellation can still improve the monitoring of tropical cyclones with four satellites. Astra Space has the contract to launch the four additional TROPICS spacecraft on two launches.

By Sofie Bates
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA is launching the first two of six small satellites no earlier than June 12 that will study the formation and development of tropical cyclones almost every hour – about four to six times more often than is possible with current satellites. This is the first of three CubeSat launches for NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission. The remaining satellites will be placed into their orbits during two subsequent launches this year. If successful, the TROPICS satellites will be spread across three orbital planes to cover more of the globe more frequently.

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SatRev and Legnica Special Economic Zone Will Build the First Nanosatellite Factory in Poland

REC satellite (Credit: SatRevolution)

LEGNICA, Poland (SatRev PR) — SatRev, a leading Polish space company of international reach will manufacture large amounts of nanosatellites in a new factory to be built in Legnica, Poland, close to its headquarters. This is the result of a recent cooperation agreement signed with the Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSEZ). The factory is the first of its kind and will increase the capabilities of the European satellite market. By the end of 2025, SatRev will be producing hundreds of nanosatellites yearly.

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Astrocast Acquires Hiber, Accelerates OEM Strategy

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, 30 May 2022 (Astrocast PR) – Astrocast, a leading global nanosatellite IoT network operator, today announced the signature of an agreement to acquire Hiber, a Netherlands-based, IoT-as-a-Service provider. Under the agreement, Astrocast agreed to acquire all of Hiber’s shares in exchange for the issuance of new Astrocast shares, representing 16.5% of Astrocast’s share capital, calculated prior to its previously announced public offering on Euronext Growth Paris. Hiber’s shareholders also agreed to invest €10.45 million in Astrocast’s public offering.

Hiber provides asset monitoring and tracking solutions to industrial customers, through satellite-connected devices that allow customers to monitor and track assets in remote locations. Its services include wellhead monitoring for major oil and gas companies and asset tracking for off-grid worksites in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and mining. Its business model is based on multi-year subscriptions covering sensors, network hardware, satellite connectivity and a dashboard.

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NanoAvionics and Gama to Set Sail in Space

Mission contract is NanoAvionics second solar sail mission following NASA ACS3  

VILNIUS, Lithuania, 24 May 2022 (NanoAvionics PR) – Gama, a French space startup, has contracted mission integrator NanoAvionics for a demonstration of Gama’s solar sails propulsion system in low Earth orbit (LEO). Under the mission agreement, NanoAvionics will provide its 6U nanosatellite bus, payload integration services, a satellite testing campaign, launch services and satellite operations. The launch of the “Alpha” nanosatellite is scheduled for the second half of this year.

Gama’s range of solar sails are aimed at commercial companies and research organisations looking for a cost-effective and less complex setup and propulsion system to explore deep space through small satellites. Using nano- or microsatellites propelled through space by solar sails would allow them to travel greater distances without requiring large amount of stored fuel. They can also be launched with smaller and cheaper rockets, making shuttle trips between planets less expensive and more practical than conventional chemical rockets.

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NASA’s New Solar Sail System to be Tested On-Board NanoAvionics Satellite Bus

COLUMBIA, Ill. (NanoAvionics PR) — NanoAvionics has been selected to build a 12U nanosatellite bus for an in-orbit demonstration of NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3). This a result of a contract between NASA Ames Research Center and AST for a 12U bus to carry NASA’s payload into low Earth orbit (LEO) including an approximately 800 square foot (74 square meter) composite boom and solar sail system.  

The aim of the ACS3 mission is to replace conventional rocket propellants by developing and testing solar sails using sunlight beams to thrust the nanosatellite. These solar sail propulsion systems are designed for future small interplanetary spacecrafts destined for low-cost deep-space and science missions requiring long-duration, low-thrust propulsion.  

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NanoAvionics builds first nanosatellite for Prométhée’s Earth observation constellation

VILNIUS, Lithuania, 28 April 2022 (NanoAvionics PR) – Satellite operator Prométhée has contracted mission integrator NanoAvionics to build the first nanosatellite for the French company’s planned constellation of Earth observation nanosatellites and image analysis platform.  “ProtoMéthée-1” will be based on NanoAvionics’ flight-proven 16U nanosatellite bus M16P.

In addition to the satellite with onboard camera and propulsion, NanoAvionics will also provide Prométhée with full mission services – testing, integration, launch, licensing, and initial satellite operations. The “ProtoMéthée-1” satellite is intended to be launched towards the end of 2023 in low Earth orbit (LEO). The company’s service demonstrator will be based on a high revisit rate constellation (20 times more passes per day) and offering hyper-reactivity through inter-constellation connectivity.

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Gov. Janet Mills Signs Bill to Establish Maine Space Corporation

Gov. Janet Mills (left) signs into a law LD 1923, which was sponsored by Sen. Mattie Daughtry (right). (Credit: Maine Governor’s Office)

AUGUSTA, Maine (Mattie Daughtry PR) — On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick. LD 1923, “An Act To Establish the Maine Space Corporation,” will help Maine’s emerging aerospace industry, create high-paying jobs and grow the state’s economy.

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Spaceflight Inc. and Astrocast Extend Launch Contract

Additional missions provide flexibility and support for growing IoT constellation

SEATTLE, March 22, 2022 (Spaceflight Inc. PR) Spaceflight Inc., the leading global launch services provider, today announced an extended multi-launch agreement (MLA) with long-time customer, Internet of Things (IoT) constellation developer, Astrocast. This agreement will add two missions to accommodate Astrocast’s fast-growing IoT constellation which helps track assets in some of the world’s most remote regions.

In February of 2020, Astrocast and Spaceflight signed an MLA for the launch of 10 additional IoT nanosatellites, representing the sixth launch booked with Spaceflight. In total, Spaceflight is now set to launch a majority of the satellites that will complete the Astrocast IoT Nanosatellite Network.

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Celestia Aerospace Closes 100 Million Euro Seed Round from Invema Ltd.

Sagittarius Launch System (Credit: Celestia Aerospace)

Pioneering solution for the development, launch, and operation of nanosatellites

BARCELONA, 15 March 2022 (Celestia Aerospace PR) — Invema Group LTD, with headquarters in London and international offices in Arizona (USA), Miami (USA), Toronto (Canada), Bogotá (Colombia), Casablanca (Morocco), Tunis (Tunisia), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates), invests 100 million euros [USD $111 million] in the orbital solutions company Celestia Aerospace located in Barcelona.

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DEWA Improves Management of Power Grid, Water Transmission and Distribution Networks Worldwide Through its Leadership in Launching Nanosatellites

DUBAI, UAE (DEWA PR) — Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has achieved a new world record through its launching of the 3U nanosatellite DEWA-SAT1 in collaboration with NanoAvionics. It has proved once again that it is one of the most prominent global utilities and the most distinguished in all its operations. After the success of the pilot project, DEWA has become the world’s first utility to use nanosatellites to improve the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks.

The launching of the satellite is part of DEWA’s Space-D programme launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in January 2021 to consolidate Dubai’s leadership in developing and using the latest global technologies. Through Space-D, DEWA researches the use of space technology to support utilities to improve their operations and planning. This will support sustainable development and a green economy in the UAE and worldwide.

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EnduroSat & Mission Space Redefine Space Weather Data Infrastructure

LUXEMBOURG & SOFIA, Bulgaria (Mission Space/EnduroSat PR) — Mission Space, leading enabler and provider of satellite-based space weather monitoring and EnduroSat, leading provider of software-defined NanoSats and space services for business and academia sign a commercial agreement to launch Mission Space’s first space weather payload on EnduroSat CubeSat platform.

The planned launch is scheduled for Q4 2022 and will carry Mission Space’s set of high energy particle detectors to monitor the conditions of the sun. The new level of data and intelligence will enhance Mission Space proprietary space weather cloud platform and help satellite operators detect solar storms early, quantify risks and monitor increased levels of radiation for better asset protection.

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2021 in Review: Highlights from NASA in Silicon Valley

Ingenuity Mars helicopter flies on the Red Planet. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Join us as we look back at the highlights of 2021 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

1) NASA’s water-hunting Moon rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, made great strides this year. The VIPER team successfully completed practice runs of the full-scale assembly of the Artemis program’s lunar rover in VIPER’s new clean room. Two rounds of egress testing let rover drivers practice exiting the lander and rolling onto the rocky surface of the Moon. NASA also announced the landing site selected for the robotic rover, which will be delivered to the Nobile region of the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023 as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. NASA also chose eight new VIPER science team members and their proposals to expand and complement VIPER’s already existing science team and planned investigations. This year’s progress contributed to VIPER’s completion of its Critical Design Review, turning the mission’s focus toward construction of the rover beginning in late 2022.

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