Virgin Orbit Invests in Hypersat

PARIS, 15 DECEMBER 2021 (Virgin Orbit PR) – Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA), announced today an agreement to acquire a 17.5% stake in geospatial analytics company Hypersat LLC (“Hypersat”).

This investment will further expand Virgin Orbit’s space solutions business by providing highly accurate electro-optic and hyperspectral imagery capabilities, which can provide vital information to customers in the agriculture, defense, energy, insurance, and minerals industries, among others. The investment by Virgin Orbit is part of the company’s strategy to leverage the relationships with its satellite launch customers and space solutions end users. As part of that strategy, Virgin Orbit has previously announced investments in ArQit Quantum, SatRevolution, and Sky and Space Global.

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SSTL Signs Up ESA as Anchor Customer for Lunar Pathfinder Communications Relay Satellite

Lunar Pathfinder satellite (Credit: Surrey Satellite)

LONDON, September 15, 2021 (SSTL PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for communications services from Lunar Pathfinder, due to launch in 2024.  The Commercial Lunar Mission Support Services contract was signed between ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, Dave Parker, and SSTL’s Managing Director, Phil Brownnett, on 15 September 2021 at The Royal Society in London.  Amanda Solloway, UK Government Science Minister, Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director General, Paul Bate, Director of the UK Space Agency, and SSTL’s Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting were also in attendance. 

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International Partners and Government Agencies Join Arqit’s Federated Quantum System

The Federated Quantum System developed and launched in the UK with support from the UK Space Agency

CORNWALL, UK, 11 June 2021 (Arqit PR) – Arqit Limited (“Arqit”), a leader in quantum encryption technology, has today announced at the G7 Leaders Conference in Cornwall, that it has formed an international consortium of companies and government organisations to provide its quantum encryption technology to government customers in a federated system concept, called Federated Quantum System (FQS). The UK, USA, Japan, Canada, Italy, Belgium, and Austria are now represented.

Arqit invented a system which uses satellites to distribute quantum keys to data centres. These keys are delivered using a new patented protocol called ARQ19, which solves the “Global versus Trustless” problem which previously prevented the adoption of Satellite Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Arqit further invented a method, called QuantumCloud™ to translate the benefits of this quantum key distribution to any form of endpoint or cloud machine without the need for any special hardware. The first version of QuantumCloudTM launches for live service to commercial customers in 2021.

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QinetiQ to Lead Development of Hypersat’s Next Generation Hyperspectral Satellites for Launch by Virgin Orbit in 2023

FARNBOROUGH, UK (QinetiQ PR) — Hypersat has awarded a design-phase contract to QinetiQ Inc. (QinetiQ) for their next generation hyperspectral satellite. This study will be an enabling activity for a potential constellation of six low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that Hypersat plans to launch, and which will be capable of producing greater information about the material properties on Earth than any current capability in orbit.

QinetiQ will lead a team of specialist engineering and technology organisations across the US that includes Redwire, Millennium Engineering and Integration, LLC, and Brandywine Photonics. The team selected Virgin Orbit as the launch provider in part because of the unparalleled agility, mobility, and responsiveness afforded by air-launch, which allows for shorter call-up times and more flexible scheduling for customers, as well as direct injection into precise target orbits. In addition to the value for commercial customers, this capability enables a major strategic advantage to government organisations seeking to maintain unencumbered overhead intelligence.

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UK Ministry of Defence Announces £1.5m Boost for Space Innovation

NEWPORT, Wales (UK MOD PR) — Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a £1.5 million [$1.85 million] investment in 12 ground-breaking space innovation projects.

The announcement marks the next step in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) ‘Space to Innovate’ competition, which sought to find and fund new technologies that could improve the UK’s resilience, awareness and capability in space.

The competition, run on behalf of Dstl by the Defence and Security Accelerator, the MOD’s innovation hub, received more than 60 bids from innovators around the world.

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Global Small Satellites Market Anticipated to Reach $10.1 Billion by 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota, December 22, 2017 (BIS Research PR) — According to a market intelligence report by BIS Research titled Global Small Satellites Market, Analysis & Forecast, 2017-2021, the global market is expected to reach $10.10 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 31.9% during the forecast period, 2017 – 2021. In the recent years, small satellites have gained traction owing to the significant mass reduction in the subsystems and components along with higher cost-efficiency. The interest in small satellites has increased significantly during the last few years. Over the past decade, nearly $2.5 billion has been invested in small satellites, of which half of the amount was generated in the last two to three years.

Browse 21 Market Data Tables and 125 Figures spread through 266 Pages and in-depth TOC on “Global Small Satellites Market

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Dream Chaser to Use Europe’s Next-Generation Docking System

SNC Dream Chaser docks with the International Space Station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA and a team of European industrial contractors led by QinetiQ have finalised an agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the use of Europe’s International Berthing Docking Mechanism on the Dream Chaser spaceplane.

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MOU Signed to Study Campbeltown Spaceport

Credit: Discover Space UK

ARGYLL, Scotland (Discover Space UK PR) — Leading UK Space science and technology firms QinetiQ and Telespazio VEGA UK have agreed Memorandum’s of Understanding (MoU) to work with Discover Space UK on investigating the potential for a horizontal launch spaceport at the Campbeltown site on the West Coast of Scotland.

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QinetiQ Studies How to Save World From Killer Asteroids

Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft. (Credit: ESA/The Science Office Ltd.)
Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft. (Credit: ESA/The Science Office Ltd.)

FARNBOROUGH, England — QinetiQ is examining what it would take to save the world from an asteroid impact, under an €840,000 [$937,398) contract awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

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UK Space Conference Showcases Growing Space Sector

UK_space_agencyLIVERPOOL, England (UKSA PR) — From a feasibility study into the next generation of mobile satellite services, to a study examining the potential for UK communications support for the Orion mission, a host of new contracts were announced last week as leading figures from the space industry met for the 2015 UK Space Conference in Liverpool.

The conference announcements illustrated the strength and diversity of the UK space sector and the skilled services it has to offer.

ICE Telecommunications Contract

On day 2 of the Space Conference, the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a contract with Inmarsat in the UK to support the Inmarsat Communications Evolution project, ICE – a public-private partnership that gives European industry the opportunity to shape future mobile satellite services on land, at sea and in the air.

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QinetiQ Wins Contract for New Docking System on Space Station

CGI image of the IBDM design
CGI image of the IBDM design (Credit: QinetiQ)

Farnborough, 3 June 2014 (QinetiQ PR: QinetiQ Space has won a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of the International Berthing Docking Mechanism (IBDM), a unique soft docking system for use by spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS).

Under the current contract phase, which will run until 2015, QinetiQ Space will develop and build an engineering model that it is intended to be tested on the ground. The contract is expected to lead to a follow-on development phase lasting until 2017.

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SpaceX-3 Science Payloads Return to Kennedy

Donald Houzer, a QinetiQ North America mechanical technician, checks out the Advanced Plant Experiment (APEX) during prelaunch preparations in the Space Station Processing Facility. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)
Donald Houzer, a QinetiQ North America mechanical technician, checks out the Advanced Plant Experiment (APEX) during prelaunch preparations in the Space Station Processing Facility. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Anna Heiney
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A trio of science payloads have completed their missions on the International Space Station and returned to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they’ll be turned over to the scientists who designed them.

The BRIC-18, Biotube-MICRo and APEX-02-2 investigations were created to answer a variety of biological questions critical to future long duration spaceflight, from the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections to several mysterious aspects of plant growth.

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QinetiQ Signs Deal With ESA for Space Recycling System

esa_logoKRUIBEKE, Belgium (QinetiQ Space PR) — QinetiQ Space has signed a 1.1 million euro contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of a ground prototype water treatment unit to recycle urine and waste water for use in space.

The prototype will be used to develop a system that will be used in future space missions to treat water for re-use by astronauts to wash, or to be purified further to drinking water. The ground prototype and testing will ensure the future system works successfully in space, with a design that has to take into account the lack of gravity, the launch and the life expectancy of the components in different environments.

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Spaceport Sweden Prepares to Open Spaceflight Training Center

Carina Johnsson in the Dynamic Flight Simulator, part of Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program, in Linköping, Sweden. (Credit: Spaceport Sweden)
Carina Johnsson in the Dynamic Flight Simulator, part of Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program, in Linköping, Sweden. (Credit: Spaceport Sweden)

KIRUNA, Sweden (Spaceport Sweden PR) — The Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program at the Flight Physiological Centre (FPC) in Linköping is soon ready for launch. Earlier in the week we went through a dry-run together with QinetiQ trying out the unique G profiles generated by future commercial space vehicles in the Dynamic Flight Simulator (DFS).

Spaceport Sweden is establishing commercial human spaceflights and Europe’s gateway to space and together with QinetiQ we are devloping a world-class spaceflight preparation program where future space travelers will emerge prepared, confident and relaxed, ready to maximise their journey to space.

The DFS in Linköping is one of the world’s most advanced flight simulators, combining a man-rated, long-arm centrifuge and flight simulator. The DFS provides a safe and highly controllable environment in which future astronauts can experience the sustained periods of increased acceleration present during launch and re-entry and allows for the precise re-creation of the complex and unique ‘G’ profiles generated by future commercial space vehicles.