ICEYE-X2 SAR Satellite to Be Launched on Upcoming Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express Mission

HELSINKI,  November 8 (ICEYE PR) – ICEYE, an Earth observation company creating the world’s largest Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation, today confirmed it is launching the company’s second SAR satellite, ICEYE-X2, into low Earth orbit on Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission.

The mission is currently targeted to launch on November 19th from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. ICEYE-X2 will further showcase the capabilities of ICEYE’s SAR technology. This launch follows the success of ICEYE’s first satellite mission ICEYE-X1 earlier this year. The ICEYE-X2 satellite has recently finished all tests, and it has been shipped to the launch site.

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Britain, Australia Sign Space Agreement

BREMEN, Germany (UKSA PR) — The United Kingdom and Australia will co-operate on activities including communications technologies, space situational awareness and satellite navigation, Science Minister Sam Gyimah announced today (3 October).

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, provides a framework for collaborative activities and the exchange of information, technology and personnel between both nations.

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NASA Awards Earth Science Data Contracts to DigitalGlobe, Planet & SPIRE

One of the organizations in NASA’s Private Sector Small Constellation Satellite Data Product Pilot program, Planet, has several satellite constellations including Dove. Two of the Dove small satellites are shown here deploying from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has launched a pilot program to evaluate how Earth science data from commercial small-satellite constellations could supplement observations from the agency’s fleet of orbiting Earth science missions. On Sept. 28, the agency awarded sole-source contracts to acquire test data sets from three private sector organizations.

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Audacy Secures More than $100 Million in Pre-service Agreements


Mountain View, CA, October 1, 2018 (Audacy PR)
– Audacy, a space communications service provider deploying the first commercially licensed inter-satellite data relay network in human history, announced today that it had achieved a significant milestone by securing pre-service commercial agreements valued at over US$100 Million.

The companies represented in these agreements span across the globe and over a wide range of space applications including NGSO Earth Observation satellites, IoT and Broadband constellations, launch vehicles and deep space missions.

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Russia, India Negotiate on Human Spaceflight Cooperation

Translated from Russian using Google Translate

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On September 25, 2018, the delegation of the Roskosmos State Corporation headed by Dmitry Rogozin met with representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The main topics of negotiations between the two space organizations were: joint work within the framework of manned space programs, where the Russian side is ready to offer its significant achievements and partnership, as well as possible joint initiatives in the areas of satellite navigation.

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Orbital Insight Acquires FeatureX

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 18, 2018 (Orbital Insight PR) — Orbital Insight, the leader in geospatial analytics, announced today that it has acquired FeatureX, a privately-held, Boston-based artificial intelligence company. The acquisition brings new talent to Orbital Insight’s expert team and expands the company’s geographic footprint into Boston.

FeatureX, founded by serial entrepreneur and machine learning expert Gil Syswerda, specializes in computer vision for satellite imagery—specifically, object detection, image enhancement, and deep learning techniques. The acquisition enhances Orbital Insight’s expertise in these areas and strengthens the company’s research initiatives into new, cutting-edge applications.

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Planet and Orbital Insight Expand Satellite Imagery Partnership

SAN FRANCISCO and PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2018 (Planet/Orbital Insight PR) — Planet, who operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites, and Orbital Insight, the leader in geospatial analytics, announced today a multi-year contract for Orbital Insight to source daily, global satellite imagery from Planet. The contract is an expansion of their previous imagery-sharing agreement.

“Orbital Insight has been a fantastic partner for Planet, and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as they develop analytics that make our imagery more accessible and actionable for businesses,” said Will Marshall, CEO and co-founder of Planet. “The partnership signals the market’s confidence in the growing number of use cases for insights derived from daily global imagery with advanced analytics.”

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NorthStar Announces $13 Million in Financing from Government of Quebec

MONTREAL, Aug. 22, 2018 (NorthStar PR) — NorthStar, a Montreal-based information services company developing the world’s most advanced environmental and near-space monitoring system, is pleased to announce the closing of C$13 million [US$10 million] in financing from the Government of Quebec. As part of an overall $52 million [US$40.1 million] first round of financing, NorthStar will align with Quebec and other strategic partners to create a global environmental information platform that will empower humanity to preserve our planet.

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Sens. Cruz, Nelson & Markey Introduce Space Frontier Act

Sen. Ted Cruz

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ted Cruz PR) – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, on Wednesday introduced the Space Frontier Act (S. 3277).

This commercial space bill builds upon the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act by streamlining and reforming the regulatory framework for commercial space launch and Earth observation operations, which is crucial to maintaining American leadership in space.

The bill also extends the operation and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030 to ensure that the U.S. is getting the maximum return on American taxpayer investment to avoid creating a leadership vacuum in low Earth orbit.

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NASA Debuts Online Toolkit to Promote Commercial Use of Satellite Data

Through its constellation of Earth observation satellites, NASA collects petabytes of data each year, including this image of the Chukchi Sea acquired on June 18, 2018, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite. (Credit: NASA/U. S. Geological Survey/Norman Kuring/Kathryn Hansen)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — While NASA’s policy of free and open remote-sensing data has long benefited the scientific community, other government agencies and nonprofit organizations, it has significant untapped potential for commercialization. NASA’s Technology Transfer program has created an online resource to promote commercial use of this data and the software tools needed to work with it.

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Planet Lays Off Dozens of Employees

In February 2014, Planet Labs Inc. launched its first flock of Dove nanosatellites into space. Shown are two shoebox-sized Doves being ejected into low-Earth orbit from the International Space Station. The company’s goal is for the flock to take a high-resolution snapshot of nearly the entire globe every 24 hours. (Credit: NASA)

Space News reports the remote-sensing company Planet has laid off up to 38 employees in what the company has called a “shift of focus” from creating the world’s largest constellation of satellites to “developing commercial products and building  successful business” to “more tightly align” with its current goals. Planet said it laid off less than 10 percent of its more than 500 employees.

Planet & Airbus Partner to Deliver New Geospatial Solutions

Two of the 28 Planet Labs Dove satellites that make up the Flock 1 constellation are seen launching into orbit from the International Space Station on Feb. 11. (Credit: NASA)

TOULOUSE, France (Planet PR) — Planet is expanding its engagement in Europe in a big way. Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Airbus, a leader in remote sensing, to enable access to each other’s data and joint cooperation on the development of new geospatial solutions.

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China Launches Remote Sensing Satellite, SpaceX Plans Early Monday Flight

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

At least 10 launches are planned worldwide this month. The launches include crew and cargo missions to the International Space Station and the first commercial flight of Rocket Lab’s Electron booster. Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL will launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) from the Marshall Islands on June 14.

China got June off to a successful start on Saturday with the launch of the Gaofen-6 remote sensing satellite aboard a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

SpaceX is up next, with an early morning launch on Monday morning. A Falcon 9 is set to launch the SES 12 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The four-hour launch window opens at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT). The company has no plans to recover the previously used first stage.

The current launch schedule is below. View updates here.

JUNE 2018

June 2

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2D
Payload: Gaofen 6 remote sensing satellite
Launch Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China
Outcome: Success

June 4

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: SES 12 communications satellite
Launch Window: 12:29-1:27 a.m. EDT (0429-0527 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com

June 6

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: ISS 55S Crew flight
Launch Time: 7:11 a.m. EDT (1111 GMT)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

June 11

Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Payload: IGS Radar 6 reconnaissance satellite
Launch Window: 12:00-2:00 a.m. EDT (0400-0600 GMT)
Launch Site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

June 14

Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Payload: NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: L-1011, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

June 22/23

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payloads: 2 Spire & 1 GeoOptics satellites
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

First commercial flight of Electron.

June 28

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Dragon ISS resupply (CRS-15)
Launch Time: 6:03 a.m. EDT (1003 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com and www.nasa.gov

June TBD

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2C
Payload: PRSS 1 remote sensing satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Taiyuan, China

Launch Vehicle: Long March 3A
Payload: Fengyun 2H geostationary weather satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Xichang, China

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Telstar 19V communications satellite
Launch Window: TBD
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com

GAO: JPL’s SWOT Mission Planning to Launch Ahead of Schedule

SWOT satellite (Credit: NASA JPL)

A Franco-American mission that will conduct a global survey of the Earth’s surface water is moving toward launching a year earlier than planned despite encountering technical challenges and and workforce shortages, according to an assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite “will use its wide-swath radar altimetry technology to take repeated high-resolution measurements of the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies to develop a global survey,” the report stated.

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