Astroscale Secures Additional $50 Million for Space Debris Service

ELSA-d Chaser satellite (Credit: ASTROSCALE)

SINGAPORE, October 31, 2018 (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Pte. Ltd (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in developing a space debris removal service to secure long-term spaceflight safety, obtained additional funding of US $50 million from a group of investors led by INCJ Ltd. (INCJ), and including funds operated by SBI Investment Co., Ltd. (SBII) and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. (Mitsubishi Estate) among others.

This is the fourth round of funding raised by the ground-breaking company based in Singapore and it brings the total amount of capital investment to US $102 million.

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Mattereum to Partner with SpaceBridge Logistics on In-space Tug Services

LONDON (Mattereum PR) — Mattereum has announced a partnership with SpaceBridge Logistics, а company building a marketplace for in-space tug services at the intersection of aerospace and blockchain.

Pioneering London based legaltech firm Mattereum has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with SpaceBridge, a space logistics company described as the “Uber for space”.

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NASA Selects SSL to Develop Critical Technologies for On-Orbit Servicing and Space Exploration

sslPALO ALTO, Calif. (SSL PR) – SSL, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.) (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX: MAXR), and a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, announced today it was selected by NASA for two separate public-private partnerships to develop two vital “Tipping Point” spacecraft technologies.

NASA’s Tipping Point awards are designed to foster the development of commercial space capabilities and benefit future NASA missions. A technology is considered by NASA to be at a tipping point if an investment in a demonstration is likely to result in a high likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and significant improvement in the ability to successfully bring the technology to market.

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Effective Space, IAI Announce Partnership on Satellite Servicing

Credit: Effective Space

PARIS (IAI PR) — IAI and Effective Space – a company pioneering last mile logistics in space – today announced that they have signed a term sheet for cooperation, including both technological and financial partnerships. Under the conditions of the term sheet,

Effective Space will appoint IAI as the primary contractor of its SPACE DRONETM spacecraft, while IAI will work to complete the necessary approvals for equity investment in Effective Space. The term sheet follows more than a year of cooperation, during which both companies have been jointly working on the SPACE DRONETM spacecraft design.

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Startup Plans Fuel Depots in Orbit for Satellite Servicing

Credit: Orbital Fab

Space News reports that a company run by the former CEO of Deep Space Industries plans to develop orbiting fuel depots.

Orbit Fab, a Silicon Valley-based company with about a dozen employees, said Aug. 28 that a round of funding led by venture capital firm Bolt will enable it to demonstrate technology for fuel tanks that could be used by future satellite servicing systems.

“We differentiate ourselves from the satellite servicing operators in that we’re looking to put up just dumb tanks full of propellant, to provide that propellant where it’s needed, and we’re looking to partner with the satellite servicing operators to help improve their business models,” said Daniel Faber, chief executive of Orbit Fab, in an interview.

Faber said Orbit Fab will work with companies developing satellite servicing systems rather than create its own. “We’ve seen that the satellite servicing operators have a lot on their plates standing up their businesses, so they can’t take on the extra risk of standing up a gas station business,” he said. “We decided we would take that part.”

[….]

That initial mission, scheduled for launch next year, will be done in collaboration with NASA. Faber said the agency is providing “in-kind support,” with additional details to be released in the coming weeks.

NASA Testing Satellite Servicing Technologies on the Ground

Satellite servicing ground test. (Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Satellites are crucial to our everyday lives, but cost hundreds of millions of dollars to manufacture and launch. Currently, they are simply decommissioned when they run out of fuel. However, there is a better way: satellite servicing, which can make spaceflight more sustainable, affordable and resilient. NASA’s satellite servicing technologies are opening up a new world where space robots diagnose, maintain and extend a spacecraft’s life.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a 10 by 16-foot robot tests satellite servicing capabilities on Earth before they’re put to use in space. Sitting on top of the six-legged hexapod is a partial mock-up of a satellite. Mounted to a panel close by is an advanced robotic arm. Together, these robots practice a calculated dance. As the hexapod moves, it mimics microgravity as the robotic arm reaches out to grab the satellite.

At NASA, we’re working to prove the combination of technologies necessary to robotically refuel a satellite in orbit that was not designed to be serviced. The same technologies developed for the Restore-L project will advance in-orbit repair, upgrade and assembly capabilities.

The ground demonstrations take place in Goddard’s Robotic Operations Center. The hexapod robot was built for NASA by Mikrolar, a New Hampshire-based company.

GAO: Restore-L Mission Schedule is Lagging

Artist’s conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Restore-L project — which aims to demonstrate on-orbit satellite servicing by refueling the Landsat 7 satellite — is running behind schedule due to funding and technical issues, according to an audit from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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Orbital ATK Announces New Mission Extension Pods

Video Caption: During this year’s SATELLITE 2018 Conference and Exhibition, Orbital ATK, a leader in the emerging space logistics market, debuted the next generation of in-orbit satellite serving technology with the introduction of Mission Extension Pods (MEPs)™ and the Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV)™. These two products join Orbital ATK’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV)™, creating a suite of in-orbit satellite servicing products focused on extending the life of existing satellites.

ILS to Launch 2 Satellite Servicing Spacecraft for Effective Space

Credit: Effective Space

WASHINGTON, DC (ILS PR) — ILS, a U.S.-based leading global commercial launch services provider and UK headquartered Effective Space announce their intent to contract to deliver two of Effective Space’s SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft into orbit. The Proton Breeze M rideshare launch is planned for 2020 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

“ILS is focused on serving the satellite industry with flexible, and affordable launch solutions and our agreement with Effective Space is a perfect example of that. The performance of the Proton Breeze M vehicle to deliver the SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft directly to geostationary orbit combined with our decades-long history of launching dual or multiple spacecraft at one time, makes it a natural fit for Proton to deploy their spacecraft,” said ILS President Kirk Pysher. “This combination of performance and experience will enable Effective Space to realize their mission objective in the most expedient and effective way possible.”

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DARPA Requests Quarter Billion for Space Development Programs

Artist’s conception of Boeing’s Experimental Spaceplane One (XS-1). (Credit: Boeing)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

DARPA has requested $254.67 million to fund a variety of space programs for FY 2019. The total includes funds for work on an experimental space plane, a responsive launch competition, and robotic on-orbit servicing of satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO).

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Self-Driving Servicer Now Baselined for NASA’s Restore-L Satellite-Servicing Demonstration

Artist’s conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

CAPTION:

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — One test changed the fortunes of an advanced 3-D imaging lidar system now baselined for NASA’s Restore-L project that will demonstrate an autonomous satellite-servicing capability.

Officials with NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division, or SSPD, have officially baselined the Kodiak system — formerly known as the Goddard Reconfigurable Solid-state Scanning Lidar, or GRSSLi — to provide real-time images and distance-ranging information during Restore-L. This project will demonstrate how a specially equipped robotic servicer spacecraft can extend a satellite’s lifespan — even one not originally designed for on-orbit servicing.

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In-Orbit Servicing Market Opportunity Exceeds $3 Billion

Mission Extension Vehicle refuels satellite. (Credit: Orbital ATK)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 30, 2018 (NSR PR) — Northern Sky Research’s industry-first In-Orbit Servicing Markets (IoSM) report, released today, finds the nascent in-orbit servicing market poised for growth, and forecasts a total market of over $3B in the next 10 years. Life extension services drive most of this revenue, as many in-orbit service providers plan to enter the market in the next five years servicing commercial and government customers with additional solutions to fleet management.

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Effective Space Enters Satellite Servicing Arena

A UK-based company called Effective Space says it has signed an agreement with an unidentified spacecraft operator to provide satellite servicing capabilities, the BBC reports.

Effective Space says its two servicing “Space Drones” will be built using manufacturing expertise in the UK and from across the rest of Europe.

The pair, which will each be sized about the same as a washing machine and weigh less than 400kg, are expected to launch on the same rocket sometime in 2020.

Once in orbit, they will separate and attach themselves to the two different geostationary telecommunications satellites that are almost out of fuel.

The drones, using their own propulsion systems, will then take over station-keeping duties 36,000km above the Earth, ensuring the satellites can continue to point in the right direction to transmit their signals.

On its website, Effective Space says it will launch two SPACE DRONE spacecraft with universal, non-intrusive docking systems in 2020.

“‘Phase One’ roll-out is providing life-extension services to operators of satellites in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), including station-keeping, relocation, deorbiting, orbit correction, inclination correction and ‘bringing into use’ (BIU),” the website states.

“Further phases will see platform adaptations to support the evolving low-earth-orbit (LEO) constellations, as well as active-debris-removal (ADR) and in-space explorations, mining and manufacturing logistics,” the website adds.

Arianespace Prepares for Intense 2018, Looks to Future with Ariane 6 & Vega C

Ariane 5 launch on Dec. 12, 2017. (Credit: Arianespace)

EVRY, France 9 (Arianespace PR) — The past year saw Arianespace carry out 11 successful launches; sign 19 additional launch contracts, including three for Vega C and two for Ariane 6; and enter a new governance structure alongside ArianeGroup.

Building on these achievements, Arianespace is targeting a record number of launches in 2018, while actively focusing on the next decade with its Ariane 6 and Vega C launchers.
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Orbital ATK Receives Order for Second In-Orbit Satellite Servicing Vehicle

Mission Extension Vehicle refuels satellite. (Credit: Orbital ATK)

DULLES, Virginia 4 January 2018 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it has been awarded a contract for a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2). The vehicle was ordered by Intelsat S.A. to provide life extension services for an Intelsat satellite. Orbital ATK is now producing MEV-1, the industry’s first commercial in-space satellite servicing system, for Intelsat with launch scheduled for late 2018.

Under this new agreement, Orbital ATK will manufacture, test and launch MEV-2 and begin mission extension services in mid-2020. The production of the second MEV is part of Orbital ATK’s longer-range plan to establish a fleet of in-orbit servicing vehicles that can address diverse space logistics needs including repair, assembly, refueling and in-space transportation.

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