Weather Prediction for Any Condition

Raytheon Intelligence & Space is developing a new class of small satellites with vastly improved capabilities including higher-resolution imaging and greater durability, all while achieving lower size, weight and power requirements. Those improvements could benefit both civil and military customers. (Credit: Raytheon)

New small satellites to improve weather imaging day or night

ARLINGTON, Va. (Raytheon PR) — Today’s weather forecasts can help people decide whether to grab an umbrella on the way out or get ready for a big storm. A new class of small satellites in development at Raytheon Intelligence & Space could provide even better data to inform those decisions.

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NASA Selects 4 Concepts for Small Missions to Study Universe’s Secrets

As neutron stars collide, some of the debris blasts away in particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light, producing a brief burst of gamma rays. (Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has chosen four small-scale astrophysics missions for further concept development in a new program called Pioneers. Through small satellites and scientific balloons, these selections enable new platforms for exploring cosmic phenomena such as galaxy evolution, exoplanets, high-energy neutrinos, and neutron star mergers.

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What We Learned This Year from Space Station Science

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is pictured in the cupola holding biomedical gear for the Marrow experiment. The study measures fat changes in the bone marrow before and after exposure to microgravity. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Dozens of experiments are going on at any given time aboard the International Space Station. Research conducted in 2020 is advancing our understanding in areas of study from Parkinson’s disease to combustion.

Space station research results published this year came from experiments performed and data collected during the past 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory. Between October 1, 2019, and October 1, 2020, the station’s Program Research Office identified more than 300 scientific publications based on space station research.

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Exolaunch Integrates 30 Small Satellites for SpaceX First Dedicated Rideshare Launch

A rendering of rideshare smallsat deployments from Falcon 9 into space. (Credit: Exolaunch)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Exolaunch PR)–Exolaunch, the leading rideshare launch and deployment services provider for the NewSpace industry, begins its launch campaign to integrate 30 small satellites from the U.S. and Europe aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare mission scheduled for no earlier than January 2021. This is the first dedicated rideshare mission of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program and the first of several rideshares Exolaunch is manifesting on Falcon 9 as part of a multi-launch agreement the company signed with SpaceX earlier this year.

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Capella Space Releases the Highest Resolution Commercial SAR Imagery Available in Market at 50 cm

China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Credit: Capella Space)

U.S.-based smallsat technology delivers unprecedented 50 x 50cm SAR “Spot” imagery to power critical applications for Government, Defense & Intelligence, and Commercial Customers 

SAN FRANCISCO, December 16, 2020 — Today Capella Space released 50cm x 50cm ‘Spot’ imagery, delivering the highest resolution commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery on the market. Prior to Capella, the best resolution on the market was 1m x 25 cm with non-square pixels which created its own challenges.

These previous images were collected with limited bandwidth of 300 MHz where Capella imagery is collected with up to 600 MHz of bandwidth. In the midst of increasing global change, Capella Space is setting the standard for how large organizations extract key insights and make better decisions through Earth observation data. Capella Space’s spot imagery delivers the highest resolution, most usable all-American made SAR imagery data on the market.  

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Government Funds UK Companies at the Forefront of Space Innovation

21 UK organisations have been awarded a share of over £7 million of funding to put the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The cash injection is going to high-risk, high-reward projects that support companies and universities with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change through Earth Observation or address satellite communications challenges, from providing greater connectivity to remote places to increasing the efficiency of our homes.

Projects set for the cash boost include The Open University who will use the money to create the UK’s first Precision Forestry tool, TreeView, which will support efforts to tackle the climate emergency through detailed measurement of tree-planting initiatives aimed at increasing carbon dioxide removal.

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NASA Awards Venture Class Launch Contracts to Astra, Relativity Space & Firefly

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded multiple Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites. The three companies selected to provide these commercial launch capabilities, and the value of their firm fixed-price contracts, are:

  • Astra Space Inc. of Alameda, California: $3.9 million
  • Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California: $3.0 million
  • Firefly Black LLC of Cedar Park, Texas: $9.8 million
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NASA Selects Solar Sail, Earth Atmosphere Study SmallSat Missions

Solar Cruiser spacecraft (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected two SmallSat missions – a study of Earth’s outer most atmosphere and a solar sail spaceflight test mission – to share a ride to space in 2025 with the agency’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP).

The missions – the Global Lyman-alpha Imagers of the Dynamic Exosphere (GLIDE) and Solar Cruiser – were selected as Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Missions of Opportunity. GLIDE will help researchers understand the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere – the exosphere – where it touches space. Solar Cruiser demonstrate the use of solar photons for propulsion in space.

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Jim Cantrell’s Phantom Space Aims for Launch in 2 Years

Phantom Daytona-E rocket. (Credit: Phantom Space)

Tucson.com reports about Jim Cantrell’s new launch company, Phantom Space. He formed the company after leaving the position of CEO of Vector, a launch company that went bankrupt.

Cantrell, who was an early member of Elon Musk’s SpaceX team, said he was convinced to start another satellite tech company by Michael D’Angelo, a former colleague at Vector, after the pair figured they could use the many lessons they took from Vector.

The pair co-founded Phantom Space with Michal Prywata, a biotech business executive who is investor and chief strategy officer for Phantom.

Cantrell said Phantom is taking a broader view of the still-evolving New Space industry, which has been driven by the rapid development of tiny satellites for research and communications.

Rather than create a vertically integrated company that builds everything from the ground up, Phantom is using existing technologies — notably including proven, off-the-shelf engines for its launch vehicles — and integrating them into systems to serve its customers…

After setting up a small shop on East Speedway, Phantom is in the process of building four launch vehicles and hopes to launch its first orbital flight in about two years, skipping suborbital test flights, Cantrell said.

Nanoracks to Provide ISS with New Doorway to Space

Illustration of Bishop commercial airlock on International Space Station. (Credit: NanoRacks)

by Margo Pierce
NASA’s Spinoff Publication

Anyone who has gotten a sofa stuck in a doorway on moving day knows how frustrating it is when there’s no other way in or out. The doorways on the International Space Station, or airlocks, have worked just fine for 20 years. But as more researchers and companies wish to expand the scope and size of the projects they send into low-Earth orbit, a larger doorway could help.

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SSC UK Awarded ESA Contract to Define Next Generation Ground Segment Connectivity Systems for CubeSats and Smallsats

One of SSC antennas at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, where SSC has one of the world’s largest ground stations for satellite management. (Credit: SSC)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — The UK subsidiary of SSC (Swedish Space Corporation), has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a next generation concept for space to ground communications targeting the “NewSpace” (CubeSats and SmallSats) market. The initiative is supported by the UK Space Agency and aims at developing a range of new technologies that will address some of the market entry barriers faced by CubeSat organizations globally.

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Emxys Raises €2 Million in Venture Funding to Develop ODALISS

  • Emxys, a space technology company, has raised €2 million in funding.
  • The round was led by Mundi Ventures with participation from CDTI.
  • Financing from the round will be used to develop the ODALISS project, an innovative platform for small satellites with laser communications.

ALICANTE, Spain – Emxys (Embedded Instruments & Systems), a Spanish company based in Alicante, has closed a €2 million [US $2.35 million] funding round led by Mundi Ventures and with participation from CDTI. Vinca Capital served as financial advisor and Gesem served as legal advisor to Emxys in the transaction.

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Raytheon to Acquire Blue Canyon Technologies

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 10, 2020 (Raytheon PR) — Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Blue Canyon Technologies, a leading provider of small satellites and spacecraft systems components. Closure of the acquisition, expected by early 2021, is subject to the completion of customary conditions and regulatory approvals. Blue Canyon Technologies will report into Raytheon Intelligence & Space upon closing. 

“The space market is rapidly expanding and our customers need comprehensive solutions faster than ever before,” said Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “What makes Blue Canyon Technologies the right fit for our business is its agile, innovative culture and expertise in small satellite systems and technologies. This acquisition enables us to deliver a broader range of solutions to support our customers’ space missions – from sensing subsystems to mission systems integration and from launch and range support to on-orbit operations.”

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Rocket Lab Demonstrates Flexible In-space Transportation with New Kick Stage Maneuver

Kick Stage in orbit. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab’s Kick Stage successfully completed plane change in orbit for the first time, further demonstrating the Kick Stage’s ability to enable custom orbits for small sats.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — This week Rocket Lab demonstrated an advanced capability of its Kick Stage acting as a space tug during the company’s 15th launch, the ‘In Focus’ mission that launched satellites for Planet and Canon on October 28th UTC.

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Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for Maiden Flight

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

AUGSBURG, Germany — Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), a participation of space technology company OHB SE, will be establishing a launch site for a micro launcher together with Norwegian company Andøya Space. The two partners have now signed a letter of intent to this effect. The site is to provide launch services for small satellites from 2022.

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