UK Space Sector Created 3,400 New Jobs

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The UK’s space sector has seen significant growth in income, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8 billion [$19.4 billion], Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced today.

The main findings from the independent ‘UK Space Industry: Size and Health Report’ show that, compared to the 2016 survey:

  • income up from £13.7 billion to £14.8 billion [$18 billion to $19.4 billion]
  • employment up from 38,522 to 41,900
  • exports up from £5 billion to £5.5 billion [$6.6 billion to $7.2 billion]

The report also shows that an average of 39 new companies have been added to the UK space sector every year since 2012.

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Spire Global Taps Galileo Signals to Measure Radio Occultation for Weather Community

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11, 2018 (Spire Global PR) — Spire Global, Inc, the world’s largest space to cloud analytics company, today announced Spire’s most recently launched satellites are the first satellites in the world to use Galileo GNSS signals to measure radio occultation (GNSS-RO) profiles in a production capacity for the weather community.

This industry first was announced today at The Morgan Stanley Space Summit in NYC, and will now be offered to the entire audience of Spire’s global user base as a new tier of data for advanced weather prediction. These satellites are also part of a larger collaborative European Space Agency (ESA )program called ARTES Pioneer ‘Space As A Service’. The new satellite deployments represent the first Spire satellites launched through the Pioneer program for ESA, which is supported by the UK Space Agency.

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Liftoff for Pioneering Nanosats

Pioneer Spire nanosatellite in RF test chamber. (Credit: Spire)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ESA PR) — The first ‘Pioneer’ mission lifted off last week from Sriharikota, India, with the two inventive little nanosatellites now circling the Earth, ready for action.

The shoebox-sized satellites were launched at 04:27 GMT into low Earth orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s PLSV launcher, and opened their first communication windows with their owner, Spire Global, less than an hour after they separated from the rocket.

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Rocket Lab Plans First Commercial Launch

Eelectron rocket on the launch pad. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Huntington Beach, Calif., 3 April 2018 (Rocket Lab PR) — US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has today confirmed it will open a 14-day launch window this month to conduct the company’s first fully commercial launch. The mission, named ‘It’s Business Time’, includes manifested payloads for Spire Global and GeoOptics Inc., built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.

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Rocket Lab Plans for Electron Commercial Flight

Electron soars into orbit. (Credit: Screenshot from Rocket Lab webcast)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., March 13, 2018 (Rocket Lab PR) — US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has today confirmed its next launch will be the company’s first fully commercial flight. Two Lemur-2 cubesats for launch customer Spire Global will be on board the upcoming launch, with the full manifest to be confirmed in coming weeks.

The flight’s name was put to a vote on social media, with “It’s Business Time” coming out as a clear fan favourite and a continuation of company’s previous flight names, “It’s a Test” and “Still Testing”.

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UK Space Agency Backs Spire as ESA Space Mission Provider

Swindon, England (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has awarded more than £4 million to Spire Global to demonstrate cutting-edge space technology including ‘parallel super-computing’.

Today’s announcement by UK Government ministers Lord Henley and Lord Duncan, gives the green light to missions designed to showcase the technology and put UK companies into orbit faster and at a lower cost. The UK is the largest funder of the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Satellites (ARTES) programme, which transforms research into successful commercial projects.

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Satellites Lost in the Soyuz Launch Failure

Soyuz rocket blasts off from Vostochny on Nov. 28, 2017. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The failed launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket on Tuesday resulted in the loss of a Russian weather satellite and 18 CubeSats that were aboard as secondary payloads. The table below provides details about the lost spacecraft.

SATELLITES LOST IN SOYUZ LAUNCH FAILURE
SATELLITE NO.
OWNER
FUNCTIONS
 Meteor M2-1 1Russian GovernmentFourth generation weather satellite; insured for insured for 2.5 billion rubles ($42.6 million)
Lemur-2 10Spire GlobalCommercial weather monitoring and ship tracking
Vantage 2 1 Telesat (Canada)Ka band prototype for 117 satellite constellation that will provide low-latency broadband links for planes, ships and remote locations. Twin Vantage 1 prototype scheduled for launch aboard an Indian PSLV in late December or early January.
Landmapper-BC 2Astro DigitalEarth imaging
 SEAM 1KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)Ionospheric measurements magnetic and electric fields
 D-Star One 1German Orbital Systems & iSky Technology (Czech Republic)Amateur radio
Baumanets 2 1 Bauman Moscow State Technical UniversityEducational satellite with optical camera and communications experiment
AISSat 31
 Norwegian Space CenterShip tracking
IDEA OSG 1 1ASTROSCALESpace debris using sensors developed by JAXA. Mission sponsored by OSG Corporation, a Japanese tool maker.

Rocket Lab Electron Launch Window Set to Open on Dec. 8

Rocket Lab says it will live stream the flight at http://www.rocketlabusa.com minutes before the scheduled launch time.

This will be Rocket Lab’s second attempt to launch the Electron rocket from New Zealand after the first launch failed to reach orbit on May 25. The flight will carry CubeSats from Planet and Spire Global.

Loft Orbital Solutions Raises $3.2 Million

Credit: Loft Orbital Solutions

Loft Orbital Solutions Inc., has raised $3.2 million in seed funding for its plans for satellite rideshare service that will fly payloads from different users on the same spacecraft. The round was led by Uncork Capital, which was joined by MDI Ventures, V1 VC, Mercuria Investment Japan and The Remote Sensing Tech Center of Japan.

“Our turnkey service addresses all elements of a space mission,” the company states on its website. “You provide us with a payload. We deliver it to orbit and enable you to task it and access your data.”

The San Francisco-based company was co-founded by three veterans of Spire Global: Antoine de Chassy, Alexander Greenberg and Pierre-Damien Vaujour. The company recently hired , the first South Korean in space, Soyeon Yi, to serve as its business development and partnerships manager.

Luxembourg Invests in Spire’s $70 million Series C Round

Luxembourg, November 15, 2017 (Luxembourg PR) – The Luxembourg Government and Spire Global signed a cooperation agreement to develop, through the opening of a European HQ by the US-based company, several key activities in the Grand Duchy focused on space platform engineering, data analytics, infrastructure engineering and business development. The office in Luxembourg will serve as Spire’s full-service European headquarters. Spire is a satellite powered data company with offices in the US, Europe and Asia offering products for global ship tracking and high frequency weather data.

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ISS U.S. National Lab Payloads Prepped for Orbital ATK CRS-8 Launch

SS John Glenn near the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL., November 2, 2017 (CASIS) The Orbital ATK Cygnus vehicle is slated to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than November 11, 2017 from Wallops Flight Facility.

The Cygnus spacecraft will carry ISS National Laboratory payloads to conduct research across a variety of areas aimed at improving life on Earth. In addition to the diverse research launching to the ISS National Lab, multiple payloads focused on enabling future research missions will be part of the CRS-8 manifest. Thus far in 2017, the ISS National Lab has sponsored more than 100 separate experiments that have reached the station.

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IAC Updates: Starliner, Rocket Lab and Long March 5

Electron lifts off on maiden flight from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The International Astronautical Congress has been going on all week down in Adelaide, Australia. In addition to Elon Musk’s presentation on Friday and some news I’ve already posted here, there have been a few updates on various programs.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner.  Boeing is aiming for a test flight of the CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station in the third quarter of 2018. However, the first crewed test flight could slip from the fourth quarter of 2018 into the first quarter of 2019.  Link

Rocket Lab. The company’s next test launch will carry will two Dove Cubesats from Planet and a pair of Lemur CubeSsats from Spire Global. The satellite will allow Rocket Lab to test deploying spacecraft from the second stage of its Electron rocket. The launch is planned for several weeks from now. Link

Long March 5. The failure of a Long March 5 booster in July will delay the launch of China’s Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission, which had been scheduled for November. The Chang’e-4 mission, which will land on the far side of the moon, also will be delayed. That flight had been scheduled for late next year. The accident investigation is ongoing. Link

NASA Space Act Agreements with Virgin Galactic, Moon Express, NanoRacks and More

NASA has released a document listing the 1,206 active Space Act Agreements  (SAAs) the agency has with commercial companies, non-profit organizations and state and local governments.

From that list, I’ve extracted agreements with individual companies. Below you will find tables listing SAAs that NASA has signed with Virgin Group companies, Moon Express and NanoRacks. There is also a fourth table that has SAAs with a number of companies and organizations that we follow on Parabolic Arc.

SAAs come in three varieties: reimburseable, non-reimburseable and funded. Under reimburseable agreements, a company or organization will pay NASA for its services. No money exchanges hands under non-reimburseable agrements. And under funded agreements, NASA pays the company to perform work or provide services. (The space agency made substantial use of SAA’s in the Commercial Crew Program.)

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U.S. National Lab Research Payloads Headed for ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (CASIS PR) The Orbital ATK Cygnus vehicle launched on its seventh cargo resupply mission (CRS-7) to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle, carrying more than 40 ISS U.S. National Laboratory sponsored investigations.

The ISS U.S. National Laboratory is chartered to facilitate research in the microgravity environment that benefits life on Earth. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is leading the effort in partnership with NASA, industry, other government organizations, and academia to manage and promote the best use of the ISS National Lab.

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Satellite Professions Name “Rising Five” New Space Companies

NEW YORK (SSPI PR) — The Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) named today the first annual Rising Five, the five New Space Companies in the satellite industry that have made the most substantial progress over the past year. Decided by an international editorial advisory board, the 2017 Rising Five are the Kymeta Corporation, OneWeb, Planet, Spire Global and Virgin Galactic.

“The Rising Five represent the Society’s assessment of the progress made by innovative companies that are raising money, creating new technologies and pioneering new business models in this 60-year-old industry,” said SSPI Chairman Bryan McGuirk, chief commercial officer of Globecomm. “With so many new entrants in the market, the question is always who has the right idea, the right financing and the staying power to overcome the hurdles facing any new business and to find sustainable success. Our membership represents companies that know what it takes to succeed in one of the world’s most challenging technologies.”

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