U.S., UK Sign Declaration to Work Together on Space Activities

UK lays the foundation for rockets, high-altitude balloons and spaceplanes to lift off from spaceports across the UK, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

  • lift-off moment for UK-US spaceflight as Transport Secretary makes landmark declaration in Washington
  • partnership to cut red tape, making commercial launches from both countries easier and more streamlined 
  • comes as UK prepares for first satellite launch from home soil this year, creating thousands of high-skilled jobs 

WASHINGTON (UK Government PR) — Future spaceflight will be made easier and cheaper, following a landmark partnership with the United States to help cut red tape and boost opportunities in the UK, signed by the Transport Secretary this week in Washington.

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Viasat, Inmarsat Reach Agreement with UK Government on Plan to Increase Highly-skilled Jobs and R&D Investment in the UK Space Sector

Agreement ensures combination of Viasat and Inmarsat will be a strong contributor to the UK National Space Strategy

CARLSBAD, Calif. and LONDON, March 21, 2022 (Viasat/Inmarsat PR) — Viasat and Inmarsat, the US and UK satellite communications groups, have agreed on a package of legally-binding economic undertakings with the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the proposed combination of the two companies. BEIS welcomed the constructive discussions that have taken place with both companies on their future plans. The transaction remains subject to the regulatory processes of the UK.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that our combination with Inmarsat supports the UK’s National Space Strategy with additional investment and job creation,” said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO of Viasat. “I am confident that together we can build upon the UK’s space agenda and help propel the country to the forefront of the global space race. I want to thank the UK Government for their engagement and look forward to a productive relationship for decades to come.”

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UK Bans Aviation and Space Exports to Russia Over Ukraine Invasion

  • new powers to detain Russian aircraft and remove aircraft belonging to designated individuals and entities from the UK register
  • ban on the export of aviation and space-related goods and technology, including technical assistance
  • further ban on UK companies providing insurance and re-insurance services in relation to these goods and technology

LONDON (UK Government PR) — Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced a new suite of aviation sanctions giving the UK Government new powers to detain any Russian aircraft here in the UK. We have also strengthened the current overflight and landing ban on Russian aircraft, laying new legislation today to make it a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to fly or land in the UK.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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Prestwick Spaceport Files Planning Application Notice

Mick O’Connor (programme director at Prestwick Spaceport), Kevin Seymour (Astraius CEO), Zoe Kilpatrick (commercial director at Glasgow Prestwick Airport) and Cllr Peter Henderson (leader of South Ayrshire Council). (Credit: Prestwick Spaceport)

Prestwick, Scotland (Prestwick Spaceport PR) — South Ayrshire Council has started the process of submitting a formal planning application for the Prestwick Spaceport development. The Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) is the first step in the planning process for Prestwick Spaceport and signals the intent to apply for planning permission in early 2022.

The submission of the POAN follows the Council’s submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report last year which confirms that Prestwick’s space ambitions will not result in any significant adverse effects to the environment.

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Isotropic Systems Joins UK Government and ESA Consortium Led by CGI to Develop Hybrid Satellite Communications for Trains

LONDON, UK, 17 November 2021 (Isotropic Systems PR) — Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, has joined the consortium led by CGI (NYSE: GIB) (TSX: GIB.A), which has been selected by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the UK Space Agency, and the European Space Agency (ESA), to develop a demonstration of a hybrid satellite communications and terrestrial network for use on trains.

The project is part of a joint initiative in the UK to demonstrate the integrated use of 5G in the area of transport and logistics. The Satellites for Digitalisation of Railways (SODOR) project will deliver pilot demonstrations of improved network connectivity for train monitoring and passenger broadband in 2022.

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Isotropic Systems Secures Over $37 Million in Additional Series B Funding to Develop Unique Multi-link antenna Through to Product Launch in 2022

  • Isotropic Systems completes a new industry and VC-backed funding round, led by the world’s first listed space tech fund, Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC
  • This latest funding round takes the total capital secured from investor and customer support to over $100 million
  • Strong strategic investor support from existing investors including AEI HorizonX, Promus Ventures through its Luxembourg based space investment fund Orbital Ventures, SES and UK Government
  • Secures production and commercialisation of Isotropic’s next-gen ground antennas, designed to vastly improve connectivity across the satellite ecosystem

LONDON, 27th September, 2021 (Isotropic Systems PR) – Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, announces that it has raised over $37 million in an equity financing round, which fully funds the development of its game-changing multi-link antennas through to product launch in 2022.

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OneWeb Demonstrates Network Capabilities to U.S. Government

MELBOURNE, Fla. (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global communications company, powered from Space successfully demonstrated its turnkey satellite-based communications system to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) on March 2nd.

The event, which was conducted in front of service representatives from the US Space Command at OneWeb’s demonstration facility in Melbourne, Florida, represents the first time the solution has been demonstrated to the U.S. Government.

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The Good, the Bad and the Brexit: UK’s Participation in European Space Programs Curtailed by EU Departure

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although the United Kingdom’s (UK) “Brexit” departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1 will not affect its membership status in the European Space Agency (ESA), the nation’s participation in a number of European space programs is either ending or being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the UK and EU announced an agreement in principle that will govern trade, security and political relations after Brexit. Under the agreement, the UK’s participation in the:

  • Galileo satellite navigation and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program will end;
  • Copernicus Earth observation satellite program will continue, contingent upon a further agreement to be worked out next year; and
  • EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) program will end, although the Britain will continue to receive data as a non-EU country.
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Court Approves Sale of OneWeb to UK Government and Bharti Global

OneWeb resumes operations – on-track to emerge under new ownership by end of year

London, UK, Friday, 2 October 2020 – OneWeb, the communications company building a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to deliver global connectivity, has achieved a major step in its reorganisation process. On 2 October 2020, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed OneWeb’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation (the “Plan”), ensuring that the company remains on target to resume full business operations imminently.

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UK Dumps Idea of Creating Independent Satellite Navigation System

LONDON (UK Government PR) — New options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support the nation’s critical infrastructure will be explored by the government, it was announced today (Thursday 24 September).

The Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) will explore new and alternative ways that could be used to deliver vital satellite navigation services to the United Kingdom which are critical for the functioning of transport systems, energy networks, mobile communications and national security and defence, whilst boosting the British space industry and developing the UK’s own capabilities in these services.

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OneWeb Gets FCC Approval for Additional 1,280 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Satellite broadband provider OneWeb received FCC approval this week to launch an additional 1,280 satellites, increasing the size of the company’s constellation to 2,000 spacecraft.

The additional satellites will provide services in the V-band and operate at an altitude of 8,500 km (5,282 miles).

“After review of the record, we conclude that granting OneWeb access to the U.S. market for its proposed V-band satellite system would increase competition for the broadband services proposed to be provided by such systems to American consumers, particularly in underserved areas, offer a greater likelihood that such a large system is able to fulfill its ambitions and deploy the proposed services, and thereby serve the public interest, subject to the requirements and conditions specified herein,” the FCC said.

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U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approves OneWeb Sale

The sale of bankrupt satellite maker OneWeb to the UK government and Bharti Global Ltd of India was approved by the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday.

The partners bid more than $1 billion for the assets of the company, which was launching a satellite constellation to provide high-speed broadband services around the world.

“The parties will work to complete the plan sale process, including filing our plan and disclosure statements with the court, conducting voting with our creditors, and seeking regulatory approval and completing customary closing conditions, and expect the process to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020,” OneWeb said in a statement.

Before it declared bankruptcy in March, OneWeb had 74 of 648 satellites planned for the company’s initial constellation.