Software-defined Satellite Enters Commercial Service

Eutelsat Quantum satellite (Credit: Airbus)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Europe’s first commercial satellite capable of being completely reprogrammed while in space is now in commercial use.

Satellite operator Eutelsat has sold six of its eight beams – used for data and mobile communications – to organisations including governments and other users. It is expected that the entire satellite capacity will be sold in the coming months.

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Satellite Built by Open Cosmos and RHEA Group to Fly on LauncherOne as Part of First UK Mission

Global navigation pathfinder mission, built in the UK, has been added to the flight manifest from Spaceport Cornwall later this year

LONG BEACH, Calif. & FARNBOROUGH, England (Virgin Orbit PR) — In what will be a mission of firsts, Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), a leading launch provider, announced today that it has been selected to launch RHEA Group’s first satellite into space. The international engineering and solutions firm is working with Open Cosmos to design, build and operate its mission. Open Cosmos and RHEA have selected Virgin Orbit from its UK business to carry the satellite, DOVER Pathfinder (DOVER), to Low Earth Orbit aboard its historic flight from Spaceport Cornwall later this year. The mission will mark the first time in history that a satellite launch has been conducted from British soil, helping fulfill the goals of the UK government to enable full end-to-end space capability.

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Astraius Announces Key Suppliers at Farnborough International Airshow

Astraius on track for first satellite launch from Prestwick Spaceport in 2024

Kevin E. Mahaffy, Chief Executive Officer of Exquadrum; Sir George Zambellas, Chairman of Astraius; Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency; Eric E. Schmidt, President of Exquadrum and Mick O’Connor, Programme Director at Prestwick Spaceport (Image Credit: Astraius)

Farnborough, UK (Astraius PR) — Astraius, the UK-based, horizontal launch company, has today announced two key suppliers for its innovative launch solution. Northrop Grumman has been selected as the first and second stage motor supplier, and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor. With these best-of-the-best industry leaders, Astraius is on-track for first launch in Spring 2024. The announcement received the support of the UK Space Agency at the Farnborough International Air Show.

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UK Space Companies Partner to Complete Development of Advanced Deployable SAR Antenna

Synthetic aperture radar antenna (Credit: Oxford Space Systems)

HARWELL, UK (Oxford Space Systems PR) — Oxford Space Systems (OSS) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have completed the build of an innovative deployable Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) antenna payload for the next generation of high-performance low-cost Earth Observation radar small satellite missions. The new SAR payload, which comprises of a highly stowage-efficient deployable antenna from OSS and a high bandwidth radar instrument and RF system from SSTL, has been exclusively designed in the UK, supported by a grant from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme. 

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Prestwick Spaceport to Accelerate Launch Hub Plans During World’s Largest Airshow

C-17 cargo aircraft which will carry and launch the Astraius rocket. (Credit: Prestwick Spaceport)

EDINBURGH, UK, July 18, 2022 (Prestwick Spaceport PR) — Representatives from Prestwick Spaceport are set to meet with stakeholders from across the global space industry, commerce, academia and government at this week’s Farnborough International Airshow, to accelerate plans to become Europe’s premier space launch location. Prestwick Spaceport will have a major presence alongside partners with Space Scotland as part of a dedicated Space Zone at the world’s biggest airshow at Farnborough 18-22 July.

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SatixFy Technology Enables First 5G link Through a LEO Constellation

Significant milestone achieved by SatixFy supported by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) using the OneWeb constellation, to successfully demonstrate a high-speed low-latency 5G-enabled link with a LEO satellite

The demonstration was enabled by SatixFy’s compact fully electronically steered multi-beam multi-orbit antenna terminal

The SatixFy terminal also demonstrated simultaneous multi-orbit communications with a LEO and GEO satellite using its multi-beam multi satellites capability

The demonstration validates the integration of space and ground networks using 5G links

5G is a potential large incremental market opportunity for SatixFy technology in the future – Northern Sky Research estimates $35 Billion in SatCom services revenue by 2030

HARWELL, England (SatixFy Communications Ltd. PR) — SatixFy Communications Ltd. (“SatixFy”), a leader in next-generation satellite communication systems based on in-house developed chipsets, today announced its critical role in enabling the first ever demonstration of a high-speed, low-latency link with a LEO satellite constellation incorporating 5G (video available here). SatixFy has partnered with OneWeb under the ESA Sunrise Partnership Project, with support from the UK Space Agency, to develop a compact electronically steered multi-beam array suitable for mobility services over both LEO and GEO satellites simultaneously. The terminal can also be integrated into 5G equipment to allow end-to-end access to a LEO constellation network via a 5G signal.

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Virgin Orbit Mission Success Brings UK Launch Another Step Closer

The “Straight Up” mission carried seven satellites to Low Earth Orbit. (Credit: Virgin Orbit/David Massena)

LONDON (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit’s next satellite launch will take place from the UK, following the success of the “Straight Up” mission, which lifted off from Mojave in California earlier today (2 July 2022).

Science Minister George Freeman and the UK Space Agency welcomed the news that Virgin Orbit has successfully completed its fourth mission from California, and its first night launch.

With this mission complete, Virgin Orbit is on track for launch from Spaceport Cornwall later this year. The UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council are supporting the launch, with Spaceport Cornwall set to create 150 jobs in the local area.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

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UK Government Announces Package of New Measures to Drive Space Sustainability

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

The new measures will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

  • Science Minister George Freeman announces new Plan for Space Sustainability to demonstrate UK leadership in sustainable space, in line with ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy
  • UK industry will work in partnership with government to develop a new Space Sustainability Standard, which will incentivise companies to adopt best practice
  • government will also review the regulatory framework, including exploring ways of lowering insurance costs for sustainable missions

LONDON (UK Government PR) — Science Minister George Freeman has today (Thursday 23 June) launched a new Plan for Space Sustainability, a raft of measures which will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

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UK Takes Lead in Exoplanet Mission with £30 Million Investment

Artist impression of ESA’s Ariel exoplanet satellite. (Credit: Airbus)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Government will invest £30 million to secure the UK’s leading role in developing a space telescope to explore exoplanets.

Due to launch in 2029, Ariel’s mission is to understand the links between a planet’s chemistry, its evolution and its host star, by characterising the atmospheres of 1,000 known planets outside our solar system.

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UK Leads New European Exoplanet Mission

Artist impression of an exoplanet system. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The UK has secured a leading role in the development of a space telescope that will probe the atmospheres of distant worlds.

The mission – called Ariel – will study the gases that enshroud some 1000 extrasolar planets to address fundamental questions about how they formed and evolved.  

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NASA, ESA Finalize Agreements on Climate, Artemis Cooperation

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, right, and ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Josef Aschbacher pose for a photograph following the signing of two agreements at the ESA Council meeting in Noordwijk, Netherlands, June 15, 2022. The agreements aim to further advance the space agencies’ cooperation on Earth science and Artemis missions. (Credits: ESA/S.Corvaja)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Josef Aschbacher signed two agreements Wednesday at the ESA Council meeting in Noordwijk, Netherlands, further advancing the space agencies’ cooperation on Earth science and Artemis missions.

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UK Satnav Signal Generated in New Test to Provide Future Resilient, Precise, Safety-Critical Capabilities

  • Team comprising Inmarsat, Goonhilly, GMVNSL demonstrates platform for future sovereign UK Position, Navigation and Timing capability
  • UK not part of Galileo satnav system, cannot use European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) safety of life (SOL) services since leaving European Union

LONDON (Inmarsat PR) — An Inmarsat-led team of companies in the UK, building on national expertise and prior experience within the group, has begun broadcasting a satellite navigation signal as part of a programme to explore the creation of a sovereign national capability in resilient positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) for the aviation and maritime sectors. The signal, being broadcast in coordination with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union Space Programme Agency (EUSPA), is now stable and operational, enabling on-going testing and validation by industry, regulators, and users.

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Comet Chaser Mission Moves From Blueprint to Reality

Artist’s impression of Comet Interceptor mission. (Credit: Geraint Jones, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

MADRID, Spain (ESA PR) — A new European Space Agency science mission, proposed by the UK, to 3D-map a comet for the first time has reached a major milestone.

The Comet Interceptor mission was formally adopted by the European Space Agency (ESA) at a meeting in Madrid today (Wednesday, 8 June 2022), moving from the design phase to implementation, with the next step to select a contractor to build the spacecraft and a robotic probe.

Due for launch in 2029, it will see one main spacecraft and two robotic probes – the other built by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) – travel to an as-yet unidentified comet and map it in three dimensions.

Caroline Harper, Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, said:

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CIRCE Space Weather Suite Announced for First UK Satellite Launch

CIRCE CAD models courtesy of Blue Canyon Technologies.

Dstl’s miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be aboard Virgin Orbit which is aiming to launch from Spaceport Cornwall later in 2022.

LONDON (Dstl PR) — The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be one of the payloads aboard Virgin Orbit which is targeting the first UK satellite launch this summer from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay. Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket takes off horizontally, carried aloft by a modified Boeing 747 jet, named Cosmic Girl.

The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) satellite mission comprises two 6U cube-satellites that will be launched into a near-polar low Earth orbit in a string-of-pearls configuration (targeting 555 kilometres altitude). Each 6U satellite bus measures 10cm by 20cm by 30cm (the size of a cereal box), and will fly almost identical instrument capability on both satellites. Dstl is partnering with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on the joint mission.

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UK and US to Launch Joint Mission Aboard United Kingdom’s First Orbital Launch Supported by Virgin Orbit

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Satellite launch company Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) announces today that a joint mission between the United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is expected to be lofted on the first space launch out of Spaceport Cornwall later this year.

The government agencies’ joint Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) is supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Test Program (STP), which is organized under the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). CIRCE will utilize two 6U CubeSats flying in tandem formation to measure the ionosphere and radiation environment from multiple vantage points. The mission will support the two countries’ joint development of a wide range of civil and defense applications, including GPS, radar, communication systems, and sensing technology.

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