Capella Space To Become First Commercial SAR Company to Demonstrate Compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture

Capella satellites will use laser communications from Mynaric to  rapidly send and receive data

SAN FRANCISCO, November 9, 2021 (Capella Space PR) — Capella Space today announced the company will become the first commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) supplier to demonstrate Optical Inter-Satellite Link (OISL) compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA)’s new NDSA. SAR data is a highly valuable asset for the SDA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The next generation of Capella’s persistent SAR monitoring capabilities will leverage new technology that enables high delivery speeds and direct access to its 24/7 all-weather data for U.S. Government customers.

Capella Space will install optical communications terminals (OCTs) on its commercial SAR satellites, starting in late 2022. This will enable the company to utilize highly efficient laser communications technology to send and receive data to and from its satellites in low Earth orbit, relaying data to compatibly equipped government satellites and military operations on the ground. The integration of OCTs onto Capella’s SAR constellation will drastically reduce latency from image collect to download and ensure spaceborne data is quickly available to inform critical decision-making for terrestrial missions.

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Air Force Research Laboratory Partners with Google Cloud to Accelerate Collaboration and Drive Research Mission Success

WASHINGTON, D.C. AND DAYTON, OHIO (Google Cloud PR) – Google Cloud announced November 3 that the Air Force Research Laboratory has chosen to deploy Google Workspace as a pilot program among a segment of its workforce of scientists and engineers. The initial deployment has dramatically enhanced engagement with its worldwide network of external research partners.

AFRL is a global research enterprise supporting two services, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. From laser-guided optics enabling telescopes to see deeper into the universe than ever before, to fundamental science that has spawned innovations in quantum computing and artificial intelligence, AFRL rapidly scales discovery to deliver leading-edge technologies for the military. Core to the success of AFRL’s mission is engaging with world-leading scientists, small businesses, large industry, and other government agencies to build communities that drive innovation.  

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AFRL Selects Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology

Dr. Andy Williams, center, Air Force Research Laboratory Deputy Technology Executive Officer for Space Science & Technology, explains the engineering of the Roll-Out-Solar Array, or ROSA, to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich during a past visit to AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. (Credit: AFRL)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory has selected Dr. Andrew Williams for the Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology (D-TEO), overseeing the lab’s responsibility to carry out the U.S. Space Force mission.

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COSMIC-2 Achieves Full Operational Capability

Diagram shows how COSMIC-2 satellites detect how GPS satellite signals are distorted, or bent, as they travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC-2) is a network  of six small satellites, each about the size of a standard kitchen oven, designed to improve weather prediction and model accuracy as well as space weather monitoring capabilities.

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Orbit Fab, U.S Air Force Sign CRADA for On-Orbit Refueling Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2021 (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space Vehicle Directorate, and the Spacecraft Technology Division to advance on-orbit refueling technology.

Orbit Fab will offer a ubiquitous supply of propellant in Earth orbit. Providing satellites the right fuel, in the right location, when they need it, will enable next generation capabilities for in-space refueling, servicing, assembly and manufacturing. Under the collaboration, Orbit Fab will share technical details and make available its hardware products, such as the RAFTI (The Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) and a cooperative docking guidance solution. The Air Force, in return, will review Orbit Fab’s refueling technologies, advise on requirements and designs, and make available its facilities for advancing performance and qualification. The knowledge exchange will allow Orbit Fab to bring to market its products for both defense users and commercial companies.

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Astra Space Reveals Cause of Launch Failure, Sets Window for Next Flight

Rocket 3.3 makes a wobbly liftoff from Kodiak Island after losing a first stage engine. (Credit: NASASpaceflight.com/Astra Space webcast)

ALAMEDA, Calif., October 12, 2021 (Astra Space PR) – Astra Space, Inc. (“Astra”) (Nasdaq: ASTR) today announced a commercial orbital launch on behalf of the United States Space Force. The launch vehicle, LV0007, will carry a test payload for the Space Test Program’s second mission STP-27AD2. The launch window is divided into two segments: the first segment is open from October 27, 2021 through October 31, 2021, and the second is open from November 5, 2021 through November 12, 2021. LV0007 will launch from the Astra Spaceport in Kodiak, Alaska.

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Tomorrow.io Awarded $19.3 Million U.S. Air Force Contract to Support Company’s First Weather Radar Satellites

Agreement Positions Tomorrow.io to Deliver Data to the Air Force, Other Government Organizations and Commercial Entities. 

Boston, September 30, 2021 (Tomorrow.io PR) – Tomorrow.io, the world’s leading weather intelligence and climate security company, today announced that it was awarded a $19.3 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to support deployment of its proprietary radar-equipped weather satellites. The contract paves the way for a first-of-its-kind, commercially-owned constellation of approximately 32 small satellites to provide global coverage of 3-D precipitation and other critical weather and ocean observations, with much faster revisit times than currently available. 

Tomorrow.io will offer data-as-a-service from its spaceborne radars to the U.S. Air Force and other governmental agencies worldwide, while the main use will be direct ingestion into its proprietary modeling suite, which includes numerical weather models, AI-enabled nowcasting and flood forecasting. These cutting-edge models power Tomorrow.io’s Weather Intelligence Platform™, used by hundreds of businesses and organizations to plan for and respond to increasingly extreme weather and climate conditions. 

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Colorado Congressional Delegation Asks Air Force Secretary to Suspend Move of US Space Command to Alabama

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The eight-member Colorado Congressional delegation has asked U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to suspend all activities related to the move of the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) from Colorado Springs to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. pending the completion of two on-going reviews.

“This move undermines our ability to respond to the threats in space and is disruptive to the current mission. Additionally, significant evidence exists that the former president’s political considerations influenced the final decision to relocate USSPACECOM to Redstone Arsenal. As such, we urge you to formally suspend any actions to relocate the USSPACECOM headquarters until the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have completed their respective investigations into the basing decision and you complete your review,” the delegation said in a Sept. 30 letter to Kendall.

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Feinstein, Padilla & Carbajal Urge Air Force to Consider Vandenberg as Permanent Base for STARCOM

Delta IV Heavy carrying the NROL-71 satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (Credit: ULA)

WASHINGTON (Dianne Feinstein PR)—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and Representative Salud Carbajal (all D-Calif.) today expressed support for making Vandenberg Space Force Base the permanent location for the Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) amid reports that the previous U.S. Space Command basing decision was based on politics, not merit.

“As you know, Vandenberg Space Force Base already plays an important role in space training and operations. Vandenberg trains space operators at the Air Education and Training Command’s 381st Training Group; manages missile testing; and launches satellites into polar orbit,” the members wrote in a letter to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. “Further, Vandenberg’s proximity to California’s world-renowned aerospace industry, universities, and research institutions makes it well-suited to support the permanent establishment of STARCOM.”

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

September 10, 2021

Mr. Frank Kendall
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force
Washington, D.C. 20330-1670 

Dear Secretary Kendall:

We write to express support for Vandenberg Space Force Base as the permanent location of the Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) and to ask that you ensure the selection process is based on a rigorous and objective evaluation of each proposed site.  We are concerned about reports that the previous Administration’s decision to establish U.S. Space Command at Redstone Arsenal was based on politics instead of the merits, and ask you to ensure this does not happen in future basing decisions. 

We are also concerned about the decision to temporarily base STARCOM at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  As you know, Vandenberg Space Force Base already plays an important role in space training and operations.  Vandenberg trains space operators at the Air Education and Training Command’s 381st Training Group; manages missile testing; and launches satellites into polar orbit.  Further, Vandenberg’s proximity to California’s world-renowned aerospace industry, universities, and research institutions makes it well-suited to support the permanent establishment of STARCOM.

We trust that under your leadership, future basing decisions will be carried out in an impartial manner and will follow established processes.  We look forward to working with you and your staff on behalf of Airmen, Guardians, and their families.  Thank you for your consideration, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.  

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Salud Carbajal
Member of Congress 

Alex Padilla
United States Senator 

Phase Four Wins U.S. Space Force Contract at SpaceWERX Pitch Day

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Phase Four PR) — Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster for satellite propulsion, announced today that it has secured a contract with the U.S. Space Force at the SpaceWERX Pitch Day held on August 18th, 2021 for the company’s propellant-agnostic Maxwell engine. Under the contract, Maxwell will utilize ASCENT, a green propellant developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, to enable multi-mode propulsion capability, which combines the high thrust capabilities of chemical propulsion and the high efficiency capabilities of electric propulsion.

“Space is rapidly becoming congested and contested,” said Phase Four CEO, Beau Jarvis.  “The U.S. Space Force and commercial satellite operators must increase the maneuverability of their spacecraft to operate safely and minimize on orbit risks.”

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Kendall, Raymond Stress Importance of Space and Space Force’s Success in Separate, High-profile Speeches

Frank Kendall

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall offered unambiguous support Aug. 24 for the still evolving U.S. Space Force, noting the critical role space plays in the nation’s security, the essential functions space enables in everyday life, and why access must be assured as space becomes more congested and contested.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of space-based systems to national security,” Kendall said during his keynote address at the 36th Space Symposium, an influential, weeklong gathering of military, commercial, and academic space experts from around the world. The speech was Kendall’s first major address since becoming the 26th Secretary of the Air Force on July 28.

“Strategic stability depends on space-based reliable early warning and communications systems,” Kendall said. “… I can assure you that this Administration will continue the work of establishing, equipping, training, and sustaining the newly formed Space Force and of increasing the resiliency of our essential space systems.”

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Space Force Pitch Day Awards $32.3 Million to 19 Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – SpaceWERX officially lifted off Aug. 19 during the virtual Space Force Pitch Day. The event closed with 19 small businesses securing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to advance their cutting-edge space technologies.

The newly launched SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the U.S. Space Force. It will operate as part of AFWERX, the Department of the Air Force’s innovation arm.

“What better way of introducing the new organization than bringing in new partners, locking in new investments and going after great space technology,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “We’re excited to be partnering with these great companies and the great technology they bring to the table.”

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Xplore Receives USAF Contract to Develop a Commercial Navigation & Timing Service for Cislunar Space

REDMOND, Wash. (Xplore PR) — Xplore Inc., an innovative commercial space company providing Space as a Service® has announced a follow on contract with the U.S. Air Force, (USAF) to continue developing their positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) solution as a commercial service for cislunar space. Xplore’s current Phase II effort culminates in a hardware in the loop testbed that will demonstrate the required performance to enable precision cislunar missions while laying the foundation for a subsequent on-orbit test of the PNT system. This Phase II SBIR, awarded for commercial and technical innovations between the Earth and the Moon, provides the Air Force with the necessary capabilities to extend precision operations to the Moon and across cislunar space.

The PNT system Xplore is developing enables exploration, operations and commercial activities in cislunar space — a vast region that extends past the Moon to the edge of interplanetary space and is over ten thousand times the volume than nearly all space operations around the Earth. An equivalent GPS-like navigation and timing solution for this expanse does not currently exist, and Xplore’s revolutionary solution leverages its internal platform development to provide critical infrastructure services beyond geosynchronous orbit.

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Trump Claims to have “Single-handedly” Moved U.S. Space Command From Colorado to Alabama

  • Controversial decision announced one week before Trump left office
  • Colorado’s leaders says comments confirm that political factors, not merit, led to decision
  • Two separate government investigations continue into move

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Former president Donald Trump claimed on Friday to have “single-handedly” moved the U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama, adding fuel to the political firestorm that erupted over the controversial decision earlier this year.

“Space Force — I sent to Alabama,” Trump said. “I hope you know that. (They) said they were looking for a home and I single-handedly said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama.’ They wanted it. I said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama,” Trump told the Alabama-based Rick & Bubba radio program.

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SpaceWERX Launch Drives AFWERX Small Business Focus on Universities and On-orbit Capability

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (USAF PR) – On August 19, SpaceWERX will officially launch. The kickoff will include a virtual Space Force Pitch Day highlighting the key partnership between the Department of the Air Force and small businesses by awarding up to $34 million to innovative startups competing for Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contracts. At the launch, SpaceWERX will also announce key initiatives to jumpstart the fall campaign.To join the SpaceWERX ecosystem click here

As a part of AFWERX, SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the United States Space Force. The Department’s newest innovation arm will create platforms for space operators, lab engineers, and acquisition professionals to collaborate with the brightest minds in academia and industry pursuing novel solutions. Moreover, SpaceWERX will continue to leverage proven AFWERX tools such as the SBIR Open Topic, Challenge platform, STRATFI initiative, and Prime program. 

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