Microsoft’s Azure Space Partners with SpaceX, SES, Viasat and Others

Credit: Microsoft

SEATTLE (Microsoft PR) — Microsoft is moving into the final frontier with Azure Space, a new initiative that will deliver innovation to serve the mission needs of the space industry, and collaborating with industry leaders to bring new and enhanced offerings to organizations across the public and private sector.

As barriers to space access fall, organizations across a multitude of industries are taking advantage of the opportunities that satellites and other space technologies can offer for endeavors such as earth observation and global satellite communications. This creates rich opportunities as well as challenges.

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SpaceX, Hughes and ViaSat Among 386 Qualified Bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

Beginning on October 29, 386 Applicants May Bid for Up to $16 Billion in Support to Bring Broadband to Up to 10.25 Million Unserved Americans

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2020 (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission today announced that 386 applicants are qualified to bid in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction. In a Public Notice, the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force, Office of Economics and Analytics, and Wireline Competition Bureau identified the qualified applicants and provided educational materials for participating in the auction.

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Bankrupt OneWeb Owes Arianespace Nearly a Quarter Billion Dollars

OneWeb listed Arianespace as its top creditor with $238,137,447.58 in unsecured debt in a bankruptcy filing on Friday.

The French company is far ahead of the other 29 top unsecured creditors listed in the filing. Other companies in the top 10 include:

  • Qualcomm Technologies: $8,000,000.00
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd: $6,861,336.01
  • Hughes Network Systems: $5,352,750.51
  • Deutsche Bank: $5,200,734.82
  • Wipro Ltd.: $2,470,647.25
  • Willis Towers Watson PLC: $1,899,895.09
  • Viasat: $1,225,000.00
  • Nokia Corporation: $988,051.09
  • Redapt, Inc.: 662,275.85.

Arianespace released a brief statement on the bankruptcy:

Arianespace is aware of the Chapter 11 filing by several OneWeb companies in US Bankruptcy Court in the state of New York (USA) on March 27, 2020.

As Arianespace is in a contractual relationship with OneWeb, the company was consequently listed among the creditors in the document filed on March 27.

Arianespace will monitor the progress of this procedure in accordance with its rights and commitments, and has no further comment to make at this time.

In its filing, OneWeb said it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. The company estimated its liabilities and assets at between $1 billion and $10 billion apiece.

OneWeb has laid off all but a small number of employees who are overseeing operations of its 74 satellites. The company was building a constellation of satellites to provide global broadband services.

ESA, European Commission Pre-order Four More Ariane 6 Launches

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has finalized its preorder for four more launches on Ariane 6, along with an initial payment.

Using Ariane 62, the light version of the new European launcher, these missions will be carried out on behalf of the European Commission to continue the deployment and operational ramp-up of the high-performance Galileo satellite navigation system.

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U.S. Air Force Awards Viasat $90 Million to Expand Tactical Data Networking Capabilities

CARLSBAD, Calif., January 21, 2020 (ViaSat PR) -– Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it was recently awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract worth a maximum ceiling of $90 million, to provide special warfare operators of the United States Air Force (USAF) with Viasat’s Battlefield Awareness Targeting System—Dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radios (also known in the U.S. Department of Defense nomenclature as the AN/PRC-161 radio). In addition to equipment, the IDIQ award covers associated operator training and maintenance.

BATS-D is the world’s first and only handheld Link 16 radio. It bridges a critical gap between air and ground forces by providing warfighters at the tactical edge with real-time, secure, reliable access to integrated air and ground information for improved situational awareness and enhanced close air support communications.

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Amazon Constellation Sends Number of Planned Communications Satellites Soaring Above 20,000

F6 satellite (Credit: OneWeb)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has jumped into a crowded field of companies seeking to provide high-speed broadband, data and other communications services to the entire globe.

Amazon’s Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites brings the total number of spacecraft in the 16 announced systems to 20,241 spacecraft. The competition includes SpaceX, Boeing, Telesat, SES and government-backed companies in China and Russia.

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Viasat, SpaceX Enter Contract for a Future ViaSat-3 Satellite Launch

Lifting off at 3:45 p.m. from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its demonstration flight. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

CARLSBAD, Calif., Oct. 25, 2018 (Viasat PR) — Viasat Inc., (Nasdaq: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it selected SpaceX to launch one of its ViaSat-3 satellite missions. The Viasat mission is scheduled to launch in the 2020 – 2022 timeframe from the Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This mission will launch aboard a Falcon Heavy.

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Viasat Select’s ULA’s Atlas V for Commercial Satellite Launch

Atlas V launches Orbital ATK-designed satellites for the U.S. Air Force. (Credit: ULA)

PARIS, Sept. 10, 2018 (ULA PR) – Global communications company, Viasat Inc., (Nasdaq: VSAT) announced today it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle to launch one of its ViaSat-3 satellite missions. This is the first commercial contract ULA has directly signed since assuming responsibility for the marketing and sales of the Atlas V launch vehicle from Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services earlier this year.

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Senate Hearing Set on Commercial Satellite Industry


The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon

253 Russell Senate Office Building
October 25, 2017
10 a.m.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. The hearing will examine commercial satellite services and next-generation satellite services affecting consumers.

Witnesses:

–  Ms. Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX
–  Mr. Mark Dankberg, Chief Executive Officer, ViaSat
–  Mr. Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat
–  Mr. Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWeb

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Full committee

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.











Start-up Space Blasts Off

Bryce Space and Technology has produced a new report, Start-up Space: Update on Investment in Commercial Space Ventures.

Below is the executive summary. You can also download the full report.

Executive Summary

The Start-Up Space series examines space investment in the 21st century and analyzes investment trends, focusing on investors in new companies that have acquired private financing. Space is continuing to attract increased attention in Silicon Valley and in investment communities world-wide. Space ventures now appeal to investors because new, lower-cost systems are envisioned to follow the path terrestrial tech has profitably traveled: dropping system costs and massively increasing user bases for new products, especially new data products. Large valuations and exits are demonstrating the potential for high returns.
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Busy Launch Week Ahead: Japan, USA, Europe & India

Ariane 5 launch (Credit: Arianespace)

There is a busy week in launches ahead, with four flights planned from Japan, India, South America and the United States.

Thursday, June 1

H-2A
Tanegashima Space Center, Japan
Launch Time: 0020 GMT (8:30 p.m. EDT — May 31)

The booster will launch the Michibiki 2 navigation satellite, which is part of a constellation that will provide regional navigation services.

Falcon 9
LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Launch Time: 2155 GMT (5:55 p.m. EDT)

SpaceX will launch a Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Ariane 5
ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Launch Window: 2345-0045 GMT (7:45-8:45 p.m. EDT)

Arianespace will launch the ViaSat 2 and Eutelsat 172B communications satellites.

Monday, June 5

GSLV Mk.3
Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
Launch Time: 1208 GMT (8:08 a.m. EDT)

ISRO has placed the GSAT 19E experimental communications satellite aboard the first orbital flight test of the nation’s largest booster.  The space agency conducted a suborbital test of the GSLV Mk. 3 in December 2014. The new rocket is capable of placing 8 metric tons into low Earth orbit and 4 metric tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit.











SpaceX Wants to Launch 12,000 Satellites

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has filed a new application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to launch a constellation of 7,518 satellites to provide communications in the little used V band.

The system is in addition to  another constellations of 4,425 satellites (plus orbital spares) SpaceX proposed in November that would operate in the Ku and Ka bands. In total, the two constellations would have 11,943 spacecraft plus spares.

“When combined into a single, coordinated system, these ‘LEO’ and ‘VLEO’ constellations will enable SpaceX to provide robust broadband services on a full and continuous global basis,” SpaceX said in its application.

Competitor OneWeb has submitted a new application that would add an additional 2,000 satellites capable of operating in the V-band to its planned constellation of 720 satellites.

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Arianespace Signed 13 Launch Contracts in Past Year

Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)
Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

While Elon Musk and SpaceX have been dominating the media spotlight with their spectacular Falcon 9 first-stage landings and even more spectacular launch pad firexplanomaly, Arianespace has quietly went about the task of putting satellites into orbit and signing new launch contracts.

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Companies Propose Launching 8,700 Satellites into Non-Geosynchronous Orbit

OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)
OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

While SpaceX has received most of the attention for its plan to launch more than 4,000 broadband satellite network, the constellation makes up just over half the number of spacecraft that companies have proposed placing in non-geosynchronous satellite orbit (NGSO).

Companies have filed applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 8,731 NGSO communications satellites. While most of the constellations would provide broadband and communications services, others would collect Earth observation data.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, NGSO spacecraft “occupy a range of orbital positions (LEO satellites are located between 700km-1,500km from the Earth, MEO satellites are located at 10,000km from the Earth), and do not maintain a stationary position, but instead move in relation to the Earth’s surface.”

SpaceX leads the pack with 4,425 spacecraft, followed by Boeing with 2,956 and WorldVu (aka, OneWeb) with 720. Boeing has a second application before the FCC for a constellation with 60 satellites.

The table below provides a summary of the applications filed with the FCC.

 NGSO APPLICATIONS BEFORE FCC
COMPANYLOCATION
NO. OF SATELLITES
BANDSSERVICES
SpaceXHawthorne, CA4,425Ka, KuGlobal broadband
BoeingSeattle, WA2,956VAdvanced communications, Internet-based services
WorldVu (OneWeb)Arlington, VA720KuGlobal broadband
Kepler CommunicationsToronto, ONT140KuMachine-to-machine communications (Internet of Things)
 Telesat CanadaOttawa, ONT117Ka Wide band and narrow band communications services
 Theia Holdings A, Inc.Philadelphia, PA112KaIntegrated Earth observation and communications network
Spire GlobalSan Francisco, CA100KaMaritime monitoring, meteorological monitoring, and earth imaging services
 LeoSat MAPompano Beach, FL80KaBroadband services
BoeingSeattle, WA60KaVery high speed connectivity for end-user earth stations
 O3bWashington, DC60KaBroadband services
ViaSat  Carlsbad, CA24Ka, VBroadband services
 Karousel LLCAlexandria, VA12KaCommunications
Audacy CommunicationsWalnut, CA3K, VData relay constellation providing satellite operators with seamless access to NGSO satellites
Space Norway ASOslo, Norway2Ka, KuArctic broadband

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