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Biz Briefs – Impulse Space Wins Vast Station Contract, Sri Lanka Gets Starlink

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 15, 2023
Filed under , , , ,
Biz Briefs – Impulse Space Wins Vast Station Contract, Sri Lanka Gets Starlink
Haven-1 space station with a SpaceX Crew Dragon attached.
Image credit: Vast.

Welcome to Biz Briefs! In today’s edition, Vast selected Impulse Space to provide propulsion for its planned space station, Hydrosat acquired IrriWatch to improve farm irrigation, Arianespace signed memorandums of understanding with two launch startups, Astroscale introduced a new docking plate, Sri Lanka gets Starlink, and much more.


Vast has selected Impulse Space to provide the propulsion system for its Haven-1 commercial space station, which is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 in August 2025. Impulse Space was founded by Tom Mueller, who was a founding employee of SpaceX.

SAIC will deliver a space battle management command and control system for the Space Development Agency’s constellation of low-earth orbit satellites under a $64 million contract.

BlackSky secured a multi-year contract worth more than $30 million for high-frequency imagery from an international defense sector customer.

Serco has won an ESA contract to lead the implementation of a key element in the European Commission’s Destination Earth (DestinE) program. DestinE aims to create a digital model of Earth that will be used to monitor the effects of natural and human activity on the planet. Serco will lead a consortium in creating the DestinE Core Service Platform (DESP), an open, flexible, and secure cloud-based computing system that will provide evidence-based decision-making tools, applications, and services. Serco is partnered with Thales Alenia Space, CGI, Deimos, Exprivia, MEEO, and Alia Space.

Capella Space has been awarded a five-year blanket purchase agreement by NASA’s Earth Science Division for the acquisition of the company’s high-resolution synthetic aperture radar imagery and data. The division will evaluate the products to determine their suitability for advancing NASA’s science and application goals. The agreement will facilitate fixed-price call-off contracts valued up to $7 million per call for the next five years.

Falcon 9 Transporter-7 rideshare mission lifts off
Falcon 9 lifts off on the Transporter-7 mission on April 15, 2023. Image credit: SpaceX.

SpaceX has won a NASA contract to launch two CubeSat Launch Initiative missions under the space agency’s Venture-class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program. VADR provides commercial launch services for payloads that can tolerate higher risks. Although SpaceX was one of 13 companies chosen for VADR launches in 2022, previous contracts have been awarded to startup companies whose launch vehicles were high risk because they had little or no flight history.

Exploration Laboratories (ExLabs) has been awarded a $1.7 million contract from SpaceWERX focused on producing an autonomous capture and acquisition system for the U.S. Air Force.

The Spaceport Company received a $1.5 million contract from the Defense Innovation Unit to further develop the company’s sea-based launch platform.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Satellite imagery and data analytics provider Hydrosat has acquired IrriWatch, a Dutch company that provides advanced irrigation management software to customers in 62 countries. The deal supports Hydrosat’s mission to merge data with solutions that help farmers grow more food with less water in the face of climate change, drought, and environmental sustainability goals.

Starlink satellites being deployed.
Starlink satellites being deployed. Image credit: SpaceX.

Japanese shipping giant Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is using Marlink’s smart hybrid communications network to communicate with its fleet of car carriers. The network uses SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellite network, which has been combined with Sealink VSAT and L-band backup systems.

Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours and Emerald Cruises are adding SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed Internet to their oceangoing fleets. The implementation began with the Scenic Eclipse II christening on June 3.

Sri Lanka is set to welcome Starlink service.


OneWeb and Eutelsat gave a demonstration of the two companies’ geosynchronous and low-Earth communications capabilities at the NATO Communications and Information Agency. The companies presented Eutelsat’s Secure, Agile, Resilient and Assured (SARA) SATCOM for NATO concept.

The Satellite Applications Catapult and Open Cosmos have signed an agreement to build and launch an Earth observation demonstration satellite to join the Open Cosmos OpenConstellation. The spacecraft will host a miniaturized Earth Observation payload with integrated onboard processing capabilities able to acquire, process, compress, store, and forward medium-resolution hyperspectral imagery for Atlantic coastal and maritime areas.

ClearSpace-1 mission. Image credit: ClearSpace.

ClearSpace said it has completed the systems requirements review for its CLEAR debris removal mission. The review, led by the UK Space Agency, evaluated technical requirements and conducted a comprehensive examination of the satellite’s functionality, design, and operational objectives.

Space Micro reports that µSTAR-250™ Star Trackers launched earlier this year are performing as designed in orbit in support of a U.S. government program. The star trackers deliver precise spacecraft attitude and rate determination.

Spiral Blue of Australia has developed proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms for Earth observation data that will enhance the monitoring of the planet. The algorithms are being used on the Spiral Blue-built Space Edge Computer that was launched into orbit in April.

Astroscale has introduced its Generation 2 Docking Plate, which is designed for efficient satellite servicing and end-of-life disposal.


SES Space & Defense announced the availability of flexible, secure and reliable satellite-powered connectivity for Amazon Web Services Modular Data Center. The service will allow the Department of Defense to deploy modular data centers in infrastructure-limited locations.

SES has made O3b and O3b mPower satellite connectivity available to Aerkomm Taiwan’s government customers for the first time.

SES will use its O3b mPower system to provide resilient satellite communications for Luxembourg, its partners, and NATO in the areas of defense, security, and disaster recovery.

PLD Space's MIURA 5 rocket
PLD Space’s MIURA 5 rocket. Image credit: PLD Space.


Arianespace has signed memorandums of understandings with launch startups Orbex of Scotland and PLD Space of Spain to explore the development of joint services.

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