Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
“Astro Digital”
SEAKR Engineering Demonstrates Optical Communications on DARPA’s Mandrake 2 Satellites
Mandrake 2 satellites (Credit: DARPA)

Integrated technology allows for on-orbit networked systems

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (SEAKR Engineering PR) – SEAKR Engineering, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, announced a successful demonstration of optical inter-satellite links between two Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Mandrake 2 satellites. During the first test, more than 280 gigabits of data were transferred at a range of 114 kilometers during a period of more than 40 minutes. 


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  • June 12, 2022
NASA Funds R&D Projects to Improve Small Satellite Performance

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Small satellites are increasingly being used for missions in Earth orbit and deep space. Although they are easy to launch, their size limits their capabilities and usefulness to scientists. NASA has selected a pair of research and development (R&D) projects designed to address some of these limitations for continued funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The space agency selected Flight Works for a Phase II award to continue developing a high-performance, pump-fed transfer stage for Venture Class cislunar and deep space missions. The space agency also selected Nanohmics of Austin, Texas, for a SBIR Phase II award to continue working on adaptive optics for low-cost CubeSat optical systems. Each award is worth up to $750,000 over 24 months. Both companies received smaller SBIR Phase I awards.


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  • June 4, 2022
Former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin Joins Accion Systems’ Board of Directors

Anthony Vinci, Former NGA Associate Director and CTO, Joins as Board Observer

BOSTON, Mass. – September 22, 2021 — Accion  Systems (“Accion”), a leading manufacturer of the world’s most advanced ion electrospray in-space propulsion systems, today announced that  former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) Administrator Dan Goldin has joined its Board of Directors. 

Dan was the longest-tenured Administrator of NASA, from April 1992 to November 2001. His deep experience with the space industry and direct experience in development and operation of electric propulsion systems will help Accion position its flagship ion thruster, TILE, for wider adoption in the market. Dan will also be invaluable in the development of future products and scaling the TILE technology to serve a wider spectrum of satellites and spacecraft.


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  • September 24, 2021
Blackjack Program Successfully Deploys Two Mandrake 2 Satellites
Mandrake 2 satellites (Credit: DARPA)

Achievement is key step toward realization of global high-speed space network

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA successfully deployed two satellites on June 30 as part of the SpaceX Transporter 2 launch. Both Mandrake 2 spacecraft, Able and Baker, are functioning well and progressing through checkout and commissioning. Conceived as an early risk-reduction flight for DARPA’s Blackjack  program, the Mandrake 2 mission will prove out advanced laser communications technologies for a broad government stakeholder team that includes DARPA, Space Development Agency (SDA), Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), and Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) office.


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  • July 8, 2021
Spaceflight Inc. Signs Multiple Launch Agreements to Start 2021, Leveraging Its Success Managing Both “Bus and Taxi” Smallsat Launches
SHERPA (Spaceflight Inc.)

Company reveals more dedicated launches, propulsive OTVs, and GTO/lunar missions to satisfy growing demand for flexible and comprehensive launch services

SEATTLE, March 3, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc.) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, announced it has started the year by signing several significant launch agreements with a wide range of organizations, including growing constellations needing routine and reliable launch schedules, smaller payloads requiring affordable bus-like options to popular orbits, firms needing regulatory and logistical guidance, as well as those seeking a personalized taxi service from loading dock to final orbital destination.

Organizations that recently signed launch deals with Spaceflight include Lynk, Astro Digital, Kleos, BlackSky, Umbra, Orbit Fab and several undisclosed U.S. government payloads.


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  • March 4, 2021
Rocket Lab Delays Electron Launch Due to Stormy Weather

“As the Crow Flies” Booster: ElectronPayload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro DigitalLocation: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZLaunch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)Live launch webcast: (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)Launch Day Updates: and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

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  • October 14, 2019
An Overview of Rocket Lab’s Next Launch
Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

“As the Crow Flies”

Booster: Electron
Payload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro Digital
Location: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZ
Launch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)
Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)
Live launch webcast: (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)
Launch Day Updates: and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

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  • October 12, 2019
Upcoming Launches Include Mission Extension Vehicle, ICON and Starlink Satellites

Four upcoming launches in the United States, Russia and New Zealand feature payloads to refuel a communications satellite, study space weather, expand SpaceX’s Starlink network, and test out new technology. October 9 Proton Payloads: Eutelsat 5 West B communications satellite, Mission Extension Vehicle 1 (MEV 1) Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan Launch Time: 6:17 a.m. EDT (1017 GMT ) This is the first flight of the MEV, which will refuel […]

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  • October 7, 2019