Welcome to Biz Briefs! In this edition, L3Harris completed its $4.7 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin won a contract to develop a nuclear thermal powered spacecraft, NASA awarded 11 Tipping Point contracts for lunar technologies, HawkEye 360 and Impulse Space completed funding rounds, Kleos Space declared bankruptcy, and much more.
Welcome to Biz Briefs. In this edition, Maxar is going private, a consortium of aerospace heavyweights will bid for Europe’s Starlink rival, Seraphim Space selects nine companies for its next business accelerator, ESA funds a study for a reusable heavy-lift launcher, Lockheed and Raytheon teams win defense contracts, AeroVironment receives a Mars helicopter contract, CesiumAstro to provide Raytheon with antennas, NASA awarded contracts for a weather satellite, and Thales Alenia Space conducted a cybersecurity demonstration with an active satellite.
The satellite will launch from Kennedy Space Center with Artemis I
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, integrated the Lunar Infrared imaging spacecraft, also known as LunIR into NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). With its unprecedented power and capabilities, SLS is the only rocket that will be able to send the Orion capsule, astronauts, and cargo directly to the Moon on a single mission. LunIR will fly by the Moon and collect surface thermography as a secondary payload on Artemis 1 – a test mission for SLS. After the flyby, the 6U satellite will conduct technology demonstrations related to deep-space operations for future Mars missions.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected three companies to further advance work on deployable solar array systems that will help power the agency’s human and robotic exploration of the Moon under Artemis.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will return humans to the Moon and establish a long-term presence near the lunar South Pole. A reliable, sustainable power source is required to support lunar habitats, rovers, and even construction systems for future robotic and crewed missions. To help provide this power, NASA is supporting development of vertical solar arrays that can autonomously deploy up to 32 feet high and retract for relocation if necessary.
Of the six launches known to be scheduled to close out August, there’s only one – Artemis I — that truly matters in any real sense. The others will be duly recorded but little remembered in what could be the busiest launch year in human history.
Artemis 1 will launch from Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, has delivered LunIR to Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. LunIR is a 6U satellite that will fly by the Moon and collect surface thermography as a secondary payload on Artemis 1 – a test mission for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). Offering more payload mass, volume capability, and energy, SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket to date, can carry more payload to deep space than any other vehicle. SLS also houses the Orion capsule – NASA’s spacecraft that will take humans deep into space. After the flyby, LunIR will conduct technology demonstrations related to deep-space operations.
On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.
There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA has selected two firms for the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) Spacecraft Phase A Study. These contracted firms will help meet the objectives of NOAA’s GeoXO Program.
The firms selected are Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, and Maxar Space LLC of Palo Alto, California. The total value of each of these ten-month firm-fixed-price contracts is approximately $5 million. The work will be performed at the contractors’ facilities.
The solar cell assemblies will power three Lockheed Martin spacecraft designed to provide resilient space-based global missile warning capabilities to meet evolving threats from adversaries under the United States Space Force’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) program
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, announced that its high-efficiency, radiation-hardened Coverglass Interconnected solar Cell (CIC) assemblies will power the three Lockheed Martin Next Gen OPIR GEO (NGG) satellites for the United States Space Force (USSF). The NGG program will deliver resilient global missile warning capabilities to counter emerging missile and counter-space threats and is part of the latest evolution of the USSF’s missile warning system, following the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, which was supported by SolAero, a space solar power company acquired by Rocket Lab in January 2022.