Terran Orbital Wins Mission Of The Year For CAPSTONE Spacecraft

The satellite is flying a historic pathfinding mission to the Moon in support of NASA’s Artemis program
CAPSTONE is the Small Satellite Conference’s Mission of the Year (Image Credit: Terran Orbital Corporation)

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, is humbled to share in the Mission of the Year Award presented to the CAPSTONE mission team at the Small Satellite Conference. Competition entrants were chosen for their ability to demonstrate a significant improvement in the capability of satellites, spacecraft structural design, scientific instrument development, and communications capabilities. The contest was informed by the public and administered by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Small Spacecraft Technical Committee. CAPSTONE topped ten other highly technical satellites to win the award.

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Benchmark to Keep Popular Orbits Safer with Collision Avoidance Kit

Modular platform designed to offer smart, sustainable, fast HTP-based traffic management solution to missions running electric propulsion or free-flying satellites in busy revenue-generating orbits  

BURLINGTON, Vt., August 9, 2022 (Benchmark Space Systems PR) – With the most popular, revenue-generating orbits increasingly congested, Benchmark Space Systems today unveiled a breakthrough Collision Avoidance (ColA) Kit, featuring its heritage propulsion technology in a condensed package, that is easily and affordably deployed aboard electric propulsion (EP) and non-propulsive microsatellites and OTVs to help them quickly steer clear of approaching spacecraft and orbital debris.

Benchmark’s COLA Kit will leverage innovations in space domain awareness and traffic management data technologies through strategic partnerships and collaborations driven by a passion for a more cooperative and sustainable space economy.

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Firefly Eyes Mid-September Launch for Second Alpha Mission

Second Firefly Alpha rocket on the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

I’ve been making the rounds in the Utah State University Fieldhouse here in Logan talking with the various companies with booths at Small Satellite 2022 conference. Here is the first of several updates.

The window for Firefly Aerospace’s second attempt to launch its Alpha booster opens on Sept. 11. That flight will be out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket is already on the launch pad at Vandenberg undergoing pre-flight tests.

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NASA Seeks New Launch Vehicle for TROPICS CubeSats

TROPICS mission CubeSat (Credit: Blue Canyon Technologies)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is looking for a new way to launch the four remaining CubeSats in its Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) constellation in the wake of Astra’s decision to abandon its failure plagued Rocket 3.3.

The first pair of TROPICS satellites were destroyed on June 12 when the second stage of a Rocket 3.3 failed. Astra announced last week it was abandoning the booster in favor of the larger Rocket 4 and would not launch again in 2022.

Astra said it was in discussions with NASA about using Rocket 4 to launch the remaining TROPICS spacecraft. On Monday, NASA Earth Science program manager Sachidananda Babu said the space agency is seeking alternatives during a NASA town hall meeting at the Small Satellite 2022 conference in Logan, Utah.

Rocket 4 is designed to launch up to 600 kg into Earth orbit. The TROPICS CubeSats weight only 5.3 kg each. The satellites will be launched into an orbit that few other spacecraft use, meaning Astra could have a difficult time finding other satellites to launch along with them.

TROPICS constellation is designed to provide data on tropical cyclones. NASA has said that four satellites could accomplish the mission.

Astra had two successful launches with Rocket 3.3 and five failures. Another booster was destroyed on the launch pad during pre-flight preparations.

University of Tokyo Spin-off Pale Blue to Exhibit Propulsion Technology at Small Satellite Conference

3 satellites equipped with Pale Blue’s thrusters. (Credit: Pale Blue)
  • Pale Blue Inc. (“Pale Blue”) will exhibit at the Small Satellite Conference 2022 (August 6 – 11 at Utah State University)
  • Dr. Asakawa (CEO) will speak at the technical presentation, held on Wednesday, August 10th
  • Pale Blue (booth number 49) will showcase water-based hybrid thruster for small satellites planned for the world-first space demonstration

LOGAN, Utah — Pale Blue will showcase a 100kg-satellite mockup equipped with the water resistojet for the first time. Furthermore, this exhibit will feature the world’s first Multiple Water Propulsion Systems, which is scheduled to be demonstrated in space for the first time by JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-3 by March 2023, and the Water Resistojet for small satellites that features high thrust.

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Greetings From Utah

Hi everyone.

In Utah all week for the first in-person Small Satellite Conference in two years. Lots of cool things going on in the whole smallsat industry. I’ll be reporting on the news and developments. Check here for updates and also follow www.twitter.com/spacecom.

Small Satellite Conference Goes Virtual This Year

The 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference will be streamed live free of charge on Aug. 1-6 this year due to the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Conference organizers decided to cancel the in-person conference held annually in Logan, Utah, to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

A letter from conference Chairman Pat Patterson follows.

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JPL’s MarCO Wins the ‘Oscar’ for Tiny Spacecraft

Mars as seen from the MarCO-B satellite. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — The first briefcase-size CubeSats to journey to another planet have been honored for their role in NASA InSight’s successful Mars landing. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) bestowed their Small Satellite Mission of the Year award to Mars Cube One, or MarCO, Aug. 8, 2019, at the annual Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah.

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New Launch Unit Standards Announced for SmallSats

LOGAN, Utah (Aerospace Corporation PR) – The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) announced details of a new small satellite (smallsat) standard called a Launch Unit (Launch-U) during a briefing at the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah.

This standard provides major benefits to the smallsat industry—manufacturers, launch providers, and satellite users—by increasing access to space and decreasing launch costs. It also enables the space community to come together to work innovative solutions for sharing costs, adopting new business models, and adapting to regulatory or statutory changes.

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Links to Parabolic Arc’s Coverage of Small Satellite 2016 Conference

SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The Small Satellite 2016 Conference is now over. Below are links to Parabolic Arc’s coverage of the conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it last weekend. There are also links to announcements made during the conference and in recent weeks.

Small Satellite Conference Coverage

Recent Smallsat News & Announcements

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Smallsat 2016: Japan Increases Participation in Conference

Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)
Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)

Japan increased its presence at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah this week, with 21 organizations displaying their capabilities and a presentation by the University of Tokyo about the nation’s smallsat programs.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) participated in the conference for the first time, setting up a booth where the Japanese space agency JAXA, 18 companies and two universities advertised their capabilities (see the list below).

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LightSail-A Named Smallsat Mission of the Year

LightSail spacecraft with solar sail deployed. (Credit: The Planetary Society)
LightSail spacecraft with solar sail deployed. (Credit: The Planetary Society)

LOGAN, UT (Planetary Society PR) — At the 29th annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)/Utah State University (USU) Conference on Small Satellites, The Planetary Society’s citizen-funded LightSail spacecraft test mission (LightSail-A) was named Mission of the Year by the AIAA Small Satellite Technical Committee. Eleven standout small satellite projects from around the world were nominated by a committee of experts. A voting period during the conference engaged the engineering and scientific community and the public.

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Hyten Sees Commercial Smallsat Transformation, Calls on Industry to Lead

Gen. John E. Hyten
Gen. John E. Hyten

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LOGAN, Ut. — U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten said the entrepreneurial space sector is leading the industry into its third great transformation, one that will fundamentally change the way the military acquires and uses its space assets to protect the nation.

Giving the opening keynote address at the 29th Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, the commander of Air Force Space Command said the service will be going into smallsats “in a big way.” He added the Air Force would continue to fly the large satellite that have become its trademark.

Rather than leading the way on small satellites, Hyten said the military is looking to private industry to provide technology and solutions. After several false dawns, the industry is in a “magical time” when it is about to blossom.

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