SKY Perfect JSAT to Launch Superbird-9 Comsat on SpaceX Starship

Starship/Super Heavy on the launch pad at Boca Chica, Texas. (Credit: SpaceX)

TOKYO (SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings PR) — SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings Inc. (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President: Eiichi Yonekura) today announces that SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President & Chief Executive Officer; Eiichi Yonekura, hereinafter “SKY Perfect JSAT”) has selected SpaceX’s Starship for launch of its Superbird-9 communications satellite.

Superbird-9 is a fully flexible HTS (High Throughput Satellites) mounted the payload missions to be configured and combined to match end-user needs. It will deliver broadcast and broadband missions in Ku band primarily over Japan and Eastern Asia, in response to mobility and broadband demands. Superbird-9 will be launched by SpaceX’s Starship launch vehicle in 2024 to geosynchronous transfer orbit. SpaceX’s Starship is a fully reusable transportation system that will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle.

SKY Perfect JSAT and SpaceX will continue to work together ahead of the launch of Superbird-9 Satellite.

Satellite BusOneSat
ManufacturerAirbus Defence and Space
Satellite SpecificationFrequency bands: Ku and Ka
Coverage: Japan and Eastern Asia
Scheduled start of operation: FY2025
Service Life: 15 years or more

About SKY Perfect JSAT

SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation is Asia’s largest satellite operator with a fleet of 16 satellites, and Japan’s only provider of both multi-channel pay TV broadcasting and satellite communications services. SKY Perfect JSAT delivers a broad range of entertainment through the “SKY PerfecTV! platform, the most extensive in Japan with a total of approximately 3 million subscribers. SKY Perfect JSAT’s satellite communications services, which cover Asia, Indian Ocean, Russia, Middle East, Pacific Ocean and North America, play a vital role in supporting communications infrastructures for mobile backhaul, government, aviation, maritime, oil & gas and disaster recovery. For more information, visit our corporate website (https://www.skyperfectjsat.space/en/) and Space Business website (https://www.skyperfectjsat.space/jsat/en/).

SpaceX to Launch 53 Starlink Satellites on Friday

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX Mission Update

SpaceX is targeting Friday, August 19 for a Falcon 9 launch of 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous launch window is at 3:21 p.m. ET (19:21 UTC), and a backup opportunity is available on Saturday, August 20 at 2:59 p.m. ET (18:59 UTC).

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, Ax-1, Nilesat 301, and three Starlink missions. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

You can watch the live launch webcast starting about 5 minutes before liftoff. 

D-Orbit Announces Multi-Year Launch and Deployment Contract with Swiss Satellite Internet of Things (IoT) Network Operator Astrocast

The agreement covers the launch and deployment of 20 satellites, which are part of Astrocast’s growing constellation for the Internet of Things, over a three-year time span.

FINO Mornasco, Italy, August 9, 2022 (D-Orbit PR) — D-Orbit, a space logistics company, announced today the signing of a multiple launch and deployment contract with Astrocast, a leading Swiss IoT-focused nanosatellite company.

According to the agreement, D-Orbit will launch twenty of Astrocast’s satellites aboard ION Satellite Carrier, D-Orbit’s versatile and cost-effective orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) designed to precisely deploy satellites and perform technology demonstrations of third-party payloads in orbit. The satellites, which will join Astrocast’s constellation of satellites for the Internet of things (IoT), will be delivered to space over a period of three years, through multiple missions.

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The Past Week in Launches: SpaceX & China Launch Twice, a Soyuz Rideshare and India Falls Short

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off on maiden flight. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the past week, SpaceX launched 98 Starlink satellites, a Chinese commercial launch provider made it three in a row, Russia launched a rideshare mission with an Iranian satellite aboard, and India’s new small satellite launcher fell just short of orbit.

There have been 103 orbital launches worldwide, with 99 successes and four failures.

Let’s take a closer look at the last week in launch.

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What’s Next: The Future of NASA’s Laser Communications

Illustration of ILLUMA-T communicating science and exploration data from the International Space Station to LCRD. (Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Dave Ryan)

By Kendall Murphy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA uses lasers to send information to and from Earth, employing invisible beams to traverse the skies, sending terabytes of data – pictures and videos – to increase our knowledge of the universe. This capability is known as laser, or optical, communications, even though these eye-safe, infrared beams can’t be seen by human eyes.

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Masten Gets $4.5 Million Bid for Assets from Astrobotic Technology

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

Updated 8/12/2022 at 12:02 p.m. EDT with information about launch credit with SpaceX.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MOJAVE, Calif. — Astrobotic Technology has made an initial bid of $4.5 million to acquire the assets of Masten Space Systems, which sought protection from creditors last month by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bid will serve as a minimum during the subsequent auction of Masten’s assets.

Astrobotic has also agreed to provide Masten with a $1.4 million debtor in possession (DIP) loan to allow the company to function as it works through bankruptcy.

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DARPA Kicks Off Program to Develop Low-Earth Orbit Satellite ‘Translator’

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA has selected 11 teams for Phase 1 of the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, known as Space-BACN. Space-BACN aims to create a low-cost, reconfigurable optical communications terminal that adapts to most optical intersatellite link standards, translating between diverse satellite constellations. Space-BACN would create an “internet” of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, enabling seamless communication between military/government and commercial/civil satellite constellations that currently are unable to talk with each other.

The agency selected teams from academia and large and small commercial companies, including multiple performers awarded first-time contracts with the Department of Defense.

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FCC Rejects Applications of SpaceX and LTD Broadband for $2.2 Billion in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Subsidies

Applicants Failed to Meet Program Requirements and Convince FCC to Fund Risky Proposals

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2022 (FCC PR) —The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is rejecting the long-form applications of LTD Broadband and Starlink to receive support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program.  The Commission determined that these applications failed to demonstrate that the providers could deliver the promised service.  Funding these vast proposed networks would not be the best use of limited Universal Service Fund dollars to bring broadband to unserved areas across the United States, the Commission concluded.

“After careful legal, technical, and policy review, we are rejecting these applications.  Consumers deserve reliable and affordable high-speed broadband,” said Chairwoman [Jessica] Rosenworcel.  “We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks.  We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”

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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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The Best Laid Plans, Moscow Edition: Ukraine Invasion Damages Russia’s Launch Business

Soyuz-2 rocket launches a military satellite from Plesetsk Cosmodrome. (Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Ambitious launch schedules typically go awry when a rocket suffers a catastrophic failure that takes months to investigate and implement modifications to ensure the same accident doesn’t happen again. In the majority of cases, the failures involve a machine launching a machine. All that can be replaced, albeit at substantial cost.

Russia’s ambitious launch plans for 2022 fell apart due to a far more momentous and deadly action: the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision ruptured cooperation with the West on virtually every space project on which it was safe to do so. The main exception was the International Space Station (ISS), a program involving astronauts and cosmonauts that would be difficult to operate safely if Russia suddenly withdrew (as it indeed threatened to do).

Due to the invasion, Western partners canceled seven launches of foreign payloads in less than a month. The cancellations put Russia even further behind the United States and China in launch totals this year.

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SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

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Masten Space Systems Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Masten’s XL-1 lunar lander was designed science and technology payloads to the Moon’s South Pole. (Credits: Masten Space Systems)

Updated 7/29/2022, 1:24 p.m. PDT: Added statements from NASA and Masten Space Systems. Clarified contract award included paying for launch.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MOJAVE, Calif. — Masten Space Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, signaling serious financial distress at the pioneering NewSpace company and putting at risk a NASA-funded mission to send a Masten-built lander to the surface of the moon.

The company said it owed 50 to 99 creditors between $10 to $50 million. Top creditors included SpaceX ($4.6 million), Psionic LLC ($2.8 million), Astrobotic Technology ($2.7 million), NuSpace ($1.7 million), and Frontier Aerospace ($1.2 million).

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UAE Pilot Assigned to Crew-6 Space Station Mission

Sultan AlNeyadi (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The final crew member for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, currently targeted to launch to the International Space Station in spring 2023, has been announced. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) named Sultan AlNeyadi to spend approximately six months aboard the space station as part of Expeditions 68/69. Mission Specialist AlNeyadi joins NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission, and cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev of Roscosmos.

To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station, NASA signed a contract in 2021 with Axiom Space to fly a NASA astronaut on a Soyuz rotation in exchange for a seat on a future U.S. commercial spacecraft. Axiom announced an agreement on April 29, 2022, with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the UAE to fly its crew member in the seat.

The UAE astronaut corps has been in training with NASA at the Johnson Space Center since 2019, including spacewalk training, onboard systems and T-38 training. AlNeyadi will continue crewmember training for the Dragon spacecraft and international partner segments.