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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
NEW NASA PARTNERSHIPS HIGHLIGHT GROWING SMALLSAT POPULARITY AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF SPACE
Friday, February 24, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of CubeSats

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Artist's rendition of CubeSats

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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WASHINGTON - NASA is partnering with eight U.S. companies to advance small spacecraft and launch vehicle technologies that are on the verge of maturation and are likely to benefit both NASA and the commercial space market.

These partnerships are the result of a solicitation released in August 2016 by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), titled Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies. They mark the second round of public-private opportunities that enable industry to develop promising commercial space technologies that also may benefit future NASA missions.

A technology is considered at a ‘tipping point’ if an investment in a demonstration of its capabilities will result in a significant advancement of the technology's maturation, a higher likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and a significant improvement in the partner’s ability to successfully bring the technology to market.

The awards were divided into two categories: small launch vehicle technology and small spacecraft capability demonstrations.

Small Launch Vehicle Technology enables the use of small spacecraft for technology development, science missions and to support deep space human exploration. Partner companies include Mastane Space Systems, Ventions LLC, Tyvak Nano-Satellite, HRL Laboratories, UP Aerospace and Orbital Sciences Corp.

Small spacecraft companies include Trans Astronautica Corp and ExoTerra Resource.

These fixed-priced contracts include milestone payments tied to technical progress and require a minimum 25 percent industry contribution, though all awards are contingent on the availability of appropriated funding. The contracts are worth a combined total of approximately $17 million, and each have an approximate two-year performance period culminating in a small spacecraft orbital demonstration mission or the maturation of small launch vehicle technologies.

Smalls satellites are becoming increasingly popular. They allow companies, universities, and governments to test new techniques and carry out missions at a much lower cost than larger satellites. NASA will continue to fund these missions going forward.

This program also highlights the growing importance of commercial companies within the space industry. As the capabilities of commercial companies grows, public private partnerships like this one will become more popular.

Source:  NASA
Associated URL: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-establishes-new-public-private-partnerships-to-advance-us-commercial-space
Source Date: February 24, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 02/24/2017

 
 
MDA TO ACQUIRE DIGITALGLOBE
Friday, February 24, 2017
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Source: MDA


Source: MDA


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SAN FRANCISCO - MacDonald , Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), and DigitalGlobe, Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which MDA will acquire DigitalGlobe for $35.00 per share in a combination of cash and stock. The transaction values DigitalGlobe at an equity value of approximately $2.4 billion, and an enterprise value of $3.6 billion, including assumption of DigitalGlobe's $1.2 billionin net debt. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

The combination will bring together complementary space-related capabilities, creating a stronger company uniquely positioned to capture growth in the U.S., Canadian and global Earth observation and geospatial services markets given its ability to provide complete, end-to-end space systems, earth imagery and geospatial solutions. Together, the combination will leverage a full suite of space-related capabilities, including communications and Earth observation satellites and robotics, ground stations, integrated electro-optical and radar imagery, and advanced data analytics. Additionally, the combined company will lead in cloud-based information services that allow commercial and government customers worldwide to better understand activity across the changing planet.

As part of the transaction, MDA will apply to list its shares on the NYSE in addition to the TSX. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined Company will continue to execute its U.S. Access Plan strategy. This will include further reorganization of all or part of the combined Company's corporate and operating structure to ensure that the ultimate parent of DigitalGlobe is incorporated in the U.S. by the end of 2019, subject to customary approvals. MDA undertook a corporate reorganization in 2016 that included the formation of SSL MDA Holdings, Inc., the U.S. Operating Company of MDA, under the guidance and approval of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). SSL MDA Holdings currently operates under a Security Control Agreement (SCA) with DoD, allowing it to pursue and execute U.S. Government programs that require security clearances.

Source:  www.mdacorporation.com
Source Date: February 24, 2017
Posted: 02/24/2017

 
 
USAF WEATHER SATELLITE PROGRAM IN DISARRAY
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of a DMSP satellite

Source: Lockheed Martin


Artist's rendition of a DMSP satellite

Source: Lockheed Martin


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NEWTOWN, Conn. - The U.S. Air Force's effort to develop new weather satellites is in disarray. Following the cancellation of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), the Air Force pursued development of a new weather satellite under the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) program. However, that program faced funding problems and delays.

In response, the White House terminated the DWSS program and instituted the Weather Satellite Follow-On (WSF) program, which is currently undergoing risk reduction studies. However, the WSF program is itself facing multiple difficulties. The Air Force has not fully assessed all of the solutions available to address the gap in weather coverage. Furthermore, the service did not adequately cooperate with other U.S. agencies involved with weather satellites.

With these problems in mind, Congress is now deciding on a plan to take funds away from the Air Force and give them to the NRO to manage satellite purchases.

Still, the Air Force continues to work to improve the state of the program. The service is seeking solutions from industry to meet data gathering needs. It is also seeking a contractor to build a weather sensor that could be deployed on a satellite as soon as 2022.

At this time, it is not clear what exactly will happen with the Air Force's efforts to acquire new weather satellites. However, it is clear that satellites are needed, particularly to provide cloud characteristics and theater weather imagery. For those reasons, deliveries will eventually occur. While the Air Force expects to take delivery in 2022, Forecast International believes 2023 is a more likely date, as details regarding the program are decided on.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: February 23, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 02/23/2017

 

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