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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
PROTON CARRIES RUSSIAN MILITARY SATELLITE INTO ORBIT
Thursday, August 17, 2017
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A Proton lifting off

Source: International Launch Services


A Proton lifting off

Source: International Launch Services


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BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan - On August 17, 2017 at 01:07 Moscow time (10:07 a.m. UTC; 6:07 a.m. EDT), a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle successfully launched a spacecraft into the orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch carried a satellite for the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The mission was highly secretive. There was no advance warning of the launch, and the payload designation has not been officially revealed by the Russian government. Various news outlets report that it is the Blagovest 11L, the first of four satellites for a new Russian military communications network. Blagovest satellites are based on ISS Reshetnev's Express-2000 platform and include a high throughput satellite (HTS) payload to provide high speed data connections.

The launch is also significant because it marks only the second for Russia's workhorse Proton rocket. No Proton launches occurred for nearly a year between June 2016 and June 2017, while Russian manufacturers solved build-quality problems with rocket motor components. Even though the problems seem to have been resolved, launch failures and manufacturing problems have drastically reduced Proton launch rates. Proton launches declined from a near-term high of 11 in 2012 to only three in 2016.

Source:  ILS
Associated URL: http://www.ilslaunch.com/newsroom/news-releases/khrunichev-space-center-100th-la
Source Date: August 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 08/17/2017

 
 
URTHECAST ANNOUNCES SIGNING OF $100 MILLION CONTRACT WITH UNNAMED CUSTOMER
Thursday, August 17, 2017
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UrtheCast's OptiSAR SmallSats

Source: UrtheCast Corp


UrtheCast's OptiSAR SmallSats

Source: UrtheCast Corp


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VANCOUVER, Canada - UrtheCast Corp. has entered into a contract with a confidential customer for the development and delivery of a dual-frequency stand-alone Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operational-class satellite as an "accelerator" for the OptiSAR Constellation. The exact amount of the contract is not being disclosed at this time for confidentiality and competitive reasons, but the Company can confirm that it is a substantial contract worth in excess of one hundred million Canadian dollars.

The contract is for the delivery of the SAR spacecraft, key elements of the ground segment, namely the mission control and planning system and the SAR processor, and in-orbit operations support, but does not include the price of the launch or insurance (which are the customer's responsibilities). This confidential customer has previously signed an MOU with the Company for the OptiSAR Constellation.

The contract is subject to the customer obtaining final government appropriation approval and to UrtheCast and its suppliers obtaining technology transfer export permits on terms agreeable to the customer. Subject to these conditions being met, work on the program is anticipated to begin in early 2018, for launch in late 2020. Payments by the customer to UrtheCast under the contract are conditional on the Company successfully reaching various program delivery milestones. As part of the deliverables under the contract, UrtheCast has also agreed to provide elements of the satellite ground segment and post-launch maintenance and operational support, each to be further detailed and extended in separate definitive contracts.

Using the same SAR technology that the Company has been developing for the OptiSAR constellation, this contract will allow UrtheCast to accelerate both the operationalization of its SAR technology and the start of our SAR data services business. The contract enables the Company to build and launch a SAR satellite as a precursor mission (or "accelerator") to the OptiSAR Constellation and to thereby demonstrate its high-capacity, high-throughput, fully-operational class capability with an unprecedented range of imaging modes and scientific-grade data quality. Under the contract, the parties have agreed to enter into a separate definitive contract to provide UrtheCast with the exclusive commercial distribution rights to the customer's unused satellite imaging capacity outside specified regions on a shared 50/50 net revenue basis, allowing the Company to sell the SAR-XL data and SAR-derived services in advance of the deployment of the OptiSAR constellation-the date of which is now pushed out by at least a year.

UrtheCast is part of a trend toward building and launching networks of small satellites. The field has become crowded in recent years as more companies attempt to build massive networks of relatively small remote sensing satellites. While competition is fierce, UrtheCast has a number of advantages. It is unique in offering a constellation that provides both optical and radar imagery data. It has also been successful in signing agreements with government agencies in the U.S. and Canada, and possibly elsewhere. The latest contract will enable UrtheCast to test its technology before deploying the entire network.

Source:  UrtheCast
Associated URL: http://investors.urthecast.com/file.aspx?IID=4388192&FID=389905405
Source Date: August 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 08/17/2017

 
 
SOLAERO TECHNOLOGIES AWARDED CONTRACT TO POWER EUROPA CLIPPER
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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Artist's rendition of Europa Flyby Mission

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Artist's rendition of Europa Flyby Mission

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - SolAero Technologies Corp. has been awarded a contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA/JPL) for the design, manufacture and testing of solar array panels for the proposed Europa Clipper Mission.

The solar panels for the proposed Europa Clipper will be populated with SolAero’s high-efficiency ZTJ triple-junction solar cells that have been demonstrated to exhibit strong performance under Low Intensity sunlight and Low Temperature (LILT) conditions of interplanetary missions like this one.

SolAero has a history powering satellites and spacecraft for NASA and JPL, including the MAVEN mission to Mars, the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission and the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission, among others. The ZTJ solar cell is currently powering over 185 Earth orbiting satellites and interplanetary spacecraft and possesses the industry’s most extensive qualification and flight heritage in applications beyond Earth orbit.

Finding signs of life off of the Earth is one of the most exciting aspects of space exploration, motivating scientists and engineers around the world. Europa represents one of the best chances of finding life in the Solar System. As such, NASA is planning a series of missions to explore Jupiter's moon. The first will be the flyby mission, while a second will deploy a lander onto the surface of the moon.

Source:  SolAero
Associated URL: https://solaerotech.com/solaero-technologies-awarded-contract-to-power-the-europa-clipper-mission-for-nasajpl/
Source Date: August 16, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 08/16/2017

 

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