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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 4 | 01.29.24

The space sandwich. SLIC move for Firefly. Goodbye, Ginny. AWS in Orbit: Degas in Ghana. Space finance bits and bobs. And more!



Good morning,

Alright, themes for last week. Let's see... we had a bunch of funding announcements. Oh and some earnings calls. And quite a few partnership and contracts. And there were all those product announcements. So business, investing, and emerging tech news ruled the day. Take a perusal below and you'll see what I mean...

N2K also published our fourth episode of AWS in Orbit. This one is all about Degas, a Japanese company empowering small farmers in Ghana to achieve sustainability and market viability. It's a pretty fantastic story. I strongly recommend you check it out.

It's a rapidly changing world out there so let's get right to it. Here’s what happened last week and why it matters.


  • Aravind Ravichandran, founder of TerraWatch Space Advisory and Insights, discusses Earth Observation.

  • Yohei Nakayama, Chief Technology Officer at Degas Ltd., and Emma Higashikawa, AWS Solutions Architect, discuss empowering small farming in Ghana through cloud, AI, and space technologies.
  • Robert Ganim, Starburst Aerospace's Director of Government Affairs, discusses how startups navigate policy in space innovation.

  • Robert Long, President & CEO of Space Florida, discusses his role and the upcoming SPACECOM conference.

  • Salvatore Grignano, Senior Marketing and Promotion Officer at the Italian Trade Agency, discusses their pavilion at SPACECOM.



Sierra Space Advances its Revolutionary Commercial Space Station Technology

  • What: Sierra Space tested its full-scale inflatable space station structure, showing it exceeds NASA's safety levels by 27%.
  • Why: This development is a leap forward in commercial space station technology, potentially offering more cost-effective and scalable solutions for future space habitats and research platforms.

Relativity Space wants to build 200-foot tower next to Long Beach Airport

  • What: Relativity Space plans to construct a 200-foot tower near Long Beach Airport.
  • Why: This expansion reflects the growing demand for commercial space launch services and signifies the company's commitment to advancing its rocket manufacturing and launch capabilities.

Albedo Raises $48M Series A

  • What: Albedo Space announced a $48 million Series A funding round co-led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Shield Capital.
  • Why: This funding is critical for Albedo to develop technologies aimed at national defense and climate change mitigation, marking a significant step in the Earth observation sector's growth and its impact on global challenges.

Latitude closes $30M Series B

  • What: France-based launch company Latitude secured $30 million in Series B funding to support its light space launcher Zephyr, set for a maiden launch in 2025.
  • Why: This funding will accelerate the development of Zephyr, showcasing the evolving landscape of the launch market focused on smaller payloads and the growing commercial space sector in Europe.

ALDORIA closes €10M Series A Funding

  • What: Space situational awareness company ALDORIA, formerly Share My Space, closed a €10 million Series A funding round.
  • Why: The funding will enhance ALDORIA's capabilities in space situational awareness, a field increasingly vital for the safety and sustainability of space operations amidst growing concerns over space debris and satellite congestion.

AAC Clyde Space wins SEK 9.9 M Sirius order

  • What: AAC Clyde Space received an order worth SEK 9.9 million for its Sirius range of computers and services from an undisclosed repeat customer.
  • Why: This order underlines the growing demand for advanced space computing solutions, highlighting AAC Clyde Space's role in the evolving space technology market.

Lockheed Martin Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Financial Results

  • What: Lockheed Martin reported its financial results for Q4 2023 and the full year, with annual net sales rising to $67.6 billion.
  • Why: These results reflect the robust demand for Lockheed's defense technology solutions, indicating the company's strong position in the global aerospace and defense market.

Capella Space and Floodbase Partner to Bring High-Resolution SAR Data to Parametric Insurers

  • What: Capella Space partnered with Floodbase to provide high-resolution SAR satellite data for parametric flood insurance.
  • Why: This partnership demonstrates the expanding application of Earth observation data in diverse sectors like insurance, offering innovative solutions for climate disaster response and risk management.

Orbex Selected for European Commission and ESA's New Flight Ticket Initiative

  • What: Orbex was chosen for the European Commission and ESA's Flight Ticket Initiative to test promising technology and service concepts in orbit.
  • Why: This selection emphasizes the European space sector's commitment to nurturing innovative space technologies and the emerging small satellite market.

PLD Space, selected by ESA and the European Commission for the Flight Ticket Initiative launch contracts

  • What: PLD Space, along with other European launch companies, was selected for the ESA and European Commission's Flight Ticket Initiative.
  • Why: This selection highlights the growing importance of private space companies in Europe, fostering a competitive space launch market and enabling Europe's strategic autonomy in space access.

Horizontal Integration Facility designs reveal full extent of ELA's value offering to launch vehicle providers and payload customers

  • What: Equatorial Launch Australia revealed designs for its Horizontal Integration Facility at the Arnhem Space Centre.
  • Why: The development of this facility represents a strategic expansion in spaceport infrastructure, catering to diverse launch vehicle providers and enhancing payload integration capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Freedom Space Technologies Awarded Contract in Partnership with OMNI Federal to Support Space Force Space Systems Command FORGE C2 Mission

  • What: Freedom Space Technologies, in partnership with OMNI Federal, received a contract to support the Space Force's FORGE C2 mission.
  • Why: This contract highlights the increasing role of private sector technology in enhancing U.S. space capabilities, particularly in command and control systems for national security and defense.

Boryung, Axiom Space Announce Joint Venture to Revolutionize Space Industry in Korea

  • What: Boryung and Axiom Space formed a joint venture, BRAX Space, to advance the commercialization of low-Earth orbit in South Korea.
  • Why: This joint venture signifies a major move in the globalization of space commerce, fostering innovation and new business opportunities in the South Korean space industry.

Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space sign a Memorandum of Understanding to develop Optical Communication payload for Hellas Sat 5 satellite

  • What: Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space signed an MOU to develop an optical communication payload for the Hellas Sat 5 satellite.
  • Why: This partnership aims to enhance communication services with high data rates from geostationary orbit, indicating the growing demand for advanced satellite communication technologies.



Space Policy Official Details Approach to Maintaining U.S. Edge

  • What: A U.S. space policy official outlined strategies to maintain America's competitive edge in space.
  • Why: This policy approach is critical for ensuring national security and technological leadership in an increasingly contested space domain, emphasizing the importance of innovation and international partnerships.

Belgium Becomes Latest Signatory to the Artemis Accords

  • What: Belgium signed the Artemis Accords, an international agreement for peaceful and sustainable lunar exploration.
  • Why: Belgium's participation in the Artemis Accords signifies a broader international commitment to responsible space exploration and presents new opportunities for Belgian space companies in global space endeavors.

U.S. government awards NOAA millions for wildfire response research

  • What: The U.S. government awarded over $34 million to NOAA for wildfire preparedness and response research.
  • Why: This funding emphasizes the growing importance of space-based Earth observation in disaster management, particularly for understanding and mitigating the impacts of wildfires.

Eyes in the sky: The increasing importance of very low Earth orbit (VLEO) for national security

  • What: The strategic importance of very low Earth orbit (VLEO) is increasingly recognized for national security purposes.
  • Why: VLEO's growing significance underscores the need for advanced space surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, highlighting the strategic and defense implications of emerging space domains.

Space Innovation; Facilitating Capabilities for In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing

  • What: The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for licensing space stations conducting in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) activities.
  • Why: This proposal is significant for the evolving space industry, as it aims to facilitate and support the growth of novel space capabilities, ensuring sustainable and effective use of radiofrequency communications in space.



Dominican Republic to launch first satellite to tackle Sargassum from space

  • What: The Dominican Republic announced plans to launch its first satellite to address the Sargassum seaweed issue impacting its beaches.
  • Why: This initiative demonstrates the growing role of space technology in environmental monitoring and management, offering innovative solutions to ecological challenges.



Iran says it successfully launched satellite in Revolutionary Guards' space program- The Times of Israel

  • What: Iran reported the successful launch of the Soraya satellite into a high Earth orbit.
  • Why: This launch is notable for its potential dual-use implications and demonstrates Iran's growing capabilities in space technology, which could have significant geopolitical ramifications.

TransAstra Awarded First Defense Department Contract for FlyTrap, Following Success With NASA

  • What: TransAstra received its first Department of Defense contract to develop the FlyTrap system for capturing and securing space objects.
  • Why: This contract marks a significant step in space situational awareness and debris mitigation, enhancing the safety and sustainability of space operations.



Blue Origin joins 2 stages of New Glenn rocket for the 1st time (photo)

  • What: Blue Origin successfully mated the two stages of its New Glenn rocket for the first time, in preparation for its first launch later this year.
  • Why: This milestone for Blue Origin signifies a significant advancement in its heavy-lift launch capabilities, highlighting the competitive dynamics in the commercial space launch market.

Firefly Aerospace Onboarded as Launch Provider for the NRO with Alpha Rocket

  • What: Firefly Aerospace was selected by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) as a launch provider, using its Alpha rocket.
  • Why: This agreement showcases Firefly Aerospace's growing capabilities and trust in the industry, highlighting the importance of responsive and versatile launch services for national security and reconnaissance missions.



JAXA | The results of the Moon Landing by the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM)

  • What: Japan's SLIM lunar lander successfully landed on the Moon but faced challenges in starting its solar cells.
  • Why: This mission, despite its challenges, contributes valuable lessons to lunar exploration, emphasizing the importance of resilience and adaptability in space missions.

Laser Instrument on NASA’s LRO Successfully ‘Pings’ Indian Moon Lander

  • What: NASA’s LRO used a laser to precisely locate India's Vikram lander on the Moon.
  • Why: This innovative technique demonstrates new methods for lunar exploration and navigation, enhancing our ability to conduct precise, coordinated missions on the Moon's surface.



Redwire Selected as Strategic Supplier for Blue Origin’s Trailblazing Blue Ring Space Mobility Platform

  • What: Redwire has been chosen to provide solar array wings and other components for Blue Origin's Blue Ring space mobility platform.
  • Why: This partnership underscores the growing synergy between established space companies and emerging players, highlighting the industry's collaborative efforts towards innovative in-space logistics and delivery services.

Surrey scientists to help build zero gravity space fuel system

  • What: Scientists at the University of Surrey are developing a zero-gravity space fuel gauge for the ISS.
  • Why: This technology addresses a crucial challenge in space missions—accurate fuel measurement in microgravity—potentially leading to more efficient and safe space travel.

ClearSpace And Orbit Fab Partner To Create In-Space Refueling Service

  • What: ClearSpace and Orbit Fab announced a strategic partnership to advance in-space refueling and servicing capabilities.
  • Why: This partnership is crucial for the development of sustainable space operations, offering in-orbit servicing solutions that extend satellite lifespans and reduce space debris, benefiting both commercial and governmental space entities.

Eutelsat Signs GEO/LEO Deal in South Africa

  • What: Eutelsat partnered with Paratus South Africa to provide enhanced GEO/LEO satellite connectivity services in South Africa.
  • Why: This deal exemplifies the integration of GEO and LEO technologies for improved connectivity, especially in remote regions, highlighting the increasing demand for robust communication infrastructure in emerging markets.

General Atomics Awarded Space Development Agency Contract to Demonstrate Optical Communication Terminals

  • What: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems received a contract from the Space Development Agency to demonstrate optical communication terminals in Low Earth Orbit.
  • Why: This contract is significant for advancing secure and efficient space communication technologies, essential for robust space-to-space and space-to-ground data transfer in a contested environment.

Astroscale’s ELSA-d Finalizes De-Orbit Operations Marking Successful Mission Conclusion

  • What: Astroscale completed the final phase of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission.
  • Why: This successful mission conclusion represents a major advancement in active debris removal and on-orbit servicing, crucial for maintaining a sustainable space environment.

GITAI Autonomous Robotic Arm Set to Launch on Jan. 29 to International Space Station

  • What: GITAI's autonomous robotic arm, S2, is scheduled to launch to the ISS for a demonstration of in-space servicing and manufacturing.
  • Why: This launch is a critical step in demonstrating the capabilities of autonomous robotics in space, paving the way for efficient and cost-effective in-space operations and maintenance.

SpaceX - Research

  • What: SpaceX is seeking science and research proposals for Dragon human spaceflight missions, focusing on life in space and other planets.
  • Why: This call for research emphasizes the importance of advancing human spaceflight technologies and knowledge, crucial for future space exploration and potential colonization efforts.

GMV and Astroscale UK spearhead new ESA initiative for improved satellite collision avoidance

  • What: GMV and Astroscale UK are leading an ESA initiative to develop an alternative commanding path for late collision avoidance maneuvers in Low Earth Orbit.
  • Why: This initiative is crucial for enhancing satellite safety, aiming to mitigate the risks of satellite collisions and contribute to a sustainable space environment.

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