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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 6 | 02.12.24

What’s Taylor Swift got to do with space? Weather conditions delay launch and reentry. US military to reconnect space, cyber, and information. And more!



Good morning,

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.


  • Joe Bullington discusses the significance of community engagement in the space industry and his role at Jacobs Space Exploration Group.
  • Sarah Kalmeta discusses her journey from aviation to space and her involvement in SpaceKind.
  • Greg Hodgin discusses microscopic spacetime distortion bubbles for sustainable nuclear fusion.
  • Robin Dickey, policy analyst at The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, discusses planning for collision avoidance in space.
  • Richard McCammon, Founder and CEO of C6 Launch Systems, discusses launching from Brazil and not Canada.


BlackSky Wins Approximately $50 Million in Multi-Year Contracts

  • What: BlackSky secures contracts with the Indonesian Ministry of Defense to establish a dedicated Earth imaging satellite network, including Gen-3 satellites, ground station capabilities, and analytical services.
  • Why: This partnership underscores the growing demand for Earth observation data for national security and economic development, highlighting the strategic role of commercial satellite imagery in enhancing sovereign space capabilities.

Viasat Q3 FY2024 Financial Results

  • What: Viasat reported a 73% year-over-year revenue increase in Q3 FY2024, totaling $1.1 billion, partly due to the successful integration with Inmarsat and despite challenges with its Viasat 3 satellite.
  • Why: This financial update demonstrates the potential for growth and resilience in the satellite communications sector, even as companies navigate technological setbacks and integrate major acquisitions.

Starfish Space Announcement

  • What: Starfish Space received an investment from In-Q-Tel (IQT), with the amount undisclosed, to support its on-orbit operations technologies.
  • Why: The investment signifies the growing interest in on-orbit services as a critical component of space infrastructure, promising enhanced capabilities for satellite servicing and space debris management.

Spire Global and Signal Ocean Collaborate to Drive Digitalization of the Maritime Economy

  • What: Spire Global partners with Signal Ocean to advance the digitalization of the maritime economy, with a $10 million investment from Signal Ocean.
  • Why: This collaboration highlights the convergence of space-based data and maritime operations, aiming to enhance global maritime security, transparency, and efficiency through innovative digital solutions.

Investing in Space: How bankers read a potential sale of rocket builder ULA

  • What: The potential sale of United Launch Alliance (ULA) draws attention from investors, highlighting the evolving landscape of the commercial space sector.
  • Why: This interest from the banking sector in major space industry transactions underscores the growing recognition of space as a valuable and strategic investment area, reflecting confidence in the sector's future growth and profitability.


New Department of Air Force partnership brings cyber, space and information units closer

  • What: The US Air Force is integrating Space Force personnel into its 16th Air Force information warfare organization to bolster defense against cyber attacks on military space assets.
  • Why: This strategic move enhances the protection of critical space infrastructure, emphasizing the increasing importance of cybersecurity in ensuring the operational integrity and security of space missions.


Astronauts from Turkey, Italy, and Sweden return to Earth, ending private space station trip

  • What: The all-European astronaut crew from the Axiom 3 mission safely splashed down off the Florida coast, marking the end of their private mission to the ISS.
  • Why: This mission highlights the increasing role of private companies and international collaboration in space exploration, demonstrating the potential for more nations to participate in space missions and the growing accessibility of space travel.


SpaceX's private Polaris Dawn orbital mission delayed to summer 2024

  • What: The launch of SpaceX's Polaris Dawn mission, part of the Polaris Program aimed at advancing private spaceflight, has been postponed to summer 2024.
  • Why: The delay underscores the challenges and complexities of pioneering missions in space exploration, reflecting the careful planning and preparation needed to ensure mission success and safety.

Rocket Lab Sets Launch Window for Astroscale Orbital Debris Inspection Demonstration Mission

  • What: Rocket Lab announces a launch window for Astroscale’s mission to demonstrate technologies for orbital debris inspection and removal.
  • Why: This mission is critical for the sustainable use of space, showcasing emerging technologies aimed at mitigating the growing problem of space debris and ensuring the long-term viability of orbital operations.

True Anomaly's first Jackal AOVs ready for launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base

  • What: True Anomaly's Jackal autonomous orbital vehicles are prepared for launch, marking a significant step in autonomous space operations.
  • Why: These vehicles represent advancements in autonomous technologies for space, promising enhancements in satellite servicing, debris removal, and other critical on-orbit activities.


Pale Blue awarded up to USD 27M for MEXT’s SBIR-3

  • What: Pale Blue receives a significant grant from Japan's MEXT for developing propulsion systems aimed at space debris mitigation.
  • Why: The investment reflects the urgency in addressing the escalating issue of space debris, with innovative propulsion technologies playing a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of future space operations.

ESA shipping container's laser link to space

  • What: ESA introduces a portable optical ground station within a shipping container, enabling flexible laser-based communications with satellites.
  • Why: This development represents a leap in ground-space communications technology, offering a versatile solution for supporting optical telecommunications, space debris monitoring, and other critical space applications.


Space Force’s ‘Victus Haze’ demo to focus on rapid threat response

  • What: The Space Force announces the Victus Haze mission, focusing on demonstrating rapid satellite delivery and threat-maneuvering capabilities.
  • Why: This mission emphasizes the importance of agility and responsiveness in space operations for national security, preparing the Space Force for operational missions by enhancing rapid threat response capabilities.

Ball Aerospace Ships Space Systems Command Operational Weather Satellite for Launch

  • What: Ball Aerospace prepares the WSF-M satellite for launch, aimed at enhancing the U.S. Department of Defense's environmental monitoring capabilities.
  • Why: The satellite's deployment underscores the critical need for advanced weather forecasting technologies in supporting military and civilian operations, ensuring preparedness and response to environmental changes.


Satellites could become more sustainable, thanks to new UK Space Agency funding

  • What: The UK Space Agency announces funding for projects aimed at extending satellite life and reducing space debris through in-orbit servicing and manufacturing advancements.
  • Why: This initiative underlines the global effort to ensure space sustainability, focusing on technologies that can prolong satellite operations and minimize the environmental impact of space activities.


NASA Launches New Climate Mission to Study Ocean, Atmosphere

  • What: NASA's PACE satellite successfully launches to provide detailed insights into the ocean-atmosphere interaction and the effects of climate change.
  • Why: This mission represents a significant advancement in climate science, offering unprecedented data to understand and mitigate the impacts of global climate change on marine and atmospheric environments.

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