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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 15 | 04.15.24

Cloudy, with the chance of an eclipse. AWS in Orbit. Generative AI and Space Resiliency. Space Data and Resiliency. Building a resilient outernet. And more!



Good morning,

Last week was certainly something. It was a true pleasure to meet so many of you at Space Symposium. Thanks for your kind words of support.

Maria, Alice, and I had a blast reporting from the AWS Fish Bowl (see below). And a big thanks to our partner AWS for helping us deliver a truly incredible program at the Space Symposium. I strongly recommend you check out all of the interviews below. They're all candid, engaging, and informative.

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.




Rocket Lab Selected by Space Systems Command to Build and Launch Spacecraft for Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) Mission

  • What: Rocket Lab was selected by the Space Systems Command for a $32M contract to create, launch, and manage a spacecraft capable of rendezvous and proximity operations for the VICTUS HAZE TacRS mission.
  • Why: This selection underscores Rocket Lab's pivotal role in enhancing the U.S. Space Force's operational responsiveness, demonstrating a significant advancement in tactically responsive space capabilities aimed at deterring adversarial threats in orbit.

True Anomaly Selected for $30M Space Systems Command Contract in Support of VICTUS HAZE Tactically Responsive Space Mission

  • What: True Anomaly was chosen for a $30M contract under the Space Safari Program Office to contribute its Jackal autonomous orbital vehicle to the TacRS operations, focusing on rendezvous and proximity capabilities.
  • Why: The collaboration with True Anomaly highlights the Space Force's commitment to leveraging commercial innovation, marking a strategic investment in future-ready space defense technologies.

Aegis Aerospace Closes Strategic Acquisition

  • What: Aegis Aerospace announced the completion of a strategic acquisition, further expanding its capabilities and services in the aerospace sector.
  • Why: This acquisition signifies the consolidation and strengthening of the space industry, reflecting the competitive dynamics and the continuous search for innovation and expanded service offerings among aerospace companies.

KBR Awarded over $450M in Systems Engineering, Acquisition, Research & Development and Operations Support Contracts

  • What: KBR received contracts worth over $450 million from the U.S. Government for systems engineering, acquisition, R&D, and operations support, focusing on space and ground systems through 2031.
  • Why: The significant investment in KBR's expertise underscores the critical role of advanced engineering and technological support in enhancing the efficiency and security of space and ground-based systems, contributing to the strategic capabilities of the U.S. in space operations and defense.

UK funding boost for international space projects

  • What: The UK Space Agency announced a £13 million funding increase to support international partnerships in space projects, including collaborations between UK universities and global institutions like MIT.
  • Why: This investment signifies the UK's commitment to fostering global collaboration in space exploration and technology, potentially leading to groundbreaking research and innovations that could shape the future of the space industry.


Capella Space Joins Space ISAC as Founding Member

  • What: Capella Space has become a founding member of the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Space ISAC), focusing on detecting space and ground environment anomalies.
  • Why: This membership emphasizes the importance of collaborative efforts in enhancing space cybersecurity and the role of commercial space companies in contributing to the security and resilience of space assets.


ESA - Juice’s first year in space: “it’s real now”

  • What: ESA celebrates the first year of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission, providing insights into the spacecraft's journey and its objectives to explore Jupiter's moons.
  • Why: Juice's mission contributes critical data to our understanding of the Jupiter system, potentially shedding light on the habitability of other worlds and advancing our knowledge of the solar system.

Vast’s Haven-1 to be World’s First Commercial Space Station Connected by SpaceX Starlink

  • What: Vast announced that its commercial space station, Haven-1, will feature connectivity provided by SpaceX's Starlink, marking it as the world's first commercial space station with such a connection.
  • Why: This collaboration showcases the merging of satellite internet and space station technologies, enhancing the capabilities and operational efficiencies of commercial space habitats and potentially transforming communication infrastructure in space.

Firefly Aerospace Announces Agreement with Klepsydra Technologies to Demonstrate Edge Computing in Space

  • What: Firefly Aerospace has partnered with Klepsydra Technologies to host the Klepsydra AI application on its Elytra vehicle, demonstrating edge computing capabilities in space.
  • Why: This initiative highlights the growing importance of on-board data processing in enhancing satellite efficiency and responsiveness, pointing to a future where space missions leverage advanced computing to process data more effectively in orbit.



  • What: The U.S. Space Force unveiled a new strategy to integrate commercial space capabilities more fully into its operations and development plans.
  • Why: This strategy highlights the increasing reliance on commercial space innovation by national defense sectors and the potential for private sector technologies to enhance national security space capabilities.

Ursa Major Signs Contract With U.S. Navy For Next Gen Solid Rocket Motors For Standard Missile

  • What: Ursa Major has signed a contract with the US Navy to develop a new design and manufacturing process for the Mk 104 dual-thrust rocket motor, used in the Standard Missile program.
  • Why: This development underlines the evolving technological landscape of military hardware and the increasing intersection of space technology and national defense capabilities.

U.S. Space Force Awards Rocket Lab Launch Contract for Space Test Program (STP)-S30

  • What: Rocket Lab awarded a $14.49 million contract by the US Space Force for the STP-S30 mission, aimed at delivering research experiments and technology demonstrations to orbit within 24 months.
  • Why: This contract showcases the increasing reliance of the US military on private space companies for launching critical payloads, highlighting the growing partnership between the defense sector and commercial space industry.


UK and Canada enhance cooperation in space

  • What: The UK and Canada have announced a strengthened partnership in space, focusing on collaborative projects and shared goals in space exploration and utilization.
  • Why: This enhanced cooperation between the UK and Canada underscores the importance of international alliances in advancing space exploration and technology development, fostering shared advancements and mutual benefits in the space domain.

FACT SHEET: Vice President Kamala Harris Launches Call to Action to Bring the Benefits of Space to Communities Across America

  • What: Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Space4All initiative, a five-year campaign in collaboration with over 150 companies and organizations to enhance public understanding of space benefits and STEM education.
  • Why: This initiative aims to democratize the access to and benefits of space, fostering broader public engagement and ensuring the inclusive development of the space industry and STEM-related careers.

U.S. government plans review of space technology export controls

  • What: The U.S. government, acknowledging advancements in space technology and global space capabilities, is considering a review and potential easing of ITAR restrictions on space technology exports.
  • Why: This move could significantly enhance international cooperation and commercial opportunities in the space sector, reflecting a more nuanced approach to national security and global competitiveness in space.

US, Japan strike deals on defense, space at leaders' summit

  • What: The United States and Japan have agreed to enhance their security and economic ties, including a commitment to send a Japanese astronaut to the Moon as part of the Artemis mission.
  • Why: This landmark agreement underscores the growing importance of international collaboration in space exploration and the strategic role of space in national security and diplomacy.

NASA, Japan Advance Space Cooperation, Sign Agreement for Lunar Rover

  • What: NASA and Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology signed an agreement for lunar exploration, including the development of a pressurized rover.
  • Why: The collaboration highlights a significant step towards sustainable human and robotic exploration of the Moon, showcasing the pivotal role of international partnerships in achieving ambitious space exploration goals.

NASA’s Space Sustainability Strategy

  • What: NASA unveiled its Space Sustainability Strategy at the 39th Space Symposium, emphasizing the need for sustainable space exploration and utilization practices.
  • Why: This strategy underlines NASA's commitment to leading by example in preserving the space environment for future generations, highlighting the critical importance of responsible space exploration and usage in an increasingly congested space domain.

USSPACECOM and Sweden sign a Space Situational Awareness sharing agreement

  • What: The US Space Command and the Swedish Air Force have entered a Space Situational Awareness sharing agreement to enhance the safety and sustainability of space operations.
  • Why: This agreement reflects the growing global cooperation in space situational awareness, essential for ensuring the security and sustainability of outer space activities amid increasing orbital traffic.


Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata Joins Axiom Space

  • What: Renowned Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata has joined Axiom Space, a company focused on building commercial space stations.
  • Why: Wakata's addition to Axiom Space underscores the growing trend of experienced astronauts moving to the private sector, highlighting the expanding opportunities and the importance of veteran expertise in commercial space endeavors.


Australia's first locally-made orbital rocket goes vertical for the first time

  • What: Gilmour Space Technologies' Eris rocket, Australia's first domestically produced orbital rocket, achieved a significant milestone by going vertical in preparation for its inaugural launch.
  • Why: This development signifies Australia's growing capabilities in the space sector, highlighting the country's ambitions to become a more influential player in the global space industry.

Russia’s Angara A5 rocket blasts off into space after two aborted launches

  • What: After two aborted attempts, Russia successfully launched its Angara A5 rocket, marking a significant step in its heavy-lift space launch capabilities.
  • Why: The launch of Angara A5 represents Russia's efforts to modernize its space launch fleet and maintain a competitive stance in the global space launch market.

Exolaunch Signs with HawkEye 360 to Provide Launch and Deployment Services for Multiple Satellite Missions

  • What: Exolaunch and HawkEye 360 have entered a multi-mission agreement for satellite launch and deployment services, marking their first collaboration.
  • Why: This partnership underscores the growing demand for reliable launch services within the geospatial intelligence sector, highlighting the crucial role of launch providers in enabling the deployment of critical space-based assets.

Ending an era, final Delta 4 Heavy boosts classified spy satellite into orbit

  • What: The final Delta IV Heavy rocket successfully launched a classified spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, marking the end of its service.
  • Why: The retirement of the Delta IV Heavy closes a significant chapter in U.S. space launch history, reflecting the evolving landscape of space launch capabilities and the transition towards newer, more efficient launch systems.

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket on 1st ‘Bandwagon’ mission

  • What: SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched the first Bandwagon rideshare mission, carrying 11 satellites to orbit, including South Korea's Project 425 SAR and HawkEye 360's Clusters 8 & 9.
  • Why: The successful launch and deployment of these satellites underline SpaceX's expanding role and capabilities in providing accessible space transportation solutions, contributing to the rapid growth of the global satellite constellation network.


Next Step Toward the Moon: LZH and TU Berlin partner with Astrobotic

  • What: Astrobotic, in partnership with Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. and TU Berlin, is working on a project to bring 3D printing technology to the Moon as part of the MOONRISE mission set for late 2026.
  • Why: The project represents a significant advancement in lunar exploration technology, potentially revolutionizing how humanity utilizes lunar resources and constructs infrastructure on the Moon, thereby facilitating long-term lunar presence and exploration.

Spacefarer & CubeRover Joint Lunar Rover Demonstration on Griffin-1

  • What: Astrobotic and Mission Control announce a partnership for a joint rover demonstration mission to the lunar south pole, supported by the Canadian Space Agency.
  • Why: This mission exemplifies international collaboration in lunar exploration and the increasing commercial interest in lunar resources and science, paving the way for future human and robotic missions.

Lonestar Data Holdings Announces Freedom, its Second Lunar Data Center mission to the Moon in 2024

  • What: Lonestar Data Holdings revealed plans for Freedom, its second lunar data center mission, aimed for launch in 2024.
  • Why: This mission marks a significant step in the commercialization and exploration of the lunar environment, highlighting the moon's potential role in future data storage and processing solutions, and showcasing the innovative applications of space technology in addressing Earth-bound challenges.


SpaceX launches advanced weather satellite for US Space Force (video)

  • What: SpaceX successfully launched USSF-62, a Weather System Follow-on- Microwave satellite, on a Falcon 9 rocket for the US Space Force, designed to enhance military operations across all warfighting domains.
  • Why: This mission demonstrates SpaceX's ongoing contributions to national security, providing critical weather intelligence that supports the operational needs of the US military and allied forces.

Sidus Space Announces Second Agreement with HEO for Non-Earth Imaging Payload and Data Services Aboard Upcoming Lizzie-Sat Launch

  • What: Sidus Space signed an agreement with HEO Robotics for imaging payload and data services on the upcoming Lizzie-Sat mission, focusing on non-Earth imaging.
  • Why: This agreement showcases the expanding capabilities and applications of satellite technology beyond traditional Earth observation, opening new avenues for space-based monitoring and data collection.

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