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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 18 | 05.06.24

To the Moon, Chang’e 6. NASA feels the heat from OIG. Foo Fighters For Millennium. SES to acquire Intelsat. Galileo figaro. 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.

-- Brandon Karpf, Vice President of N2K


  • Isabelle Crossley and Alex Walker from Durham University discuss their participation in the Spaceport America Cup, focusing on rocket engineering competitions.

  • Marc Kneppers, a satellite cybersecurity expert at Dominant Information Solutions Canada (DISC), discusses gaps in satellite cyber threat monitoring.

  • Tuana Yazici, Chair & CEO of Tuana Group and AeroAI Global Solutions, discusses using space data for monitoring human and animal trafficking.

  • Musa Mishamo, founder of Kilimanjaro Mobile Planetarium, is dedicated to expanding space education and outreach in Tanzania.
  • Dr. Stefan Frey, CEO and Co-founder of Vyoma, discusses space traffic management and their latest developments.


SES to acquire Intelsat in compelling transaction focused on the future

  • What: SES is set to acquire Intelsat for $3.1 billion, aiming to create a leading multi-orbit satellite operator.
  • Why: This merger is designed to enhance global communications infrastructure, providing improved coverage, resiliency, and innovative solutions across various sectors.

KBR Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2024 Financial Results

  • What: KBR reported a 7% increase in revenue to $1.8 billion and a net income of $93 million for Q1 2024.
  • Why: The strong financial results demonstrate KBR's robust position in the engineering and construction sector, enhancing its capacity for new projects and expansion.

Boryung Launches 2024 Humans In Space Challenge: Sending Experiments into Orbit

  • What: Boryung has initiated the 2024 Humans In Space Challenge, an idea competition to foster a global space healthcare ecosystem.
  • Why: This initiative supports the development of health-related technologies for space, addressing the unique medical needs of humans in space environments and enhancing the integration of healthcare innovations with space technology.

ATLAS Space Operations to Support Blue Origin's Blue Ring DarkSky-1 Mission

  • What: ATLAS Space Operations has been chosen to provide ground support for Blue Origin's upcoming DarkSky-1 mission, utilizing its extensive antenna network.
  • Why: This support is crucial for the success of the DarkSky-1 mission, which aims to demonstrate advanced space-based technologies and enhance U.S. capabilities in cislunar space.

Umbra Advances to Phase II of the DARPA DRIFT Program

  • What: Umbra has moved to Phase II in DARPA's Distributed Radar Image Formation Technology (DRIFT) program, focusing on the development of advanced radar imaging techniques.
  • Why: This progression underscores the importance of innovative radar technologies for national defense and intelligence, potentially transforming how the U.S. monitors and manages threats globally.

Astroscale Obtains Approval to List on Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market

  • What: Astroscale Holdings has received approval for listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market, scheduled for June 5.
  • Why: This listing represents a significant milestone for Astroscale, enhancing its financial stability and supporting its ongoing projects in space debris removal, which are critical for maintaining the long-term sustainability of space operations.

Blue Skies Space raises £2M to open up access to satellite data

  • What: Blue Skies Space has secured over £2 million to expedite the deployment of its satellite fleet, with plans to launch its first satellite, Mauve, in 2025.
  • Why: This funding will boost Blue Skies Space's capabilities in studying stellar activity and its effects on exoplanets, potentially advancing our understanding of space weather and its implications for exoplanetary habitability.

Spire Global Secures Multi-Million Dollar Deal with Financial Firm for Weather Forecasts

  • What: Spire Global has entered a significant contract with an unnamed financial firm to provide advanced weather forecasting services using data collected from space.
  • Why: This deal not only illustrates the growing intersection between space technology and financial services but also highlights the increasing reliance on accurate, space-based environmental data to support decision-making in diverse sectors, potentially opening new markets for similar space-derived data services.


Slingshot Aerospace Report Reveals Increasing Risks of Operating in Space

  • What: Slingshot Aerospace has released a report detailing the growing risks associated with space operations.
  • Why: The report emphasizes the need for improved risk management strategies to protect valuable space assets amidst increasing satellite deployments and space traffic.

GAO report indicates that NASA should update spacecraft acquisition policies and standards for cybersecurity

  • What: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has highlighted the need for NASA to update its cybersecurity policies for spacecraft acquisition.
  • Why: Strengthening these policies is essential to protect space missions from cyber threats, ensuring the security and reliability of critical space infrastructure.


NASA’s Optical Comms Demo Transmits Data Over 140 Million Miles

  • What: NASA's demonstration of deep space optical communications has successfully transmitted data over 140 million miles.
  • Why: This breakthrough in communication technology promises to significantly enhance data transmission rates for future deep-space missions.

Unseenlabs Announces Next-Generation Satellite Constellation for 2026 to Monitor Sea, Land, and Space Environments from Space

  • What: Unseenlabs plans to launch a satellite constellation in 2026 to enhance global monitoring capabilities.
  • Why: The new satellites will expand monitoring to terrestrial and spatial environments, potentially transforming global security and environmental surveillance.

Preligens joins Capella's Analytics Partner Program to accelerate the development of Advanced SAR-Based Geospatial Analytics

  • What: Preligens has partnered with Capella Space to enhance SAR-based geospatial analytics.
  • Why: This collaboration aims to improve the accuracy and utility of Earth observation data for defense and intelligence applications.

Hubble Network's Bluetooth to Space Connection

  • What: The Hubble Network has successfully established the first Bluetooth connection to space.
  • Why: This technological breakthrough enables direct communication between Earth-based Bluetooth devices and satellites, opening new possibilities for IoT applications in remote and unconnected areas.

Satellogic Releases Open Dataset for AI Model Training

  • What: Satellogic has made a substantial open dataset of high-resolution imagery available for AI training.
  • Why: This release will aid in the development of AI technologies for analyzing Earth observation data, enhancing applications in various sectors such as agriculture, disaster response, and urban planning.

NASA Selects BAE Systems to Develop Air Quality Instrument for NOAA

  • What: NASA has awarded BAE Systems a contract to develop an air quality monitoring instrument for NOAA’s satellite program.
  • Why: This instrument will provide crucial data on air pollutants, aiding in environmental monitoring and improving public health responses to air quality issues.

NRO’s first batch of next-generation spy satellites set for launch

  • What: The National Reconnaissance Office is preparing to launch its first batch of next-generation surveillance satellites.
  • Why: These satellites represent a significant upgrade in U.S. surveillance capabilities, enhancing national security through advanced space-based observation technologies.

NASA Selects Commercial Service Studies to Enable Mars Robotic Science

  • What: NASA has selected nine U.S. companies to conduct studies on applying commercial services to support future Mars science missions.
  • Why: This initiative aims to leverage commercial innovations to reduce costs and increase the frequency of missions to Mars, potentially accelerating scientific discoveries on the Red Planet.

NASA Doubles Down, Advances Six Innovative Tech Concepts to New Phase

  • What: NASA has advanced six tech concepts into a new phase of development under its Innovative Advanced Concepts program.
  • Why: This progression supports the exploration of cutting-edge technologies that may transform future space missions, enhancing capabilities and potentially leading to significant advancements in space exploration.

Evolution Space Conducts Full-Scale Tactical Solid Motor Test In Response To Growing Demand

  • What: Evolution Space has successfully tested a new solid rocket motor design, aimed at addressing supply shortages for tactical motors.
  • Why: This advancement is critical for maintaining the competitiveness and capability of the U.S. in rocket motor production, especially given the increasing global demand and current geopolitical pressures affecting supply chains.


SSC Next Gen OPIR Polar Program completes Space Vehicle CDR

  • What: The U.S. Space Systems Command has completed the Critical Design Review for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Polar Space Vehicle.
  • Why: This milestone ensures that the space vehicle's design meets strategic missile warning requirements for the northern hemisphere, enhancing national security and defense capabilities against evolving threats.


Most U.S. governors oppose moving some National Guard units to Space Force

  • What: A majority of U.S. governors have expressed opposition to transferring National Guard units to the Space Force.
  • Why: This resistance highlights the complexities and challenges of integrating traditional military structures with the newly established Space Force, reflecting broader concerns about national security and resource allocation.

Boosting Australian-Indian commercial space partnerships

  • What: Australia and India have initiated partnerships to enhance commercial space collaborations.
  • Why: These partnerships aim to leverage mutual strengths in space technology, fostering economic growth and technological advancements in both countries.

FAA Learning Period to Get Another Extension

  • What: The U.S. Congress is set to extend the FAA's "learning period," preventing new regulations on commercial human spaceflight for a few more months.
  • Why: This extension provides crucial breathing room for the commercial space industry, allowing it to continue operations without the immediate burden of adapting to new regulatory changes.

Nelson Pleads With Congress to Fund ISS Deorbit Vehicle

  • What: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has urgently requested Congress to fund the development of a vehicle to safely deorbit the International Space Station.
  • Why: The funding and timely development of this vehicle are critical to ensure the safe and controlled decommissioning of the ISS, avoiding potential hazards from uncontrolled re-entry and paving the way for future orbital infrastructure.

Advisory committee recommends moving FAA commercial space office out of the agency

  • What: The commercial space transportation advisory committee (COMSTAC) has proposed that the FAA's commercial space transportation office (AST) be relocated to possibly enhance its efficiency and resource allocation.
  • Why: This recommendation could lead to significant changes in the regulatory landscape for commercial spaceflight in the U.S., aiming to better support the burgeoning sector and ensure safety and innovation are not hindered by bureaucratic limitations.


Chinese astronauts return to earth after six months in space

  • What: The crew of China's Shenzhou-17 mission has successfully returned to Earth after six months in space.
  • Why: This mission highlights the advancements in China's human spaceflight capabilities and its ongoing research aboard the Tiangong space station.

NASA’s Readiness for the Artemis II Crewed Mission to Lunar Orbit

  • What: A report from NASA’s Inspector General has raised concerns about the readiness of the Artemis II mission due to unresolved issues from Artemis I.
  • Why: Addressing these issues is critical for the safety of the crew and the success of future manned lunar missions, highlighting the need for stringent quality controls and continuous improvement in space mission protocols.


HyImpulse: German space company successfully launches first commercially viable launch vehicle

  • What: HyImpulse successfully launched its SR75 rocket, testing hybrid propulsion technology in Australia.
  • Why: This launch marks a significant achievement in commercial spaceflight, particularly for small satellite deployment, demonstrating HyImpulse's innovative propulsion technology.


Helsinki-based Kuva Space received a €1.8 million contract to join ESA's civil security from space program

  • What: Kuva Space was awarded €1.8 million to participate in ESA's program for civil security from space.
  • Why: This contract will enable the development of hyperspectral imaging solutions, enhancing Europe's capability to manage crises and monitor security threats from space.

First Two WorldView Legion Spacecraft Performing Well After Launch

  • What: The first two WorldView Legion satellites have successfully deployed and are functioning as expected.
  • Why: These satellites will significantly improve Earth observation capabilities, supporting both commercial and government applications.

China releases first images captured by X-ray satellite Einstein Probe

  • What: China has published the first set of images from the Einstein Probe, an X-ray satellite that observed celestial bodies including the Milky Way's center and the black hole M87.
  • Why: These images are vital for advancing our understanding of the universe’s high-energy phenomena, enhancing global knowledge in astrophysics and contributing to international scientific collaborations.

GAF AG awarded contract for CAP-Area Monitoring 2024 in Bavaria

  • What: GAF AG has secured a multi-year contract to use satellite data for monitoring agricultural areas in Bavaria as part of the European Common Agricultural Policy.
  • Why: The contract underscores the critical role of Earth observation technologies in sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring compliance with environmental standards and supporting the policy enforcement at regional scales.


China launches historic mission to retrieve samples from far side of the moon

  • What: China has launched the Chang’e 6 mission to collect and return samples from the lunar far side.
  • Why: This mission aims to enhance understanding of the lunar surface's geological differences and continues China's advancements in lunar exploration.

Ceres Robotics, Inc. Announces “MoonPower Lunar Grid” and wins NASA Contract

  • What: NASA has awarded Ceres Robotics a contract to develop components for a lunar power grid, focusing on deployable solar array technologies.
  • Why: This project is pivotal for future sustained human and robotic presence on the Moon, facilitating the development of infrastructure necessary for long-term lunar exploration and possibly serving as a blueprint for other celestial bodies.

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