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Signals and Space | V1 | Issue 3 | 05.01.23

This week: Intel from China’s “Space Day.” Space is hard for Hakuto-R. The West Wing wants space security by design. DoD call of duty for space reserves. And more.



Signals and Space is your weekly intelligence briefing to ensure you know what's going up and what’s going on in space—and why it matters.

This week, our sponsored Industry Voices segment featured Russ Andersson, COO and Cofounder of RapidFort, where we discussed the importance of software security in the space industry. You can follow Russ on LinkedIn. Learn more about RapidFort and find a link to their demo on their sponsor page.

Here’s what we covered this week:

Monday, 4/24/23: Intel from China’s “Space Day.”

  1. China Space Conference and China's Space Day
    • Who: China National Space Administration (CNSA), Chinese private space companies, and the Deep Space Exploration Lab (DSEL)
    • What: Celebrating the 30th anniversary of CNSA, China's recent space accomplishments, and announcing upcoming initiatives
    • Why: To showcase China's advancements in space technology and promote their future space exploration plans
  2. United Arab Emirates' Busy Space Week
    • Who: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Program, Rashid Rover, and Emirati Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi
    • What: Rashid Rover landing on the Moon and Sultan Al Neyadi's first spacewalk on the International Space Station
    • Why: To demonstrate UAE's growing involvement in space exploration and scientific research
  3. Blue Halo's Phased Array and Space Force
    • Who: Blue Halo and U.S. Space Force
    • What: Space Force's Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) becoming the first customer for Blue Halo's new phased array antenna
    • Why: To modernize the Satellite Control Network (SCN) and replace outdated parabolic satellite dishes
  4. UK's Space Domain Awareness
    • Who: UK Military
    • What: Request for information solicitation for ground-based Electro-Optical sensor solutions
    • Why: To enhance Space Domain Awareness for UK space assets
  5. Aerospace Corporation taking lead on COSMIC Consortium
    • Who: Aerospace Corporation and NASA
    • What: Development of in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities through the COSMIC consortium
    • Why: To extend the life of missions and enable manufacturing in space
  6. SpaceX Falcon 9 Mission and Starship Launch Aftermath
    • Who: SpaceX
    • What: Launch of another batch of Starlink satellites, and addressing the damage from the recent Starship launch
    • Why: To continue building the Starlink constellation and improve the Starship launch process
  7. NASA's Human Exploration Rover Challenge
    • Who: NASA and high school/college students from around the world
    • What: A competition to design, develop, build, and test human-powered rovers for space exploration
    • Why: To inspire and engage young minds in space exploration, engineering, and innovation
  8. Featured interview: Mathieu Bailly, VP of Space at CYSEC, about the CYSAT Conference in Paris and unique security challenges for the space industry. You can follow Mathieu on LinkedIn and learn more about the CYSAT Conference on their website and on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, 4/25/23: Space is hard for Hakuto-R.

  1. Hard Landing for the Hakuto-R
    • Who: iSpace, a Japanese company, and their Hakuto-R lunar mission
    • What: The lunar landing attempt failed, with communication lost and the mission assumed unsuccessful
    • Why: The mission aimed to land the first private craft on the lunar surface, but contact was lost after the landing attempt
  2. US-South Korea Space Agreement
    • Who: NASA and South Korea's science agency
    • What: An agreement to boost cooperation in outer space, focusing on space communications, space-based navigation, and lunar research
    • Why: To strengthen the partnership between the US and South Korea in space exploration and technology development
  3. China's Space Conference Announcements
    • Who: China's National Space Administration
    • What: Future Chang'e missions will explore long-term human habitation on the moon, and 3-D printing technology for lunar surface structures
    • Why: China aims to launch humans to the moon by 2030, and these advancements will help prepare for long-term lunar missions
  4. SpaceX News Collection
    • Who: SpaceX
    • What: Delays on the 27th launch of the year, potential knock-on effects on astronaut missions, and Astrobotic's selection of Falcon Heavy for the 2023 Griffin lunar lander launch
    • Why: These events highlight the ongoing growth of SpaceX's launch capabilities and partnerships in the space industry
  5. Space Debris Removal Pricing
    • Who: Kall Morris Inc. (KMI), a space startup
    • What: Developing technology to retrieve space junk, with pricing advertised on a deck of cards at the Space Symposium
    • Why: KMI aims to prove their technology's effectiveness, addressing the growing issue of space debris
  6. Featured interview: Severin Blenkush, Managing Partner of the Space Advisory Group, on doing business with the government, space industry acquisitions, SBIR and STTRs. You can follow Severin on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, 4/26/23: The West Wing wants space security by design.

  1. White House and Space Companies Discuss Satellite Cybersecurity
    • Who: Kemba Walden, acting national cyber director for the Biden administration, and California aerospace companies
    • What: Discussing satellite cybersecurity and related policies
    • Why: To ensure security concerns are addressed during satellite design and usage for civilian, military, and government applications
  2. Strengthening US-South Korea Space Cooperation
    • Who: President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, Ministry of Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho, VP Kamala Harris
    • What: Signing a Joint Statement of Intent to advance cooperation in exploration and science
    • Why: To build upon recent joint Earth observation missions and establish KASA as the point of contact for joint space activities
  3. Boryung Corporation and Axiom Space Joint Venture
    • Who: Boryung Corporation and Axiom Space
    • What: Finalizing plans for a joint venture focused on low Earth orbit (LEO) projects
    • Why: To support the construction of the commercial Axiom Space Station and allow Boryung to conduct microgravity-related R&D in LEO
  4. Air Force PIPs 5 Space Programs
    • Who: Frank Calvelli, official in charge of space acquisition for the Department of the Air Force
    • What: Issuing a scorecard on the performance of five struggling space programs
    • Why: To assess the cost, schedule, and technical performance of these programs
  5. Investment News: Hydrosat, X-Bow Systems, and Ursa Major
    • Who: Hydrosat, X-Bow Systems, and Ursa Major
    • What: Raising funds for the launch of thermal infrared satellites (Hydrosat), extending work with the Air Force Research Laboratory (X-Bow Systems), and closing a funding round (Ursa Major)
    • Why: To advance satellite technology, bridge the gap between technology development and commercial adoption, and support rocket engine development
  6. Virgin Galactic's Successful Glide Flight
    • Who: Virgin Galactic
    • What: Conducting a successful glide flight from Spaceport America
    • Why: To take one of the final steps towards commercial spaceline operations starting later this year
  7. SpaceX Starship Launch Investigation
    • Who: SpaceX and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
    • What: Investigating potential damage from the Starship explosion
    • Why: To ensure safety and compliance before allowing Starship to launch again
  8. Norway Investigates Swedish Rocket Launch
    • Who: Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Sweden Space Corporation
    • What: Investigating a research rocket fired from Sweden that landed 9 miles inside Norway
    • Why: To address the unauthorized activity on Norway's side of the border and maintain regional civility
  9. Featured interview: Jonathan Lacoste, Founder and General Partner at Space.VC, on space startups, venture capital in the space industry, and the unique investing challenges for the industry. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thursday, 4/27/23: DoD call of duty for space reserves.

  1. DoD Wants to Create Space Reserves
    • Who: Dept of Defense space policy chief John Plumb
    • What: Creating commercial augmentation space reserves for quick access to commercial space services in case of a national security emergency
    • Why: Space-based missions are essential to the U.S. way of war, and partnering with commercial space will enable a faster response in emergencies
  2. Space Force is Creating an Outernet
    • Who: Space Force, Col. Eric Felt (director of architectures and integration at the Department of the Air Force’s space acquisition office)
    • What: Developing a hybrid commercial-military outernet to link all Space Force mission-specific networks together
    • Why: To add redundancy and resiliency to military satellite constellations and ensure data reaches its destination even if a satellite is disabled
  3. Czech Republic to Sign Artemis Accords
    • Who: NASA, Czech Republic
    • What: Czech Republic will sign the Artemis Accords, a multilateral, nonbinding declaration for responsible exploration of outer space
    • Why: To enhance governance and cooperation in space exploration; the Czech Republic will be the 24th country to sign the accords
  4. Intellian Invests $100M in Satcom
    • Who: Intellian, a leading satellite antenna and terminal producer
    • What: Investing $100 million into research and development of satellite communication technologies at their Advanced Development Center in Rockville, Maryland
    • Why: To focus on phased array antennas and user terminals, and expand their team in the US-based research and development hub
  5. Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation's Miyin Exoplanet Project
    • Who: Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
    • What: Developing new formation-flying telescopes to monitor sun-like stars and search for Earth-like planets around them
    • Why: To advance China's exoplanet research and exploration; on-orbit technology demonstrations planned for next year, with a prototype expected to launch in 4-5 years
  6. Rogers Communications Direct to Mobile Phone Satellite Communication
    • Who: Rogers Communications
    • What: Rogers Communications has conducted successful technical tests with Lynk satellites and partnered with SpaceX to use Starlink satellites to expand satellite communication services in remote areas of Canada
    • Why: To start with text services next year before expanding to voice and data cell services
  7. Astroscale Secures $44M in Loans
    • Who: Japanese space startup Astroscale, Mizuho and MUFG Banks
    • What: Astroscale has secured two loan agreements totaling approximately $44 million
    • Why: The debt financing is to support Astroscale’s development of satellite end-of-life and active debris removal services, addressing the growing issue of space debris
  8. ESA Satellites Hacked for Demonstration
    • Who: European Space Agency (ESA)
    • What: Hackers took control of ESA satellite operations for demonstration purposes at the CYSAT conference in Paris
    • Why: To show vulnerabilities in satellite technologies and raise awareness about the real threat of cybercrime in space
  9. Featured interview: Russ Andersson, COO and Cofounder of RapidFort, where we discuss the importance of software security in the space industry. You can follow Russ on LinkedIn. Learn more about RapidFort and find a link to their demo on their sponsor page.

Friday, 4/28/23: Soft power and China’s lunar diplomacy. 

  1. Russia Extends ISS Cooperation Until 2028
    • Who: Russia, the United States, Japan, Canada, and participating ESA countries
    • What: Russia confirms its support for the International Space Station (ISS) through 2028
    • Why: To continue the successful ISS program and contribute to the advancement of mankind's space science and microgravity experimentation efforts
  2. China Creates its Version of the Artemis Accords
    • Who: China National Space Administration, Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) members, and other interested countries
    • What: China forms the International Lunar Research Station Cooperation Organization (ILRSCO) to coordinate work on the International Lunar Research Station
    • Why: To promote international collaboration in lunar research and exploration
  3. JPL Engineers Extend the Life of Voyager 2
    • Who: NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) engineers
    • What: JPL team successfully switches Voyager 2's power source, extending its mission life to 2026
    • Why: To continue studying interstellar space and gather valuable scientific data from the 1977-launched spacecraft
  4. Satlantis Acquires Majority Shares in SuperSharp
    • Who: Satlantis, a Spanish satellite firm, and SuperSharp, a University of Cambridge commercial offshoot
    • What: Satlantis purchases majority shares in SuperSharp, which developed a foldable thermal infrared telescope for Earth imaging
    • Why: To expand Satlantis' capabilities in the thermal imaging market
  5. SpaceForge Signs MOU with Southern Launch
    • Who: UK startup SpaceForge and Australia's Southern Launch
    • What: SpaceForge signs a memorandum of understanding for the potential launch and return of spacecraft from Koonibba Test Range
    • Why: To provide SpaceForge with an ideal target for the re-entry point of its ForgeStar satellite
  6. APEX Contracts Astra Space to Supply Engines
    • Who: Spacecraft manufacturing company APEX and Astra Space
    • What: APEX announces a contract with Astra Space to provide engines for the Aries vehicle
    • Why: To support APEX's electric propulsion package, enabling efficient spacecraft propulsion
  7. Raytheon to Change Approach to Military Satellite Market
    • Who: Raytheon's space sector president David Broadbent
    • What: Raytheon plans to shift its focus from a mission prime position to a merchant strategy
    • Why: The current approach has not yielded the desired financial results for the company
  8. ICEYE Unveils Wildfire Insights Platform Beta
    • Who: Finnish microsatellite manufacturer ICEYE
    • What: ICEYE introduces the Beta version of their Wildfire Insights platform
    • Why: To improve disaster response in wildfire-affected areas by providing building-level impact data in near real-time
  9. NASA's Confidence in Artemis 3 Mission Despite SpaceX's Starship Failure
    • Who: NASA administrator Bill Nelson and SpaceX
    • What: Bill Nelson expresses confidence in the Artemis 3 mission, despite a recent SpaceX Starship launch failure
    • Why: To reassure that the failure does not significantly impact SpaceX's ability to deliver on its contract for the Human Landing System
  10. Featured interview: Christina Korp, the Astronaut Wrangler, on her organization SPACE for a better world and her efforts to inspire and educate people from all ages and walks of life about the ways that space technology can help save our planet. You can follow Christina on LinkedIn, Twitter, and her website.

Saturday, 4/29/23: Space for a better world with Christina Korp, the Astronaut Wrangler. 

  1. Our full conversation with Christina Korp, the Astronaut Wrangler, on her organization SPACE for a better world, and her career advocating for space science, technology, and industry as a path to a better future for society, the environment, and humanity.

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