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What’s behind door 10? Cosmic Christmas baubles.

True Anomaly raises $100M. Armada comes out of stealth. The US, South Korea, and Japan respond to North Korea's space launches. And more.




True Anomaly closes a $100 Million Series B equity raise. Armada comes out of stealth with $55 million in backing to develop their edge computing platforms. The US, South Korea, and Japan agree to new initiatives in response to North Korea's space launches, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Jeromy Grimmett, Founder and CEO of Rogue Space Systems.

You can connect with Jeromy on LinkedIn and learn more about Rogue on their website.

Selected Reading

True Anomaly Raises $100 Million in Series B Funding to Further Accelerate Growth

Armada Raises More Than $55M to Bridge the Digital Divide- Business Wire

Helicity Space Raises $5M Seed Round Pasadena, Cal.

U.S., South Korea, Japan to step up actions on North Korea cyber threats | Reuters

ispace and Orbit Fab Agree to Aggressively Pursue and Enable a Sustainable Lunar Economy

EUMETSAT Awards Spire Global Multi-Million Euro Contract for Satellite Weather Data

Irish Space Company Réaltra Awarded Milestone Contract With Leading Launch Vehicle Provider Arianegroup

SpaceX postpones planned launch of US military's secretive X-37B spaceplane- Reuters

SpaceX private Polaris Dawn space mission delayed to April 2024

ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket's 1st launch delayed to January 2024- Space

Redwire Antenna Technology Enables Tactical Link 16 Transmission from Space as Company Prepares to Deliver More Antennas for a Future LEO Constellation- Business Wire

Why There Should Not Be a Norm for “Minimum Safe Distance” Between Satellites - War on the Rocks

Satellite Manufacturer Terran Orbital Seeks a Buyer

Vast Welcomes Veteran NASA Astronaut Dr. Andrew J. Feustel as Its Newest Human Spaceflight Advisor-  Business Wire

James Webb Space Telescope's 'Cosmic Christmas Bauble' earns spot in White House Advent Calendar (photo, video)

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>> Alice Carruth: Can you believe that we're just days away from the end of 2023, and more importantly, we're smack bag in the middle of the holiday season? I'm talking decorations, lights, sparkles, Geminids meteor shower and Cosmic Christmas Bauble. And if you want to know what I'm talking about with that last point, you're going to have to stick with me until the end of the show.

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Today is December 12, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus.

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True Anomaly closes a $100 Million Series B equity raise. Armada comes out of stealth with $55 million in backing to develop their edge computing platforms. The US, South Korea, and Japan agree to new initiatives in response to North Korea's space launches. And joining Maria in the second part of our show is Jeromy Grimmett, founder and CEO of Rogue Space Systems.

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Let's dive into today's intelligence briefing, shall we? And we're starting off with a series of investment announcements that show a strong end of year trend for space startups. Space hardware and software systems company True Anomaly have closed a $100 million Series B equity raise. The company was only founded in early 2022, grown at an incredible pace, doubling its staff headcount to over 100 people based at their Denver headquarters. The company's mission is to build solutions that address space domain awareness, security and readiness challenges. This includes a combination of software applications as well as on-orbit spacecraft performing rendezvous and proximity operations and non-Earth imaging. These products and services also offer solutions for space operator training, capability testing, and rapid response missions. True Anomaly recently completed the build assembly and integration of its first two autonomous orbital vehicles, which is slated to launch abord SpaceX's Transporter 10 mission next year. Even Rogers, True Anomaly's CEO and cofounder, said in the press release that "Space is the newest and most vulnerable theater of contemporary global competition, but the US and its allies are ill-equipped for a conflict that begins in or extends into space. True Anomaly is solving this by building the technologies for a more secure, stable, sustainable, and transparent space environment. The Series B fundraiser equips True Anomaly with the proceeds to maintain a deep focus on our mission, deliver incredible products, and continue to invest in the nation's next strategic offset." Good luck to them. Coming out of stealth is no easy feat, so hands up for Armada who've landed on the space scene with $55 million in backing to develop their edge computing platforms. According to the press release, Armada's mission is to bridge the global digital divide, empowering businesses and communities to leverage all of their data regardless of where it's generated. Armada says it's dedicated to unlocking the potential of generative AI, edge computing, and predictive models on a global scale. We'll be keeping an eye on where this ship sails with Armada. And a final investment announcement in space. Propulsion company Helicity has raised $5 million in seed round funding from several new investors. The company is developing power technology based on fusion power. Helicity Space says that the successful close of the seed round enables them to advance their propriety technology, the Helicity Drive, which consists of scalable fusion propulsion engines that could enable safer, faster, reusable, and more fuel-efficient travel into deep space. The United States, South Korea, and Japan agreed to new initiatives over the weekend to respond to North Korea's threats in cyberspace, including crypto currency abuses, and most importantly for us, space launches. The three countries' national security advisors met in Seoul on Saturday. Tensions have been rising in the North Korean peninsula after Pyongyang launched its first spy satellite last month. The meeting is a follow-on to a presidential summit held at Camp David in August, where the nation's leaders pledged to deepen security and economic cooperation. North Korean state media reported that Pyongyang was determined to launch more satellites soon, calling space development part of its right to defend itself as any other country has. It's also criticized South Korea for launching its own satellite, saying that there's a double standard. Staying in the region, and Japan's ispace and Orbit Fab have announced an agreement to collaborate on in-space propellant harvesting and delivery for future missions to the moon. The partnership will leverage each company's complementary capabilities to develop effective propellants and fuels from resources in space, such as water, ice, and lunar regolith. The memorandum of understanding signed by ispace and Orbit Fab sets the stage for a series of demonstrations, including resource mapping and in-situ resource utilization missions aimed at drastically reducing the reliance on supplies from Earth. The companies ultimately plan for Orbit Fab to refuel ispace lunar landers, as they travel through space to extend lunar and cislunar missions. Heading over to Europe now, and with some news out of Luxembourg. Spire Global has been awarded a multimillion euro contract by EUMETSAT (Europe's Meteorological Satellite Agency) to provide radio occultation (or RO) data. The contract is for an initial period of two years, from 2024 to 2026, with three optional one-year extensions. The announcement follows a successful pilot program, which demonstrated the benefits of Spire's RO data for weather forecasting accuracy and value. The company's RO data provides information about the vertical profiles of pressure, humidity, and temperature across all points of the globe, including in the most remote regions and open oceans. Spire will provide the data in near real time, and it will be distributed by the EUMETSAT user community globally for use in weather forecasting modeling. The exact amount of the contract was not disclosed. Ireland-based Realtra Space Systems Engineering has been awarded a contract to provide global navigation satellite telemetry system hardware for launch vehicle provider ArianeGroup. The contract has a value close to one million euros and will launch on the maiden flight of Ariane 6, designed and built by the Ariane group on behalf of the European Space Agency. The Ariane 6 has experienced a series of delays and setbacks, but is currently expected to launch in the summer of 2024. And speaking of delays, we have four to share news on. The first is the launch of the X-37B spaceplane, which was pushed back until this evening at the earliest. The vehicle is hitching a ride on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Last night's delay also caused knock-on postponement moment to a planned Falcon 9 launch. Both are aiming for evening launches from Florida. And speaking of SpaceX, their private Polaris Dawn space mission has been pushed back until April 2024. Jared Isaacman, who's funding the mission, took to the social media platform X to say that schedule slips should be expected. Yesterday, we reported on the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur dress rehearsal. And at the time of recording, it all seemed nominal. Alas the run-through did not go to plan and the team were unable to finish loading the propellant into the rocket. The planned December 24th launch is likely to slip into next year. Redwire Space's L-Band Link 16 Helical Antenna technology was successfully demonstrated during the first-ever transmission of a Link 16 signal from space. The successful Link 16 demonstration comes as Redwire prepares to deliver more L-Band antennas to another national security customer. Redwire Space Systems president Adam Biskner said, "Redwire is proud to contribute to this transformative achievement that advantages crucial capabilities for our nation's defense. This demonstration underscores that Redwire is delivering capabilities critical to space development that are proven and effective."

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Whew. And that concludes our briefing for today. We've included links to further reading on all the stories we've mentioned and added a few opinion pieces in the Selected Reading section of our Show Notes. Those extras include a War on the Rocks story on why there should be a norm for safe distances between satellites, a Wall Street Journal piece on Terran Orbital seeking a buyer, and the last is an announcement from Vast on a new human spaceflight advisor. You'll find them all at space.n2k.com and clicking on this episode title. Hey, T-Minus crew, if you're just joining us, be sure to follow T-Minus Space Daily in your favorite podcast app. And also, do us a favor, share the intel with your friends and coworkers. Here's a little challenge for you: By Friday, please show three friends or coworkers this podcast. A growing audience is the most important thing for us. And we'd love your help to be part of the T-Minus crew. If you find T-Minus useful, please share so that other professionals like you can find the show. Thanks, it really does mean a lot to us.

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Our host, Maria Varmazis, is still out sick with the flu, but she recently spoke to Rogue Space CEO Jeromy Grimmett, and started by asking him how the company began.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: We're the result of a research paper that I wrote while I was in school. And I started building a team, got some feedback, understood where the market was headed. And after a lot of research, a lot of engineering, here we are. We were officially established in 2020. And we've been very, very fortunate with the success that we've had. And now we're operating our very first spacecraft in space.

>> Maria Varmazis: Congratulations. That is not a small milestone to be hitting. And I know it's one of many to come.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Yes. It's funny because you put this satellite up and it's in space and now you're operating it. And then once it's there and you're operating it, you quickly realize that this is like step one of like 1,000 steps. So it's like, yes, we did it! Oh, damn [laughing].

>> Maria Varmazis: And now the extra, extra hard stuff comes in.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Yeah. It's like, okay, now we've got to start over, you know, now we've got a problem. But it's awesome. It's fun. I wouldn't want to do anything else. I love my job. I love this company. I love my team. I love what we do. And there's just nothing else in the world that I would rather do.

>> Maria Varmazis: I love hearing that, that's so cool. I would love if you could tell us a little bit about the tech that you guys are developing. Because you've won some really cool like grants, and you're working on some really cool stuff. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Yeah. Our intellectual property portfolio is quite substantial. In the past year and a half, we've won 18 phase I and phase II awards, worth roughly about $7.5 million worth of government funding. These are government contracts. It's not grant money. This is not free money. There's a lot of work that has to go into this. And we have to, you know, perform and actually deliver results. It's like the Ghostbusters line, you know, at the very beginning, and you get kicked out of the university. It's like, "I've worked in the private sector. They expect results." You know? [Laughing] So it's the same thing, you know, they expect results. And Rogue has been, again, very blessed, very fortunate. We have delivered phenomenal results. Now, some of the tech that we're working on is everything from artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensor fusion, to the scalable compute module, which is flying in space right now. It's all GPS-based compute systems, and it's setting up a foundation for what we're doing next. Our next program, which is Laura-1, that is going to go up we're targeting for 2-1 of '25. So we're already down the road on that, and we're getting there.

>> Maria Varmazis: I can tell you're deep in the weeds right now [laughing]. I was going to say, I'm feeling that energy of like we are really in the middle of it right now.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: We're actually in the middle of three spacecraft development programs right now. So we have these systems on the drawing board. So Laura will be in what they call critical design review -- I want to say February/March will be critical design review. We've already done PDR (preliminary design review), so now we're heading to CDR on Laura. Yeah, we're a little busy.

>> Maria Varmazis: Well, I appreciate you telling me about Laura. Because, I mean, really the long-term future of what you're working on is for ICM, right, or servicing missions? Is that sort of like the long-term vision?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: That's right. Servicing and logistics and support. I mean, we want to try to be like a AAA of space, that's one way to look at us, right. We want to help you. We have the technology. We have the tools. Again, thanks in large part to support and backing from the US Space Force as well as our incredible investors.

>> Maria Varmazis: It's amazing when I talk to folks who are working on ISAM solutions, it does feel very sci-fi and it does blow my mind a lot. So I know you're very excited about the future. What are you looking forward to the most, aside from hopefully seeing everything fly and working? When you look forward five years, what are you thinking about?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: I think one of the things I'm looking forward to the most is the use of our technology to do things. Like one of the things we want to do is actually space archaeology.

>> Maria Varmazis: Whoa. What [laughing]?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Yeah, that's what we want to do. One of the things that we had thought about, you know -- we have brainstorming sessions that we do. And one of the things that we talked about was, wouldn't it be cool -- you know, that's kind of the line that kind of kicks it off in these meetings: Wouldn't it be cool if we could go out to space and find a historic spacecraft?

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, like grab Sputnik [laughing]?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Well, Sputnik's deorbited already.

>> Maria Varmazis: I'm sorry, I was thinking more of Telstar. Is Telstar still up there?

>> Jeromy Grimmett: I don't know. I know Vanguard 1 is up there. I know Vanguard 2 I think is still up there. There's still several. But there are multiple rocket bodies that are still up there from historic missions. There are all kinds of spacecraft that are still up there from historic missions. And we got to thinking about that, and wouldn't it be amazing if we would be able to find some of those historic objects and then work with downmass providers, like Stoke Space, to bring it back to Earth and put that into a museum? You know, some real Indiana Jones stuff, you know. That's the kind of thing that we're really excited about. For Rogue, it's very much about doing things like helping our customers and extending life and creating a sustainable ecosystem, but it's also what we can do for the space community -- how can we advance everyone; how can we get the next generation excited; how can we learn from what we've done in the past? And you can do that through something like a space archaeology. You can do that by studying materials in situ and getting that data back down so we can understand how to build and engineer things for space better. There's all kinds of sciences that we can actually contribute to. And I really look forward to that.

>> Maria Varmazis: Honestly, I've never heard the phrase "space archaeology" before, but I'm adding that to my lexicon. Because that is just a fascinating idea. And I'm just thinking, the possibilities of that. I'm geeking out a little bit as you were talking about it. Because I'm going, wouldn't it be so cool to see, you know, after it has launched, bring some of those components back down? What happened to it? Like what were the stressors on there? Like what were the conditions? That would be such a cool learning opportunity, to speak nothing of what like the metallic materials held up, all that kind of thing. Just fascinating.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: You have something like the ISS, but it's only been around for, what, a couple of decades, a few decades, you know. And that's amazing, but that's in the low Earth orbit. What we really need to understand is stuff that's been in orbit for decades in geostationary orbit. What about stuff around the Moon? These are all different environments. They all have different radiation levels. They're all in different places. So we need to understand that stuff. And archaeology helps us do that. And I mean, I wasn't planning on talking about space archaeology today, but here we are.

>> Maria Varmazis: [Laughing] Here we are. Honestly, it's like building cool stuff, solving cool problems is a lot of what gets people up in the morning. But having these visions for something long-term, that's like a fascinating problem, but also has that cool factor of it gives back. It's a really neat idea, too, honestly.

>> Jeromy Grimmett: Rogue has a very unique culture. I like to believe that it's unique, you know. Every startup, every company is going to say, oh, we have an amazing culture and we have amazing values and everything else. I think that that does exist, but I think that Rogue itself stands alone in a lot of these regards. Because everyone is so heavily vested in the vision that we have here at Rogue for what space can be. And I think that has been a driving force for why we've been so successful is that consistent vision that space is for everyone. And we want to put out technology that is going to help advance everyone. And I think that that's just one of the biggest differentiators. We've put our people here in a very entrepreneurial, very creative, artistic, driven environment, where there's a lot of free thinking, a lot of independence. There's a lot of companies that will take an engineer and they will pigeonhole them into, you're going to work on this ink pen, and this is your domain; you don't go outside of this ink pen. Here at Rogue, it's a totally different situation. You could be working on the ink pen, the desk, the monitor, the computer, it doesn't matter. You could be working on the building. We want our people working on what they're passionate about. And we're very blessed that everyone is passionate about everything that they do. So you're not drilled into one thing, you're able to touch and be part of everything.

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>> Alice Carruth: We'll be right back. Welcome back. I do love a headline that makes things sparkle. And you can't beat a cosmic Christmas babul, can you? And it seems that the White House are just as taken with the dazzling image of Cassiopeia A, which they've included in the first-ever official White House Advent calendar. Yes, you know the tradition of opening a window each day. And in my case, revealing a weird-shaped chocolate behind tinfoil. If you've ever been to the UK, then you know what I'm talking about. The image taken by the James Webb Telescope shows the brilliant supernova wreckage still shining like a cosmic Christmas babul around 340 years after a star violently exploded to create it. It was hidden behind the door of Sunday, December 10th and revealed by the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. It might seem like an odd gimmick to have images revealed behind an Advent calendar door, but it's certainly a conversation starter and an excuse to stare at a dazzling image of the universe. We hope that it inspires future generations to look up and get excited by things that sparkle beyond the Christmas tinsel.

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That's it for T-Minus for December 12, 2023. For additional resources from today's report, check out our Show Notes at space.n2k.com. We are privileged that N2K and podcasts like T-Minus are part of the daily routine of many of the most influential leaders and operators in the public and private sector, from the Fortune 500 to many of the world's preeminent intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This episode was mixed by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our executive producer is Jen Eiben. Our VP is Brandon Karpf. Our interview host is Maria Varmazis. And I'm Alice Carruth. Thanks for listening.

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