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AWS in Orbit: Building a resilient outernet.

A Japanese astronaut will join NASA on the Moon. ESA contracts Thales Alenia Space for ExoMars 2028. USSF shares a new commercial space strategy. And more.




A Japanese national will be the first non-American to land on the moon in an Artemis mission. The European Space Agency contracts Thales Alenia Space for the ExoMars 2028 mission. The US Space Force announces a new commercial space strategy, and more. 

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T-Minus Guest

Our guests today are ​​Salem El Nimri, Chief of Space Technology at AWS Aerospace and Satellite, and Declan Ganley, Chairman and CEO at Rivada Space Networks.

You can learn more about AWS Aerospace and Satellite on their website

Selected Reading

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

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

The search for life on Mars goes on with ExoMars 2028- Thales Alenia Space


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

Capella Space Joins Space ISAC as Founding Member

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

RTX provides Blue Canyon satellite to help solve a crucial climate challenge

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[MUSIC] It's our last special edition episode of our daily show this week, recorded from the 39th Space Symposium.

And it's the fourth and final day of a fascinating and honestly, very busy conference for us.

And as part of our special edition, please do tune in after our daily Intel brief for the conversation that we recorded today at the AWS booth for the AWS in orbit series.

[MUSIC] Today is April 11th, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmasus and this is T-minus at the 39th Space Symposium.

[MUSIC] A Japanese astronaut will be the first non-American to land on the moon in an Artemis mission.

ESA contracts TALUS-Alenia space for ExoMars 2028.

USSF shares a new commercial space strategy.

And as I mentioned at the top of the show, we're going to be bringing you the third installment of the AWS in orbit podcast series at the 39th Space Symposium.

And in this episode, I'm speaking with representatives from RIVADA and AWS Aerospace and Satellite, but using the cloud to help build the world's most secure satellite constellation.

So stay with us for the second part of the show.

[MUSIC] First to today's intelligence briefing.

And we're starting with some really big news for the Artemis program.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S.

President Joe Biden met in Washington, DC on Wednesday and unveiled a wide range of agreements between the two nations to enhance security and economic ties, including space missions.

And the big announcement out of the meeting was that a Japanese astronaut will be the first non-American to land on the moon via an Artemis mission.

And in addition to the new agreement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Technology, and Science Masahiro Maruyama have signed an agreement to advance sustainable human exploration of the moon.

And as part of that agreement, Japan will design, develop, and operate a pressurized rover for crewed and uncrewed exploration on the moon.

NASA will provide the launch and delivery of the rover to the moon, as well as two opportunities in all for Japanese astronauts to travel to the lunar surface.

That is wonderful news.

Telesolenea Space has signed a contract with the European Space Agency to continue work to take a European rover to search for traces of life on Mars.

The joint venture between Teles and Leonardo has signed a framework contract divided into different tranches with the European Space Agency.

The contract, which is valued at €522 million, continues essential activities for the completion of the ExoMars 2028 mission.

And the contract includes the development of the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing module, and maintenance activities on vehicles already built for the mission.

The ExoMars mission is set for launch by late 2028, and will explore the Martian surface in search of signs of past life.

And in an announcement out of Space Symposium, the US Chief of Space Operations General Chance Saltzman announced the US Space Force's new strategy.

The USSR plans to better integrate commercial skill, talent, and products into the service.

The official "Commercial Space Strategy" is described as a detailed blueprint for allowing industry to be more immersed in Space Force plans, development, and operations.

Also announced at the Space Symposium, US Space Command and the Spanish Space Command signed an arrangement to assign a Spanish liaison officer to US Space Comm.

The liaison officer will provide Spanish Armed Forces expertise and insights to US Space Comm, facilitate communications among Spanish and US space units, support US-Spain space-related partnership opportunities, and perform tasks that are mutually beneficial for the US Spanish Defense Cooperation.

ExoLaunch has signed a multi-mission agreement for launch and deployment services with Geospatial Intelligence Company, a Hawkeye 360.

This is the first collaboration between the two companies.

The first launch under the agreement took place on April 7th on SpaceX's Bandwagon 1 mission, and we will be speaking to ExoLaunch next week on the show, so stay tuned for that.

And Capella Space has joined the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, also known as SpaceISAC, as a founding member.

Capella Space plans to demonstrate how their sensors can be used to detect space and ground environment anomalies, and subsequently share them with other members of the SpaceISAC.

And that concludes our briefing for today.

Add to the selected reading section of our show notes to find links to further information on all the stories that I've mentioned.

We've also included announcements from Cytus Space and another from RTX and Blue Canyon for you to read.

Hey T-Minus crew, if your business is looking to grow your voice in the industry, expand the reach of your thought leadership, or to recruit talent, T-Minus can help.

If you'd like to hear from you, just send us an email at space@entuk.com, or send us a note through our website so we can connect about building a program to meet your goals. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) - Hi, I'm Maria Varmasus host of the T-Minus Space Daily podcast, and this is AWS in orbit, building a resilient outer net.

So we're bringing you the third installment of the AWS in orbit podcast series today at the 39th Space Symposium.

And in this episode, I'm speaking with representatives from RIVADA and AWS Aerospace and Satellite about using the cloud to help build the world's most secure satellite constellation. (upbeat music) Gentlemen, welcome. - Thank you. - Why don't we start with you, Declan?

Can you give us an introduction please? - Certainly, I'm Declan Ghandli.

I'm the chairman and CEO and founder of RIVADA.

We moved into the space arena just over a couple of years ago.

We are deploying the outer net, RIVADA's outer net, which is a low earth orbit constellation of approximately 600 satellites of 1,050 kilometers altitude.

That it's a laser mesh network that has completely eliminated the need for ground relay stations.

And that's what I'm doing at the moment. - No small thing at all. (laughing) - That's really exciting.

I'm really excited.

Really, this is, yeah, this is amazing. - It is, I can't wait to hear more about this.

Salem, tell us a little bit about yourself too. - Oh, about myself.

Well, my name is Salem Nimri.

I work with AWS within the aerospace and satellite business group.

And I look over all the subject matter experts in space.

Globally, we are there to help our customers accelerate their ability to achieve their missions and meet their mission goals.

And I'm really happy here to be joined with Declan from RIVADA.

They have a lot of unique solutions that they're bringing to the industry as a whole.

And we are really excited.

Thank you, Declan. - Fantastic.

Declan, back to you.

So give us the full pitch on the outer net that RIVADA is building.

I'd love to hear more. - You don't want the full pitch 'cause we'll be here all day. (laughing) But I'll give you a corner of the pitch.

So what RIVADA is doing, RIVADA Space Systems is doing, is we're putting 600 satellites up.

But this is a very unique architecture.

So for reasons that I won't go into now because it's a long story, but we have ended up with the highest priority slots to the KA band globally.

This is licensed by the ITU, the International Telecommunications Union.

So this is a global spectrum allocation of KA band, the three-com-one, three-com-three of filings.

We have another filing called OuterNet-1, which has also been filed.

But we're launching 600 satellites.

We're start our first precursor launcher goes up at the end of December or early January, depending on the weather and a couple of other factors.

The each satellite has got a minimum of four lasers on it, but each satellite is a rouser.

And there's a Goldilocks zone here of the 89 degree polar orbital inclination that we have, the highest priority to the KA band, the fact that we're at 1,050 kilometers rather than 350 kilometers.

So we have a bigger horizon, but we're still low Earth orbit.

And what that combines to do is give you the lowest latency, fastest communications network over 4,000 kilometers on the planet.

So over 4,000 kilometers, nothing will be able to touch us in terms of speed and latency.

And because we don't touch the internet, which is why we call it the OuterNet, because we don't have to touch the internet, this is a system that doesn't use subsea cables, it doesn't use the same networks that even every other Leo satellite constellation has to use.

We avoid all of that.

All of the traffic is managed in space, and we're working with AWS to do that.

So we can take a customer that's got a Ravada terminal from any point on the planet to any other point or multi points on the planet without touching the internet.

That nobody else can do that.

That's unique, and there's a whole lot of new things that can happen with that type of capability. - So tell me a bit about why this is so important, why now, why the OuterNet, why is this needed? - Well, the speed, latency, and security, those things are obviously hugely important.

They have a premium value.

There are sophisticated enterprise and government customers that place a premium on having those things, and they can't get it anywhere else right now, and that's nobody's fault.

It's just that innovation has now taken us to the point where we can do this. - Absolutely. - Why now?

Well, in terms of customers that are coming to us, and we've got over $7 billion of signed MOUs, so we have an order pipeline, if you will, there's a lot of things driving that fact.

Rather than have a virtual private network, people can now have an actual private network.

This is one network where they can, and if you're a government, you can have data sovereignty, you can have data security, you can, there's a lot that you can do with how you manage the traffic on this network, AWS, of course, is part of that.

The fact that there are cable cuts taking place, the reported cable cuts by the Housis in the Red Sea, are the outage of Ghana very recently, and a really increasing threat to the global cable environment.

There's over 500 subsea cables.

It wouldn't take a lot if there was a state actor, a state sponsored actor that wanted to go out and really mess with the global communication system and the internet, it wouldn't take an awful lot of effort to take it down.

The outer net would survive an attack on the internet that took the internet down, the outer net will keep working, and it may be the only thing that does.

So that's why it's important. - Fantastic. - And there are many applications.

I would add, I will drop the word AI. - Oh! - I have to, I have to, I can't resist.

When you look at it-- - Don't allow it, it's all right. - It's basically, yeah, there is all these data lakes.

It's going to be all over the place with data sovereignty that's coming out there.

We will start talking about distributed AI.

And when it comes to all of this, connectivity, latency, being able to deliver the data on time, reliably and securely, which is one of the uniqueness that we see here because they are actually with Rivala.

They're using MPLS networks, which gives you a lot of efficiency in all the deliveries.

That's important.

And as we get into generative AI, this is really key because we want to push everything to the edge.

And by the way, congratulations on the patent awarded for generative AI. - Oh, thank you. - Yeah, that's huge. - Thank you.

So Rivala actually was awarded the patent on generative AI.

So congratulations, Declan. - Thank you, no, we appreciate it.

That's, we're very excited about it.

We filed that patent before generative AI was a thing. - A sparkle in the eye, yes. - Yeah, it's okay. - Yeah, to get awarded, that's really nice. - Yeah, but the patent-- - And at the right time. - Yeah, seriously. - The patent actually awarded, and you know it takes years to get the patent.

So it awarded a couple of weeks ago from the US patent office, and it's using generative AI in to manage a spectrum firewall to allow for masking, authentication, redirection, all sorts of-- - Security. - Phenomenal security features, cyber security features that you can put in now to applying generative AI to, on the other, on the spectrum management environment.

So that's what the patents for, thank you very much. - It's great to hear about a generative AI application for space. - Yes, indeed. - This is amazing. - With security added in too. - With security, yeah. - Yeah, I mean, you have to have the security. - And if you look at quantum AI, and of course it's a big buzz right now, and it's something we've been looking at for a very long time, because the outiness, the quantum AI is great, but one of the things that will limit its greatness is the speed, latency, and capacity of its neurological systems, the communications link that join those quantum computers, that the AI operates on, how are the snappes, how are the neurological links of that network going to exist?

And there you need very high speed, very low latency, a low attack service, and high security.

And this network is made for that type of application.

If you've got something that needs to be very secure, go very, very fast, have ultra low latency, this becomes the neurological snappes, the nervous system of the quantum AI brain, the outinet will become, I think, and Brevarda thinks it's going to become a really central part of this whole quantum AI environment.

So while people are looking kind of at the stuff that all the buzz is out there right now, it's the stuff that makes all of these things link up, that links all of these quantum computers, that really allows AI, what's AI?

It's the aggregation and processing of almost infinite set outs of information to produce instantaneous answers.

You need speed, low latency, and connectivity globally to do that, and that's what the outinet's going to achieve.

>> Yeah, and on the back of that, of course we have AWS with all of our data centers.

We are investing in making new chips that will enable customers to achieve their missions.

We have our Inversia chips, and we have the Trainium chips for training AI and the ML model, so we're really excited.

Connectivity is key, and this is why we look at connectivity and security is really amazing.

>> Fantastic.

Yeah, fantastic.

We're already talking a little bit about how AWS and Cloud comes in here.

I just wanted to ask Declan, is there anything else about how AWS and Cloud works with Ravada to enable your solution?

>> Well, without getting into too many secrets here-- >> No, of course not.

>> For example, one of the areas that we're working on is you have to be able to have a digital twin, digital simulation of everything that the network can do.

So the power of AWS and applying the processing power and everything else that they bring to that is frankly unmatched.

And so for us, from a Ravada perspective, using the AWS, the AWS Cloud, has been extremely useful in building a model that will emulate exactly what the real constellation does in real time.

So if you want to go a particular, you set of, you want to use rousing of a particular type, or you want to concentrate resources in one particular area, the AWS contribution and participation in this provides a very important element of what we're doing there.

>> Yes, and we're providing the infrastructure to run all of this, and the key word here is that it's a digital twin of the constellation.

We're not talking about one satellite.

Ravada is not sending one.

>> It's a constellation, yes, indeed.

>> Over 600 satellites, 638, I guess.

If I want to be more exact.

And that requires a lot of compute power and the finesse and how we do all of this to manage the traffic and to bring a lot of the uniqueness that Ravada is bringing to the table, whether it is routing data from one location in the earth to the next, or trying to do some geofencing or try to go over the polar regions for latencies.

They really can do a lot with their SLAs.

It's really exciting.

>> And that's the thing, with AWS, the multitude of unique applications and unique roles at the moment that Ravada can execute on, AWS helps us leverage those.

And, yeah.

>> We are excited.

I can tell you, aerospace and satellites.

>> I can tell.

>> All the engineers, they're like Ravada, what they're bringing to the table, the uniqueness of their solution, the security, the way their satellites are meshed, the way the orbits are actually going around.

>> It's fascinating.

It's legitimately fascinating.

>> For example, if you have inclined orbits, you don't go over the poles, then there's no way to route over the poles.

But that's-- >> It's a shorter path when you go over the poles.

>> You fly from Japan to London, you don't go around the-- >> No, you go way over, yep.

>> You go over the top, you go over the poles.

Well, that when you have solutions and routing opportunities that can take advantage of that, then when you're not touching the planet anywhere and you're not touching it around Relay Station, that's a huge game changer.

>> It really is.

>> Nobody else can do that.

>> It's quite amazing.

I want to shift topic a little bit about how Ravada's OuterNet is going to be serving government intelligence customers, maybe differently versus the enterprise customers.

Can you talk a little bit about that, Declan?

>> Government customers have their own unique requirements.

I mean, for example, things like our-- >> Geofencing, you just touched on that.

>> Yeah, yeah, yeah.

>> The generative AI enabled spectrum management, which we have a patent for, as we talked about earlier, a new patent for, that governments have, and no two governments are identical in terms of what their needs are.

And one of the beauties of what we can do is we can do a bespoke offering.

We can give data sovereignty, data security, data residency, and global connectivity to a government.

That doesn't have to touch the internet anywhere.

So if they want to link up all their embassies, if they want to link up all their ships, whatever it might be, without touching anything else, they can do that by connecting to the OuterNet and having complete control and full knowledge of where their data is and resides all the time.

And they can keep control of it.

That data sovereignty piece that the OuterNet further enables is hugely important for governments in a way that it wouldn't be important for a summit, for even big enterprises.

There's an additional requirement there from government customers that we're seeing.

>> Yeah, and we see the same thing on the AWS side.

Data sovereignty and residency is important.

That's why AWS is actually opening more data centers and regions, and we are really happy with the latest announcements in all over the world.

So we are there to help our customers.

We are here with the RIVADA who will enable that by going through the OuterNet.

It's exciting.

>> And to your point about data centers, and this applies to governments as well, to your government question.

Governments that have data centers, they're doing all that.

Those data centers are also highly vulnerable to a collapse of the internet to the cutting of subsea cables.

When you've got a RIVADA terminal on top of that data center, that the ability to connect to the OuterNet bypasses all of those subsea cables, that's very valuable to government customers.

>> I could absolutely see that, yeah, absolutely.

Salem, I wanted to ask you a bit, if you could talk a little bit more about this partnership between RIVADA and AWS, and how AWS is coming in with, to help RIVADA unlock capabilities here and do things more efficiently.

Could you talk a little bit about that?

>> Yes, I mean, if you look at the RIVADA customer base, they're trying to serve as enterprise, different enterprises with different requirements and needs.

When you're trying to serve governments with different requirements and needs, all of this needs to be taken into account when you're trying to manage that whole constellation and draw the data and meet the strict SLAs that are going to be applied and the latencies.

It's, we are really simplifying a lot of things here as we are talking on this podcast, but I will bring it to this environment that we are in here.

We're in this building, there is a room with routers, there are all these cables to hot spots.

You really know how it's going to be at any point in time.

What Declan touched on, the router for RIVADA is actually the satellite, and it's flying at high speeds, 7.8 kilometers per second.

Technically speaking, in five seconds, it's looking over a whole different area.

That capacity management, their network is actually, you can think about it as this fits like a lung, you're just breathing in and out and the capacity of all of this.

Satellite's flying, Earth is rotating, we are driving all over the place.

>> A fun technical problem.

>> It's a fun complexity, and this is why we are excited about it.

So we're doing a lot of these things, we're working closely with RIVADA to basically understand the needs and try to make sure that all of these are met.

And I'll tell you, working with their engineers is a breeze.

We loved it, we loved it.

They have smart engineers, some of the smartest.

>> We've got a great engineering team, AWS have a great engineering team, and our engineers have developed a really good working relationship and a lot of respect for each other, I think, it's a good thing to say.

>> It's just really lovely, we like it.

>> Yeah, that's wonderful.

Gentlemen, I know we're coming up on time, I just want to give you both an opportunity to wrap up, leave us with any last thoughts, maybe visions for the future long-term plans.

Deccan, I'll start with you.

>> It's hard to exaggerate the transformational effect that the OuterNet's going to have.

You had the advent of the internet, the OuterNet is something very different, it's separate, and it's going to, not only is it going to enable new applications and uses, it will even end up enabling new industries.

What this can do for governments, what this can do for big enterprise customers is going to be transformational.

It's going to extend communications capability to every corner of the globe, and we think that we're going to see really economic impact everywhere that it comes into use.

>> We love it, I love it, and this is that uniqueness that they bring to the table, is what we are trying to back up and basically enable with the AWS infrastructure here that we have on the ground, you guys in this space, and we're here with AWS on the ground trying to provide all these resources for all our customers, which are mutual customers between both of us to basically reach out and do a lot more great things.

So we're rooting for everybody.

>> Thank you so much, Declan, Salem, so much.

Thank you, thank you so much for this great chat today.

>> Thank you.

>> Really appreciate your time.

>> Thank you, appreciate it, loved it, thank you. (upbeat music) , (upbeat music) - And that's it for T-minus for April 11th, 2024, signing off from Space Symposium number 39, back to our regular daily show tomorrow.

For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.ntuk.com.

We're privileged that NTK 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 produced by Alice Carruth, mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.

Our associate producer is Liz Stokes, our executive producer is Jen Iben.

Our VP is Brandon Karpf, and I'm Maria Varmazes.

Thanks for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow. (upbeat music) - T-minus. (upbeat music) (thunder rumbling) [BLANK_AUDIO]

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