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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit - CBS News Mar 2018
"the fifth batch in a $3 billion 81-satellite constellation"

"66 of the 1,896-pound [860 kg] satellites operating in six orbital planes are required to complete the Iridium NEXT network. The company plans to eventually launch 15 in-orbit spares, using SpaceX to put 75 of the 81 planned satellites into orbit at a cost of more than $500 million"

"SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaked away from California early Friday, boosting the fifth set of 10 Iridium NEXT relay stations into orbit,"

"The new spacecraft feature a phased-array antenna that can generate 48 beams over a footprint 3,000 miles across"

"Iridium NEXT satellites, designed by the European aerospace giant Thales Alenia Space and built by Orbital ATK in Arizona, feature a different design that will not routinely result in flares"
CBSNews  Iridium  ThalesAlenia  OrbitalATK  launch  SpaceX  antennas  satellite  space 
may 2018 by pierredv
Air Force stakes future on privately funded launch vehicles. Will the gamble pay off? - Mar 2018
"The schedule is getting tight for the U.S. Air Force as a 2022 deadline looms to bid farewell to the Atlas 5 and switch to a different rocket that is not powered by a Russian engine."

"... to find alternatives to the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 that uses the Russian RD-180 engine"

"The Air Force signed cost-sharing partnerships with ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne. ... The next step is to select three companies this summer to move forward with enginet [sic] prototypes."

"The selected competitors will face a schedule that seems ambitious even by the standards of commercial space companies."

"A contrarian view comes from the defense industry establishment. Loren Thompson, of the Lexington Institute — a think tank that receives funding from ULA owners Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Aerojet and other defense firms — has called on the Air Force to keep the Atlas 5 and swap the RD-180 engine for Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR-1 rather than develop a new launch vehicle."
space  launch  USAF  ULA  SpaceX  OrbitalATK  AerojetRocketdyne 
march 2018 by pierredv
Why the Market is Ready for On-Orbit Satellite Servicing - Via Satellite - Feb 2018
"Although the technology driving in-orbit satellite servicing has existed for decades, only now has the market evolved to a point where it is economically feasible as a business. According to a panel of experts at a Washington Space Business Roundtable (WSBR) discussion on Feb. 12, the convergence of lower launch costs and shifting priorities for Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite operators has made the idea of in-orbit servicing more commercially viable than in past years."

"Tim Deaver, vice president of development for SES Government Solutions, pointed to the dropping cost of satellite capacity as a critical element of the shift. As the industry experiences a downturn in the price of bandwidth (and thus, the revenue any one satellite generates), operators are brainstorming new ways to make the most out of their aging assets, he said."

"The proposition seems to be most valuable and attractive to operators of GEO satellites. Such spacecraft are among the most expensive to manufacture and launch, but the majority are also able to operate well beyond their 15-year design lives. The only reason they are usually decommissioned, said Anderson, is because they run out of fuel. If refueling is an option — and if it’s both safe and reasonably priced — then it’s financially sound to squeeze a bit more revenue out of the asset."

"Currently, Orbital ATK’s refueling spacecraft is compatible with about 80 percent of satellites operating in GEO, Anderson said. "
ViaSatellite  satellite  space  satellite-servicing  in-orbit-servicing  SES  OrbitalATK 
february 2018 by pierredv
5 Business Deals That Shook Up Satellite in 2017 - Via Satellite -Dec 2017
"MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) finalized its acquisition of Earth Observation (EO) company DigitalGlobe in October, and subsequently changed its name to Maxar Technologies. According to Maxar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Howard Lance, the newly combined company — comprised of SSL, MDA, DigitalGlobe and Radiant — will pursue a broader range of space capabilities, including EO services, ground stations and advanced data analytics."

"Planet made great strides to expand its EO business this year, kicking off 2017 with the acquisition of Google‘s Terra Bella business and SkySat constellation."

"Northrop Grumman, which is helping to develop NASA’s James Webb Telescope, agreed in September to purchase Orbital ATK for a staggering $9.2 billion. "
ViaSatellite  space  satellite  investing  Maxar  Planet  OrbitalATK  NorthropGrumman 
january 2018 by pierredv
Orbital ATK lands second Intelsat satellite servicing deal - Jan 2018
"Orbital ATK almost two years ago struck a groundbreaking deal with Intelsat to add years of service life to an aging communications satellite. The companies on Thursday announced they are solidifying their partnership with a second contract to service another satellite."

"The first MEV should be up and running in 2019, extending the life of the Intelsat-901 satellite for five years. The MEV-2 is expected to be in service by mid-2020 on a five-year mission."

"Once the 4,500-pound vehicle reaches orbit, it will dock with the similarly-sized Intelsat-901 in a “graveyard” orbit about 300 miles above the geostationary arc to conduct tests and make sure everything works before the satellite is put back to work in a yet-to-be stated orbital slot."

"Orbital ATK’s main competitor in this sector, Maxar Technologies’ SSL division, is also developing space robotic servicing vehicles for NASA and for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. ... Maxar has a contract with fleet operator SES to provide on-orbit life extension of a satellite using RSGS. ... In contrast to the SSL vehicles, Orbital ATK’s MEVs lock with satellites and take over propulsive movements, rather than refuel the original spacecraft."
OrbitalATK  Intelsat  satellite  MEV  Maxar  NASA  SES  SpaceNews  satellite-servicing  in-orbit-servicing 
january 2018 by pierredv
Orbital ATK Is Under White House Pressure for Foreign Purchase of Propellant - WSJ
Per Jeff Foust email: "Orbital ATK is enmeshed in a dispute with government officials about foreign purchases of solid propellant. The company purchased several thousand tons of ammonium perchlorate from a French company at a lower price than the sole U.S. provider, American Pacific, to see if it is suitable for use in missiles and launch vehicles. That move has been criticized by some White House officials, who believe it damages the overall defense industrial base. American Pacific argues it needs multiyear purchase guarantees to operate efficiently, and has the support of Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council. Orbital ATK, meanwhile, is studying developing its own ammonium perchlorate plant for long-term savings. [Wall Street Journal]"
WSJ  space  OrbitalATK  commerce  defense 
january 2018 by pierredv
Elon Musk, SpaceX, and NASA: Who Gets to Own Outer Space? - The Ringer
Via Jeff Foust

"Right now, private companies and NASA have a nice, functional, symbiotic capitalist relationship. SpaceX and its competitors build and will soon operate the vehicles, while NASA pays for the service. But with Elon Musk’s eyes tilted toward Mars, that won’t last for long."

“For the rest of the world, they look at the United States and go, ‘Holy crap, look at the U.S. industrial base, which had multiple private space companies pop up out of nowhere,’” Dreier said. “That is a sign of a very healthy aerospace industry and workforce.”
quotations  space  US  commerce  innovation  SpaceX  NASA  Boeing  OrbitalATK  NewSpace 
january 2018 by pierredv
FCC begins approval of Orbital ATK satellite-servicing mission for Intelsat-901 - Dec 2017
Per Jeff Foust summary: "The FCC last week gave approval for Orbital ATK's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) to perform "rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking" with the Intelsat-901 satellite in geostationary orbit. The company still needs approvals from the FCC to relocate Intelsat-901 and then undock from it. The FCC's approvals involved the use of frequencies for telemetry, tracking and command of the MEV"

From the piece:

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 5 okayed the first part of a satellite-servicing mission Orbital ATK’s Space Logistic subsidiary has with Intelsat, saying the servicing vehicle can execute “rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking with the Intelsat-901” satellite while in a graveyard orbit."

"In a public notice issued Dec. 8, the FCC authorized Space Logistics to use four different frequency bands for telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) of MEV-1 as the servicer completes post-launch maneuvers, reaches the graveyard orbit for decommissioned geostationary satellites some 300 kilometers above the geosynchronous arc, and attaches to Intelsat-901."

"Satellite servicing is a relatively new area for regulators, consequently requiring a lot of trailblazing by Orbital ATK. Anderson said the company has been in a dialogue with the FCC, the U.S. State Department and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for several years, and those discussions concluded that the FCC would be the licensing body for launch, deployment, docking and TT&C."

"The NOAA license is required because the MEV has cameras for docking that could also image the Earth, thus necessitating a remote-sensing license."
OrbitalATK  satellite  FCC  SpaceNews  FAA  TT&C  licenses  space  Intelsat 
december 2017 by pierredv
Cygnus to Deploy Record Number of CubeSats - Via Satellite -Via Satellite Dec 2017
"Orbital ATK announced that its Cygnus spacecraft, following a successful stay as a part of the International Space Station (ISS), is now set to deploy a record number of CubeSats in orbit before reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The mission, dubbed OA-8, marks the fourth time that Cygnus has been used for NanoRacks CubeSat deployments during its secondary payload mission phase."

" Eight of the CubeSats will join Spire Global’s commercial weather satellite constellation for global ship tracking. The NanoRacks manifest also includes CubeSats from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Additionally, AeroCube B/C consists of two water-based propulsion satellites assembled by the Aerospace Corp. for NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD), marking the first propulsive satellites to deploy from the Cygnus spacecraft."
ViaSatellite  OrbitalATK  cubesats 
december 2017 by pierredv

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