Flexible, re-configurable satellites have been seen as an elusive holy grail in the industry for years now, but the technology seems to be gaining traction finally among satellite manufacturers and operators for commercial use cases. “If you look at the world today, what’s making the world go round is software,” said Jean-Luc Froeliger, Intelsat VP of satellite operations and engineering, speaking at the recent Space Tech Expo. “In the future,
After a successful test flight last week, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy has reinvigorated the public’s interest spaceflight development. But what does the rocket’s development mean for commercial space? With its lower price points -- the Falcon Heavy flies for $90 million, while its competitors fly about three times that -- SpaceX has once again injected a burst of competition into an industry that has, for too long, lacked motives for innovation.
The US will be able to maintain its lead in the latest space race, but only if NASA re-focuses on supporting the private sector, according to a new report, entitled “American Space Enterprise and Security,” released from the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies (PIPS). Potomac Institute joins a growing number of research and financial firms that have begun incorporating space industries into their offerings. The report is the first to
NASA will begin a pilot program this spring to determine whether the agency wants to purchase Earth observation data from the leagues of private small satellites that are orbiting the planet. Twin trends of decreased costs to access space and advancements made in satellite technology has spurred considerable growth in the private smallsat sector. Meanwhile, funding for NASA's own Earth observation operations is increasingly under threat by the Trump administration,
After five years of development, Jeff Bezos announced in Twitter this week Blue Origin has successfully completed a hot fire test of its fully reusable BE-4 engine. The hot fire test marks an important milestone for both Blue Origin and the next step in human exploration of space. https://twitter.com/JeffBezos/status/921114359119560704 Blue Origin's orbital rocket, the New Glenn, will use seven BE-4 engines in its first stage, and a single BE-4 in
Oklahoma Republican representative Jim Bridenstine has been nominated to lead NASA, and the commercial space sector is lining up in support, as more information becomes available about what Bridenstine’s leadership of the agency might look like. Bridenstine has been a vocal advocate for expanding private enterprise’s role in NASA’s space activities, and the pick seems to line up with the Trump administration’s interest in helping advance a commercial space sector.
Bigelow Aerospace and ULA have announced plans to put Bigelow’s B330 expandable habitat module into low lunar orbit by the end of 2022. Bigelow said the habitat will serve as a lunar depot and support infrastructure for other deep space missions. The commercial habitat will launch on ULA’s latest Vulcan rocket. The announcement expands an earlier partnership to launch one of Bigelow's B330 habitats into low Earth orbit aboard ULA's
The European Space Agency is calling for proposals for sending humans to the Moon, as well as for technology that will sustain crews while there. The agency is looking for proposals to leverage in-situ resources utilization technologies to help create a sustainable off-Earth colony, like the “Moon Village” concept ESA’s director general Johann-Dietrich Woerner has proposed. “We are looking to invest in the development and pay for the use of
Blue Origin has acquired its third customer for its reusable New Glenn orbital rocket. Mu Space Corp, a satellite communications provider based in Bangkok, Thailand, announced this week it has entered into an agreement with Blue Origin to use its New Glenn orbital rocket to launch a geostationary satellite. Under the agreement, the launch will take place in 2021. Start-up Mu Space announced plans to offer telecommunication services in Thailand
Space mining transactions could appear within the next decade, according to experts at the third annual Off Earth Mining Forum, held in Sydney, Australia, this week. Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Center for Space Engineering Research, made the bold prediction this week to Xinhua media at the forum. The near-term opportunity for space mining will center on extracting water from sources like the Moon or Mars in order to