Capella Space

Capella Space targets commercial markets with origami-like SAR satellite

Capella Space is the first US-based company to build synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites for commercial markets. The company has designed an innovative SAR small sat that it says is less than half the size of traditional SAR satellites. Capella Space plans to deploy a 36-satellite constellation that will be able to deliver imagery from anywhere on the planet every hour. The company recently closed a $19 million Series B

New ‘compound’ synthetic tracking tech boosts prospects of asteroid mining

A new take on digital synthetic tracking could help space mining companies more quickly identify asteroids for mining. Asteroid mining firm TransAstra has been developing a suite of technologies that it says will enable future in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) missions. The company has received an award from NASA’s’ Tipping Point program and NIAC funding to develop some of the prospecting tech. “We’re developing new remote prospecting technologies based on something
on-orbit satellite servicing

A glimpse of the future of robotics-driven on-orbit services

A series of technological developments over the past few years is bringing the decade-long dream of refueling, salvaging and repairing satellites in orbit to fruition. A February 2018 report from Northern Sky Research predicts on-orbit satellite servicing will become a $3 billion market in the next decade – but no satellite operators have yet used such services for life extension or salvage operations. 2018 has proved to be a pivotal year

Boeing-backed Digital Alloys develops zero-waste metal 3D printing tech

Metal 3D printing startup Digital Alloys is just months away from shipping its first parts to customers. The company, which was founded in 2017, has developed a high-speed, multi-metal additive manufacturing system that produces metal 3D printed parts for aerospace and other industries. The company has already garnered a dozen customer orders for parts printed using its proprietary technology, and last month, it closed a $12.9 million Series B investment

Aerospace Corp laser delivers 50x increase in data rates to cubesats

Aerospace Corporation announced a successful test of the first space-to-ground laser communications system for cubesats. The test was the second half of the two-part Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission. Two 1.5U cubesats in low Earth orbit (LEO) carrying the laser communication system successfully transmitted data at 100 Mbps, which is about 50 times faster than radio-based communication systems used for smaller spacecraft. [caption id="attachment_1747" align="alignleft" width="335"] One of

Additive manufacturing can produce satellites ‘twice as fast and at half the cost’

Lockheed Martin wants to cut its satellite costs and schedules by 50% using additive manufacturing. The company has been experimenting with 3D printing components for its satellite business to achieve that goal, and has met with some success. It recently revealed an important milestone: the company successfully printed a 1.6 meter satellite fuel tank dome, the largest structure to date that the company has built using additive manufacturing. “Our largest

DLR explores human-machine relations using AI on the ISS

The “floating brain” has arrived on the ISS. This new experiment is a mobile and autonomous assistance system using IBM’s Watson AI technology, and the first AI-powered robot crew member aboard the ISS. CIMON – which stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion – is a 3D-printed flying robot about the size of a medicine ball and weighing 5 kg. The hardware was developed by Airbus in partnership with German space

Phase Four simplifies electric propulsion for mass manufacturing

In-space propulsion systems are getting a reboot. Spacecraft propulsion company Phase Four has built an electric radio frequency (RF) propulsion thruster that is easy to mass manufacture and doesn’t erode over time. The company recently announced a deal with small sat manufacturer Astro Digital, which will be using Phase Four thrusters on its Landmapper and Corvus satellites. Astro Digital will also act as a reseller for Phase Four propulsion on some

Stofiel Aerospace aims to unleash mobile, on-demand access to space

Stofiel Aerospace is a little company hoping to bring big innovations to the small launch market. The company, which was founded in 2015 by Air Force veteran and aerospace engineer Brian Stofiel, is building a small launch “rockoon” system, called the Boreas Launch System, which the company says will offer flexible, low-cost, and on-demand access to space. The system is still in the early phases of development, but the company

Astrobotic’s lunar delivery service set to launch in 2020

Lunar logistics startup Astrobotic is hoping to become the world’s first lunar delivery service. The company, spun out of a project at Carnegie Mellon University, was launched about a decade ago in order to participate in the Google Lunar XPrize. “Our goal is to make the moon accessible to the world,” John Thornton, Astrobotic’s CEO, told The Downlink. “We are building a DHL delivery service to take payloads from all