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Two satellite manufacturers vie for Telesat LEO contract

The proposed constellation of 117 satellites will use a proprietary LEO architecture developed by Telesat for global communications using its Ka-band global spectrum rights. The company says its LEO constellation will help to accelerate 5G expansion and deliver “fiber-like” high speed Internet services to… This content is available to subscribers only. Sign in to your […]

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

Engineers continue to push the boundaries of additive manufacturing applications. “Additive manufacturing has been extremely powerful for us as a company,” said Nicholas Mule, program manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne, speaking at a recent industry conference. “In terms of what value it delivers to us, there are huge benefits for our space, where very high, complex […]

Proposed spaceport gives Italy’s commercial space sector a boost

Sitael, Italy’s largest private space company, announced an agreement with Virgin Orbit for “extensive collaboration” on future launches and “investment into future launch system evolution.” “The demand for small satellites grows higher every day and the ability to launch on flexible terms and schedule is vital,” said Sitael’s CEO… This content is available to subscribers […]

LEO broadband gains telecom backers amid fears of disruption

The investments indicate an important shift in how incumbent satellite telecom operators are viewing the new crop of LEO broadband start-ups. LEO broadband services, with high capacity and low latencies that could rival wired connections, are poised to disrupt the GEO satellite-based Internet market. While some satellite operators have scoffed at… This content is available […]

The world’s first privately-funded lunar lander to launch by end of 2018

SpaceIL is an Israeli-based nonprofit start-up and alum of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The company has raised $88 million from private donations to complete the development of the lunar lander. If successful, the start-up will become the first participant in the Google Lunar XPRIZE to reach the Moon. It will also be the world’s first […]

Competing visions emerge as mission extension services come to fruition

Mission extension services could become an important tool for satellite operators to leverage in managing their fleets. In the short term, the technology could allow operators to defer CAPEX spending by squeezing out more life from healthy satellites that have run out of fuel. In the long term, operators see a future in which mission […]

DLR explores human-machine relations using AI on the ISS

Researchers hope to use CIMON as something of an emotionally-intelligent robotic companion for astronauts on long-duration trips into deep space. “Social interaction between humans and machines, between astronauts and emotionally intelligent flight attendants, could play an important role… This content is available to subscribers only. Sign in to your account. Not a subscriber? Sign up […]

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. Phase Four CEO and founder Simon Halpern, who has worked at Ball Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, and Spire Global during his career, said the […]

Big rocket builders are skeptical small launchers will find customers

Skeptics argue there’s financial logic to small sats tagging along on bigger vehicles: small sat operators can reach significant cost savings when they can share the costs of the launch among one another, as they currently do on bigger vehicles. Speaking at the recent Space Tech Expo, SpaceX’s senior director of government and business… This […]

Operators see software-defined satellite future approaching

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 […]