How can satellite connectivity provide a pathway to sustainability?

Many people might ask what a private satellite company like Inmarsat is doing working within the international development arena? satellite communications, in my view, has a very important future within the social impact space – one where we can take our leading-edge services and capabilities and use them for some of the most pressing humanitarian […]

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CubeSat-based Science Missions for Geospace and Atmospheric Research

Funding Opportunity ID: 301800
Opportunity Number: 18-553
Opportunity Title: CubeSat-based Science Missions for Geospace and Atmospheric Research
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Science and Technology and other Research and Development
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 47.050
Eligible Applicants: Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity above), subject to any clarification in text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility”
Additional Information on Eligibility:
Agency Code: NSF
Agency Name: National Science Foundation
Posted Date: Mar 17, 2018
Close Date: Jun 13, 2018
Last Updated Date: Mar 17, 2018
Award Ceiling: $1,200,000
Award Floor: $400,000
Estimated Total Program Funding: $800,000
Expected Number of Awards: 2
Description: Lack of essential observations from space is currently a major limiting factor in many areas of geospace andatmospheric research. Recent advances in sensor and spacecraft technolo­gies make it feasible to obtain key measurements from low-cost, small satellite missions. A particularly promising aspect of this development is the prospect for obtaining multi-point observations in space that are critical for addressing many outstanding problems in space and atmosphericsciences. Space-based measurements from small satellites also have great potential to advance discovery and understanding in geospace and atmospheric sciences in many other ways. To take full advantage of these developments, NSF is soliciting research proposals centered on small satellite missions. The overarching goal of the program is to support the development, construction, launch, operation, and data analysis of small satellite science missions to advancegeospace and atmospheric research. Equally important, it will provide essential opportunities to train the next generation of experimental space scientists and aerospace engineers. To facilitate launch of the satellites as secondary payloads on existing missions, the focus of the program is on CubeSat-based satellites. Launch of the satellites will mainly be through the standardized CubeSat deployment system, the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD). Launch of the P-PODS will be as auxiliary payloads on DOD, NASA, or commercial launches. This will be arranged after selection and is not part of this solicitation. This solicitation covers proposals for science missions to include satellite development, construction, testing and operation as well as data distribution and scientific analysis.
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Intelsat Announces Early Tender Results for Certain Notes of Intelsat (Luxembourg) S.A.

Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized
Network and leader in integrated satellite solutions, today announced
the early tender results for the previously announced tender offer (the
“Offer”) by its indirect subsidiary, Intelsat Connect Finance S.A.
(“ICF”), to purchase for cash any and all of the outstanding 6 3⁄4%
Senior Notes due 2018 (CUSIP No. 458204 AN4; ISIN No. US458204AN49)
issued by Intelsat (Luxembourg) S.A., a subsidiary of Intelsat S.A. and
ICF’s direct parent company, that are not already held by ICF (the

As of the previou…

A Clear Path Forward for Military Organizations to Leverage HTS


EpicNG satellite

In the past year, Intelsat has proven the capabilities of its new constellation of Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites (HTS) and recently put into service its fifth spacecraft. Tests and customer experience have demonstrated a path forward for military organizations to leverage EpicNG and realize the benefits of HTS. Intelsat continues further down that path this year with the availability of managed services.

“We spent 2017 doing a lot of showing, demonstrating, proving what the Intelsat Epic satellite can do in two key areas. One is essentially high-throughput data links to very small terminals for different applications, from vehicle-mounted to airborne, and for a range of different users,” Skot Butler, President of Intelsat General, said in an interview with Aviation Week & Space Technology (subscription required).  Intelsat also demonstrated how EpicNG can enable users to communicate not just with the hub side, but also user-to-user across a battlefield.

The latest Intelsat EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 37e, pushes the boundaries of space innovation with full interconnectivity – any beam to any beam – in C-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band. Intelsat 37e is designed to deliver additional services and improved throughput in all major applications: cellular backhaul, enterprise networks, rural broadband, maritime, aeronautical, direct-to-home television and digital terrestrial television.

Like the other Intelsat EpicNG satellites, Intelsat 37e features beam switching and anti-interference capabilities, as demonstrated last year with a Block 5 Predator B/MQ-9 on the Intelsat 29e satellite. The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flew 1,075 nautical miles round trip in a test where command-and control of the UAS as well as sensor data transmissions from the aircraft were successfully switched multiple times between two beams.

Despite last year’s demonstrations and validations, Intelsat General recognizes the need to further educate government customers on what it means to utilize a high-throughput spot-beam architecture versus a wide-beam architecture.

“The military has a long history of wanting to cover very large geographic areas with a single requirement so that they can use that capability as their needs change. Sometimes they’ve even kept that capability in their back pocket for something that might emerge,” Butler said in the Aviation Week interview.

The high throughput spot beam architecture is different. Each of the beams covers a smaller area, so to cover a large geographic area the platform may have to traverse across more than one beam.  A managed service allows you to move across those beams without having to buy capacity within each beam.  With a managed service, you move from one place to the next, and the capacity moves with you.

Going forward, it behooves military customers to also understand the role of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) constellations such as that planned by OneWeb. LEO isn’t a replacement for GEO, but rather is better suited for certain applications. For example, LEO is a good fit for low-latency requirements and coverage over the polar regions where GEO can’t get to today. The research firm NSR projects that by 2026, one quarter of the HTS needed by government customers could be supplied by non-GEO systems.

Commercial satellite providers like Intelsat General have cleared the way to enable military customers to take advantage of HTS, even going so far as to make procurement easier and more cost efficient through managed services. Now it’s up to the military to do its part in realizing these benefits.

For more information on how HTS supports government applications, click here for our white paper.

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Earth Day Workshop: Investigating Our Earth From Above and Below

Earth Day Workshop: Investigating Our Earth From Above and Below
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: April 14, 2018, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. PDT
Join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for an educator workshop to explore activities to celebrate Earth Day in the classroom. Participants will investigate the water cycle in Southern California and demonstrate curriculum resources that get students exploring rainfall patterns, aquifers and satellite data. Learn how engineering feats have allowed scientists to measure water from space. The workshop will take place at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District in Montclair, California. Pre-registration is required.

Technology Drives Exploration: BEST Satellite and Engineering Design

Technology Drives Exploration: BEST satellite and Engineering Design
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: March 20, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Participants will learn about the International Space Station as a manmade satellite and explore the BEST (Beginning Engineering Science & Technology) activities that focus on using the engineering design process in the classroom. Online registration is required.

Thales Alenia Space announces shipment from its UK facility of the first instrument for the European Space Agency’s EarthCARE satellite mission

Thales Group - BBR_800_600
Bristol, March 15, 2018. Thales Alenia Space shipped today the broadband radiometer (BBR), a scientific instrument for the European Space Agency’s Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) satellite mission. Designed and built by Thales Alenia Space in the United Kingdom, it was shipped to satellite prime contractor Airbus integration center in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The EarthCARE mission, developed in co-operation with JAXA in Japan, will improve our understanding of the relationship between clouds, aerosols and radiation and their combined effects on the Earth’s climate system. This high-priority mission will enhance our understanding of the science behind climatology and weather prediction.

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Funding Setback Causes Planetary Resources to Re-Evaluate Their Plans

Planetary Resources has been developing technology they hope to use for asteroid prospecting. In January of this year, the company successfully launched an Arkyd-6 CubeSat aboard an Indian Polar satellite Launch vehicle. This CubeSat contained six units and was developed to prospect and extract resources from asteroids. In addition to its infrared instrument, the CubeSat also has a distributed computing system, star tracker solar arrays, and an attitude control system.

In-orbit tests have so far been quite successful. Company representatives have told reporters that all of their requirements were met by the tests, making researchers very excited about seeing the mission ąćmove forward. The company also constructed a second spacecraft, to hold in reserve in case the first became lost or damaged in the launch. Since the first craft passed

Read more => Funding Setback Causes Planetary Resources to Re-Evaluate Their Plans

Astro Digital Receives Insurance Payout for Lost CubeSats

In July of 2017, Astro Digital lost two Landmapper CubeSats. The CubeSats were launched on a Soyuz rocket, as part of a 72-satellite payload. While most were launched without any issues, at least nine of the CubeSats in the upper stage of the Fregat failed to respond to commands.

The Astro Digital satellites were not the only ones that failed. Students at the Moscow State University also set up a Mayak CubeSat, which became unresponsive in the same way. They investigated possible causes and ran simulations replicating launch conditions. After extensive research, the students determined that the failure was due to low-thrust engine decompression, which resulted in conditions inhibiting CubeSat function.

Losing CubeSats in this manner can set a company back millions, if not billions, of dollars. Real-space tests provide

Read more => Astro Digital Receives Insurance Payout for Lost CubeSats