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Monday, February 22, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Feb 15 – Feb 22 2016)

18,300 apply for NASA astronaut corps

More people than ever are hoping they have “The Right Stuff,” and more people than ever will be disappointed that they do not.
By the deadline on Thursday, more than 18,300 people had submitted their résumés in hopes of joining the next group of NASA astronauts. That includes 4,000 procrastinators who applied in the final 48 hours.
“It was certainly beyond our expectations,” said Anne Roemer, the NASA official in charge of the selection process. [New York Times]

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Iridium to Develop Next-Generation Government Handset With General Dynamics

MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today a contract award from global aerospace and defense company General Dynamics, to provide its newest satellite handset, the Iridium Extreme® 9575, redesigned exclusively for government use.  This new version is lighter, tougher, and more feature rich as well as less expensive, extending Iridium's position as a market leader in providing secure reliable, global communications for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
As a major provider of Iridium® satellite solutions and products, General Dynamics delivers global satellite communications services to the U.S. and foreign governments.  Their distribution network, combined with the Iridium satellite network, brings a strong partnership to the industry enabling life-saving communications products, and delivering vital information to the U.S. Government and the DoD.
"We are excited to work with General Dynamics in bringing a new secure mobile satellite handset to market," said Scott Scheimreif, executive vice president of government solutions at Iridium. "This upgraded version of the Iridium Extreme will continue to allow the U.S. soldier, airman and marine the ability to communicate securely through a device with a smaller, lighter form-factor - wherever their mission may take them, anywhere on the planet.”

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Virgin Galactic unveils second SpaceShipTwo

MOJAVE, Calif. — Virgin Galactic rolled out its second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane Feb. 19 as the company seeks to rebound from a fatal test flight accident more than a year ago.
In a ceremony at Virgin Galactic’s Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar here attended by a mix of dignitaries, celebrities and some of its several hundred customers, the company showed off a vehicle that the company billed as a symbol as its determination to recover from the October 2014 loss of the first SpaceShipOne during a test flight.
“One of reasons that we’re so proud of the spaceship we will shortly present to you is that it is the product not just of skill and determination, but of a willingness to learn and a commitment to continually improve,” George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic chief executive, said at the event.

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Inmarsat and Actility Partner to Deliver Single, Global Platform for Internet of Things (IoT)
Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, today announces its partnership with Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), and a founding member of the LoRa Alliance, to enable an end-to-end IoT solution to connect assets over public and private networks, anywhere in the world.
This partnership combines Inmarsat’s global connectivity with Actility’s ThingPark™ IoT management platform to deliver an integrated solution for IoT, linking connectivity, services and IoT devices from a single application and service management point, to connect objects deployed anywhere on the planet, even in the most remote and hostile locations.
“Inmarsat already has a long and successful history in providing remote connectivity,” said Greg Ewert, President, Inmarsat Enterprise. “This partnership enables additional flexibility for IoT networks – meaning systems integrators and customers using Inmarsat’s connectivity and Actility’s solution – to connect all of their assets on one platform, without having to spend the time and resource dealing with multiple connectivity providers, or the cost and complexity of multiple roaming agreements.

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NASA, Made in Space think big with Archinaut, a robotic 3D printing demo bound for ISS

MOFFETT FIELD, California  — Within five years, companies could begin in-orbit manufacturing and assembly of communications satellite reflectors or other large structures, according to Made in Space, the Silicon Valley startup that sent the first 3D printer to the International Space Station in 2014.
As Made in Space prepares to send a second 3D printer into orbit, the company is beginning work with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems on Archinaut, an ambitious effort to build a 3D printer equipped with a robotic arm that the team plans to install in an external space station pod, under a two-year, $20 million NASA contract. The project will culminate in 2018 with an on-orbit demonstration of Archinaut’s ability to additively manufacture and assemble a large, complex structure, said Andrew Rush, Made in Space president.

A Made in Space artist's concepts of so-called Archinauts 3D-printing satellite reflectors in space.
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Commercial Crew Partner Boeing Tests Starliner Spacecraft

Engineers from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Boeing dropped a full-scale test article of the company’s CST-100 Starliner into Langley’s 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin. Although the spacecraft is designed to land on land, Boeing is testing the Starliner’s systems in water to ensure astronaut safety in the unlikely event of an emergency during launch or ascent.
Testing allows engineers to understand the performance of the spacecraft when it hits the water, how it will right itself and how to handle rescue and recovery operations. The test is part of the qualification phase of testing and evaluation for the Starliner system to ensure it is ready to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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Globalstar Seals Aero Connectivity Partnership with Avidyne

Globalstar has entered a strategic partnership with integrated avionics and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems producer Avidyne Corporation to develop and certify satellite-based Internet and voice communications products for the aviation market. These new solutions, for which Avidyne is the exclusive seller, will leverage Globalstar’s second-generation satellite network.
Globalstar and Avidyne will create products for light to medium business and general aviation aircraft to have low cost Internet access. Backup communication systems for larger business aircraft that are also equipped with a high bandwidth satcom or Air-to-Ground (ATG) communications system will also be available.

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