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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Jan 25 – Feb 1 2016)

Eleven new development opportunities to be revealed at Inmarsat’s 2016 Conference

Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, is inviting application, hardware and software developers to join its growing community of technology companies at the second annual Inmarsat Developer Conference (IDC 16), being held in London (29 February – 1 March).
Three key areas of focus at the Conference will include development opportunities in ‘sustainable fishing’, ‘digital transformation’ and ‘machine-to-machine’. These and eight other areas will form part of the two-day programme, which will feature hands-on technical workshops and expert sessions with representatives from each of Inmarsat’s core markets; Maritime, Aviation, Enterprise, and Government.
The European Space Agency (ESA) will be present to provide details of how developers can apply for funding.

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NASA weighing dual launches of Europa orbiter and lander

WASHINGTON — Faced with a congressional mandate to add a lander to a planned mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, NASA is considering launching the lander separately from the main mission.
In discussions Feb. 1 at a meeting of NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group in San Antonio, Texas, agency officials said they are considering how to add a lander to a mission under development to make multiple flybys of Europa, even though the lander will weigh significantly more than the main “clipper” spacecraft.
Curt Niebur, outer planets program scientist at NASA Headquarters, said at the meeting that the biggest challenge of adding the lander to the Europa mission is its mass: about 8,000 kilograms, to accommodate the propellant needed to land the spacecraft softly on the surface. He added that estimate was “very rough” based on the limited studies of lander concepts to date. By comparison, the clipper spacecraft alone would have a mass of only about 5,000 kilograms.

Europa Clipper. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Airbus and OneWeb form joint venture to build 900 satellites

Airbus and OneWeb on Jan. 26 announced they had formed the company OneWeb Satellites, which will build the OneWeb constellation – 648 satellites plus spares, for a total of about 900.
The two companies said Brian Holz, OneWeb’s chief technology offer, would be chief executive of OneWeb Satellites, in which Airbus and OneWeb will have equal ownership shares.
The first 10 satellites will be built at Airbus’s Toulouse, France, facility and launched aboard Russian Soyuz rockets — either the Europeanized version operated from Europe’s spaceport here, or the fully Russian version launched form Russian territory — in 2018.
The remaining 890 OneWeb spacecraft are to be built at a U.S. facility that industry officials say is likely to be located in Florida but has not yet been announced.

OneWeb constellation infographic
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Final GPS 2F Launch to Kick Off New Chapter in GPS Evolution

This week the U.S. Air Force, Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are planning to launch the final Global Positioning System (GPS) 2F series satellite, GPS 2F-12, in what marks not only the last 2F mission, but also the beginning of a busy year of National Security Satellite (NSS) launches. ULA is set to launch GPS 2F-12 on Feb. 5, following a brief delay to evaluate the electrical connectors on the Atlas 5 booster. The mission, according to Col. Steve Whitney, director of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning Systems Directorate, caps off a 21-month stretch during which the U.S. launched seven GPS satellites. He described this period as one of the most aggressive launch campaigns in 20 years, but the Air Force is also looking forward to a packed launch schedule in 2016.
“We have a very busy national security space manifest with eight launches over the next nine months, beginning with this, the GPS 2F-12 mission,” Walter Lauderdale, GPS 2F-12 mission director, said during a Jan. 29 conference call. “This includes three pairs of launches where each pair is separated by a week or less. The first pair involves this launch and the Delta 4-NROL 45 launch on Feb. 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base.”
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ILS Proton Successfully Launches Eutelsat 9B Telecom/Data-Relay Satellite

PARIS— An International Launch Services (ILS) Russian Proton rocket on Jan. 30 successfully placed the Eutelsat 9B commercial telecommunications satellite into orbit, with Proton's Breeze-M upper stage separating the satellite nine hours and 12 minutes after liftoff from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan.
Paris-based Eutelsat said the satellite was healthy in orbit and sending signals, and that the solar panels had deployed as planned.
Built by Airbus Defence and Space of Europe, Eutelsat 9B weighed 5,162 kilograms at launch and carries 47 36-megahertz-equivalent transponders in Ku-band for video coverage mainly in Europe through five beams – one pan-European and four regional beams. It will operate from 9 degrees east in geostationary orbit, where it will replace the Eutelsat 9A satellite launched a decade ago.

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SpaceX to Launch Amos 6 Satellite in May

Spacecom, operator of the Amos satellite fleet, announced that SpaceX has scheduled the launch of the Amos 6 satellite for May aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Amos 6, to be collocated with Amos 2 and Amos 3 at the 4 degrees west prime orbital position, will provide services to Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Amos 6 features 39 Ku-band segments and 24 Ka-band beams. Facebook has selected Amos 6’s Ka-band beams to be the satellite backbone of its initiative to bring broadband Internet to Sub Sahara Africa with Eutelsat. The new satellite will be larger than Amos 2 and Amos 3 combined and will incorporate new technologies such as high throughput Ka-band spot beams for improved broadband Internet access. The Ka-band spot beams will cover Europe and Africa as well as Ku-band technologies for new and existing clients.
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SpaceX's Dragon Spaceship Aces Rocket-Powered Hover Test (Video)

Looks like SpaceX's new space taxi for astronauts has serious hover power.
An awesome new video of SpaceX's Dragon 2 crew capsule shows the gumdrop-shaped spacecraft hovering perfectly in place for several seconds under the power of its abort and landing rockets.
Secured by a tether, the spacecraft's eight SuperDraco engines fired and then held the machine in place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McMurdo, Texas. SpaceX performed the test last November, but only publicly unveiled it on YouTube last week.

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Europe to Invest in Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Cargo Vehicle

PARIS — Sierra Nevada Corp.'s win of a NASA contract to ferry cargo to the International Space Station will trigger a $36 million investment by the 22-nation European Space Agency following a cooperation agreement to be signed in the coming weeks, ESA said.
Once the agreement is signed, ESA will begin work building the first flight model of the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM), which Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Cargo System will use to attach itself to the space station.
ESA said it would spend 33 million euros ($36 million) to complete the design of the IBDM and build a flight model for Dream Chaser's first cargo run. Future IBDMs will be financed by Sierra Nevada, ESA said.

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