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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This Week in Satellite News! (Jan 23 – Jan 30 2017)

Iridium buys eighth Falcon 9 launch, shares with Earth science mission

Iridium announced Jan. 31 it has purchased an additional Falcon 9 launch from SpaceX that the satellite services company will share with a German-U.S. Earth science mission.
The additional launch, planned to take place by early 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will carry five Iridium Next satellites as well as the two satellites for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a joint project of NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences, known by the German acronym GFZ.

Falcon 9 Iridium-1 launch
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Raytheon Moves James Webb Space Telescope Closer to Scheduled Launch

Raytheon has completed factory acceptance testing of the flight operations system for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). With seven times the light-collecting power of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, this next-generation telescope will gather data and images of dust clouds, stars and galaxies deeper into space.
More than 800 requirements were successfully verified on the JWST ground control system during the testing conducted at Raytheon’s Aurora, Colorado, facility, bringing NASA’s next space observatory one step closer to the scheduled 2018 launch, according to the company.

NASA engineers and technicians position the James Webb Space Telescope (inside a large tent) onto the shaker table used for vibration testing. Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn
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SpaceX, finishing launch pad work, shuffles launch schedule

The first flight of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a repurposed shuttle pad at the Kennedy Space Center is now targeted for around the middle of February to give the company more time to complete extensive modifications and testing of new launch pad systems and support equipment, officials said Sunday.
SpaceX had been gearing up to launch an EchoStar communications satellite from complex 39A at the Florida spaceport as early as this week, but that flight now will follow the launch of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship carrying supplies to the International Space Station.

Image result for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
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Japan launches first military communications satellite

Japan on Tuesday launched its first military communications satellite to boost the broadband capacity of its Self Defence Forces as they reinforce an island chain stretching along the southern edge of the East China Sea.
Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the military is operating further from Japan’s home islands as it takes on a bigger role to counter growing Chinese military activity in the region. The satellite lifted off from Japan’s Tanegashima space port aboard an H-IIA rocket at 0744 GMT and successfully entered orbit, said a spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which builds the launcher.

H-IIA Kirameki Japan
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The New Normal: Satellite’s Collaborative Answer to Cyber Threats

As the cyber threat landscape intensifies for satellite operators and the world at large, Via Satellite examines how the industry is tackling the issue on multiple levels. To stay ahead of the threat, manufacturers, operators and customers all must band together, increase their vigilance and collaborate more closely.

Cyber security concerns continue to dominate headlines as one of the most far-reaching cross-industry threats facing an interdependent digital world. With space becoming more contested than ever before, the threat to space-based assets is growing.

Image result for Cyber security satellite
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Proton launches delayed until mid-May

Launches of Russia’s Proton rocket will be postponed until the middle of May in order to replace faulty engines on several vehicles, a top Russian official said Jan. 28.
In a series tweets, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin discussed a meeting he held Jan. 28 with representatives of the Voronezh Mechanical Plant, which makes engines used in the upper stages of the Proton and Soyuz launch vehicles.

ILS Proton M
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Kymeta, Aurum Team to Offer HTS Antennas to Armored Vehicles

Kymeta has announced plans to work with Aurum Security to bring Kymeta mTenna High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) connectivity to VIP and Civilian Armored Vehicles (CAV).
According to a statement released by Kymeta, with the new antenna CAV manufacturers and integrators will be able to deliver global mobile connectivity without impacting the natural design lines of the vehicle.

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Phasor, Thales Alenia Space Collaborate on Ka Satellite Smart Terminal

Phasor and Thales Alenia Space (TAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a software-defined, smart terminal for commercial Ka-band satellite communications.
The companies call on Phasor’s knowledge in the field of Electronically Steerable Antennas (ESAs), and Thales Alenia Space’s experience in satellite broadband technology across Geostationary, Medium and Low Earth Orbits (GEO, MEO and LEO).

Image result for Ka Satellite Smart Terminal
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Google Lunar XPRIZE Winners Announced

XPRIZE and Google have announced that a $1 million diversity prize will be split among 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and that five teams have verified launch contracts and are moving forward to the final phase of the competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. “XPRIZE and Google have been awestruck by the educational outreach activities conducted by all of the competing teams and have decided to split the $1 million Diversity Prize across all 16 teams to recognize each of their unique approaches and initiatives over the years,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director of Google Lunar XPRIZE. “Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the Moon, while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Photo: Google Lunar XPRIZE, Jackie Lee // MATTE
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