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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This Week in Satellite News! (Jul 10 – Jul 17 2017)

Inmarsat Provides Pacific Northwest, Bering Sea Coverage for Dunlap

Mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat said it has partnered with satellite communications provider Network Innovations and maritime transportation provider Dunlap Towing to install Fleet One across its fleet of 12 vessels. 
For Dunlap, the Dutch Harbor and Pacific Coast routes in Alaskan waters have traditionally been challenging and its existing service did not offer the reliability required to transmit important operating and safety reports, communicate back to shore or make critical inter-fleet voice calls, according to Inmarsat. Dunlap needed a service that could accommodate its coastal requirements and support its longer open water routes providing a reliable, guaranteed connection.

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Luxembourg adopts space resources law

The government of Luxembourg has passed a bill giving companies the rights to space resources they extract from asteroids or other celestial bodies.
The parliament of Luxembourg, a unicameral body known as the Chamber of Deputies, voted 55 to 2 in favor of the space resources law July 13. Passage of the bill means the act will become law on Aug. 1.
“Luxembourg is the first adopter in Europe of a legal and regulatory framework recognizing that space resources are capable of being owned by private companies,” Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, said in a statement. “The Grand Duchy thus reinforces its position as a European hub for the exploration and use of space resources.”

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Iridium Poised to Make Global Maritime Distress and Safety System History

Iridium® GMDSS is a key element of the Company's Iridium Certus(SM) multi-service strategy
MCLEAN, Va., July 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that two key milestones along the path to becoming the second recognized provider of Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) services have been reached. During its 98th session this past June, the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted new performance standards for GMDSS equipment and approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Treaty, which pave the way for Iridium to become a recognized GMDSS service provider. The key remaining step in the approval process is an IMO resolution recognizing Iridium as a certified GMDSS mobile satellite service provider.  Iridium expects this will be completed during calendar year 2018, with Iridium GMDSS service to begin in 2020.

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Soyuz launches 73 satellites

A Soyuz rocket successfully launched 73 satellites, including spacecraft for four companies’ cubesat constellations, July 14.
The Soyuz-2.1a lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2:36 a.m. Eastern. The rocket deployed the primary payload, the Kanopus-V-IK remote sensing satellite, about an hour after launch, followed by 72 smallsat secondary payloads over the next seven hours.
“We had a great launch and all the satellites separated as planned,” Vsevolod Kryukovskiy, launch program director at Glavkosmos, said in an interview after the launch. “Everything is good.”

Fregat satellite deployment
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Aerojet Rocketdyne Completes Hot-Fire Tests of Electric Propulsion System

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully conducted a series of hot-fire tests on a Power Processing Unit (PPU) for an Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) designed to further the United States’ commercial space capabilities as well as support NASA’s plans for deep space exploration. The tests were conducted at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
“The PPU successfully demonstrated stable operation of the propulsion system and responded appropriately to all of our planned contingency scenarios,” said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of advanced space and launch programs and strategy at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “This is a critical step in providing advanced Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), which is necessary for affordable cargo and logistics transportation in support of human missions to Mars.”

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On-orbit operations the next frontier for space, experts say

Operating while in orbit is the next big challenge for the space sector, be it manufacturing, assembly, satellite servicing, or debris removal, experts said Thursday. Speaking at a technology summit hosted by Defense One, Bhavya Lal, with the Institute for Defense Analysis at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, said focusing on the problems of the future will help the U.S. maintain its technological lead in space.
“One of the things we need to worry about is what are going to be the emerging technologies a decade from now so we can stay ahead of the Russia’s and China’s?” she said. “One potential technology that both the government and the private sector are starting to look at is on-orbit manufacturing, assembly, and servicing. I think it’s an area we need to think about more, we need to bring the private sector in more, the government needs to think differently about how you construct and use an on-orbit platform in the case of war.”

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Satellite industry generated more than $260 billion in revenues in 2016, according to new report

The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) released its annual report on the "State of the Satellite Industry" today with data on how the industry fared in 2016 compared with prior years.  SIA President Tom Stroup said 2016 "was once again a positive year," though results for the four industry market segments varied widely.  Global satellite manufacturing revenue dropped 13 percent, for example, while satellite ground equipment revenue grew 7 percent.
SIA released the 2017 report, the 20th in the series, at a press conference this morning in Washington, D.C.  The report was prepared for SIA by Bryce Space and Technology. Overall, worldwide satellite industry revenue grew by two percent in 2016 to a new high of $261 billion, up from $255 billion in 2015.

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Moon Express releases details of its lunar lander missions

Moon Express, a company developing commercial lunar landers, said July 12 its first mission is still on schedule to launch by the end of this year in a bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
The Florida-based company used an event on Capitol Hill to unveil the design of that lander, known as MX-1E, as well as plans for future missions that include larger landers and sample return spacecraft.
That spacecraft, capable of placing up to 30 kilograms of payload onto the lunar surface, is the building block of a “flexible, scalable and innovative exploration architecture that can help us open the moon as a frontier for humanity,” said Moon Express Chief Executive Bob Richards.

MX-1E Moon Express
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NASA planning August release of Mars robotic exploration architecture

With time running out to start work on a 2022 Mars orbiter, a NASA official said July 10 the agency plans to have a “coherent Mars architecture” for future robotic Mars missions ready for presentation an at August committee meeting.
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, said that architecture is on track to be presented at a meeting in late August of a National Academies committee reviewing progress NASA has made implementing the planetary science decadal survey published in 2011.

Artist's concept of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter using its sounding radar to probe beneath the Martian surface to see if water ice is present at depths greater than one meter. Credit: NASA/JPL
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