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SITA buys sustainable aviation tech provider Safety Line

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Information technology company SITA has taken over Safety Line SAS, a France-based start-up focusing on digital technologies for aviation safety and efficiency, to facilitate sustainable aviation.

The deal is expected to fortify SITA’s Digital Day of Operations portfolio, enabling airlines to operate more efficiently and reduce their carbon footprint by minimising fuel consumption.

SITA stated that the acquisition will speed up its development of sustainable technologies that can be incorporated into its current suite of airline and airport solutions.

The company further noted that Safety Line offers ‘significant improvements’ to aircraft operations through predictive analytics, complementing SITA’s current portfolio.

The takeover comes on the heels of the commercial partnership that was signed between the two firms last September.

The partnership was aimed at aiding airlines to cut down their carbon emissions with OptiFlight.

A predictive in-flight fuel efficiency solution, OptiFlight uses machine learning performance models for each aeroplane to improve all flight phases such as climb-out, cruise and descent.

This solution, which is completely integrated with current applications in SITA’s Digital Day of Operations portfolio, has been installed by Air France, Transavia Airlines, Aerologic and Condor.

As part of the deal, Safety Line’s AirsideWatch will enable SITA to develop its airport offering to airside operations.

This solution deploys surface movement radar data for optimising and assessing the ground traffic of aircraft between gates and runways, aiming to minimise unnecessary emissions.

In a statement, SITA said: “With safety being a key pillar in aviation alongside efficiency, the acquisition also covers SafetyCube, a solution that enables aviation stakeholders to pro-actively manage their safety and compliance.

“Key customers include large airports such as Paris-CDG and Paris-Orly or OEMs such as Airbus Helicopters, as well as airlines and ATM providers, all of which also compose SITA’s main customer base. SITA will, therefore, be able to expand its offering to include safety-enhancing services to existing customers.”

In 2019, SITA acquired Software Design, an Italian firm specialising in custom software solutions for airports.

Software Design was acquired from its managing shareholders and 2i Aeroporti, a joint venture (JV) between Italian infrastructure fund F2i and private investment house Ardian.

In 2018, SITA purchased MEXIA Interactive, a Canada-based curb-to-gate passenger analytics provider for the air transport industry.


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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/sita-buys-safety-line/

Aerospace

NASA picks landing site for VIPER lunar rover

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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected a crater near the south pole of the moon as the landing site for a robotic rover to search for water ice that could be a resource for future human expeditions.

NASA announced Sept. 20 that its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission will land near the western edge of Nobile Crater, near the lunar south pole. VIPER is scheduled to arrive there in late 2023, delivered by Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander on a mission arranged through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

Nobile was one of four finalists that emerged from a selection process that originally considered about 15 different regions, agency officials said in a call with reporters. Nobile “maximizes science return and flexibility to help ensure mission success once VIPER is on the moon,” said Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA Headquarters.

The project considered several factors when choosing the landing site. The site needed to have good visibility of the Earth, which will be low on the horizon at the south pole, to enable direct-to-Earth communications, as well as good illumination for the solar-powered rover. The site also needed what Anthony Colaprete, lead project scientist for VIPER at the Ames Research Center, called “trafficable terrain” that the rover could navigate, avoiding steep slopes. Finally, scientists wanted a location that had a variety of terrains that might harbor water ice at or just below the surface.

Nobile met all those criteria, he said, from a high elevation that offered good visibility of the Earth to ridgelines that are in sunlight for all but about 50 hours of the two-week lunar night. Those “safe havens” would allow the rover to survive on battery power. In contrast to those illuminated safe havens are permanently shadowed regions in the crater, some 500 to 800 meters across, that the rover can visit to look for water ice deposits.

VIPER is equipped with a suite of instruments, including a drill designed to probe up to a meter below the surface, to detect and quantify water ice. That analysis is of both scientific interest as well as for supporting future human missions that could use the ice for life support and propellant.

NASA picked the VIPER landing site two years in advance because of the intense planning needed to maximize the mission, which will last about 100 Earth days. Colaprete said the project has already developed a “baseline traverse” for the rover running about 25 kilometers with 12 locations it will study in detail.

“The time that we have with a solar-powered rover is limited because of the natural seasons of the polar regions of the moon,” said Daniel Andrews, VIPER project manager. “This entire region will fall into darkness after four months or so. We have a finite amount of time to get this mission done, so we really want to optimize where we go and how we go about doing it.”

Scientists, though, acknowledge that they’ll have to make changes on the fly during the mission based on what the rover finds. “The science team won’t always have days or weeks to think on the data that comes in,” said Darlene Lim, VIPER deputy lead project scientist. “Instead, the science team will have to react and make decisions that enhance the mission on a much faster minute-to-hour timescale.”

NASA is pressing ahead with the selection of the landing site, and the VIPER mission overall, despite having another mission in development that would appear to be able to assist. The Lunar Trailblazer orbiter is designed to map the distribution of ice on the lunar surface at a resolution of 100 meters per pixel, far better than the best estimates of water ice distribution currently available. The spacecraft is scheduled to be ready for launch in late 2022 but won’t fly until early 2025 as part of a NASA rideshare mission whose primarily payload is the IMAP space science spacecraft.

At the briefing, officials said that they didn’t need to fly Lunar Trailblazer first to ensure success for VIPER. “The data that we have are very good at helping us identify those high-probability sites where we might find ice,” said Glaze. “I think we have absolutely sufficient knowledge to fly the VIPER mission right now.”

The lunar science community has been pushing to move up the launch of Lunar Trailblazer, including a recommendation to that effect at a meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group earlier this month. Glaze, though, said NASA had no plans to accelerate its launch. “At this time, the most reliable launch for Lunar Trailblazer remains on IMAP,” she said. “That will be after the VIPER mission.”

Glaze and others described VIPER as a “ground truthing” mission to see exact what forms ice is in at the south pole of the moon. “We know there’s water ice there, and we know some of it is at the surface and some is below the surface,” Colaprete said. “Exactly where and how much, and how it’s distributed between the surface and subsurface, is a large unknown.” VIPER, he added, will also look for ice in locations where scientists don’t think water ice exists as a test of their hypotheses.

“If we find there’s no water in any place we look,” he added, “that is a fundamental discovery and we will be scratching our heads and rewriting textbooks again.”


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Source: https://spacenews.com/nasa-picks-landing-site-for-viper-lunar-rover/

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NASA picks landing site for VIPER lunar rover

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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected a crater near the south pole of the moon as the landing site for a robotic rover to search for water ice that could be a resource for future human expeditions.

NASA announced Sept. 20 that its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission will land near the western edge of Nobile Crater, near the lunar south pole. VIPER is scheduled to arrive there in late 2023, delivered by Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander on a mission arranged through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

Nobile was one of four finalists that emerged from a selection process that originally considered about 15 different regions, agency officials said in a call with reporters. Nobile “maximizes science return and flexibility to help ensure mission success once VIPER is on the moon,” said Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA Headquarters.

The project considered several factors when choosing the landing site. The site needed to have good visibility of the Earth, which will be low on the horizon at the south pole, to enable direct-to-Earth communications, as well as good illumination for the solar-powered rover. The site also needed what Anthony Colaprete, lead project scientist for VIPER at the Ames Research Center, called “trafficable terrain” that the rover could navigate, avoiding steep slopes. Finally, scientists wanted a location that had a variety of terrains that might harbor water ice at or just below the surface.

Nobile met all those criteria, he said, from a high elevation that offered good visibility of the Earth to ridgelines that are in sunlight for all but about 50 hours of the two-week lunar night. Those “safe havens” would allow the rover to survive on battery power. In contrast to those illuminated safe havens are permanently shadowed regions in the crater, some 500 to 800 meters across, that the rover can visit to look for water ice deposits.

VIPER is equipped with a suite of instruments, including a drill designed to probe up to a meter below the surface, to detect and quantify water ice. That analysis is of both scientific interest as well as for supporting future human missions that could use the ice for life support and propellant.

NASA picked the VIPER landing site two years in advance because of the intense planning needed to maximize the mission, which will last about 100 Earth days. Colaprete said the project has already developed a “baseline traverse” for the rover running about 25 kilometers with 12 locations it will study in detail.

“The time that we have with a solar-powered rover is limited because of the natural seasons of the polar regions of the moon,” said Daniel Andrews, VIPER project manager. “This entire region will fall into darkness after four months or so. We have a finite amount of time to get this mission done, so we really want to optimize where we go and how we go about doing it.”

Scientists, though, acknowledge that they’ll have to make changes on the fly during the mission based on what the rover finds. “The science team won’t always have days or weeks to think on the data that comes in,” said Darlene Lim, VIPER deputy lead project scientist. “Instead, the science team will have to react and make decisions that enhance the mission on a much faster minute-to-hour timescale.”

NASA is pressing ahead with the selection of the landing site, and the VIPER mission overall, despite having another mission in development that would appear to be able to assist. The Lunar Trailblazer orbiter is designed to map the distribution of ice on the lunar surface at a resolution of 100 meters per pixel, far better than the best estimates of water ice distribution currently available. The spacecraft is scheduled to be ready for launch in late 2022 but won’t fly until early 2025 as part of a NASA rideshare mission whose primarily payload is the IMAP space science spacecraft.

At the briefing, officials said that they didn’t need to fly Lunar Trailblazer first to ensure success for VIPER. “The data that we have are very good at helping us identify those high-probability sites where we might find ice,” said Glaze. “I think we have absolutely sufficient knowledge to fly the VIPER mission right now.”

The lunar science community has been pushing to move up the launch of Lunar Trailblazer, including a recommendation to that effect at a meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group earlier this month. Glaze, though, said NASA had no plans to accelerate its launch. “At this time, the most reliable launch for Lunar Trailblazer remains on IMAP,” she said. “That will be after the VIPER mission.”

Glaze and others described VIPER as a “ground truthing” mission to see exact what forms ice is in at the south pole of the moon. “We know there’s water ice there, and we know some of it is at the surface and some is below the surface,” Colaprete said. “Exactly where and how much, and how it’s distributed between the surface and subsurface, is a large unknown.” VIPER, he added, will also look for ice in locations where scientists don’t think water ice exists as a test of their hypotheses.

“If we find there’s no water in any place we look,” he added, “that is a fundamental discovery and we will be scratching our heads and rewriting textbooks again.”


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Source: https://spacenews.com/nasa-picks-landing-site-for-viper-lunar-rover/

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Space Force to brief industry on its future architecture for space-based missile warning

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The Space Warfighting Analysis Center will brief industry representatives Oct. 27 on the results of its first “force design” study focused on space-based missile warning and missile tracking

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said a new Space Force office called Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC) will brief industry representatives Oct. 27 on the results of its first “force design” study focused on space-based missile warning and missile tracking.

Raymond spoke Sept. 20 during a joint new conference with Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

According to an announcement posted on SAM.GOV the SWAC will be hosting a “business fair for the purpose of providing industry partners insight and rationale to the force design processes and model-based systems engineering currently being employed in the context of missile warning/missile tracking mission areas.”

The business fair “is for the sole purpose of disseminating information to industry and is unrelated to any ongoing or planned acquisitions,” the announcement said. Companies can submit a request to participate. 

The force design is the blueprint that could drive future Space Force investments. It lays out, for example, how the Space Force will deploy satellites and ground systems to deliver space-based services and ensure these capabilities can be provided even when under attack.

Raymond directed the establishment of the SWAC to conduct analysis, modeling, wargaming, and experimentation to map out operational concepts and force design guidance for the service.

The group was tasked to “determine what our architecture in space should look like,” Raymond said. “That work is really moving along well.” 

The SWAC analysis will be reviewed by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff so it can inform requirements documents that are needed to get funding approved. Raymond said Kendall’s proposed reorganization of the Department of the Air Force’s procurement office will help advance the acquisition of these future systems. 

“This will be the first time we’ll take that design and put it out there,” said Raymond. The intent is to get feedback from the industry.

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, director of  the Space Force headquarters staff, said in July at a Mitchell Institute’s Space Power Forum that the analysis from the SWAC “will help us understand what’s affordable.”


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Source: https://spacenews.com/space-force-to-brief-industry-on-its-future-architecture-for-space-based-missile-warning/

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Kendall: If China can’t beat the U.S. in the air it will try in space

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“We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary,” Kendall said.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in a keynote speech Sept. 20 warned that China’s rapid advances in nuclear and conventional weapons will challenge the United States both in the air and space domains.

“While America is still the dominant military power on the planet today, we are being more effectively challenged militarily than at any other time in our history,” he said at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. 

“We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary,” Kendall said.

China’s advances in military and space technologies and the implications for U.S. national security was the dominant theme in Kendall’s address to a large audience of active-duty service members, government civilians and defense contractors. 

He said China’s military modernization is focused on long-range precision-guided munitions, hypersonic missiles, space and cyber weapons.

“I have had the opportunity to catch up on the intelligence about China’s modernization programs. If anything, China has accelerated its pace of modernization,” Kendall said.

There is “strong evidence” that China is pursuing silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-guided munitions to strike targets on Earth and in space, he said. Some of that intelligence was revealed through open sources but Kendall also has received classified briefings. 

During a briefing with reporters on Monday, Kendall described these revelations as “the most disturbing developments in nuclear proliferation I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

With regard to space weapons, he suggested China could pursue a global strike capability using space to deliver weapons, a concept modeled after the Soviet-era “fractional orbital bombardment system” conceived for the Cold War. The Soviets envisioned launching nuclear warheads into low Earth orbit and then directing them back down to targets on the ground. 

Kendall said he had no specific knowledge that the Chinese are pursuing this but said “it could be possible” and suggested this idea would be attractive to the Chinese because the fractional orbital system is hard to detect by early-warning satellites. 

He noted that he came of age in the Cold War and that history can repeat itself.

To stay ahead of China, the United States is going to have to “respond with a sense of urgency, but we also have to take the time necessary to make smart choices about our future and our investments,” he said. 


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Source: https://spacenews.com/kendall-if-china-cant-beat-the-u-s-in-the-air-it-will-try-in-space/

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