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UK satellites set to launch today on SpaceX rocket from Kennedy

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Three UK-built satellites are set to launch on a SpaceX rocket today from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Monitoring and tackling climate change and tracking endangered wildlife are among the missions of the three.

UK companies have received nearly £15 million from the UK Space Agency, through the European Space Agency’s Pioneer Partnership Programme, to develop the trio of satellites.

Two of the satellites, built by Spire, in Glasgow, will develop optical intersatellite links (ISL) which will provide a step change in how we get large amounts of data from space down to Earth. This will enable constellations of satellites to become integrated networks in space, capable of delivering very high volumes of data at speed to anywhere in the world, including remote and rural areas, disaster areas and at sea.

This enhanced data and better predictive analytics will improve our understanding of the environment and the impact we have on it.

Spire has been supported by the UK Space Agency, through the European Space Agency’s Pioneer Partnership Programme with nearly £9 million of total funding, to develop a range of innovative technologies and data platforms including the pair of satellites planned for tomorrow’s launch.

Theresa Condor, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Spire Space Services, said: “At a critical time for our planet, and with COP26 taking place later this year, we need to be able to map out and report on rapidly changing phenomena on Earth. That is the core purpose of Spire’s constellation. Enhanced data and better predictive analytics help us to further understand our environment and the impact we have on it.

“Optical ISL allows us to deliver the most time sensitive data faster and at higher volumes for critical applications such as weather monitoring and forecasting.”

The third satellite is built by In-Space Missions, based in Hampshire, supported by £4.9 million of funding for this and future validation missions expected to launch in 2022/2023. The Faraday Phoenix satellite incorporates payloads for six customers including Airbus, Lacuna, SatixFy and Aeternum.

Doug Liddle, CEO at In-Space Missions, said: “The team here at In-Space is incredibly proud to be launching our highly capable and innovative satellite which has come together in less than a year. We’re particularly excited to be flying on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral – a location with such an amazing history.”

The In-Space satellite includes the demonstration payload for Lacuna Space, which is developing a ground-breaking satellite IoT service, thanks to £800,000 in funding. This is the next step in Lacuna’s space network, further improving the company’s capability to service massive deployments for the IoT.

www.gov.uk/uksa

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/uk-satellites-spacex-24062021/

Aerospace

India Security Forces will Soon get DRDO’s Anti-drone Technology

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Given the increasing threat of drone attacks in the country, the Defence Ministry is seriously considering to buy anti-drone technology from abroad as well as taking indigenously manufactured technology. Sources say that soon a proposal can be sent to the Defense Acquisition Council for the purchase of DRDO’s technology in this context. Let us inform you that DRDO has developed anti-drone technology, which has also been used in VIP security on several occasions which has been confirmed by the sources.

After the drone attack on the Jammu Air Force station some time back, efforts have intensified to acquire anti-drone technology from the three armies, central security forces, and state police agencies. Efforts are also underway for the military to buy Israel’s anti-drone technology, which consists of a device that can be fitted onto a rifle and aimed at flying drones.

DRDO’s technology
DRDO’s anti-drone technology is far more effective. Through this, the frequency of the drone can be jammed within a radius of three to four kilometers and it can be destroyed by attacking with a laser weapon. It was also deployed in the security of the Red Fort on August 15 last year. Recently the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to deploy it in Tirumala temple.

DRDO gave a presentation
According to sources, in the meantime, presentations of anti-drone technology have been given to the Indian army and security forces by DRDO in several phases. It is reported that positive feedback has been received from the armed forces. Hence this technology can be procured for deployment in some sensitive locations.

Built-in partnership with our sources if the security has decided to purchase anti-drone technology of DRDO, its creation of strategic partnerships may be supported by the private sector. and this will make it possible to manufacture a large number of Anti-drones in less time.

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Source: https://www.eletimes.com/india-security-forces-will-soon-get-drdos-anti-drone-technology

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Aerospace

Isar Aerospace raises $75 million

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WASHINGTON — Isar Aerospace, a German small launch vehicle company, has raised an additional $75 million that will allow the company to expand its manufacturing and launch capabilities.

The company announced July 29 that it added $75 million to a Series B round it raised in December 2020. The new funding brings the size of that round to more than $165 million, with a total raised to date of more than $180 million.

HV Capital, Porsche Automobil Holding SE and banking group Lombard Odier led the extension of the Series B round. Existing investors Earlybird Venture Capital, Lakestar, Vsquared Ventures, Apeiron Investment Group and UVC Partners also participated in the round.

With the original Series B round, Isar said it had enough funding to take the company through the first launch of its Spectrum small launch vehicle. The additional funding, executives said, will allow it to build out manufacturing and launch infrastructure needed for later growth.

“Now we want to expand our launch capabilities, our manufacturing and production capabilities,” Stella Guillen, chief commercial officer of Isar, said in an interview. The company also plans to use some of the funding to work on reusability. The company, which currently has more than 180 employees, expects to grow to more than 200 by the end of the year.

Spectrum, the rocket Isar is developing, is a two-stage vehicle designed to place up to 1,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit. The vehicle is powered by Aquila engines that the company is also building.

Guillen said the company is preparing to start tests of the full Aquila engine soon on a test stand in Kiruna, Sweden. Isar is also working on a launch site in Norway, having signed an agreement in April with Andøya Space for exclusive use of a pad at a new site under development by the state-owned launch site operator.

A first launch of Spectrum from Andøya is expected in the second half of 2022, she said. The company expects to conduct three to four launches in 2023, with a long-term goal of about 10 launches per year. While Andøya is well-suited for launches to sun-synchronous orbits, Isar is considering alternative launch sites, such as French Guiana, for missions to lower inclination orbits.

Isar has won launch contracts from Airbus Defence and Space as well as the German space agency DLR, the latter through a competition sponsored by the European Space Agency where Isar beat out Rocket Factory Augsburg and HyImpulse Technologies, two other German small launch vehicle startups. Guillen said the Isar has also signed other customers it has not yet announced.

The backing of ESA and DLR has been particularly important for Isar. “We’re working with them hand-in-hand” on vehicle requirements, Guillen said. “They are supporting us in terms of bringing customers in.”

While Isar is interested in European government and commercial customers, its ambitions extend beyond the continent. “Obviously, Europe is a big market for us, but we see the growth potential in Asia and in the U.S. as well,” she said. “I think we are really well positioned to penetrate the market.”

Isar has already unlocked one challenge as a European space startup: raising money. The company claims the total funding it has raised is the most by any space startup in Europe, after years of complaints by entrepreneurs that European investors were less willing to invest in the industry than their American counterparts.

“As an investor focusing on mobility and industrial technology, we are convinced that cost-effective and flexible access to space will be a key enabler for innovations in traditional industries as well as for new and disruptive technologies and business models,” Lutz Meschke, a member of the executive board of Porsche SE and an investor in Isar, said in a statement. “The technological progress and the development speed of the whole organization are very impressive, and we look forward to support Isar Aerospace with its ambitious growth plans.”

“Isar has shown that it has a good business plan and that they can tell the story of how space can be a trillion-dollar economy by 2040,” Guillen said. “This is a huge sign that European investors are waking up to the benefits of space.”


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Source: https://spacenews.com/isar-aerospace-raises-75-million/

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Aerospace

Isar Aerospace raises $75 million

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WASHINGTON — Isar Aerospace, a German small launch vehicle company, has raised an additional $75 million that will allow the company to expand its manufacturing and launch capabilities.

The company announced July 29 that it added $75 million to a Series B round it raised in December 2020. The new funding brings the size of that round to more than $165 million, with a total raised to date of more than $180 million.

HV Capital, Porsche Automobil Holding SE and banking group Lombard Odier led the extension of the Series B round. Existing investors Earlybird Venture Capital, Lakestar, Vsquared Ventures, Apeiron Investment Group and UVC Partners also participated in the round.

With the original Series B round, Isar said it had enough funding to take the company through the first launch of its Spectrum small launch vehicle. The additional funding, executives said, will allow it to build out manufacturing and launch infrastructure needed for later growth.

“Now we want to expand our launch capabilities, our manufacturing and production capabilities,” Stella Guillen, chief commercial officer of Isar, said in an interview. The company also plans to use some of the funding to work on reusability. The company, which currently has more than 180 employees, expects to grow to more than 200 by the end of the year.

Spectrum, the rocket Isar is developing, is a two-stage vehicle designed to place up to 1,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit. The vehicle is powered by Aquila engines that the company is also building.

Guillen said the company is preparing to start tests of the full Aquila engine soon on a test stand in Kiruna, Sweden. Isar is also working on a launch site in Norway, having signed an agreement in April with Andøya Space for exclusive use of a pad at a new site under development by the state-owned launch site operator.

A first launch of Spectrum from Andøya is expected in the second half of 2022, she said. The company expects to conduct three to four launches in 2023, with a long-term goal of about 10 launches per year. While Andøya is well-suited for launches to sun-synchronous orbits, Isar is considering alternative launch sites, such as French Guiana, for missions to lower inclination orbits.

Isar has won launch contracts from Airbus Defence and Space as well as the German space agency DLR, the latter through a competition sponsored by the European Space Agency where Isar beat out Rocket Factory Augsburg and HyImpulse Technologies, two other German small launch vehicle startups. Guillen said the Isar has also signed other customers it has not yet announced.

The backing of ESA and DLR has been particularly important for Isar. “We’re working with them hand-in-hand” on vehicle requirements, Guillen said. “They are supporting us in terms of bringing customers in.”

While Isar is interested in European government and commercial customers, its ambitions extend beyond the continent. “Obviously, Europe is a big market for us, but we see the growth potential in Asia and in the U.S. as well,” she said. “I think we are really well positioned to penetrate the market.”

Isar has already unlocked one challenge as a European space startup: raising money. The company claims the total funding it has raised is the most by any space startup in Europe, after years of complaints by entrepreneurs that European investors were less willing to invest in the industry than their American counterparts.

“As an investor focusing on mobility and industrial technology, we are convinced that cost-effective and flexible access to space will be a key enabler for innovations in traditional industries as well as for new and disruptive technologies and business models,” Lutz Meschke, a member of the executive board of Porsche SE and an investor in Isar, said in a statement. “The technological progress and the development speed of the whole organization are very impressive, and we look forward to support Isar Aerospace with its ambitious growth plans.”

“Isar has shown that it has a good business plan and that they can tell the story of how space can be a trillion-dollar economy by 2040,” Guillen said. “This is a huge sign that European investors are waking up to the benefits of space.”


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Source: https://spacenews.com/isar-aerospace-raises-75-million/

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Weather key issue for Starliner launch

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WASHINGTON — NASA and Boeing say a second test flight of the company’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle remains on track for launch July 30, with weather the biggest concern.

A launch readiness review for the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) 2 mission July 27 confirmed that both the Starliner spacecraft and its Atlas 5 launch vehicle were ready for the launch, scheduled for 2:53 p.m. Eastern July 30 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The primary concern is weather, with the potential for afternoon thunderstorms resulting in only a 40% chance of acceptable conditions for the instantaneous launch window. “We’re a little bit pessimistic going into week’s end, but we do have to be realistic,” said Will Ulrich, launch weather officer with the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, at a press conference after the review. “We can hope that we’ll find a gap in the shower and thunderstorm activity that we’re anticipating.”

If weather or other issues prevent a launch on July 30, the next launch opportunities are Aug. 3 and 4. That delay is because of both orbital mechanics as well as an unavailable launch opportunity on July 31 because of what Gary Wentz, vice president of government and commercial programs at United Launch Alliance, described as a “classified operation” on the Eastern Range.

He suggested a July 31 launch could be reconsidered if that classified operation does not take place. “We’re continuing to be ready in case that operation doesn’t go through, and we could launch earlier, but unless it moves, we’ll stick with the launch on Friday [July 30] and follow up on the 3rd and 4th as backup days.”

NASA and Boeing used the briefing to reiterate what they said at a July 22 press conference regarding the readiness of the Starliner spacecraft to fly the OFT-2 mission, more than a year and a half after the original OFT mission was cut short because of software and communications problems. Boeing worked to implement 80 recommendations regarding the vehicle’s software and communications system, which have been closed out.

Implementing the recommendations involved a “relatively small set” of software changes, said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of the commercial crew program at Boeing, although with more changes to the software for the spacecraft’s communications system. He described other changes as additional code to get the vehicle closer to the version that will fly crew.

“We tried to make the Starliner for this trip, this mission, as close to a crewed vehicle as we could,” he said. “We probably could have launched crew on this flight” other than loading oxygen needed for the capsule’s life support system.

Jinnah Hosein, a former SpaceX executive hired in November 2020 to be Boeing’s first vice president of software engineering, was also involved in reviewing the Starliner software changes, with a specific focus on the code needed for the crewed flight test of the spacecraft. “Jinnah has brought us some more tools to do that more efficiently,” Vollmer said.

Those officials, though, were more circumspect when it came to organizational reviews prompted by the unsuccessful OFT mission. At a July 15 meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, members said that the agency recently completed an “organization safety assessment” of Boeing and recommended that the company implement recommendations from that review before the first crewed Starliner flight.

“We really didn’t see anything in the survey that was surprising,” said Steve Stich, NASA commercial crew program manager. “Boeing has an excellent safety culture that we’ve seen.”

He declined to provide any specific findings or recommendations from the assessment, saying it was to ensure that employees interviewed would provide honest feedback. He emphasized, though, that the survey showed that “safety was the number one priority” among both NASA and Boeing personnel.

“There’s always room for improvement, so we’re going to be looking for where are those areas where we can make improvements,” Vollmer said.


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Source: https://spacenews.com/weather-key-issue-for-starliner-launch/

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