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Welcome to your weekly newsletter from satsearch

In these emails we share trending stories from the industry along with insights from our work building the global marketplace for space. Let's dive in and take a look at some of the developments that caught our eye in the last week.

NASA releases International Space Station transition plan report for 2031

The International Space Station (ISS) transition plan by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveils that the organization will continue operation until 2030. The report mainly focuses on ISS transition budget planning, technical health, and the de-orbit plan, as well as potential steps to create robust commercial opportunities for space exploration and human research technologies to support deep space exploration in this decade.

The de-orbiting process of the ISS involves several steps, including life extension analyses. Each ISS International Partner is responsible for performing life extension analyses for its own modules and structures. Currently, NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have completed life extension analyses through 2028. Simultaneously, Roscomos has completed life extension analysis through 2024 and is currently working on analyzing the extension through 2030.

Furthermore, the report also provides a detailed outlook on potential ISS goals for the next decade and for ensuring a smooth transition to commercial services. According to Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters, the private sector is now capable both technically and financially, of developing and operating commercial low-Earth orbit destinations (CLD).

The ISS has been one of the prime examples of multinational collaboration in space with NASA, CSA, ESA, Roscomos, and JAXA, as the five participating agencies. And for more than two decades, the ISS has successfully benefited from this collaboration and helped humanity receive scientific and technological insights through research and development activities.

In the coming decades, the private sector will take the centre stage with NASA playing the role of key customer, along with many other stakeholders, in CLD. Find out more here.


Join us for a new satsearch event on satellite software development

On February 23 we're hosting a free demo on the implementation of hardware acceleration on a satellite.

Zoltán Lehóczky of satsearch member Lombiq Technologies is speaking at the event, which is entitled Using hardware-accelerated .NET to simplify software development, for lower costs and risks onboard satellites.

The demo will explore hardware acceleration through use of the FPGA of a Zynq-based On-Board Computer (OBC), to save on hardware costs and increase mission reliability.


Lockheed Martin will build Mars Ascent Vehicle for NASA

In more exploration news, NASA has selected Lockheed Martin to build the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), a small and lightweight rocket to retrieve samples from the surface of Mars. The contract includes designing, developing, testing, and evaluating the integrated MAV system. It also includes designing and developing the relevant ground support equipment.

With a potential value of USD194 million, Lockheed Martin will develop a complete Mars Ascent Vehicle Integrated System (MAVIS) under the contract.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program aims to drive the technology-enabled study of Mars through multiple robotic missions; including orbiters, landers, and mobile laboratories, interconnected with a high-bandwidth Mars/Earth communications network.

Lockheed Martin’s MAV will add greater value to NASA’s Mars Sample Return Program. The first leg of the program was the Mars Perseverance rover, which is currently successfully operating on the surface of the Red Planet, with the primary mission being to collect and cache samples on Mars.

The MAV will be crucial in retrieving these samples from the Mars Perseverance rover, and to serve as a launch platform for the sample container. Upon launching into Mars' orbit, the container will be captured by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Return Orbiter spacecraft outfitted with NASA’s Capture, Containment, and Return System payload. Find out more here.

SpeQtral to launch Quantum Key Distribution satellite mission SpeQtral-1 by 2024

SpeQtral, a Singapore-based emerging space company specializing in quantum-secure communication systems, recently announced the official kick-off of its SpeQtral-1 satellite; a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) satellite mission in space. The announcement was made at the Global Space and Technology Convention (GSTC) 2022 in Singapore.

The satellite is expected to be launched by 2024 and it will be one of the first commercial QKD satellite missions. SpeQtral’s OKD platform replaces mathematical algorithms with quantum physics to create and distribute computationally uncrackable encryption keys.

For the SpeQtral-1 mission, the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn) and the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore are some of the company’s prime collaborators. OSTIn is Singapore’s national space office and it has extended support to SpeQtral under its Space Technology Development Programme (STDP). Simultaneously, a recent funding round of USD8.3 million from Xora Innovation will potentially accelerate the development of space-based quantum communication systems.

SpeQtral will also work with international partners to further extend the reach of its QKD R&D. SpeQtral-1 is also said to be the crucial part of the prospective End-to-End International Use cases for Operational QKD Commercial Applications and Services (INT-UQKD) program, supported by ESA; which also includes a consortium of European entities to further strengthen Europe-Singapore QKD links. Find out more here.

Space-based quantum communications systems are gradually gaining importance commercially worldwide. In August 2016, China became the first country in the world to successfully launch and test QKD through its experimental mission, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS).

Since then, space-based quantum technology has gained popularity in applications across several industrial verticals such as finance, defense, telecommunications, urban management, etc. UK-based quantum encryption supplier, Aqrit, is also one of the emerging players planning to deliver quantum encryption keys globally using satellites. Find out more here.

Astrocast and UnaBiz to jointly develop custom satellite IoT asset tracking and monitoring solution

Swiss satellite IoT operator Astrocast and Singapore-based UnaBiz have partnered to develop an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solution for asset tracking and monitoring. The collaboration brings together Astrocast’s satellite-based IoT network and UnaBiz’s custom design expertise in IoT sensors and data platform services.

UnaBiz specializes in sensor design, manufacturing, and cloud platform services across a hybrid of low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as Sigfox, LTE-M, NB-IoT, and LoRa.

In this partnership, UnaBiz will provide custom design and manufacturing services to Astrocast customers. In addition, the company will also facilitate the on-boarding of Astrocast-enabled devices on UnaConnect, a data platform for IoT device management.

Simultaneously, Astrocast will provide a direct-to-satellite data service offering, as well as hardware and consulting services to UnaBiz. The custom-designed satellite IoT asset tracking and monitoring solution will be applicable to multiple applications including satellite and hybrid applications.

Considering UnaBiz’s presence in Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan, the partnership will also potentially pave the way for Astrocast to expand its business footprint across the Asia Pacific. Find out more here.

The US Department of Defense selects Orbital Insight to develop a platform for identifying intentional GNSS disruptions

Orbital Insight has been awarded a contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to develop and deliver a technology platform for identifying intentional Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) disruption.

Under this contract, Orbital Insight will leverage its geospatial analytics and location intelligence capabilities, along with its multisensor data stack, to alert analysts and operators about potential jamming and spoofing events, techniques commonly implemented by adversarial actors to cover up illegal activities or sabotage operations.

This new technology platform will broaden the horizon of applications that can be protected against or mitigated, such as identifying drug trafficking, illegal fishing, sea-borne piracy, and unintentional commercial aviation disruptions.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center, a unit of the United States Air Force carrying out military intelligence on foreign air and space activities, will first utilize this new technology platform. Further, with successful integration, it will serve other US government wings such as defense, intelligence, and civil communities. Find out more here.

The US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs have significantly benefited several space and satellite companies by increasing the reach of their products and services across government agencies.

Orbital Insights is one of the leading American companies to secure SBIR phase I and II contracts. Therefore due to the company’s successful track record for delivering services to US government agencies, the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has considered Orbital Insight to be a suitable entity to develop this new technology platform to overcome GNSS disruptions. Find out more here.

Member news
Some of the latest stories and achievements by companies around the world that take part in the satsearch membership program:

EnduroSat to provide CubeSat platform for MissionSpace’s first space weather payload
EnduroSat and MissionSpace have signed a commercial agreement for MissionSpace’s first space weather payload, scheduled for launch in Q4 2022. MissionSpace’s payload will carry high-energy particle detectors that monitor the conditions of the sun and will further help the company enhance its data and intelligence capabilities for space weather cloud platform. The mission will also give an opportunity for EnduroSat to identify and correlate spacecraft anomalies with the intensity and type of recorded high-energy particles.

Space weather can impact several terrestrial and space-based systems, mainly satellites. Adverse events can create huge disruptions across industries, leading to severe financial losses. MissionSpace aims to provide space weather monitoring services globally using its advanced detectors. With such space weather monitoring services, there can be a potential reduction in operational disruptions across several sectors such as aviation, power generation grids, finance, satellite systems, etc. Find out more here.

Arcsec launches new star tracker for CubeSats
Arcsec has launched a new star tracker, Twinkle. It weighs around 40 grams and is ideally suited for use in CubeSats, but, due to its small size, high robustness, and simple interfacing, it can be also used for larger satellites. The Twinkle star tracker has an autonomous capability to detect and correct for outlier stars. It also includes custom algorithms that are optimized for accuracy, robustness, and low computational cost. It enables the downlink of the full image and has a power consumption rate of around 600 mW. Find out more here.

Sales Engineer Space job opening at ACM Coatings GmbH
ACM Coatings GmbH, a German subsidiary of Acktar Ltd. - an Israel-based company specializing in the development, industrialization, and production of light-absorbing black coatings - is looking for a potential Sales Engineer candidate with expertise in the space domain to serve high-tech customers across the European region. The position is based in Germany and the primary mission of the candidate will be to expand the company’s customer base and accelerate sales growth. Find out more here [PDF link].

KP Labs, ESA, and QZ Solutions launched "Seeing Beyond the Visible" challenge
KP Labs, along with the European Space Agency (ESA) and QZ Solutions, has launched a challenge "Seeing Beyond the Visible." The main objective of the challenge is to advance the state of the art for soil parameter retrieval from hyperspectral data in view of the upcoming Intuition-1 mission; a 6U-class satellite mission designed by KP Labs to observe the Earth using a hyperspectral instrument and an on-board computing unit capable of processing data using artificial intelligence in orbit. The satellite is set to aunch in Q1 2023. The challenge was initiated on 9 February 2022 and will continue to accept submissions until 1 July 2022. Find out more here.

KP Labs joins the satsearch membership program
We are very pleased to announce that Polish NewSpace company KP Labs has joined the satsearch membership program. KP Labs develops AI solutions to bring autonomy to demanding space missions. The company has developed a suite of hardware, software, and AI-powered algorithms designed to offer a holistic approach to on-board data processing (OBDP) at both payload and satellite level. Find out more about KP Labs here on their satsearch supplier hub.

A guide to NewSpace microsatellites - exploring 100-400 kg class platforms

Microsatellite platforms can bring versatility and high performance to space missions. In a new satsearch webinar on Wednesday this week (the 16th of February), you can hear from 4 microsat platform manufacturers who will share insights from their hands-on experiences.

Sign up to secure your spot today.

Featuring presentations from:

Guest presenters from these suppliers will discuss some of the opportunities microsat platforms can offer space missions, and provide technical information on how to work with related technologies.

An overview of recent updates to the global marketplace for space on

Satsearch member updates

Other updates

Find your next customer here

We have received many new requests from buyers all over the world, looking for space products and services from across the value chain - so there might be something your company could help with.

Take a look at the latest business opportunities on the satsearch website.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe and healthy!

Hywel at satsearch
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