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.
Isar Aerospace Technologies wins EUR10 million EIC Horizon Prize at the 14th European Space Conference
Isar Aerospace Technologies has been awarded 10 million Euros by the European Innovation Council (EIC) to develop a low-cost space launch solution.
The challenge was to develop a non-dependent European commercial launch vehicle to deliver lightweight satellites to orbit. The award will further help the company to develop its 2-stage orbital launch vehicle, Spectrum, which aims to use clean propulsion to deliver satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) and Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
The EIC prize is funded under Horizon 2020, a project funding scheme initiated to drive economic growth through innovation in the European Union (EU). Find out more here.
Isar Aerospace Technologies was one of the European NewSpace companies, alongside Payload Aerospace SL and Rocket Factory Augsburg AG, in the final round of EIC Horizon Prize for Low Cost Space Launch. According to several market studies, the demand for lightweight satellites is increasing and micro-launchers similar to Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum will help meet the European satellite industry demand.
The finalists were announced on 18th February 2022, while the winner was announced during the 14th European Space Conference on the 25th February 2022. The conference also brought together several experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) as well as numerous European space companies under one umbrella to discuss, debate, and exchange ideas on the theme, “A New Era for European Space: Turning Vision into Action.”
An example of this ambition in progress is discussed in the next story.
Safran Aircraft Engines will deliver plasma thrusters to Thales Alenia Space
Safran Aircraft Engines will supply its PPS5000 plasma (electric) thrusters to six Galileo satellites which are a part of the second generation of the constellation. Thales Alenia Space, as the prime contractor of the six second-generation Galileo satellites, selected Safran Aircraft Engines as the supplier for the thrusters, which will be delivered during the first quarter of 2023. The new Galileo satellites are set to launch by the end of 2024.
The PPS5000 plasma thrusters are developed in close cooperation with the French and European space agencies, CNES and ESA. And the product was declared fully qualified for use in June 2021, after passing through 13,000 hours of full-power firing under vacuum conditions. These new plasma thrusters are designed to handle multiple stages of the satellites’ lifecycle - e.g. transfer, operational, and disposal - in orbit. Find out more here.
The second generation of Galileo satellites aims to integrate highly innovative technologies; mainly digitally-configurable antennas, inter-satellite links, and the use of fully electric propulsion systems.
This full-scale configuration upgrade, across several components, helped create a number of sub-contracts by Thales Alenia Space, eventually granting the plasma thrusters supply contract to Safran Aircraft Engines.
With the new technology integrations, the second-generation satellites will increase the accuracy of Galileo as well as its robustness to interference and jamming, and improving the resilience of its signal. Find out more here.
The last couple of weeks have been busy for European space, with a number of announcements on major programs such as Galileo. Another development was the announcement of substantial new funding for the European private space sector.
EU strengthens space investment capacity by extending cooperation for the ‘Cassini Seed and Growth Funding Facility’
The European Commission had put in place CASSINI, a space entrepreneurship initiative to boost funding for start-ups and space innovation, together with European Investment Fund (EIF) in January 2021.
This year, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, together with the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Kris Peeters, and Chief Executive of the EIF Alain Godard, made an official joint commitment to strengthen the cooperation for the ‘Cassini Seed and Growth Funding Facility.’
The objective of CASSINI is to encourage more venture capital to invest in start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) developing space technology applications in Europe.
With over a billion euros of capital in the investment fund, it looks like CASSINI could be well set up to create a strong foundation for space entrepreneurship in Europe, and further help companies that have received support from the initiative’s seed and growth funding facility.
According to several sources, the space sector contributes an estimated 10% to the overall economy of Europe. And the industry is expected to record a two-fold revenue increase in the coming years.
Therefore, to increase competitiveness, help NewSpace companies navigate new opportunities, and position them in the global market, the CASSINI initiative will provide appropriate support to ensure their healthy growth in Europe moving forwards. Find out more here.
Access to funding at this scale is vitally important for capital-intensive innovations in the private space sector. Combined with patient investment timelines (due to the time and complexities of developing, testing, launching, qualifying, and, ultimately, bringing an innovation to market) such backing could be a game-changer for some companies in the industry.
Another important opportunity for growth could also be collaborations and joint ventures; something we're increasingly seeing in the industry across the globe.
THISS and ENENSYS collaborate for cost-effective professional satellite IP hub system
THISS Technologies’ satellite IP (Internet Protocol) communication hub system will utilize ENENSYS Technologies’ SatXpress, a PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) board, on a COTS Server to provide a Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite - Second Generation (DVB-S2X) forward link satellite transmission.
This integration will provide more bandwidth, versatility, and functionality for maritime and mobile VSAT systems in the market.
The SatXpress board is designed to provide a high-quality satellite modulation sub-system compliant with DVB-S, DVB-DSNG, DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X standards.
The manufacturers believe it will easily integrate inside the server system, further reducing the hardware cost.
With this collaboration, both the companies aim to bring this compact and advanced satellite IP hub system to the maritime VSAT market. Find out more here.
Increased use of modular, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware for space-based communication is being observed across the market. More commercial stakeholders, products, and growing demand have led to more options on the market for new and established customers.
But it is also interesting to keep tabs on those companies that have traditionally relied primarily on in-house development and innovation. Particularly when their activities are so high profile.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2015 is about to hit the Moon
The mighty neighbor of our planet, the Moon, has sustained several natural and human-made object impacts in its history. This time, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set to imprint the surface of the Moon.
SpaceX launched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Deep Space Climate Observatory, also known as the DSCOVR mission, in 2015. While many of SpaceX’s missions have been in low-earth orbit (LEO), the DSCOVR mission was at a distance of over 1 million kilometers from Earth.
Generally, SpaceX returns the second stage of the rocket back to Earth using its reusable rocket technology. But in the case of the DSCOVR mission, the system did not have enough fuel to make it back into the atmosphere and is now on a collision course with the Moon. Find out more here.
The impact could possibly also offer insights into the composition of the Moon. While several nations have already flown scientific missions to study the Moon, much of the complex build-up of this planetary body still remains unexplored.
In 2009 NASA deliberately impacted the Moon surface using Atlas V’s Centaur upper rocket stage while delivering the Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission. This planned impact further helped NASA study the debris plume created by the Centaur’s impact.
As initiatives such as the Artemis program progress, we should be hearing a lot more about lunar missions. Whether, and indeed how, such exploratory missions yet translate to potential commercial opportunities could be one of the defining drivers of the next couple of decades of space.
Some of the latest stories and achievements by companies around the world that take part in the satsearch membership program:
Oxford Space Systems announces a £4 million investment round
Oxford Space Systems’ (OSS) latest investment round of £4 million will help the company accelerate the development of new innovative space products including the deployable antenna product portfolio. This investment round is supported by the UK government’s corporate venture arm for national security and defence technologies, the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), along with several other investors from the UK.
The company’s deployable antennas aim to improve performance, maximize stowage efficiency and minimize mass requirements for space applications. The NSSIF works closely with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the initial investment focus will be to accelerate the development of the OSS Wrapped Rib Antenna for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). With this close collaboration with NSSIF, OSS will gain the momentum to inject more manpower and accelerate its product development cycle.
Considering the plethora of opportunities in the UK’s space sector, and its ambitious plans to create a strong foundation for military space applications, investments in innovative companies such as OSS will fuel the space product innovation mechanism in the UK. Find out more here.
Dragonfly Aerospace to provide imaging solution system for Australian Government’s Office of National Intelligence second satellite in partnership with Spire
Spire will partner with Dragonfly Aerospace to design, build, and launch the second satellite for the Australian Government’s Office of National Intelligence (ONI), under the National Intelligence Community Satellite (NICSAT) program. The satellite, named NICSAT2, will be equipped with Dragonfly Aerospaces’ Gecko camera system.
The Australian National Intelligence Community launched the NICSAT program in 2020 to experiment with commercial satellite technologies, as well as on-board applications of advanced machine learning capabilities on CubeSats. In March 2020 Spire signed a contract with ONI to develop the first NICSAT (named Djara). With its launch on 5 October 2020, the satellite further paved the way for the Australian National Intelligence Community to explore the potential applications of commercially-available small satellite systems.
Unlike its predecessor, NICSAT2 will focus on the application and utility of miniaturized satellite systems, particularly with respect to machine learning. Aligning with NICSAT2’s aim to improve data collection and analysis, the Gecko camera system will be crucial to provide ONI with more insights on its ongoing experiments for commercial satellite technologies. Find out more here.
NanoAvionics will supply small satellite bus for Turion Space’s Droid-1 spacecraft
Turion Space has selected NanoAvionics’ small satellite bus, the MP42, for its upcoming orbital reconnaissance mission in LEO, Droid-1. The MP42 is a flight-proven small satellite bus that can also include a propulsion system; making it suitable for orbital reconnaissance mission applications such as orbital deployment, maintenance, synchronization, and atmospheric drag compensation.
The Droid-1 spacecraft is planned for launch in the first quarter of 2023. Its primary mission will be to provide accurate measurements of spacecraft and objects in orbit. Turion Space’s future Droid spacecrafts are aimed at removing space LEO and tackling complex in-orbit mission problems; including in-orbit servicing. Find out more here.
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 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.com:
Satsearch member updates