DigitalGlobe Reports Increased First Quarter Revenues

DigitalGlobe_logoRevenue up 3.5% to $175.4 Million
Net income available to common stockholders of $7.3 Million
Adjusted EBITDA up 30.5% to $95.4 Million
$61 Million of Share Repurchases Bring Total to $281 Million

WESTMINSTER, Colo., Apr. 27, 2016 (DigitalGlobe PR) — DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI), a leading global provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions, today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2016.


China Begins Assembly of First Flight-Ready Long March-5 Rocket

Long March 5 model
Long March 5 model

Chinese engineers have begun assembly of the first flight-ready Long March-5 rocket, which is set to make its inaugural launch later this year. The heavy-lift booster will be capable of lofting 25 metric tons into low Earth orbit.

Yang Hujun, vice chief engineer, has spoken about the next steps for the Long March-5 project.

“After the assembly is finished in the first half of this year, it will take a little more than a month to test it to ensure that the product is in good shape. The first launch will be made after it is out of the plant in the latter half of the year. ”

The new generation of rockets will come in 6 slightly different models – for manned space travel, as well as for the lunar and Martian exploration programs.

Among planned missions, is the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, which will be launched by the high-thrust carrier rocket to collect samples of moon soil by the end of 2017.

CASIS Releases Report on Earth Observation From ISS

CASIS_Campaign_Good_Earth_CoverEXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (CASIS PR) — The ISS provides a unique vantage point for Earth observation, and the ISS infrastructure itself provides many advantages as a robust platform for sensor deployment. Information gathered from ISS remote sensing applications have proven invaluable to resource management, environmental monitoring, geologic and oceanographic studies, and assistance with disaster relief efforts.

Recently, CASIS commissioned a study to evaluate the specific capabilities and limitations of the ISS as a host for commercial remote sensing payloads. A full report from this study is now available and is meant to initiate a path toward optimal use of the ISS National Lab as a platform for project implementation and technology development.

The report includes:

  • Expert contacts from NASA, CASIS, commercial leaders, and government agencies
  • Recommendations for how to support humanitarian and educational enrichment
  • Implementation strategies for hardware and technology adaptation on the ISS
  • Details on current and planned missions, data sources, and validation requirements

Download the report today.

NSRC Conference Early Bird Registration Expires Today

NSRC 2016 logoGreetings friends of the suborbital frontier!

 Good news! The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2016) poster abstract deadline has been extended by just a few days, to Monday, May 2nd at 11:00pm PDT! Click here to submit your poster abstract:

Also, a reminder that the Omni Interlocken Resort conference hotel discounted rate ($142/nt, $109 govt) expires this Sunday, May 1. So reserve your room soon! (Note that full refunds will be given to hotel cancellations made before noon on May 29.)


Update on Blue Origin’s BE-4 Engine From Jeff Bezos

Combusting CFD modeling of the BE-4 preburner shows temperature distribution of hot gaseous oxygen entering the turbine. (Credit: Blue Origin)
Combusting CFD modeling of the BE-4 preburner shows temperature distribution of hot gaseous oxygen entering the turbine. (Credit: Blue Origin)

In the BE-4 preburner, a very small portion of the engine’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel mixes and burns with all of the engine’s liquid oxygen to produce hot gaseous oxygen, which is used to drive the turbine and spin the turbopumps. Oxygen and LNG burn stoichiometrically above 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures of about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more are needed to reliably ignite and sustain the reaction. No practical turbine materials would survive at that temperature, especially in a reusable application. To resolve this, the BE-4 preburner mixes unburned oxygen into the burned gas stream to dilute the combustion gases and reduce the overall temperature to about 700 degrees Fahrenheit. If this mixing process isn’t meticulously designed, hot spots can persist in the stream and limit turbine life.


ULA: Atlas V Anomaly Traced to Fuel Valve

Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-6 mission to the ISS. (Credit: ULA)
Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-6 mission to the ISS. (Credit: ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 29, 2016 (ULA PR) — ULA successfully delivered the OA-6 Cygnus spacecraft to its precise orbit as planned on March 22. During the launch, the system experienced a premature first stage shutdown. Atlas is a robust system. The Centaur upper stage compensated for the first stage anomaly, delivering Cygnus to a precise orbit, well within the required accuracy. The ULA engineering team has reviewed the data and has determined an anomaly with the RD-180 Mixture Ratio Control Valve (MRCV) assembly caused a reduction in fuel flow during the boost phase of the flight. In addition to analysis and testing, all RD-180 engines are being inspected.

Last Friday, in preparation for the MUOS-5 launch, the Atlas V completed the Launch Vehicle on Stand (LVOS) operation, erecting the Atlas V into the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. LVOS will allow configuration of the vehicle to support RD-180 engine inspections and confirm all engine components are ready for launch. The Atlas V MUOS-5 launch is targeted for early summer; a new launch date has not been secured on the Eastern Range. The impact to the remainder of the Atlas V manifest is in review with new launch dates being coordinated with our customers. All missions manifested for 2016 are expected to be successfully executed by the end of the year, including OSIRIS-REx, which will remain in early September to support its critical science window.

World View Closes $15M to Create a New Category of Above-Earth Technology

World_View_Logo“Stratollite” flight platform signals the emergence of a new stratospheric economy

TUCSON, Ariz., April 27, 2016 (World View PR) — World View, the pioneers at the edge of space, today announced it has closed a $15M Series B round, with Canaan Partners as the lead investor. The round also includes participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Tencent, Moment Ventures, and Base Ventures. With the funding, World View plans to accelerate the development and commercial adoption of its “Stratollites” — high-tech balloons that operate in the stratosphere.


SpaceVR Raises $1.25 Million in Seed Funding

360-degree camera (Credit: SpaceVR)
360-degree camera (Credit: SpaceVR)

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 28, 2016 (SpaceVR PR) — SpaceVR, the world’s first platform for creating cinematic, live, virtual space tourism, announced today it has raised a $1.25 million seed financing round. The funding is led by Shanda Group with participation from Skywood Capital. The new capital will be used to accelerate the launch of SpaceVR’s Overview 1, the world’s first virtual reality camera satellite, into space.

SpaceVR aims to provide an immersive first-hand experience of space travel via all current virtual reality devices. Taking advantage of the latest advancements in miniaturized satellite technology, SpaceVR’s state-of-the-art satellites will offer unprecedented panoramic views of our home planet from outer space, allowing consumers to experience the first ever 360-degree video content from low earth orbit.


Garvey Spacecraft Selected for NASA STTR Agreement

P-19 rocket on Kodiak Island (Credit: Garvey Spacecraft Corporation)
P-19 rocket on Kodiak Island (Credit: Garvey Spacecraft Corporation)

NASA has selected Garvey Spacecraft Corporation for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award to develop technology for a new nanosat launch vehicle. The company is working with the University of Alabama in Huntsville on the project.


Chinese Scientists Develop Mammal Embryos in Space

china_flagChinese scientists say they have developed early-stage mouse embryos in space aboard the SJ-10 microgravity spacecraft, which landed successfully on April 19 after 12 days in orbit.

The SJ-10 research probe, launched on April 6, carried over 6,000 mouse embryos in a self-sufficient chamber the size of a microwave oven, according to Duan Enkui, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Among them, 600 embryos were put under a high-resolution camera, which took pictures every four hours for four days and sent them back to Earth.

The pictures showed that the embryos developed from the 2-cell stage, an early-on embryonic cleavage stage, to blastocyst, the stage where noticeable cell differentiation occurs, around 72 hours after SJ-10’s launch, Duan said. The timing was largely in line with embryonic development on Earth, he added.

The rest of the embryos loaded on the satellite were injected with fixatives at 72 hours after the launch for studies on the effects of space environment on embryonic development, according to Duan.

Senate Science Committee Approves Space Weather Bill

On June 20, 2013, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)
On June 20, 2013, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has approved a slightly modified version of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, which will fund work on protecting the nation from the effects of solar flares and coronal mass ejections that could fry our energy grid.


OneWeb Files for License in United States

OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)
OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

WASHINGTON, DC (OneWeb PR) — Today, OneWeb filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission seeking access to the U.S. market for its planned low earth orbit satellite system.

BlackSky Inks Partnership with United Nations to Enhance Global Decision-Making

Final integration of BlackSky Pathfinder spacecraft. (Credit: BlackSky Global)
Final integration of BlackSky Pathfinder spacecraft. (Credit: BlackSky Global)

BlackSky and the United Nations Plan to Utilize Data and Images
Collected from Small Satellites in Revolutionary Ways

SEATTLE – April 28, 2016BlackSky, a satellite-imaging-as-a-service company, today announced that it has established an official partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). UNITAR, created in 1965, is an autonomous body within the United Nations that was formed to develop capacities to enhance global decision-making and support country-level action for shaping a better future.