Kepler Communications Announces Testing of ÆTHER™ Network with Spire Global

TORONTO, December 16, 2021 (Kepler Communications PR) — Kepler Communications announced today the signing of a contract with Spire Global, Inc. (“Spire”) (NYSE: SPIR), a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services, to launch a test of Kepler’s ÆTHER network. This will serve as an initial test bed for Kepler’s ÆTHER service and will also help Spire evaluate how the technology can support its goal to collect accurate, timely and global data.

Announced at Satellite 2021, ÆTHER is the fulfilment of Kepler’s mission to enable the space economy by delivering the infrastructure for always-on, real-time connectivity to space-based assets. With ÆTHER, Kepler will solve one of the key challenges facing low earth orbit missions, which is limited connectivity with Earth, by relaying data through the ÆTHER network. Without an always-on, real-time communications link, operators must wait until the satellite is above a ground station to learn about the health of the asset, confirm satellite location, or identify anomalous behavior. In addition, the value of the data collected by satellites diminishes with time until it eventually reaches Earth. By providing an always on, real-time link to satellites, Kepler’s ÆTHER service delivers an important new service to the space community, while opening a new market for Kepler’s satellite technology.


NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Webb Space Telescope Launch

The James Webb Space Telescope is fueled for flight. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Webb will be the world’s largest and most powerful space science observatory. It will build upon the discoveries of other missions to answer fundamental questions about the universe and its origins. Launch is scheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 7:20 a.m. EST on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.


Satellogic Signs Agreement to Provide Dedicated Satellite Constellation to the Republic of Paraguay

CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 26, 2021 (Satellogic PR) — Satellogic, a leader in sub-meter resolution satellite imagery collection, announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (the “LOI”) with Agencia Espacial del Paraguay (“AEP”) to develop a Space-as-a-Service program for the country. As a result of this LOI, Satellogic and AEP will undertake various technological and scientific projects in accordance with AEP’s Institutional Strategic Plan and the Space Policy of Paraguay.

The LOI provides a framework for the start-up and development of a dedicated satellite constellation network. Satellogic’s Dedicated Satellite Constellation Program enables municipal, state, and national governments to manage a fleet of satellites over a specific area of interest and develop a geospatial imaging program at unmatched frequency, resolution, and cost.


SMC Stands Up New Space Safari Program Office for Rapid Response to Urgent Needs

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), recently announced the establishment of the Space Safari Program Office within SMC’s Special Programs Directorate.  Space Safari responds to high-priority, urgent space needs by rapidly acquiring, integrating and executing missions in support of USSPACECOM requirements and other combatant commander needs. These missions are not typically a part of an enduring program of record, but respond to high priority needs to deploy space systems quickly to respond to emerging threats.  

As a high-speed integrator for specialized space missions, Space Safari operates with a unique mission focus, rapidly connecting space vehicles, specialized payloads, launch campaigns and ground systems, all while coordinating with the operational community and end-users.  Similar to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Big Safari office, Space Safari uses mature technology and existing production lines to quickly repurpose and integrate space assets from multiple organizations.


SMC Awards $32.5 Million to Palantir USG Inc. for Data-as-a-Service

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise (ECX) has awarded a firm-fixed price contract totaling $32.5 million, to Palantir USG Inc on April 30, 2021. 

This sole source award provides a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) Platform and converges three separate mission areas (Space C2, NORAD-NORTHCOM, and Project Brown Heron) using the same tech stack called Warp Core. It supports the Project Brown Heron effort under the U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, by providing a common data foundation that improves readiness information, which is a critical component of DAF-wide COVID-19 analysis and decision-making effort.


AIAA, Blue Origin Partner to Launch Experiments Designed by High School Students into Space

Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable, suborbital rocket. (Credits: Blue Origin)

January 9, 2020 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Blue Origin have partnered to create Design/Build/Launch (DBL), a new competition designed to launch experimental payloads to study the effects of short-duration microgravity.


Ad Astra Rocket Company Reaches Full Power Milestone for VASIMR VX-200 Engine

photograph of Ad Astra scientists using a laser alignment rig with the VX-200. Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company

VASIMR® VX-200 Meets Full Power Efficiency Milestone

Ad Astra Press Release

Houston, TX –- Nov. 23, 2010 — Ad Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR® VX-200 rocket prototype demonstrated its highest power efficiency and performance so far in tests, which ended Friday November 19 at the company’s Houston laboratory. Last week’s results met the efficiency milestone set by the company as it specifies the requirements for the VF-200 flight engine for the International Space Station. The VX-200 is the full power laboratory prototype that provides the technical basis for the design of the flight hardware.


Ad Astra Rocket Company to Offer Stock to Investors

Rocket Company Launches Stock Offering
Tico Times

The Ad Astra Rocket Company, founded in 2005 by Costa Rican astronaut and physicist Franklin Chang, announced Wednesday that it will become a limited public corporation, offering stock to investors willing to pay a minimum of $25,000 on Costa Rica’s National Stock Exchange.


Package Delivery and Trash Pickup, Courtesy of the VASIMR Rocket


Costa Rican creates plasma rocket to pick up space trash
Global Post

Before launching speedier Mars missions, Chang Diaz proposes some practical uses of the rocket closer to Earth. It could, for example, act like a DHL in outer space, in which plasma-thrust crafts would transport packages, mainly fuel, to satellites or spaceships on the cheap — well, cheaper. Shipments that today run to the tune of a billion dollars, according to the CEO, would cost half a billion on Ad Astra spacecrafts.

He mentioned another use that flies closer to the heart of his eco-friendly homeland. These ships could start to clean up the clutter left by disused satellites.


Ad Astra Reaches Milestone with VASIMR Engine


30 September 2009

Ad Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR® VX-200 rocket prototype reached its highly- coveted 200 kW maximum power milestone at 11:59 am (CST) in tests conducted at the company’s Houston laboratory. The DC power trace actually exceeded the design requirement by 1 kW and exhibited the clear signature of a well established plateau at peak power (see graph).


Could VASMIR Make Human Mars Missions Feasible?


Route to Mars may come through Costa Rica
Tico Times

The route to Mars may go through Costa Rica. On Wednesday, Ronald Chang, executive director of Ad Astra Rocket Company Costa Rica, gave a presentation at the National Museum that detailed how Costa Rica has the opportunity to serve as a vital cog in the first-ever mission to Mars.

Chang is the brother of former NASA astronaut Dr. Franklin Chang, who in 24 years as an astronaut, logged over 1,600 hours in space during seven space missions, making him one of the most-traveled astronauts in history. Both of the Chang brothers were born in San José.

In his presentation, Ronald Chang explained that his brother created an ion plasma rocket, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, known as VASIMR, which can reach Mars in 39 days. Using technology currently available, a rocket can travel to Mars in eight to nine months.

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