ELSE Raises $3 Million Seed Round for Internet of Things Constellation

Lausanne, Switzerland (August 10th, 2017) – ELSE SA, the Swiss new space start-up, today announced the funding of a $3 million seed round. The successful capital raise was enabled by a group of investors including Airbus Ventures, a Geneva-based Independent Assets Manager and Multi Family Office, as well as numerous additional Swiss- and internationally-based private investors. The seed round follows $3 million previously raised by the company in public support.

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Lockheed Martin Closes In On Shrinking the Telescope

Artist’s conception of SPIDER telescope in orbit (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today revealed the first images from an experimental, ultra-thin optical instrument, showing it could be possible to shrink space telescopes to a sliver of the size of today’s systems while maintaining equivalent resolution.

Weighing 90 percent less than a typical telescope, the Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-Optical Reconnaissance (SPIDER) opens a path for extremely lightweight optical instruments, allowing for more hosted payloads or smaller spacecraft. More broadly, the sensor technology has applications for aircraft and other vehicles—anywhere that depends on small optical sensors. The future could see UAVs with imagers laid flat underneath their wings, and cars could have imaging sensors that are flush against their grills.

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German Orbital Systems to Launch LEO Communications CubeSat

BERLIN (German Orbital Systems PR) — German Orbital Systems GmbH works on the development of small satellites’ constellation for communication in LEO orbit, the constellation will consist of 3U CubeSats. This project is implemented in partnership with iSky Technology s.r.o. (Prague, Czech Republic).

The first satellite, called “D-Star ONE”, will demonstrate the main bus components. It will future four communication modules with D-Star capability, two of which be fully dedicated to the amateur radio community. Subsequent satellites will have enhanced capabilities and communication protocols to address larger potential customer groups beyond the amateur radio community. D-Star ONE will become the first private German satellite, i.e. designed and built on own company funds.

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New CubeSat Propulsion System Uses Water as Propellant

Purdue University graduate student Katherine Fowee and postdoctoral research associate Anthony Cofer work on a new micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats. (Credit: Purdue University/Erin Easterling)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR)  – A new type of micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats uses an innovative design of tiny nozzles that release precise bursts of water vapor to maneuver the spacecraft.

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NASA Studies Tethered CubeSat Mission to Study Lunar Swirls

This artist’s drawing shows how two CubeSats, connected by a miles-long tether, would gather measurements on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — A novel mission concept involving two CubeSats connected by a thin, miles-long tether could help scientists understand how the Moon got its mysterious “tattoos” — swirling patterns of light and dark found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface.

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Techshot Research System Headed for International Space Station

ADvanced Space Experiment Processor ((Credit: Techshot)

GREENVILLE, Ind., August 8, 2017 (Techshot PR) – Onboard the next SpaceX cargo spacecraft launching to the International Space Station (ISS) from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center will be a commercial research system owned and operated by Techshot Inc. The equipment will conduct regenerative medicine experiments on board the station before returning to Earth in the same capsule for a splashdown off the coast of Southern California approximately 30 days later.

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Ad Astra Completes NextSTEP Milestones for Year Two

WEBSTER, Texas (Ad Astra PR) — Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully completed all contract milestones and deliverables for the second of its three-year Next Space Technology Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract with NASA. The 9 million dollar, fixed-price contract remains on schedule and on budget. After a successful year-two performance review at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. on July 24, 2017 and completion of a 10-hour cumulative test of the 200SSTM rocket at 100kW, Ad Astra received NASA approval to proceed with year-three activities.

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Video: Elon Musk Describes Vision for a Human Civilization


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Elon Musk has never been one to keep his long-term plans to himself. Beyond the development of reusable rockets, electric cars, and revolutionizing solar power, he has also been quite vocal about establishing a colony on Mars within his lifetime. The goal here is nothing less than ensuring the survival of the human race by creating a “backup location”, and calls for some serious planning and architecture.

These and other aspects of Musk’s proposed mission to Mars were outlined in an essay titled “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species“, which was published in the June 2017 issue of the journal New Space. The paper is a summary of the presentation he made at the 67th Annual Meeting of the International Astronautical Congress, which took place from September 26th–30th, 2016, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The paper was produced by Scott Hubbard, a consulting professor at Stanford University and the Editor-in-Chief of NewSpace, and includes all the material and slides from Musk’s original presentation. Contained within are Musk’s thoughts on how the colonization of Mars could be accomplished in this century and what issues would need to be addressed.

NSF, CASIS Select 3 Combustion & Thermal Transport Experiments for ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 9, 2017 (CASIS PR) –  The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced three projects have been selected from a joint solicitation focused on leveraging the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory in the fields of combustion and thermal transport. In total, up to $900,000 will be awarded for these three investigations to support flight projects to the ISS National Laboratory.

Through this partnership, CASIS and NASA will facilitate hardware implementation and on-orbit access to the ISS National Laboratory.  NSF will fund the selected projects to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.

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CloudIX Looks to Serve CubeSat Market

Credit: CloudIX

There’s a new startup looking to serve the growing small satellite market. CloudIX (Cloud Nine) is developing a system that dispenses with a ground-based first stage in favor of launching a rocket from a balloon.

“The benefit of being launched at high altitude (135,000ft/41km) is dramatically reduced air resistance, allowing higher rocket altitudes that weren’t previously possible at this scale,” the company says on its website.

CloudIX says it can deploy 16 1U CubeSats or a 50-lb payload to an altitude of 220 miles (355 km).  Mobile deployment will allow for the deployment of satellites into a variety of orbital planes, the company said.

CloudIX is headquartered in Hayward, Calif.

SSL, NASA Complete PDR on Restore-L Servicing Satellite

Artist’s conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 8, 2017 (Space Systems Loral PR) Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced that it successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for NASA’s Restore-L mission to provide satellite servicing in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).  With the completion of the PDR, Restore-L is proceeding on schedule to the next phase of development and its launch in 2020.

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Orbital ATK Conducts PDR on Landsat 9

DULLES, Va., 8 August 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, is making excellent progress on the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 9 spacecraft less than a year after winning the contract award in October 2016. Landsat 9, an advanced land surface mapping satellite, will collect space-based images and data that serve as valuable resources for researchers in areas that include agriculture, land use mapping, emergency response and disaster relief. Orbital ATK is designing and manufacturing the satellite, integrating two government-furnished instruments, and supporting launch, early orbit operations and on-orbit check-out of the observatory.

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Accion Systems, York Space Systems to Develop Standardized Propulsion System

BOSTON, August 7, 2017 (Accion Systems PR) — Accion Systems and York Space Systems announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a standardized propulsion system for future use with York Space Systems’ spacecraft platform.  As part of the intended partnership, Accion Systems will become a preferred provider of standardized propulsion systems, providing York’s customers with state-of-the-art ion engine systems for their spacecraft missions.

“We are thrilled to be working with York Space Systems, one of the most exciting manufacturers of satellites today,” said Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems.  “By leveraging our scalable electric propulsion systems, York’s customers will be able to expand the capabilities and extend the life of each mission, helping create a new standard for what’s achievable in commercial and government space.”

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