Former BAE Systems Executive Jerry M. Wohletz to Lead Draper

Jerry M. Wohletz (Credit: Draper Laboratory)

CAMBRIDGE, MA (Draper PR) — The Board of Directors of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., announced today that Dr. Jerry M. Wohletz, a senior executive at BAE Systems, Inc., has been selected as Draper’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.

Wohletz will assume his position on June 27. He succeeds William A. LaPlante, who stepped down as CEO in April after the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination by President Biden as Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. Tara Clark, who has been serving as Draper’s Acting President and CEO, will return to her role as Vice President for Operations when Wohletz begins his duties.

Draper’s Chairman of the Board, David R. Shedd, is delighted to welcome Wohletz to Draper. Shedd noted that “Jerry brings a breadth and depth of experience as Draper’s next president and CEO that make him ideal for this position. His widespread reputation as a strong leader with a long-standing commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the national security sector underscores why Jerry is an outstanding choice to lead Draper for the coming years.”

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AFA Congratulates StellarXplorers VIII Champions

Team Panther #3 from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., pose with AFA President Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright, USAF (Ret.) and Space Force Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton after winning the StellarXplorers VIII Competition on April 23, 2022.

ARLINGTON, Va. (Air & Space Forces Association PR) — AFA’s StellarXplorers Space STEM program capped its eighth season by declaring Team Panther #3 from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., the champion of its National Space Design Competition Finals held at Space Center Houston.

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BAE Systems to Develop Mission Data Framework for Space Systems Command

SAN DIEGO, Ca. and LOS ANGELES, Ca., April 6, 2022 (BAE Systems PR) — BAE Systems will develop the mission data framework for Space Systems Command’s Enterprise Management and Control (EM&C) system. Under the prototype contract, BAE Systems will create an integrated data management environment, connecting interoperable sources to support fusion and discovery of data, minimize disruptions, deliver near real-time status of assets, and provide curated data for mission needs.

During a year-long development period, BAE Systems will perform four demonstrations. The demonstrations will show improved situational awareness for global satellite communications, or SATCOM, and underscore how the framework allows warfighters to rapidly respond to end users in contested, degraded, and operationally challenged environments.

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ICEYE Raises USD 136 Million in Series D Funding Round

HELSINKI, Finland, February 3, 2022 (ICEYE PR) – ICEYE, a world-leading SAR data provider and expert in NatCat solutions, today announced the closing of a $136M Series D funding round, led by long-standing investor Seraphim Space. New strategic investors to ICEYE also include BAE Systems and Kajima Ventures. In addition, Molten Ventures, OTB Ventures, True Ventures, C16 Ventures, Chione Ltd, Services Group of America, the UK’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), Space Capital and Promus Ventures have also participated in the funding round. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as placement agent for the transaction.

With this latest funding round, ICEYE has raised a total of $304M in financing since 2015. ICEYE owns and operates the world’s largest constellation of SAR satellites and the company has successfully launched 16 satellite missions in total since its first-ever spacecraft was placed into orbit only four years ago.

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BAE Systems Acquires Smallsat Manufacturer In-Space Missions

Faraday rideshare satellite (Credit: In-Space Missions)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (BAE Systems PR) — BAE Systems has acquired In-Space Missions, a UK company that designs, builds and operates satellites and satellite systems. The acquisition will combine BAE Systems’ experience in highly secure satellite communications with In-Space Missions’ full lifecycle satellite capability, to make a compelling sovereign UK space offer.

In-Space Missions was founded in 2015 and is based in Hampshire with more than 30 employees. It specialises in offering space services for activities covering earth observation, satellite communications, navigation, and space science and exploration. 

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Ministry of Defence Makes £9.5 Million Investment for Military Space Communications

LONDON (Ministry of Defence PR) — The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have awarded a £9.5 million [US $13.1 million] contract to In-Space Missions Ltd for the build of the Titania satellite, which will undertake vital research on the next-generation of communications technology.

To be launched in 2023 and approximately the size of a washing machine, the satellite will support the ‘Titania Operational Concept Demonstrator’ which is exploring the military utility of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) direct-to-earth free-space optical communications (FSOC).

As modern battlespace technology requires increasingly high bandwidth, FSOC has the potential to transform military communications with its ability to transfer large volumes of data, with a low risk of detection or interception.

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Reaction Engines Announces Conceptual Study for SABRE Engine Hypersonic Test Bed

SABRE engine (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINGDON, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines is delighted to announce the launch of a conceptual study to develop a flying Hypersonic Test Bed (HTB) concept for the in-flight demonstration of SABRE technology. 

The study was initiated through the UK Space Agency and will be conducted under the European Space Agency General Support Technology Programme (GSTP).  It involves a consortium consisting of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (including Cranfield University), Reaction Engines, BAE Systems and Frost & Sullivan.

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BAE Systems to Acquire Collins Aerospace GPS, Raytheon’s Airborne Tactical Radios Businesses

ARLINGTON, Va. (BAE Systems PR) — BAE Systems, Inc. announced today it has reached definitive agreements for the proposed acquisitions of Collins Aerospace’s military Global Positioning System (GPS) business and Raytheon’s Airborne Tactical Radios (ATR) business.

These two high-performing businesses are being sold in connection with obtaining the required antitrust clearances for the previously announced pending merger between Raytheon and United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

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BAE Systems Wins DARPA Contract to Develop Machine Learning Capabilities for Space Situational Awareness

ARLINGTON, Va. (BAE Systems PR) — BAE Systems has been awarded a Phase 2 contract to develop machine learning capabilities aimed to help the military gain better awareness of space scenarios for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The goal of DARPA’s Hallmark Tools, Capabilities, and Evaluation Methodology (Hallmark-TCEM) program is to not only develop and evaluate tools and capabilities that increase an operator’s understanding of space events, but also enhance the ability to select effective courses of action for any given situation.

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Reaction Engines Receives $37.6 Million Investment

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Reaction Engines has received a large investment by Boeing HorizonX and two other companies, CNBC reports.

The U.S. industrial giant joined Rolls-Royce and defense company BAE Systems in a $37.6 million fundraising round for U.K.-based propulsion company Reaction Engines. This is both the second foreign investment and the second space investment for Boeing HorizonX Ventures, which contributed to the $15 million funding round for Australian satellite company Myriota last month.

Reaction Engines’ advanced propulsion “could change the future of air and space travel,” according to Boeing HorizonX vice president Steve Nordlund.

“We expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” Nordlund said in a statement.

Reaction Engines, which has now raised more than $140 million over the last three years, is developing a hybrid jet and rocket engine. In theory, the company’s SABRE engine will be capable of operating as a jet at take-off and transitioning to a rocket at higher altitudes.











UK Government Awards Launch Feasibility Studies

UK_flagSpace News reports the British government has awarded contracts totaling approximately $2 million to five groups for feasibility studies on launching out of the United Kingdom.

Airbus Safran Launchers, the prime contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets, which has said was interested in a small-satellite launcher in addition to commercializing its work on a suborbital space-tourism vehicle.

Deimos Space UK associated with Firefly Space Systems of the United States, developing a vertical-launch rocket.

Lockheed Martin of the United States, proposing a version of its Athena small-satellite vertical-launch vehicle.

Britain’s Orbital Access associated with BAE Systems and Reaction Engines Ltd., proposing to use a modified version of Reaction Engines’ single-stage-to-orbit technology, whose development is being partially funded by the British government.

Virgin Galactic, which is proposing its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, designed in the United States.

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Reaction Engines Signs ESA Contract

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., today announces the signing of a €10m European Space Agency (ESA) contract which will enable the development of a ground based demonstrator of SABRE™, a new class of aerospace engine which is highly scalable with multiple potential applications in hypersonic travel and space access.

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Reaction Engines Appoints BAE’s Chris Allam to Board of Directors

reaction_engines_logoABINGTON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — The Board of Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Allam, Engineering Director at BAE Systems, as a Director of the Company. His appointment is part of the strategic investment and working partner relationship BAE Systems has entered into with Reaction Engines and he will co-ordinate BAE Systems’ collaboration on Reaction Engines’ development of its SABRE™ engine.

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Will Stratolaunch Have its Wings Clipped?

Stratolaunch carrier aircraft under construction in Mojave, Calif. (Credit: Stratolaunch Systems)
Stratolaunch carrier aircraft under construction in Mojave, Calif. (Credit: Stratolaunch Systems)

During the New Space Conference in July, I asked Vulcan Aerospace President Chuck Beames whether the company had made a fundamental mistake with Stratolaunch Systems. Shouldn’t it have figured out what sort of air-launch rocket it was going to use first before building the world’s largest aircraft to launch it from?

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