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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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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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.

Science Payloads Set for Launch Aboard CRS-12 Mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 8, 2017 (CASIS PR) The SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle is poised to launch its 12th cargo resupply mission (CRS-12) to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than August 13th, 2017 from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will carry more than 20 ISS National Laboratory payloads to conduct research across a variety of areas aimed at improving life on Earth, including research on Parkinson’s disease, new anti-bacterial compounds, new approaches to treating blood pressure, and pioneering new advances in the use of stem cells for repairing damage from disease, among many others. Thus far in 2017, the ISS National Lab has sponsored more than 100 separate experiments that have reached the station.

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First Iodine Fueled Ion Engines Pass Major Milestone

BIT

3 thruster and neutralizer firing on xenon (top) and iodine (bottom). (Credit: Busek Co.)

NATICK, MA, JULY 31, 2017 (Busek PR) – Space propulsion firm Busek Co. Inc. confirms its ‘BIT-3’ ion thruster system completed two separate Critical D esign Reviews (CDR) for upcoming CubeSat space flight programs. CDRs are major milestones prior to manufacturing flight hardware, the initial set of BIT-3 flight systems being scheduled for delivery Q1 2018. The iodine fueled solar electric propulsion systems are the first of their kind which enable an entirely new range of small spacecraft missions.

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NASA Awards $14.3 Million to Small Businesses, Research Institutions to Develop Innovative Technologies

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 19 proposals from American small businesses and research institutions for Phase II of its competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, totaling $14.3 million in awards.

These selections are for the 2016 STTR program, which supports NASA’s future missions into deep space, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. The STTR program stimulates partnerships between small businesses and research institutions by providing awards for cooperative research and development efforts with potential for commercialization.

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House Appropriations Committee Boosts NASA’s Budget

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Ignoring the Trump’s Administration’s fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget request, the House Appropriations Committee has voted to boost NASA’ spending to $19.88 billion, including significant increases to the space agency’s Exploration and Planetary Science programs.

The appropriations bill is an increase of $779.8 million over Trump’s requested budget of $19.09 billion. It would increase NASA’s budget by $218.5 million over the $19.65 billion the space agency is receiving in FY 2017.

NASA’s Exploration program, which includes the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft, would be boosted by $226 million to $4.55 billion under the House measure. The administration had requested $3.93 billion, a cut of $390 million under current spending.

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Soyuz Rocket Launches 73 Satellites in One Flight

Soyuz-2 launch (Credit: Roskosmos)

A Russian Soyuz-2 rocket deployed 48 Planet Dove and eight Spire Lemur CubeSats on Friday during a flight that deployed a total of 73 satellites.

The Dove and Lemur satellites were secondary payloads on the launch, whose main mission was to deploy the Kanopus-V-IK remote sensing satellite.

Planet co-founder Will Marshall tweeted that all 48 satellites were deployed as planned and were in contact with ground controllers.

The Soyuz also launched three Cicero radio occultation satellites for GeoOptics and two Corvus-BC imaging CubeSats for Astro Digital.  Both companies are based in the United States.

In addition to Russia and the United States, the 72 secondary satellites came from Canada, Germany Japan, and Norway.

Consortium Eyes Scottish Peninsula for Spaceport

The UK is going all cuckoo for Cocao Puffs over spaceports. Everybody seems to want one, raising the possibility the nation will repeat America’s experience of having too many spaceports without enough vehicles to launch from them.

In any event, the latest candidate to surface involves a remote peninsula in the Scottish Highlands.

A consortium that includes Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace firm, believes that the A’Mhoine peninsula, between Dounreay and Cape Wrath, is the best location in Britain for a spaceport facility.

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Three CubeSats Get Rides on First SLS-Orion Flight

Three teams earned a $20,000 prize check and a slot to launch their CubeSat on Exploration Mission-1, the first integrated flight of NASA’s Space Launch System. NASA’s Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, Steve Jurczyk, Benjamin Fried of team CU-E3, Kyle Doyle of team Cislunar Explorers, Wesley Faler of Team Miles, and NASA’s Ames Research Center Director, Eugene Tu. (Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has awarded rides for three small spacecraft on the agency’s newest rocket, and $20,000 each in prize money, to the winning teams of citizen solvers competing in the semi-final round of the agency’s Cube Quest Challenge.

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Cube Quest Challenge Team Spotlight: SEDS Triteia

Triteia spacecraft is designed for maneuvering into lunar orbit. (Credits: SEDS/Triteia)

SAN DIEGO (NASA PR) — Triteia is the Cube Quest Challenge entry from the University of California, San Diego’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). As part of their approach, they are making use of an additively manufactured thruster for their spacecraft.

This 3D-printed engine thruster is vital for the semi-autonomous, chemically propelled 6U CubeSat to make its journey to the moon, then maneuvering to enter lunar orbit.
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Cube Quest Challenge Team Spotlight: Cislunar Explorers

A rendering of team Cislunar Explorers’ spacecraft. Two of these spacecraft are mated together to form a 6U-sized CubeSat, small enough to fit inside a briefcase. (Credits: Cornell University/Cislunar Explorers Team)

ITHACA, NY (NASA PR) — Tenacity and drive are hallmarks of Cornell University’s Cislunar Explorers Team. But there is another key factor in building and testing their spacecraft: Just add water.

“The core concept behind our work is using water as rocket fuel,” said project manager Kyle Patrick Doyle. “It’s something that we’ve been looking at for a long time, and it’s exciting to have a chance to test our technology in space.”

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Cygnus Leaves Station, Begins Week-long Secondary Mission

SS John Glenn near the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

DULLES, Va., 4 June 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that its Cygnus™ spacecraft  successfully unberthed from the International Space Station, beginning the next phase of its mission before it reenters Earth’s atmosphere. The “S.S. John Glenn” will now conduct three secondary payload missions including the Saffire-III fire experiment, deployment of four CubeSats and an experiment to further study spacecraft conditions upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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