Space Flight Laboratory Announces New Line of Cost-Effective CubeSats to Expand its Current Satellite Offerings

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, 27 July 2020 – Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of microspace missions for 22 years, has announced a new line of high-performance, low-cost CubeSat buses. The 3U (“THUNDER”), 6U (“SPARTAN”) and 12U/16U (“JAEGER”) CubeSats complement SFL’s legacy suite of space-heritage nano- and microsatellites, fulfilling mission size requirements from 3 kg to 500 kg.

SFL was among the first in the world to launch CubeSats including the CanX-1 CubeSat in 2003 and CanX-2 in 2008, with capabilities that exceeded the state-of-the-art at that time. Since then SFL focused on somewhat larger, more capable satellites for more challenging missions, garnering a reputation for “quality at low cost.” As SFL delivered high-performance, high-quality microsatellites for more than two decades, the CubeSat market matured, and the number of commercial opportunities increased.

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Benchmark Space Systems Secures Agreement with Tesseract Space To Provide Full Spectrum of Green In-Space Propulsion Solutions for Small Satellites

BURLINGTON, Vermont, August 5, 2020 – Benchmark Space Systems, a leading provider of in-space propulsion systems for small satellites, today announced a permanent licensing partnership to integrate Tesseract Space intellectual property, assets, and staff to elevate Benchmark’s major expansion in the development, deployment and support of its exclusively non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions for global rideshare markets.

Both Benchmark and Tesseract were founded in 2017 on green propulsion technologies designed to safely and quickly deliver small rideshare satellites the last leg of their space journey to an allotted orbital location, often in hours versus weeks using electric propulsion. Benchmark’s non-toxic propulsion solutions offer as much as one-thousand times the thrust of electric systems.

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Spaceflight Inc. and Benchmark Space Systems Sign Exclusive Deal for Green Propulsion On Next-Gen Sherpa Vehicles

Sherpa-FX transfer vehicle (Credit: Spaceflight)

BURLINGTON, Vermont, August 5, 2020 (Benchmark Space Systems PR) – Benchmark Space Systems, a leading provider of green in-space propulsion systems for small satellites, today announced an exclusive services agreement with rideshare leader Spaceflight Inc. to provide a full range of non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions designed to accelerate satellite rideshare deployments to prime orbital locations aboard its next-generation Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs).

Announced last month, Spaceflight’s first OTV in the Sherpa-NG family, Sherpa FX, will carry 16 customer spacecraft and several hosted payloads aboard a Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020.

Benchmark’s safe chemical propulsion will be equipped on an upgraded vehicle called Sherpa-LT as early as late next year. Benchmark’s propulsion features a patented On-Demand Pressurization System (ODPS) that securely fires up the thruster once the OTV is safely in space and deployed from the launch vehicle.

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TechEdSat-10 Deploys from the Space Station

TechEdSat-10 satellite after deployment from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — On July 13, TechEdSat-10, a six-unit CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station. The mission is demonstrating increased storage and power capabilities that could enable future science and exploration using small spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. Included on TechEdSat-10 are improvements over previous CubeSat technologies in the areas of communications and radio systems, and new propulsion techniques.

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CubeSats Get Close: Proximity Operation with Interesting Implications

AeroCube-10A (which is only 10 x 10 x 15 cm itself) photographed from 26 meters away. (Credit: Aerospace Corporation)

One of Aerospace’s CubeSats photographed its twin satellite from 22 meters away in a demonstration of the type of technology that could enable inspection and servicing missions.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — With some technical panache, one of The Aerospace Corporation’s CubeSats maneuvered itself within 22 meters of its sibling CubeSat and snapped a series of photos while orbiting at 17,000 miles per hour. 

This incredibly difficult technology demonstration, performed by a satellite the size of a tissue box, paves the way for future inspection or servicing missions. 

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Smart Design of Flat ‘Reflectarray’ Satellite Antennas

Flat-panel reflectarray antenna (Credit: TICRA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The traditional curved antenna reflector is instantly recognisable on a satellite, but also represents one of the bulkiest elements aboard. As an alternative, new ESA-backed software allows antenna designers to achieve comparable radio frequency performance from flatter, smarter ‘reflectarrays’, which can be manufactured cheaply, just like printed circuits. Two forthcoming ESA missions will demonstrate reflectarray antennas, one in Earth orbit and the other into deep space.

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Unlucky 13: Rocket Lab Electron Launch Fails

Electron’s second stage fires. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab’s 13th launch of its Electron booster was unlucky today, with a failure of the second stage sending seven small satellites to burn up in the atmosphere instead of entering orbit after launch from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle. We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron. The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” the company tweeted.

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Space BD to Provide Small Satellite Deployment Service from ISS to ASTROFLASH

TOKYO (Space BD PR) — Space BD Inc., the leading space startup in Japan that provides access to space using the International Space Station Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” and rideshares on Japan’s flagship launch vehicle “H3,” announced that it will provide SmallSatellite deployment service from the International Space Station to ASTROFLASH Inc. ASTROFLASH is a startup that aims to bring space closer to everyday life through the world’s first satellite platform for visual attraction. The two companies have signed the launch service contract.

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Australia Provides $11 Million in Space Grants to Boost Businesses and Local Jobs

CANBERRA (Karen Andrews PR) — The Morrison Government is backing a series of projects designed to grow Australia’s space sector and create local jobs, including improving GPS technology and the design of innovative spacesuits that will make spacewalking easier.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the 10 projects sharing in $11 million [USD $7.6 million] would boost jobs and skills in the space sector, and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Next Electron Launch Set for July 3

Electron lifts off from the Mahia Peninsula on its 12th flight on June 13, 2020. (Credit; Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif., 15 June 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) –Satellite manufacturer and global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, Rocket Lab, has today announced its next Electron mission is scheduled to launch just three weeks after its most recent mission in a demonstration of the company’s rapid launch capability.

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Momentus and EnduroSat Announce Two Service Agreements

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

Multiple satellite service agreements will expand Momentus’ service offering to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

SANTA CLARA, Calif./BULGARIA (Momentus/Eudurosat PR) — Momentus (www.momentus.space), provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, and EnduroSat (www.endurosat.com), the European designer of spacecraft for business applications and space exploration missions, today announced two separate service agreements. The 6U and 1U CubeSats will launch February 2021 on the second Vigoride demo mission onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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53 Smallsats Integrated for Vega’s First Rideshare Mission

Shown during the SSMS payload integration process for Arianespace’s Flight VV16 is the ION CubeSat carrier – a platform that will deploy 12 CubeSats after being placed in orbit by the Vega launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — The 53 satellite passengers for Arianespace’s rideshare flight with its Vega light-lift launcher have been integrated at the Spaceport in French Guiana, marking a key milestone in preparation for the June 18 Proof of Concept mission with Europe’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS).

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AAC Clyde Space Wins Contract to Develop Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle Solar Panels

GLASGOW (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space has been selected to develop a new solar panel for Moog’s new Small Launch Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle (SL-OMV), a space tug designed to deploy Cubesat constellations and guide small satellites to their final orbit. The order value is 340,000 GBP (approx. 4.0 MSEK) with planned delivery during the first quarter of 2021.

Moog will supply the Small Launch Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle (SL-OMV) to Lockheed Martin as part of the UK Spaceflight Programme, supported by the UK Space Agency. The lightweight vehicle is a propulsive tug to be used on rockets dedicated to the launch of small satellites.

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ESAIL Maritime Satellite Ready for Launch

The ESAIL satellite prior to encapsulation. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The ESAIL microsatellite for tracking ships worldwide – developed under an ESA Partnership Project – has completed its accommodation on Vega’s new dispenser for small satellites and is ready for launch. 

The Vega launch campaign at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, resumed three weeks ago, following an interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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