Blue Canyon Technologies Delivers First of Four CubeSats to NASA’s Ames for Starling Technology Demo

LAFAYETTE, Colo., October 20, 2021 (Blue Canyon PR) — Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies LLC (“BCT” or “Blue Canyon”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, delivered the first of four 6U CubeSats to NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The CubeSats will support a technology demonstration called Starling. NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the demonstration. Under the current contract agreement, in addition to designing and manufacturing the spacecraft buses, BCT will also provide engineering and support to Starling mission operations for the four flight-qualified 6U CubeSats.

“The delivery of CubeSats will allow Ames to continue with payload integration and testing of the integrated flight unit,” said Stephanee Borck, senior program manager at Blue Canyon Technologies. “A lot of hard work from both teams has gone into making it thus far in the project. We look forward to delivering the next three CubeSats and seeing what the technology demonstration can do on-orbit.”

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Rocket Lab Selected to Launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System

Advanced Composite Solar Sail System on NanoAvionics’ 12U CubeSat. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

The Electron rocket will deploy an innovative satellite designed to test new deployable structures and materials technologies for solar sail propulsion systems, paving the way for sunlight to power future deep space exploration

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 6, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced it has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on the Electron launch vehicle.

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National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Launches Phase 4a of MagQuest Challenge on HeroX to Advance NASA’s Ability to Measure Earth’s Magnetic Field

Millions of Dollars to Help Accelerate Novel Approaches to Geomagnetic Data Collection for the World Magnetic Model

SPRINGFIELD, Va., September 28, 2021 (HeroX PR) — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) just launched the Demonstration Phase (Phase 4a) of its MagQuest Challenge to develop novel data collection approaches for the World Magnetic Model.

The WMM ultimately ensures the accuracy of navigation because it corrects for differences in magnetic forces at a user’s location. The model is used by thousands of systems for mobile navigation apps and is critical for military and commercial uses around the world.

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ULA to Launch Landsat 9 Satellite on Monday from Vandenberg

Landsat 9 (Credit: NASA)

VANDERBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (ULA Mission Update) — Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Landsat 9 mission for NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The mission is planned to lift off on Mon., Sept. 27 at 11:11 a.m. PDT from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 10:30 a.m. PDT on Sept. 27 and will broadcast live on NASA TV. Live launch updates and webcast available at: www.ulalaunch.com

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Small Satellite, Big Questions: CuPID CubeSat Will Get New Perspective on Sun-Earth Boundary

In April 2021, Connor O’Brien and Emil Atz complete “vibration testing” of CuPID to ensure it can withstand the space environment. (Credits: Brian Walsh)

By Alison Gold
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — When you help build a satellite the size of a shoebox, you learn pretty much everything about it, says Emil Atz, a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Boston University. You learn how to write a proposal to fund it, how to place the screws that hold it together, how to test each instrument to ensure it functions properly.

And then you learn how to say goodbye.

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AAC Clyde Space Expands to South Africa

UPPSALA, Sweden (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space, a leading New space company, today announced it has founded AAC Space Africa to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for satellites and space services in Africa. AAC Space Africa will design, build, and deliver space missions to the continent from its Cape Town base in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The new subsidiary will also be the group’s centre of competence for advanced radio communication.

The new company will be managed by Dr Robert Van Zyl as Managing Director and Francois Visser as Technical Director. They bring more than 40 years of small satellite experience to the company, having pioneered the African CubeSat industry through several missions, including the first CubeSat launched by the continent.  Their expertise spans all facets of New space technologies, with a special focus on communications. 

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Thinking Outside the Cube: Engineers Developing Disk Shaped Satellites

DiskSat is a plate-shaped satellite (1 meter in diameter, 2.5 centimeters thick) that could provide the required power and aperture needed for future missions. (Credit: Aerospace Corporation)

In response to growing interest in capable SmallSats, a team of engineers and scientists are thinking outside the (CubeSat) box with DiskSat, a new circular satellite design.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — A defining feature of a standard CubeSat is its containerization—the shape, volume and design—which makes it rideshare-friendly. This quality was historically important since these devices comprised a minor part of the total payload. Containerization ensured that CubeSats could not endanger the launch vehicle or primary payload.

Now, Aerospace engineers and scientists have reevaluated whether the standard CubeSat may be the best shape for a mission.

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Arianespace’s Launches 5 Satellites on Vega Rocket

Vega lifts off on Aug. 16, 2021 (Credit: Arianespace)
  • On August 16, Arianespace launched the 19th Vega mission (VV19), its 7th successful launch of the year.
  • This launch orbited Pléiades Neo 4, the second very high-resolution satellite of the new Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation satellite constellation.
  • Four innovative cubesats were also deployed for ESA and Unseenlabs.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, August 16, 2021 at 10:47 pm local time (01:47 am (UTC) on Thursday, August 17), a Vega launch vehicle operated by Arianespace lifted off successfully from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). This mission marked Arianespace’s 7th successful launch of the year and the second with Vega in 2021. It lasted one hour, 44 minutes and 59 seconds during which Pléiades Neo 4 separated on a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 625 km while the four auxiliary payloads separated at 551 kilometers.

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Arianespace’s 19th Vega Mission to Orbit Airbus Defence and Space’s Pléiades Neo 4 Earth Observation Satellite, 4 Scientific Auxiliary Spacecraft

Vega launches on April 28, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Arianespace’s upcoming Vega launch, scheduled for August 16, 2021, will orbit Pléiades Neo 4, the second very high-resolution satellite part of the new Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation constellation.
  • Vega Flight 19 (VV19) will also deploy four scientific spacecraft: three to the benefit of the European Space Agency (ESA) and one for the start-up Unseenlabs.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, August 16, 2021 at 10:47 pm local time (01:47 am (UTC) on Tuesday, August 17), Arianespace’s second Vega mission of the year will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, with the optical observation satellite Pléiades Neo 4 and four auxiliary passengers.

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Orion Stage Adapter Readied for Ride on Artemis I

CubeSats installed for the Artemis I mission. (Credit: NASA/Cory Huston)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Technicians continue to prepare small satellites, called CubeSats, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for their upcoming launch on the Artemis I mission. Technicians from the agency’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs worked with developers of the shoebox-sized secondary payloads as they underwent final processing and were secured inside the Orion stage adapter.

The ring-shaped stage adapter will be connected to the Space Launch System (SLS) Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, and the Orion spacecraft will be secured on top. All CubeSats will be deployed after SLS completes its primary mission, launching the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory toward the Moon. Although small in size, the CubeSats will conduct a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations including some that will expand our knowledge of the lunar surface during the Artemis I mission.

Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and the ground systems at Kennedy. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch

Members of the EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) team prepare their CubeSat to be loaded in the Space Launch System’s Orion stage adapter for launch on the Artemis I mission. This CubeSat, developed jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo, will help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth called the plasmasphere. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Two additional secondary payloads that will travel to deep space on Artemis I, the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, are ready for launch.

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ESA’s Boost! Fosters New Launch and In-orbit Services

ESA aims to boost commercial initiatives that offer space transportation services to space, in space, and returning from space. (Credit: ESA – Flavie Mauvais)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Companies with small satellites are set to benefit from a new end-to-end space transportation service offering additional in-orbit flexibility proposed by D-Orbit and supported through ESA’s Boost! programme.

This commercial service proposal is the first within ESA’s Boost! programme to enable in-orbit transportation services.

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D-Orbit Announces AWS Ground Station Integration with AURORA Mission Control Software

Uses AWS to help manage complex missions for D-Orbit ION satellite carriers, downlink and process data from multiple satellites, and enable bi-directional communication between D-Orbit’s satellites and Aurora

Lisbon, Portugal, July 22nd, 2021 – D-Orbit, a leader in the space logistics and transportation service industry and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology partner, today announced integration of AWS Ground Station with D-Orbit’s AURORA cloud-based mission control software. D-Orbit uses AWS Ground Station to power AURORA, manage increasingly complex missions for D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier such as the ongoing PULSE mission, and strengthen the D-Orbit space transportation and logistics infrastructure. D-Orbit also plans to use AWS Ground Station with AURORA to communicate with its WILD RIDE mission, launched on June 30th, and with D-Orbit’s future fleet.

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LICIACube is Ready for the First Planetary Defense Mission

LICIACube (Credit: Argotec)

An Italian microSat, made by Argotec and ASI, which will fly with NASA towards an asteroid

ROME (ASI PR) — LICIACube, the microsatellite built entirely in the Argotec plants in Turin on behalf of and in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be delivered and shipped in the coming weeks to the integration site in the United States in preparation for the launch, scheduled for the end year, of the first planetary defense mission from future potential asteroid threats .

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