Space Industrial Base Workshop Finds U.S. Falling Behind China in Key Areas

Credit: State of the Space Industrial Base Workshop

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (SSIB Conference PR) — Industry and government thought leaders gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the fourth annual State of the Space Industrial Base (SSIB) Workshop between May 31-June 3, 2022 to assess the health of, and provide recommendations to sustain, the United States’ leadership and advantage in space. Previous SSIB reports provided in-depth assessments and actionable recommendations for U.S. leadership. This year’s theme was “Prosperity & Sustainability: Winning the New Space Race.”  

(more…)

Panel Urges Government, Industry Action to Improve Battered Space Supply Chain

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The question of how to strengthen the U.S. space industry’s weakened supply chain, which has been battered over the past two years by the global COVID-19 pandemic, was the subject of a panel discussion at the Space Tech Expo last week. The answers boiled down to the Pentagon adopting an agile approach to developing and acquiring technology, and reversing a decades-old trend by industry of outsourcing manufacturing abroad.

(more…)

Powering the Future of Space Exploration: DIU Launching Next-Generation Nuclear Propulsion and Power

Nuclear thermal propulsion system. (Credit; USNC-Tech)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 17, 2022 (DIU) — The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is advancing two different approaches to accelerate ground and flight testing for nuclear-powered prototypes: compact fusion and next-gen radioisotope concepts.  The ultimate objective is to launch a successful orbital prototype demonstration in 2027 of each approach.

(more…)

Motiv Space Systems and Blue Origin Announce ModuLink

Credit: Motive Space Systems

Motiv and Blue Origin awarded DIU contract to develop modular and scalable space robotics

PASADENA, Calif. (Motiv Space PR) — Motiv Space Systems announced today it has been awarded a contract under the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Modularity for Space Systems Program (M4SS) together with sub-contractor Blue Origin. The contract leverages Motiv’s advanced space robotics technology to enable a new age of space utilization in which deployed spacecraft can be repaired, augmented, or modified to make them more resilient and modular.

(more…)

Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin Announces the Defence Space Strategy

Jeremy Quin

Speech
Kings College London
1 February 2022

It’s a huge pleasure to be here today on the next step in our execution of the Integrated Review, the Defence Command Paper and Defence and Security Industrial Strategy.

A lot has happened in Defence in the last year. From assisting in homeland resilience in issues as varied at vaccine delivery to Heavy Goods Vehicle support to the largest Royal Navy deployment in decades making our positive presence felt on the far side of the world.

Above all, as I speak, the Defence Secretary is meeting NATO partners, discussing the truly concerning situation on Ukraine’s borders – the most serious threat of a major war on our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

However the British people know that what they can always expect from UK Defence is calm, determined, delivery.

(more…)

Virgin Orbit Launches 7 Payloads into Orbit

Cosmic Girl after takeoff from the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, January 13, 2022 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), the responsive launch and space solutions company, confirmed it successfully deployed into orbit all 7 customer satellites onboard its LauncherOne rocket during today’s Above the Clouds mission.

(more…)

Virgin Orbit Delays Next Launch Until After Merger Vote

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Orbit has delayed its next satellite launch, originally set for Wednesday, Dec. 22, to next month. The launch will come after shareholders of NextGen Acquisition Corp. II vote on Dec. 28 on whether to merge with Richard Branson’s launch services provider.

The merger with the special purpose acquisition company would allow Virgin Orbit to go public on Nasdaq under its own name. The deal will provide $483 million in capital to allow the company to grow.

(more…)

Virgin Orbit Set to Launch on Dec. 22

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Orbit is planning to launch five satellites using its LauncherOne rocket on Dec. 22, according to a U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners.

LauncherOne will be dropped by the Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl over the Pacific Ocean near the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. The launch window will last from 2-5 p.m. PST, the notice said. Backup launch dates are Dec. 23 and January 8-10 from 2:15-5 p.m.

(more…)

Virgin Orbit to Launch Again by End of Year

LauncherOne (Credit: Mojave)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Coming off flawless back-to-back launches, the Virgin Orbit team has settled into a steady flight preparation rhythm with LauncherOne. [Earlier today], the fully assembled rocket that will carry our next customers’ satellites to space has left our rocket factory in Long Beach and headed up to the bare concrete pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port that serves as all the spaceport we need. Already, the rocket has been mated to the customized 747 that serves as our flying launch pad, mobile mission control, and fully re-usable first stage all at once.

(more…)

SMC Partnering with Astra for Upcoming USSF Launch

Rocket 3.1 after liftoff from Kodiak Island in Alaska. (Credit: Astra)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF PR) — The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center will partner with Astra, a wholly-owned U.S. company based in Alameda, California, to perform a demonstration launch for the Department of Defense from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska later this month.  

(more…)

United States Space Force Partnering with VOX Space for First DoD Launch

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF PR) The United States Space Force, Space and Missile Systems Center has partnered with VOX Space, a US-incorporated, wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, to launch multiple Department of Defense satellites on a commercial rideshare mission from the Mojave Air and Space Port, California. The launch is currently scheduled for June 2021.

(more…)

ABL Space Wins Fourth Department of Defense Contract

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 17, 2021 (ABL Space PR) — ABL Space Systems announced its fourth contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). ABL was awarded “Responsive Launch II” by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a DoD organization that aims to strengthen U.S. national security by accelerating the adoption of commercial technology across the military and growing the national security innovation base. This award builds on ABL’s growing portfolio with the Department, which includes over $50M+ in active contracts.

Responsive Launch II is a multilateral effort between various DoD launch stakeholders, including DIU, the Space and Missile Systems Center Rocket Systems Launch Program, and the DoD Space Test Program. Within this Area of Interest, DIU sought solutions that increased flexibility to place payloads in their “mission-designated orbits” with minimal delay. This capability is key to achieving “responsive space access, mobility, and logistics” as outlined by the United States Space Force.

(more…)

Sierra Nevada Selected by DoD to Design, Develop Unmanned Orbital Outpost Prototype

Orbital Outpost (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Proposed Design Leverages Existing Commercial Tech to Achieve Savings in Cost, Schedule

SPARKS, Nev., July 14, 2020 (Sierra Nevada PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, was awarded a contract to repurpose SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle as a proposed commercial solution for an Unmanned Orbital Outpost – essentially a scalable, autonomous space station for experiments and logistics demonstrations – by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle serves as the core structure for the proposed design.

(more…)

DIU Awards Antenna Contract to Isotropic Systems for Trial Optical Beamforming Technology

READING, UK, 18 May 2020 (Isotropic Systems PR) – Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, today announced an antenna evaluation and development contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to test the ability of its patented multi-beam antennas to unlock high-powered bandwidth aboard next-gen Naval vessels at sea.

As the U.S. Navy expands the size and communications capabilities of its global fleet, the DIU is reviewing Isotropic Systems’ patented beamforming antenna technologies and circuits as an enabler to fuse multi-band, multi-orbit commercial and military capacity to deliver intelligence data at the tactical edge over a single platform.

(more…)

SpinLaunch Secures First Contract

Illustration depicting SpinLaunch orbital vehicle inside the electric kinetic launcher (Credit: SpinLaunch)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (SpinLaunch PR)–Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch, has announced that the company has been awarded a responsive launch prototype contract from the Department of Defense (DOD), facilitated by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).

(more…)