Putin, Justinian and the Revival of Empire

Mosaic of Emperor Justinian I in the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. (Credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40035957)

After decades of relative peace, a full-scale war has broken out in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Angered by the former Soviet republic’s efforts to integrate with Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rolled the dice and unleashed hell on his nation’s neighbor.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but there are patterns that echo down through time. Sixteen centuries ago, another European leader launched a similar invasion designed to restore past glories. He succeeded — to a point.

All this has Happened Before

In late June 533, an expeditionary force under the command of Gen. Flavius Balisarius set sail from the Eastern Roman Empire capital of Constantinople. After a voyage of several months along the coasts of Greece and Italy, the force landed at Caputvada on the North Africa coast in early September.

The expeditionary force’s target was the Vandal Kingdom, centered in the former Roman capital of North Africa, Carthage. Emperor Justinian I had dispatched the expedition with two objectives in mind, one short term and limited, the other expansive and long term.

The Vandals had been part of a wave of barbarian tribes that, pushed out of their homelands by marauding Huns, had overrun the Western Roman Empire in the early fifth century. (The empire had split into east and west in 395, with separate capitals at Ravenna and Constantinople.) Vandals and other barbarians had crossed the Rhine, pillaged their way across Gaul (modern day France and Belgium), and seized control of Iberia (present-day Spain and Portugal). For a period, life was good as the invaders soaked up the Mediterranean sun and lives off the tax revenues that used to go to the Western Roman Empire.

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EUSPA Publishes Earth Observation and GNSS Market Report

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (EUSPA PR) — To help you better appreciate and reap the full benefits of space technology, EUSPA experts compiled the EUSPA EO and GNSS Market Report.  The 216-page long release is the ultimate guide to anyone who seeks to make the EU Space technologies part of their business plan, develop new space downstream applications and see a tangible return on investment.

More than ever society relies on innovative solutions to deal with the big data paradigm, respond to and mitigate climate change, natural and man-made disasters, curb the spread of diseases and strengthen a global supply chain that underpins our daily lives. Earth Observation (EO) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data is becoming increasingly important to these innovative solutions through dozens of applications that are emerging or already in use by citizens, businesses, governments, industry, international organizations, NGOs, and researchers around the world. In 2021, GNSS and EO downstream market generated over 200 billion euros revenues and are set to reach almost half a trillion over the next decade.

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Suspension of Soyuz Launches Operated by Arianespace & Starsem

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace Press Release

Arianespace is strictly abiding by the sanctions decided by the international community (European Union, United States of America and United Kingdom) following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

As part of the mandate given by the ESA Member States to Arianespace, the operation of the Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport (CSG, French Guiana) and from Baikonur (Kazakhstan) through Starsem are governed by France/Russia inter-governmental agreement and ESA – Roscosmos space agencies agreement. This operation began after the end of the Soviet Union and has been very successful up to now. However, it is now challenged by Roscosmos’ unilateral decision to withdraw from CSG and suspend all Soyuz launches from Europe’s Spaceport. Readied Soyuz launchers and Galileo satellites are in stable configuration and in security.

Regarding ST38 for OneWeb from Baikonur, it has been postponed indefinitely following the conditions posed by Roscosmos to proceed. Arianespace will work with its partners to ensure the well-being of the goods and means currently in Baikonur.

Arianespace is in close contact with its customers and French and European authorities to best assess all the consequences of this situation and develop alternative solutions.

In the meantime, preparation of upcoming Ariane 5 and Vega C campaigns of 2022 are progressing according to plan and schedule.

Taking over from Ariane 5 and Vega, Ariane 6 and Vega C will provide Europe with a sustainable and autonomous access to space. Arianespace is confident in the success of these two launchers, to which it has been strongly committed since ESA’s 2014 Ministerial Conference in Luxembourg, on European institutional and global commercial markets.

OneWeb Suspends Satellite Launches From Baikonur

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Friday launch of 36 OneWeb broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome is officially canceled as the London-based company refused demands from the Russian government amid growing international tensions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Board of OneWeb has voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur,” the company said in a one-sentence statement.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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GMV Joins Net Zero Space Initiative to Eliminate Space Debris

  • The use of outer space and the more than $1 trillion in benefits estimated for 2030 is threatened by rising orbital pollution
  • There is an urgent need for all stakeholders in the space market to reach a consensus on its safe and sustainable use
  • GMV is a world reference in the study, monitoring and prevention of space debris proliferation, with more than 20 years of experience in this market

MADRID, Spain (GMV PR) — The space environment is becoming increasingly polluted due to the proliferation of objects orbiting in an uncontrolled manner around the earth, particularly in low and geostationary orbits (the most interesting for use and exploitation). Estimates suggest that there are more than one million objects larger than 1 cm capable of causing potential damage of various kinds, and the number is increasing at a dangerous rate. To ensure a sustainable use of space, various key players in the space industry (*), including GMV, have launched the international initiative called Net Zero Space.

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Can HKATG Challenge SpaceX’s Starlink? Chinese Company Prepares For Golden Bauhinia Satellite Constellation

HONG KONG, Feb. 24, 2022 (HKATG PR) — HKATG [Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group Limited ] has successfully launched five satellites for its ”Golden Bauhinia Constellation” in 2021, the aerospace development plan shows no sign of slowing down in 2022.

In January 2022, HKST announced that the Group has planned to launch two satellites named ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 3” and ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 4” in 2022 Q3, with the target launch time tentatively being scheduled in July 2022 and will continue to form and constitute part of the “Golden Bauhinia Constellation”.

At the same time, 25 satellites are planned to be launched in 2022 for the “Golden Bauhinia Constellation”, and the further launch of satellites this year will provide additional aerospace data as well as will boost the speed of receiving aerospace data. It’s worth noticing that “Golden Bauhinia Constellation” is the first-star chain plan of the Hong Kong aerospace industry, the whole project plans to launch 112 satellites.

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Roscosmos Suspends Soyuz Joint Launch Operations From Kourou, Recalls Personnel From Europe’s Spaceport

Soyuz-2 rocket launches 34 OneWeb broadband satellites from the Guiana Space Center. (Credit: Copyright ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG – P Piron)

Russia is suspending cooperation with Arianespace on the launch of Soyuz rockets from Europe’s Guiana Space Center and pulling its personnel from the South American spaceport over European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on the nation for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin tweeted: (Translated from Russian)

In response to EU sanctions against our enterprises, Roscosmos is suspending cooperation with European partners in organizing space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its technical personnel, including the consolidated launch crew, from French Guiana.

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European Union Moves Forward on $6.8 Billion Secure Comsat Constellation and Space Traffic Management Plan

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 15 February 2022 (European Commission PR) — Today, the EU is acting on its space ambitions by tabling two initiatives – a proposal for a Regulation on a space-based secure connectivity and a Joint Communication on an EU approach on Space Traffic Management (STM). Space technology is essential for facilitating our daily lives, contributing to a more digital, green and resilient future for our planet. As a major space power, the EU’s Space Programme already provides valuable data and services for a wide array of daily applications from transport, agriculture, and crisis response to the fight against climate change, to name a few.

However, due to new challenges and increased international competition, the EU’s space policy needs to constantly evolve and adapt if we want to continue enjoying freely the benefits that space brings. Today’s initiatives will help safeguard the efficiency and security of our current assets while developing European cutting-edge space technology to the benefit of our citizens and economy.

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Europe Moves Toward Independent Human Spaceflight Capability

Credit: ESA

European leaders kicked off the process of developing an independent human spaceflight capability at a space summit chaired by French President Emmaneul Macron on Wednesday.

Officials representing the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) directed ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher to initiate detailed discussions on how to initiate the program.

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Decisions From Europe’s 2022 Space Summit

TOULOUSE, France, 16 February 2022 (ESA PR) — European leaders today confirmed their ambitious plans to work closely together to accelerate Europe as a world leader in space during a series of high-level meetings held in Toulouse, France.

Under the plans, ESA, the EU and their member States are uniting to ensure that Europe fully realises the enormous untapped potential for space to tackle the urgent and unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges it faces.

The French Presidency of the European Space Agency and the European Union chaired the meetings, reflecting the close and growing cooperation between the EU and ESA.

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European Space Summit Seeks to Boost Competitiveness, Protect Environment & Launch Independent Human Spaceflight Program

Credit: ESA

PARIS (ESA PR) — European leaders will reaffirm plans to launch Europe on a world-leading trajectory during a high-level space summit to be held on 16 February in Toulouse, France.

Urgent action is needed to tackle the unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges faced by Europe – from the climate crisis and its consequences to threats to crucial infrastructure in space and on Earth.

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Italy and France Agree to Deepen Cooperation on Launch Vehicles & Other Areas

ROME November 26, 2021 (Italian Space Agency PR) — The Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, signed the “Treaty for Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation” at the Quirinale, in the presence of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and of the Italian and French delegations.

The agreement known as the Quirinal Treaty also gives specific attention to space cooperation between Italy and France, as stated in article 7. [see below]

On the sidelines of the bilateral agreement, an Italian-French Agreement on launchers was also signed. Vittorio Colao, Minister for Technology Innovation and Digital Transition, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, agreed on the conclusions of the high level group on space matters they initiated last September.

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ESA Helps Greece to Boost its Space Investments

PARIS (ESA PR) — Ambitious plans to expand the nascent space industry in Greece – enabling the digital transformation of society while creating jobs and generating prosperity – have received a fillip from ESA.

On 26 November, the Ministry of Digital Governance in Greece announced the implementation path to materialise its Greek National Satellite Space Project, with the technical support of ESA.

The project is part of the nation’s Recovery and Resilience Facility plans, which aim to enhance Greece’s capabilities in satellite technologies and applications, and to empower the country to exchange satellite data.

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ESA, EDA Signs Deal to Boost Secure Satellite Communications

PARIS (ESA PR) — Disruptive services and innovative features of the next generation of secure satellite communications will be analysed following the signing of a new memorandum of understanding.

The agreement extends the cooperation between ESA and the European Defence Agency (EDA), an EU body that promotes and facilitates integration between member states within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.

Telecommunications are becoming increasingly crucial to our society, economy and security, including in support of Europe’s strategic autonomy. 

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