Orbital Sidekick Secures $16 Million Series A to Commercialize Hyperspectral Satellite Monitoring Solutions for Energy and Defense Sectors

SAN FRANCISCO, April 13, 2021 (Orbital Sidekick PR) — Orbital Sidekick (OSK), the first US commercial company to deploy hyperspectral sensors in space, has announced a $16 Million Series A funding round led by Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore, to expand its innovative product offerings, new strategic partnerships, and introduce its advanced monitoring technology to new industries. The round also includes Energy Innovation Capital, existing investors Allied Minds and 11.2 Capital, and Syndicate 708.

“Paired with our recent $16M United States Air Force contract award in October 2020, the close of this Series A round allows us to focus on the deployment of the GHOSt constellation and the commercial release of our monitoring services platform SIGMA™,” Tushar Prabhakar, COO and Co-Founder of Orbital Sidekick, said. “With our growing list of commercial and government partners, OSK is primed to become a global leader in providing targeted solutions for customer pain points.”

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Exolaunch Introduces Eco Space Tug Program

Reliant orbital transfer vehicle (Credit: Exolaunch)

New Fully Sustainable Orbital Transfer Vehicles Will Launch Small Satellites to Custom Orbits and Remove Space Debris 

BERLIN, Germany, April 12, 2021 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, the leading rideshare services provider for the NewSpace industry and trendsetter in deployment solutions, today introduced its space tug program, featuring a new line of revolutionary orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) that will launch satellites to custom orbits in an environmentally responsible way – the first of its kind in the OTV industry. The company’s space tug testing and flight qualification will begin in 2022 on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

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Jacobs Mango One Satellite on Orbit, Laying Pathway for Next Generation, Affordable Space Solutions

Mango One satellite (Credit: Jacobs)

Successful on-orbit performance marks another major milestone for Jacobs in advanced, affordable space radar payloads for military, civil and commercial customers

DALLAS (Jacobs PR) — Jacobs (NYSE:J) began a new era of advanced, affordable space radar payloads with its Mango One satellite achieving a successful on-orbit performance. On Jan. 24, 2021, Jacobs’ Mango One satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter One rideshare mission to a sun synchronous orbit.

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SpaceX Nails 10th Launch of Year, Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, April 7 at 12:34 p.m. EDT, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This was the seventh launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and two Starlink missions.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported the AMOS-17 and two Starlink missions, and the other supported one Starlink mission.

Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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Pressure Vessel From Falcon 9 Recovered in Washington State

Falcon 9 second stage overwrapped pressure vessel recovered on private property in Washington State. (Credit: Grant County Sheriff)

That Falcon 9 second stage that blazed across the sky over Washington and Oregon as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere on March 25 left something behind. The Grant County Sheriff tweeted:

SpaceX recovered a Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessel from last week’s Falcon 9 re-entry. It was found on private property in southwest Grant County this week. Media and treasure hunters: we are not disclosing specifics. The property owner simply wants to be left alone.

The 5-foot COPV is part of the second stage propulsion system. Falcon 9’s second stage is usually deorbited after releasing its payload, but the maneuver reportedly failed following the March 4 launch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites.

No injuries nor any additional debris have been reported in the Washington State county or elsewhere in the Northwest.

HawkEye 360 Announces Commissioning of Second Satellite Cluster

The above graphic uses HawkEye 360’s Mission Space software to display the X-band marine radar [X], VHF marine radio [V], and L-band mobile satellite device [L] signals geolocated by Cluster 2 satellites during the first week of operations, highlighting the busy East/West Mediterranean shipping corridor. (Credit: HawkEye 360)

Trio of satellites completes functional testing and starts commercial operations

Herndon, Virginia (March 31, 2021) — HawkEye 360 Inc., the first commercial company to use formation-flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) data and data analytics, today announced that its recently-launched “Cluster 2” satellites have achieved initial operating capability. The trio of satellites, which entered orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in January, have completed functional testing, moved into proper formation, and begun to geolocate RF signals. They are currently supplying RF data to customers and will soon ramp up output to reach full operating capability.

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NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 15, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is targeted for no earlier than Thursday, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. EDT. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

By Emily McLeod Sulkes
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA invites the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts is targeted for no earlier than 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA TV to Air First US Commercial Crew Port Relocation on Space Station

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard the International Space Station will mark another first for commercial spaceflight Monday, April 5, when the four astronauts will relocate the Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for the arrival of new crew members in late April and the upcoming delivery of new solar arrays this summer.

Live coverage will begin at 6 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Kymeta Interoperability with Kepler LEO Satellites Promises Powerful Connectivity of the Future with Kymeta u8 Terminal

Kymeta u8 Terminal in Inuvik, Canada during testing with Kepler LEO Satellites. (Credit: Kymeta)

Extended testing in Inuvik, Canada shows Kymeta u8 approaching speeds 10X faster than previous generations in extreme weather conditions and temperatures

Redmond, Wash. and Toronto, Ontario, March 23rd, 2021 (Kymeta/Kepler Communications PR) — Kymeta (www.kymetacorp.com), the communications company making mobile global, and Kepler Communications (www.kepler.space) announced today the successful demonstration of the Kymeta u8 Terminal with LEO satellite acquisition, tracking and throughput measurements, during extreme cold weather temperatures. The collaboration with Kepler supports Kymeta’s goal to develop solutions that are future proof with a clear LEO upgrade path and compatible with growing mega constellations. 

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Early Wednesday Morning

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, March 24 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 4:28 a.m. EDT, or 8:28 UTC, and a backup opportunity is available on Thursday, March 25 at 4:06 a.m. EDT, or 8:06 UTC.

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously supported launch of the GPS-III Space Vehicle 03 and Turksat 5A missions in addition to three Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing supported the Sentinel-6A mission and the other supported a previous Starlink mission.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com.

Spaceflight Inc. Awarded NASA LLITED Launch Contract

Sherpa variants (Credit: Spaceflight Inc.)

SEATTLE (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, announced today it has been awarded a launch service contract for the integration and launch of NASA’s LLITED mission, two 1.5U spacecraft. Spaceflight Inc. will transport the NASA Low-Latitude Ionosphere/Thermosphere Enhancements in Density (LLITED) CubeSats to low Earth orbit on its Sherpa-LTC orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) at the end of the year aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. For this mission, the Sherpa-LTC, which uses chemical propulsion from Benchmark Space Systems, will make its initial spacecraft deployments and then ignite and maneuver to another orbital destination to deploy the NASA CubeSats.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Sunday; Falcon 9 First Stage to Launch for Record 9th Time

Credit: SpaceX

First stage to fly for record 9th time

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, March 14 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 6:01 a.m. EDT, or 10:01 UTC.

This mission represents the first time SpaceX will be reusing a Falcon 9 first stage for the ninth time.  The Falcon 9 first stage supporting this mission previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission, RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the Transporter-1 mission.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

This week, the Starlink team launched service in Germany and New Zealand for the first time, and expanded its existing service in the UK. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com.

SpaceX, ULA Win U.S. Air Force Launch Contracts

The U.S. Air Force has awarded contracts to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for two launches each under its National Security Space Launch Phase 2 agreements.

SpaceX will receive $159,721,445 to launch the USSF-36 and NROL-69 missions from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

ULA will receive $224,290,000 for launching the USSF-112 and USSF-87 missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

Last year, SpaceX and ULA won U.S. Air Force contracts to launch defense payloads for 2022-27.