Xona Passes Critical Testing Milestone as Private GNSS Readies for Launch

Xona has completed environmental testing for their upcoming demo mission, a significant step towards realizing the first high-performance commercial navigation system. 

Xona’s first demonstration mission successfully completes testing at Experior Laboratories and prepares for launch on a Falcon 9 in May. This is the first American private company to launch a satellite navigation mission. (Image Credit: Xona Space Systems)

SAN MATEO, Calif., May 10, 2022 (Xona Space Systems PR) — Xona Space Systems, the aerospace startup developing a precision navigation and timing system in low Earth orbit, today announced that their first in-space demonstrator has been delivered to Spaceflight Inc. for final integration after successfully completing testing and is scheduled for launch on SpaceX’s Transporter 5 in May. Xona is building the first ever independent high-performance satellite navigation and timing system designed to meet the needs of intelligent systems.

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Rogozin: Russia Could Deepen Cooperation with China on Satellite Surveillance, Communications

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

TASS reports that Roscosmos could deepen ties with the Chinese space program in the areas of satellite surveillance and communications constellations as the nation’s invasion of Ukraine drives a deeper wedge in its relations with the West.

“Cooperation between Glonass and Beidou [China’s satellite navigational system] can quite spread to communications and surveillance clusters,” Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said during a forum on Tuesday.

Roscosmos has ordered airlines to replace the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) with Glonass in Russian airlines. Roscosmos is working with China to make the Glonass and Beidou satellite navigation systems interoperable.

Rogozin previously said that Russia will end cooperation with the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada on the International Space Station over the sanctions imposed on the country after its invasion of Ukraine in February. The Roscosmos leader said that details of Russia’s withdrawal will be announced soon. He has also said Russia is looking to cooperate on China’s Tiangong space station, which was launched last year.

Station operations have been approved until 2024. In December, NASA announced plans to work with station partners to extend operations until 2030. U.S. space officials have said it would be difficult to maintain the station without Russian involvement.

Russia’s Ukraine invasion has accelerated the nation’s drift away from cooperation with its ISS partners. Roscosmos decided not to participate in the U.S.-led Artemis program, which aims to land two astronauts at the south pole of the moon later this decade. While the other ISS partners have signed on to the program, Russia has opted to cooperate with China on the establishment of a lunar research base.

Roscosmos Plans Cooperation on Chinese Space Station, Prepares to Dump GPS in Russian Airliners and Ship New ICBMs

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Vowing that cooperation in space with the West will resume on Russia’s terms, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said the space corporation is eyeing cooperation on China’s space station and begun efforts to replace the American Global Positioning System (GPS) in airplanes with Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system that is also capable of receiving navigation signals from China’s Beidou satellite constellation.

Rogozin also said Roscosmos plans to begin shipments of silo-based hypersonic Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the fall amid continued tensions with the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The rocket was successfully test fired on Wednesday.

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GeoOptics Announces New European Subsidiary, Expands Global Satellite Services

PASADENA, Calif. (GeoOptics PR) — A global leader in Earth remote sensing, GeoOptics announced its expansion in Europe, with founder and chief technology officer, Tom Yunck, relocating to Lausanne, Switzerland, to manage GeoOptics Switzerland SA. The new subsidiary and team of data scientists represent a key component of GeoOptics plans to enhance their commercial satellite services around the globe.

As a pioneer in commercial remote sensing data services, GeoOptics supports decision makers, research groups, and individual users worldwide,” Yunck noted. “Our European office will help us better serve an international base of government and civil customers with the most accurate, timely data available.”

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Thales Alenia Space Paves the Way to the Future Satellite Navigation Systems

Credit: Thales Alenia Space

CANNES, France, February 7, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the French Space Agency CNES to develop a DFMC (Dual Frequency Multi Constellations) SBAS prototype in the frame of the next generation of SBAS, like EGNOS, the European navigation satellite system.

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Hytera Delivers Reliable Comms and Time GPS to Tracking for Southern Launch

Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

SYDNEY (Hytera PR) – Hytera partner D2N in Australia supplied a multi-site Hytera XPT radio network with real-time GPS tracking across a large rocket launch site with difficult terrain for space company Southern Launch.

Southern Launch is a rocket launch service provider based in Adelaide, South Australia. Its goal is to develop a space launch capability to send satellites into orbit from its Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The company also has a suborbital testing facility at the Koonibba Test Range.

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Russia Threatens to Destroy U.S. GPS Satellite Constellation

Global Positioning System (Credit: DOT&E)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, this was a rather frightening thing to wake up to this morning. GPS World reports:

The Kremlin warned it could blow up 32 GPS satellites with its new anti-satellite technology, ASAT, which it tested Nov. 15 on a retired Soviet Tselina-D satellite, according to numerous news reports.

On the state-run Channel One, host Dmitry Kiselyov warned that Russia’s anti-satellite missiles would leave the United States and NATO blind if the multi-national defense alliance “crosses our red line.”

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SpaceFund Invests in Rhea Space Activity for Autonomous Space Navigation Through Cislunar Space and GPS-Denied Environments

Startup Devises Autonomous Navigation Module for Commercial and Military Spacecraft

WASHINGTON, DC, November 03, 2021 (SpaceFund PR) – SpaceFund Inc. announced today that it has invested in the rapidly growing astrophysics start-up company Rhea Space Activity (RSA). SpaceFund’s capital injection into RSA will energize the company’s ongoing development of scientific and engineering infrastructure needed to create a holistic, world-leading Lunar Intelligence (LUNINT) capability as soon as 2024. This capability will yield a vital product for the commercial space sector: the introduction of an autonomous navigation capability that will help the NewSpace ecosystem travel further into the solar system.

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TrustPoint Secures $2 Million in Seed Funding Round for GPS Alternative

DCVC funds the advancement of the NewSpace startup’s alternative global positioning service.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– TrustPoint, Inc., a startup with operations in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia, announces that it has raised a $2M seed round from DCVC.

GPS is a ubiquitous global utility: knowing one’s location and accurate time is critical for government, commercial, and consumer applications. Still, today’s solutions are inaccurate, slow, unencrypted, and susceptible to jamming and spoofing. These shortcomings make heritage GPS and other government-owned and -operated systems insufficient for tomorrow’s safety-critical and high-precision commercial applications, such as drone delivery, self-driving cars, urban air mobility, and augmented reality.

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SpaceX Satellite Signals Used Like GPS to Pinpoint Location on Earth

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio State University PR) — Engineering researchers have developed a method to use signals broadcast by Starlink internet service satellites to accurately locate a position here on Earth, much like GPS does. It is the first time the Starlink system has been harnessed by researchers outside SpaceX for navigation.

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ASI and Qascom to Bring Italy and Galileo Navigation System to the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

ROME (ASI PR) — Finding the best route for lunar orbit and easy parking on the Moon is the goal of NEIL (Navigation Early Investigation on Lunar surface) GNSS receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology. The creation of NEIL, named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man to touch the lunar soil, is at the center of an agreement between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA linked to the CLPS 19-D mission (NASA missions with contributions commercial and private of an experimental nature) with which the American space agency has planned to land with a lander in the Mare Crisium basin in 2023. [Editor’s Note: This is Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander mission.]

NEIL, subject of the contract signed between ASI and the company Qascom SRL, is the on-board payload that will be an integral part of the experiment called Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment  (LuGRE), defined in the ASI/NASA agreement, which aims to develop an activity in a lunar and cislunar environment.

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Deep Space Atomic Clock Moves Toward Increased Spacecraft Autonomy

NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock has been operating aboard the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed satellite since June 2019. This illustration shows the spacecraft in Earth orbit. (Credits: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems)

Designed to improve navigation for robotic explorers and the operation of GPS satellites, the technology demonstration reports a significant milestone.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Spacecraft that venture beyond our Moon rely on communication with ground stations on Earth to figure out where they are and where they’re going. NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock is working toward giving those far-flung explorers more autonomy when navigating. In a new paper published today in the journal Nature, the mission reports progress in their work to improve the ability of space-based atomic clocks to measure time consistently over long periods.

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NASA Extends Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System Mission

Illustration of one of the eight CYGNSS satellites in orbit above a hurricane. (Credits: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to the University of Michigan for the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) for mission operations and closeout. A constellation of eight microsatellites, the system can view storms more frequently and in a way traditional satellites are unable to, increasing scientists’ ability to understand and predict hurricanes.

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Iridium Awarded $30 Million R&D Contract by the U.S. Army for GPS Hosted Payload

Credit: Iridium

MCLEAN, Va., June 24, 2021 (Iridium PR) – Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced it has been awarded a research and development contract worth up to $30 million by the United States Army (Army) to develop a payload to be hosted on small satellites that supports navigation systems, guidance and control for the global positioning system (GPS) and GPS-denied precision systems. The new experimental Iridium payload is intended to be hosted by another Low Earth Orbit (LEO) commercial satellite constellation, complementing the Iridium® constellation’s capabilities.

Through this contract the Army intends to develop this payload to support the concept of a rapidly deployable smallsat constellation to provide more effective sensor-to-soldier data transmission when in the field. The development of this new payload is based on Iridium Burst® technology, a unique service that can transmit data to millions of enabled devices at a time from space.

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