UK Government Announces Package of New Measures to Drive Space Sustainability

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

The new measures will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

  • Science Minister George Freeman announces new Plan for Space Sustainability to demonstrate UK leadership in sustainable space, in line with ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy
  • UK industry will work in partnership with government to develop a new Space Sustainability Standard, which will incentivise companies to adopt best practice
  • government will also review the regulatory framework, including exploring ways of lowering insurance costs for sustainable missions

LONDON (UK Government PR) — Science Minister George Freeman has today (Thursday 23 June) launched a new Plan for Space Sustainability, a raft of measures which will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

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Astrobotic Wins $1.5M to Mature Satellite Servicing and Hazard Detection Systems for Space

Example LiDAR Reconstruction of Spacecraft (Simulated); this mapping will be generated by Astrobotic’s algorithms to enable satellite servicing and hazard detection. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic has won two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contracts worth $1.5 million to further advance novel Laser Imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) software solutions. When space qualified, these software packages will support in-space satellite servicing as well as safe landing on celestial objects such as the Moon or asteroids through accurate hazard detection.

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NASA’s Robotic OSAM-1 Mission Completes its Critical Design Review

Lights-out grapple testing of OSAM-1’s Robotic Servicing Arm (left) in the Robotic Operations Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The partial model of a client satellite (right) sits on top of a hexapod robot, which helps to simulate zero-gravity movement. (Credits: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1), a mission that will be the first to robotically refuel a satellite not designed to be serviced, and will also demonstrate assembly and manufacturing technologies and capabilities, has passed its mission critical design review (CDR). This is an important milestone that paves the way for the construction of the spacecraft, payloads, and ground system.

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NSR’s In-Orbit Services Report Projects $14.3 Billion in Revenues as Non-Geo Constellations Grow Demand

Satellite Life Extension is Largest Global Market, but Space Situational Awareness and Active Debris Removal Also Show Upside Potential

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 15, 2022 (NSR PR) — In its 5th year, NSR’s first to market In-Orbit Services: Satellite Servicing, ADR, and SSA, 5th Edition (IoSM5) forecasts $14.3 Billion in IoSM revenue, driven by Life Extension, generating $4.7 Billion through 2031. As the race to launch Non-GEO Satellite Constellation grows, thousands of satellites are set to launch through the coming decade growing demand for IoS.

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Turion Space and NanoAvionics to Build a Satellite for Orbital Reconnaissance Mission

COLUMBIA, Ill., February 2, 2022 (NanoAvionics PR) – US company Turion Space, aiming to build spacecraft to remove orbital-debris, satellite servicing, and domain awareness, has selected NanoAvionics small satellite bus, the MP42, as the basis for its ‘Droid-1’ spacecraft designed for a reconnaissance mission in low Earth orbit (LEO). The launch of the Droid-1 satellite is planned for the first quarter of 2023.

Using its onboard sensors, Turion Space’s satellite will be able to take extremely accurate measurements of spacecraft and objects in orbit. The data will give operators and users the exact location of their satellites and in relation to others, especially at crucial times when two spacecraft are critically close.

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Report: China Has Developed an Operational Space Tug

Breaking Defense has an interesting report about China developing satellite servicing capabilities:

China’s SJ-21 satellite now “appears to be functioning as a space tug,” pulling a dead CompassG2, or Beidou, navigation satellite out of the way of other satellites operating in the heavily populated Geosynchronous Orbit, according to a new analysis by commercial space monitoring firm ExoAnalytic Solutions.

The observations were reported today by Brien Flewelling, who serves as the firm’s chief architect for space situational awareness (SSA), during a webinar hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Secure World Foundation (SWF).

According to Flewelling’s video presentation, the SJ-21 on Jan. 22 went “missing” from its orbital slot for a few hours, after performing what are known as “close proximity operations,” moving closer and closer around the Compass G2. The “gap” in observations was caused by the fact that when it then docked with the defunct satellite, it was daytime — when telescopes cannot image. ExoAnalytics tracked it down after it had subsequently performed “a large maneuver” pulling the dead satellite out of GEO.

Phase Four and OrbitFab to Collaborate on in-Orbit Refueling

Companies seek to explore collaboration with RAFTI™ refueling system and Maxwell engines using both traditional and advanced propellants

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., January 24, 2022 (Phase Four PR) –– Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster for satellite propulsion, announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Orbit Fab, the market leader for in-orbit refueling services and the creator of RAFTI, the industry standard satellite refueling interface. The companies seek to ensure that future Phase Four Maxwell engines may be refueled in-orbit to extend mission lifetimes and maximize ROI for spacecraft. The companies will evaluate RAFTI compatibility for refueling of traditional electric propulsion propellants such as xenon as well as advanced propellants such as ASCENT available to Phase Four’s propellant-agnostic core technology – the RF Thruster.

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AFRL Announces Winners of Space University Research Initiative Funding Opportunity

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratoryvia its basic research office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, announced December 17, the winners of the newly established Space University Research Initiative (SURI) program – a first step in improving the transition of critical concepts from academia into revolutionary new military technologies for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force (USSF).

“Our way of warfare depends on space superiority and AFRL has a long history of research and development in support of this domain. With the recent standup of the USSF, along with the emergence of U.S. Space Command and new energy in the commercial space sector, we have exciting opportunities to modernize the way we lead and manage S&T,” wrote AFRL Commander, Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle in her 2021 Commander’s Intent.

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ESA Invites Ideas to Open Up In-orbit Servicing Market

Clean Space has broadened the concept of an active debris removal to a multi-purpose Space Servicing Vehicle that would include debris removal as one of its aims. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is seeking to open the way to a new era of in-space activities such as refuelling, refurbishment, assembly, manufacturing, and recycling. The Agency is now soliciting ideas for In-Orbit Servicing activities from European industry and academia.

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Orbital ATK to Develop Critical Technology for In-Orbit Assembly Through NASA Partnership

orbital_ATK_logoDULLES, Va., 29 November 2016 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that it has begun a public-private partnership with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) to establish a Commercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Services (CIRAS) in space. The CIRAS program will advance key technologies for in-orbit manufacturing and assembly of large space structures that will help the agency meet its goals for robotic and human exploration of the solar system.

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ViviSat Adds Hosted Payload Capability to Mission Extension Vehicle

ViviSat_Systems
BELTSVILLE, MD., March 19, 2013 (ViviSat PR) —
 ViviSat, the leading provider of in-orbit servicing, has announced a unique, highly agile hosted payload capability that will supplement its life extension services.

ViviSat uses the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV), manufactured by one of its parent companies, ATK. The primary mission of the MEV is to dock with an orbiting satellite and serve as the propulsion and attitude control systems. This enables mission extension for satellites that have run out of maneuvering fuel yet still have healthy payload and power systems.

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Robotic Refueling Mission Proves Concept

The Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM, investigation (center, on platform) uses the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and the Canadian Dextre robot (right) to demonstrate satellite-servicing tasks. (Credit: NASA/CSA)
The Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM, investigation (center, on platform) uses the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and the Canadian Dextre robot (right) to demonstrate satellite-servicing tasks. (Credit: NASA/CSA)

By Adrienne Alessandro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Following six historic days of operations aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM, demonstrated remotely controlled robots using current-day technology could refuel satellites not designed to be serviced.

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Dextre Successfully Refuels Mock Satellite

robotic_refueling_one

Longueuil, Quebec, January 25, 2013 (CSA PR) – Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic “handyman” on board the International Space Station (ISS), made space history last night by successfully refueling a mock satellite on the exterior of the station.

Topping off the satellite’s fuel tank was the pivotal task in the experimental Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), a collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to demonstrate how robots could service and refuel satellites on location in space to extend their useful lifetime.

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ViviSat to Offer Satellite Life Extension Services

ViviSat Press Release

U.S. Space LLC, a U.S.-based creator of dedicated space solutions for government and commercial clients, and ATK, an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company, today announced the creation of ViviSat, a new satellite life extension venture. ViviSat provides geosynchronous satellite operators with flexible, scalable, capital-efficient, and low-risk in-orbit mission extension and protection services that can add several years to the revenue-producing life of a satellite.

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