China’s ADA Space Raises $55.8 Million Series B Round

Satellite and data provider ADA Space (a.k.a., Guoxing Aerospace) announced that it recently completed a 355 million yuan (US $55.79 million) Series B round of financing.

“This round of financing will be mainly used for the company’s satellite network capacity building and innovative product research and development,” the company said in an announcement.

ADA Space is developing an Earth observation constellation of 192 satellites. The constellation will consist of CubeSats and microsats.

The funding round was led by Hengjian Holdings, followed by Oriental Fortune, Dongguan Financial Holdings, Qingchuang Bole and other institutions. 

The company has raised a total of 615 million yuan ($96.65 million) in four rounds of financing since September 2018, according to Crunchbase.

Epsilon Launches 9 Japanese Technology Demonstration Satellites

Epsilon launch (Credit: JAXA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched nine technology demonstration satellites on Tuesday, Nov. 9, aboard an Epsilon booster from the Uchinoura Space Center.

The payloads include a small satellite named RApid Innovative payload demonstration SatellitE-2 (RAISE-2), four microsatellites and four CubeSats that will demonstrate 14 technologies. The flight was done under JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program.

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Successful Static Test of German/Brazilian S50 Rocket Engine with DLR Participation

S50 solid rocket motor during static burn test in Brazil. (Credit: ©DCTA/IAE)
  • Brazil is working together with DLR on the development of rocket motors and subsystems.
  • The S50 solid rocket motor will form the first two stages of the Brazilian VLM-1 launcher and the first stage of the European VS-50 sounding rocket.
  • The first successful static burn test of an S50 solid rocket engine was carried out in Brazil on October 1, 2021.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil (DLR PR) — On October 1, 2021, an S50 solid rocket motor successfully passed a static burn test on the Usina Coronel Abner (UCA) premises in São José dos Campos in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. In the future, these solid-fuel motors will power the first two stages of the new Brazilian VLM-1 launcher for microsatellites. The test was conducted by a technical team from the Brazilian Aerospace Institute (IAE) on behalf of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA). As part of the long-term cooperation between Brazil and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the now tried and tested rocket motor is being used in a new sounding rocket for Europe.

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ESA’s Boost! Fosters New Launch and In-orbit Services

ESA aims to boost commercial initiatives that offer space transportation services to space, in space, and returning from space. (Credit: ESA – Flavie Mauvais)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Companies with small satellites are set to benefit from a new end-to-end space transportation service offering additional in-orbit flexibility proposed by D-Orbit and supported through ESA’s Boost! programme.

This commercial service proposal is the first within ESA’s Boost! programme to enable in-orbit transportation services.

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LICIACube is Ready for the First Planetary Defense Mission

LICIACube (Credit: Argotec)

An Italian microSat, made by Argotec and ASI, which will fly with NASA towards an asteroid

ROME (ASI PR) — LICIACube, the microsatellite built entirely in the Argotec plants in Turin on behalf of and in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be delivered and shipped in the coming weeks to the integration site in the United States in preparation for the launch, scheduled for the end year, of the first planetary defense mission from future potential asteroid threats .

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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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NanoAvionics Expands into Microsatellite Market with MP42 Bus

MP42 satellite in Earth orbit. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

Introducing the industry’s first commercially available modular microsat bus

COLUMBIA, Ill., March 23, 2021 (NanoAvionics PR) – Smallsat mission integrator NanoAvionics, which has gained recognition from the industry for its nanosatellite technology in recent years, aims to capture a share of the lucrative microsatellite segment with the first modular microsat bus in the industry, the “MP42”. With 10,000 smallsats scheduled to be launched over the next 10 years, NanoAvionics expects to grow fivefold in size across its entire service portfolio for nano- and microsatellite missions and produce about 120 satellites per year by 2025.

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Glavkosmos, Orbital Express to Cooperate in Promoting Services to the Global Space Market

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Glavkosmos (part of Roscosmos) and the Russian private company Orbital Express have signed an agreement on cooperation in promoting services to the global space market with the help of the Russian rocket and space technology. The document was signed on Thursday at the Glavkosmos headquarters in Moscow. 

“Glavkosmos welcomes the initiative of Russian private NewSpace companies to enter the foreign space market,” says Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos. “We hope that the interaction between Glavkosmos and Orbital Express will be successful. We believe that it will have a positive impact on the development of Russian rocket and space technologies.”

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Enpulsion to Provide Microthrusters for Blue Canyon Technologies Microsat as Part of MethaneSat Mission

MethaneSat in orbit. (Credit: MethaneSAT, LLC, Blue Canyon Technologies)

WIENER NEUSTADT, Austria (ENPULSION PR) – ENPULSION, the market leader in small satellite propulsion, today announced that it will provide the propulsion technology for Blue Canyon Technologies’ Microsat in support of the MethaneSAT mission. Blue Canyon Technologies is a small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider.

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Norway Selects Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Develop Technology Demonstrator Microsatellite

NorSat_TD satellite (Credit: Space Flight Laboratory)

TORONTO (Space Flight Laboratory PR) – The Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA) has awarded Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Canada a contract to develop the NorSat Technology Demonstrator (TD) microsatellite. With a primary mission of testing out new technologies in space, NorSat-TD will validate payloads and concepts from Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Italy.

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Space Flight Laboratory Announces Successful Launch of 12 Satellites on SpaceX Ride-Sharing Mission

HawkEye 360 RF geolocating microsatellite constellation. (Credit: SFL)

TORONTO, 25 January 2021 (SFL PR) – Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of complete microspace missions, today announced the launch and successful deployment of 12 satellites on January 24, 2021. The SpaceX Falcon 9 ride-sharing mission carried three different SFL-designed microspace platforms into orbit for three separate commercial constellations.

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Spaceflight Inc. Successfully Deploys 16 Payloads on SpaceX Transporter-1 Mission

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off on Transporter-1 mission. (Credit: Spaceflight Inc.)

Launch marks debut flight of its next generation OTV, Sherpa-FX

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., January 25, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, successfully launched and deployed 16 payloads, including 15 from its next-generation orbital transfer vehicle (OTV), Sherpa-FX1, aboard the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission. Dubbed SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, the mission launched January 24 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It delivered Spaceflight’s Sherpa-FX1 to Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit (525 km alt), where it deployed payloads for more than 10 organizations.

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SpaceX Postpones Transporter-1 Launch With Record 143 Satellite On Board

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX postponed the Transporter-1 SmallSat Rideshare Program launch with a world record 143 satellite planned for Saturday morning due to inclement weather in Florida.

SpaceX has a 22-minute launch window available on Sunday, Jan. 24, beginning at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC). SpaceX will begin a webcast 15 minutes prior to the scheduled launch from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at www.spacex.com.

On board this launch are 133 commercial and government spacecraft (including CubeSats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles) and 10 Starlink satellites – the most spacecraft ever deployed on a single mission. The Starlink satellites aboard this mission will be the first in the constellation to deploy to a polar orbit.

Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission, the ANASIS-II mission, a Starlink mission, and launch of Dragon’s 21st cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

JAXA Funds Tech to Capture Orbital Debris Using a Tether

TOKYO — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is conducting in-orbit demonstration of key components and new elemental technologies using microsatellite as part of the development of innovative basic satellite-related technologies shown in the Basic Space Plan.

We are promoting the “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program” with the aim of implementing the above in a timely and inexpensive manner.

We are pleased to inform you that we have selected one additional demonstration theme below.

ClassificationRecruitment IssuesTheme NameProposing Organization
(Representative)
Main Reasons for Selection
MicrosatelliteDemonstration of technology and concept to create new space utilization market in Japan and overseas by new space utilization business conceptDebris capture technology demonstration using space tether technologyShizuoka University
(Kimihiro Nomi)
The business of utilizing debris as a recycling resource is novel. 
We can expect continuous human resource development in collaboration with space ventures.

In the future, we will proceed with preparations such as concluding necessary arrangements, technical adjustments, and safety examinations for the launch.

Three Launches & a Hot Fire in Three Days

Fully loading the propellant and detecting no leaks is a major milestone for the Green Run test series. A total of 114 tanker trucks delivered propellant to six propellant barges next to the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Credits: NASA)

The upcoming holiday weekend (Martin Luther King Day on Monday) will see NASA conduct the long awaited Green Run hot fire of its Space Launch System rocket core and orbital launches by Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and SpaceX involving 71 satellites.

Saturday, January 16

Launch Vehicle: Rocket Lab Electron
Mission Name: “Another One Leaves the Crust”
Payload: OHB Group micro communications satellites
Launch Time: 2:41 EST (0741 UTC)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com (begins 15 minutes prior to launch)

UPDATE: Launch scrubbed as engineers examine sensor data. They have a 10-day launch window.

Hot Fire: Space Launch System Core
Test Window: 5-7 p.m. EST (2200–0000 UTC)
Test Site: Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Webcast: www.nasa.gov (begins at 4:20 p.m. EST/2120 UTC)
Post-test Briefing: Approximately two hours after test completion on NASA website

Sunday, January 17

Launch Vehicle: Virgin Orbit LauncherOne/Cosmic Girl
Mission Name: NASA ELaNa-20 mission
Payloads: 10 CubeSats
Launch Window: 1:00-5:00 p.m. EST (1800-2200 UMT)
Launch Sites: Mojave Air and Space Port, California (Cosmic Girl Boeing 747), Pacific Ocean (LauncherOne)

Monday, January 18

Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Mission Name: Starlink V1.0-L16
Payloads: 60 Starlink broadband satellites
Launch Time: 8:45 a.m. EST (1345 UTC)
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com (begins 15 minutes before launch)