Voyager Subsidiary, Altius Space Machines, Announces Successful First Orbital Launch of DogTags Aboard OneWeb’s Satellites

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

DENVER, Jan. 14, 2021 (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration, today announced its subsidiary, Altius Space Machines, Inc. (Altius) achieved a significant milestone: a successful first launch of the company’s DogTags™ universal grapple fixtures into space aboard OneWeb’s satellites. This is the first of many planned launches for Altius’ DogTags, as the company is slated to produce grapple fixtures for all of OneWeb’s remaining satellites in its planned constellation.

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OneWeb Secures $400 Million Investment from SoftBank, Hughes Network Systems

LONDON, 15 January, 2021 – OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company jointly owned by the UK Government and Bharti Global, announced today that it has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) and Hughes Network Systems LLC (“Hughes”), bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $1.4 billion. The capital raised to date positions the Company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.

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EU Eyes Satellite Broadband Network

Concerned about being left behind, the European Union (EU) is looking to develop a satellite broadband constellation to keep up with systems being built by OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink.

BBC News reports that EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton believes there’s not a moment to lose.

“My objective is to go fast. And therefore it would be appropriate that the Commission puts forward this year a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council so we can move concretely,” he told the 13th European Space Conference on Tuesday.

“To be ready, we launched a few weeks ago a study on a secure space-based connectivity system. The selected consortium consisting of European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, telco operators and launch service providers will study the possible design and development of this project.”

“This will provide insights on the technical dimension, but also the governance structure, the financing, the missions, the exact scope. I expect their first feedback in April this year.”

[….]

[EU officials] talk about a mix of low, medium and geostationary satellites that use advanced quantum encryption, are interlinked with optical connectors, and which piggyback sensors that might also be used to monitor aviation and shipping – just as examples. But, they argue, fast, secure, low-latency, space-borne connectivity will be the must-have capability to enable a raft of coming technologies, such as self-driving cars.

EU officials are hoping to have some initial capability as early as 2024.

Russia Achieves Clean Launch Record for Second Year in Row

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.

Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.

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Dmitry Rogozin Wishes Everyone a Happy New Year, Looks Toward Busy 2021

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos Director General, wishes a Happy New Year!

“We see off this year and welcome 2021 with high hopes. We hope that the Vostochny Cosmodrome will start operating at full capacity,” Rogozin said.

In 2021, Roscosmos expects to ensure the new Nauka orbital module launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and send the Luna-25 automatic interplanetary station from the Vostochny Cosmodrome to Earth’s natural satellite.

According to the head of Roscosmos, 2020 was a difficult year for the Russian rocket and space industry due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the world and Russia in particular.

“Nevertheless, Russia’s rocket and space industry worked uninterrupted. We ensured all our planned launches, including crewed launches from Baikonur,” Rogozin noted.

Next year, apart from Luna-25, Roscosmos plans to carry out about six launches of the British OneWeb communications satellites from Vostochny. In 2020, only one rocket launch took place from this cosmodrome – on December 18, 36 spacecraft of the OneWeb satellite company went into orbit.

In total, in 2020, Roscosmos conducted 17 launches of space rockets from the Baikonur, Plesetsk, Vostochny and Guiana spaceports.

Video: In Conversation with OneWeb’s Executive Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal

Sunil Bharti Mittal is the Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and also Executive Chairman of OneWeb. He says: “These are exciting times and the world now has a LEO alternative to work with. We look forward to partnering with those equally determined to enter this new Space Age. There is unmet demand around the globe for broadband connectivity and we intend to continue OneWeb’s social mission. We will use our joint venture facility to drive down cost of service, opening new use cases for low latency broadband provision.”

OneWeb Selects Hughes for Ground System Development and Production Under New $250 Million Contract

Hughes to Produce Gateways and User Terminal Modules to Power Services on the Low Earth Orbit Satellite Network

GERMANTOWN, Md. (Hughes Network Systems PR) — Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, has been chosen by OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband satellite communications company, to develop and manufacture essential ground system technology for the new LEO constellation. In a three-year contract valued at approximately $250 million, Hughes will produce the gateway electronics for the OneWeb system as well as the core module that will be used in every user terminal.

“Today’s announcement of a continued technology partnership with OneWeb reflects our position as the trusted innovator in the industry,” said Pradman Kaul, president, Hughes. “The ground system we develop will enable reliable, low latency broadband data, ideal for a wide range of customer applications.”

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Soyuz Rocket Deploys 36 OneWeb Satellites on Arianespace’s First Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb’s fourth launch overall -the third for 2020- is the first to be conducted with Soyuz by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

By successfully placing 36 new OneWeb constellation satellites into orbit, Arianespace resumed the deployment of this client’s satellite network, which now is composed of 110 satellites in low Earth orbit.

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Fourth Flight for OneWeb will be First Arianespace Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb – the global satellite communications company based in the UK – resumes flights.

This 53rd Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s fourth launch overall and the third for this year.

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Shorthanded Virgin Orbit Postpones Launch Due to COVID-19

Closeup on LauncherOne. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Orbit has postponed the second flight of its LauncherOne booster scheduled for Dec. 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced on Saturday.

“Our latest round of contact tracing Friday evening led to a new batch of precautionary quarantines,” Virgin Orbit tweeted. “Consequently, we’ve fallen below the number of staff we feel we require to prudently and safely proceed with pre-launch operations….

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Russia Prepares to Launch OneWeb Satellites From its Spaceport of the Future

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Russia is preparing for launch number six from the troubled and little used Vostochny Cosmodrome in the nation’s Far East.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket is set to launch 36 OneWeb satellites on Dec. 18. The new batch of satellites will add to the 74 OneWeb spacecraft previously launched.

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Government Funds UK Companies at the Forefront of Space Innovation

21 UK organisations have been awarded a share of over £7 million of funding to put the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The cash injection is going to high-risk, high-reward projects that support companies and universities with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change through Earth Observation or address satellite communications challenges, from providing greater connectivity to remote places to increasing the efficiency of our homes.

Projects set for the cash boost include The Open University who will use the money to create the UK’s first Precision Forestry tool, TreeView, which will support efforts to tackle the climate emergency through detailed measurement of tree-planting initiatives aimed at increasing carbon dioxide removal.

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Vostochny Continues Preparations to Resume OneWeb Satellite Launches in December

Equipment arrives for the fourth launch of OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — At the Vostochny cosmodrome, intensive preparations are continuing for the upcoming launch of the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and a new batch of 36 OneWeb spacecraft. Today, November 2, 2020, a special aircraft with ground support equipment and two foreign customer dispensers for devices arrived at the Ignatievo airport in Blagoveshchensk.

Specialists of the Vostochny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) accepted the cargo, provided support for the unloading, installation on vehicles and transportation of equipment to the technical complex of the Vostochny cosmodrome, as well as unloading at the warehouse blocks.

Equipment arrives for the fourth launch of OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The next operation is scheduled for November 3 – this is the removal of equipment from containers and placing it in the workplace. The dispenser is an integral part of the spacecraft – it is a transitional link between the upper stage and spacecraft.

At present, the specialists of the Vostochny Space Center at the technical complex are preparing technological equipment for refueling the Fregat upper stage with propellant components. Electrical tests of the upper stage are underway in the spacecraft assembly and test building.

Video: Satellites Hit the Assembly Line

SSPI Video

Video Caption: For decades, skilled engineers and technicians have been building satellites designed for unique missions and making them one at a time. They have delivered 1 or 2 dozen per year, each with a high price tag and each designed to operate for decades in high orbit around earth. But the business of space is changing, demanding hundreds and even thousands of satellites in record time. To handle it all, the assembly line has come to satellite manufacturing – and nothing will ever be the same again.

Constellationizing Space: Chinese Company Seeks Approval to Launch Nearly 13,000 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Larry Press reports a Chinese company named GW has filed for spectrum allocation from the International Telecommunication Union for two broadband constellations called GW-A59 and GW-2 that would include 12,992 satellites.

The size of GW’s request indicates to Press that the company would compete globally with broadband constellations being built by SpaceX, OneWeb and Amazon. He wrote:

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