CIRCE Space Weather Suite Announced for First UK Satellite Launch

CIRCE CAD models courtesy of Blue Canyon Technologies.

Dstl’s miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be aboard Virgin Orbit which is aiming to launch from Spaceport Cornwall later in 2022.

LONDON (Dstl PR) — The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be one of the payloads aboard Virgin Orbit which is targeting the first UK satellite launch this summer from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay. Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket takes off horizontally, carried aloft by a modified Boeing 747 jet, named Cosmic Girl.

The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) satellite mission comprises two 6U cube-satellites that will be launched into a near-polar low Earth orbit in a string-of-pearls configuration (targeting 555 kilometres altitude). Each 6U satellite bus measures 10cm by 20cm by 30cm (the size of a cereal box), and will fly almost identical instrument capability on both satellites. Dstl is partnering with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on the joint mission.

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UK and US to Launch Joint Mission Aboard United Kingdom’s First Orbital Launch Supported by Virgin Orbit

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Satellite launch company Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) announces today that a joint mission between the United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is expected to be lofted on the first space launch out of Spaceport Cornwall later this year.

The government agencies’ joint Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) is supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Test Program (STP), which is organized under the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). CIRCE will utilize two 6U CubeSats flying in tandem formation to measure the ionosphere and radiation environment from multiple vantage points. The mission will support the two countries’ joint development of a wide range of civil and defense applications, including GPS, radar, communication systems, and sensing technology.

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USSPACECOM Deepens Cooperation in Space with UK, Sweden

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. (USSPACECOM PR) —  U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) deepened cooperation in space with the United Kingdom and Sweden last week during Space Symposium 37 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

During the symposium, Air Vice Marshall Paul Godfrey, U.K. Space Command commander and USSPACECOM commander, U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, signed an Enhanced Space Cooperation memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further the exchange of information, identify potential collaborative studies, projects or activities, and harmonize military space requirements. The agreement will improve coordination and interoperability between the U.S. and U.K. to sustain freedom of action in space, optimize resources, enhance mission resilience, and deter conflict.
 
Additionally, USSPACECOM and the Swedish Air Force signed a Space Situational Awareness sharing agreement. Maj. Gen. Carl-Johan Edstrom, Swedish Air Force commander, and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michael Bernacchi, USSPACECOM director of Strategy, Plans and Policy Directorate, signed the SSA sharing agreement. This is the 30th SSA agreement with a partner nation, and the 149th overall, to include agreements with commercial and academia partners.
 
“We want to welcome the Swedish Air Force to USSPACECOM’s Space Situational Awareness sharing program,” said Bernacchi. “We are excited to have you as part of a larger effort to support spaceflight planning and enhance the safety, stability, security and sustainability of space operations. The rules-based international order depends on responsible space behaviors to keep space safe and free to use for all nations.”

USSPACECOM’s Space Situational Awareness sharing program is part of a larger effort to support spaceflight planning and enhance the safety, stability, security and sustainability of space operations.

UK Space Command Officially Launched

Space Command will protect UK interests and capabilities in Space

HIGH WYCOMBE, UK (UK Ministry of Defence PR) — A special ceremony held at Space Command Headquarters, RAF High Wycombe yesterday marked the official opening of UK Space Command, with the first ‘Space Operator’ Badges presented to personnel.

Space plays a vital role in the Armed Forces ability to undertake the majority of defence tasks, with any disruption to the space domain leading to significant consequences on civilian, commercial, economic and military activity.

The stand-up of Space Command is a crucial step to ensure we protect UK interests in space and builds on the commitments outlined in the Defence Command Paper, to invest an additional £1.4 billion on space over the next 10 years. The ability to operate in Space is further enhanced by an increase in Defence funding of £24 billion over the next four years, as announced by the Prime Minister last year.

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