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Impact of huge satellite constellation on Earth’s telescopic observations

Satellites’ massive constellations rapidly launched into Earth’s orbit are gradually becoming data contamination to astronomers’ observations. Reflected Sun radiations make satellites appear as very bright streaks that interject astronomical observations, significantly affecting the study of principles of Physics, cosmology, other planets in the galaxy, and asteroids threatening Earth.
A report by the American Astronomical Society and NOIRLab indicated that severe interruptions affect most phenomena. Astronomers continue to draft measures that help cushion the effect, such as by conducting observations at times when satellites are not quickly passing by and urging satellite manufacturers and operators to produce less-reflective satellites. However, the report identified high-flying satellites as particularly problematic because they absorb much of the Sun’s radiation.

 Eminent damage to Earth’s telescopic observation as companies and agencies within the space industry launch thousands of broadband satellites to boost the planet’s high-speed internet access. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched approximately 650 of the scheduled 12,000 satellites for the company’s Starlink project. OneWeb, a London-based satellite operator, inaugurated 74 of its gigantic satellite constellation of 48,000. Recently, Amazon received US-government endorsement for the company’s Kuiper project scheduled to install 3,236 satellites. 

Astronomer, satellite manufacturers, and operators continue to hold discussions to roll out mitigation plans for the satellites’ brightness problem. Scientists identified the issue back in June after the launch of SpaceX’s first bunch of Starlink satellites. Astronomers continue to assess the extent of the problem and how they plan to mitigate the issues. Astronomers, dark-sky enthusiasts, and satellite operators convened a workshop to examine the situation’s severity further.

Connie Walker, NOIRLab’s astronomer, reported that terminating satellite launch programs is the ultimate solution to preventing interruption of observations made by ground-based visible-light or infrared telescopes. However, most satellite projects received approval, and others continue to launch several satellites into Earth’s orbit, making Walker’s suggestion impossible to execute.

Research shows that bright streaks pose a significant interference to wide-field sky explorations, notably those Vera C. Rubin Observatory anticipates performing using its 8.4-meter telescope set up by NSF on mount Chilean. Upon commissioning in early 2022, the facility plans to capture wide-field images covering the whole visible sky for at least a decade to demonstrate the universe’s changes over time.

The research findings stated that bright streaks significantly worsen ground-based observations during sunset and sunrise, as the satellites capture the Sun’s gleam before reaching the Earth’s shadow. These interferences affect the research done during these hours, such as findings of near-Earth asteroids. In summary, as space companies and agencies schedule more satellite launches, building upon the mega satellite constellation, the effect on astronomical observations is already being felt.

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Space

Lockheed Martin plans to partner with Tyvak and Telesat to deliver on the SDA agreement 

Lockheed Martin reported its intention of utilizing payloads from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to develop satellites and deliver them as per the Space Development Agency (SDA) deal. The firm chose Telesat from Canada to offer technical assurance in their delivery of these satellites. 

The SDA chose Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems to each come up with 10 satellites that will form the Transport Layer Tranche 0 constellation. This constellation will be maneuvering through the low-Earth orbit. The chief of military space strategies at Lockheed, Eric Brown, uttered that the satellites will operate under the Tyvak Mavericks framework and would weigh less than 210 kilograms. 

Brown states that they are ready to work under the framework of Tyvak since it is within their limit. He added that the success of this mission will prove to SDA that Lockheed Martin can deliver the satellites that are feasible for Pentagon operations. With the tutelage of Telesat, the firm hopes that it can commercialize its interconnection technology and attract more future projects within this constellation. 

Initially, Lockheed Martin delivered a quality space connection system to Tyvak called Pony Express. Brown admitted that this success put the firm in a better position to attract the SDA contract. The Transport Layer constellation will be providing linkage from ground facilities to the satellites in the low-Earth orbit and back to the location given by the military. This cycle will go on until the military customer attains the satisfaction that they have paid to enjoy in this communication network. 

The SDA contract articulates that seven satellites will connect in four pathways to the spacecraft in an intertwined linkage. The remaining three will have minor linkages for a spacecraft with Brown adding that there is a capable firm working on the linkage patterns. 

Bron reiterates that the satellite will link with the military routers and the broadcast station. He further announced that satellites will make a connection to the Lockheed Martin spacecraft to obtain the encrypted military intelligence and analyze it before sending the proper data through the same secure channel. 

To sum up, the senior executive of SDA, Derek Tournear, stated that their choice of Lockheed Martin was because it is costly given that they have investigated in advanced technology. He further muttered that this company is the one reliable firm when it comes to understanding space missions and delivering quality payloads. With such trends in space missions, the space industry must be ready for competition from private companies, private commercials, and integrated agencies. 

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Space

Falcon 9 deploys another 60 Starlink satellites amid constellation test operations. 

SpaceX topped up another 60 Starlink satellites to bring the constellation total to 713. This additional launch comes amid the ongoing constellation operation tests. The Falcon 9 rocket has been instrumental in ensuring that the constellation satellites’ launch even with the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Falcon 9 rocket launched for the low-Earth orbit deployment mission from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. The reusable booster came back docking safely in the drone ship at the Indian Ocean. SpaceX intends to unveil a customer service internet connection for its Starlink satellites. The tests are currently ongoing for the internet accessibility by the firm’s employees, according to a report by Kate Tice, an engineer at SpaceX. 

Kate reiterates that the internet speed for these connections escalates to over 100 Mbps, although she was adamant about outlining the internet’s latency. Kate gave a generalized idea concerning the latency, saying that their operations control team is working. 

Kate Tice stated that the exact quantity of the satellites that they will have launched this year would rise with time until they achieve the targeted 42000 satellite constellation. She added that more adjustments would follow wherever it deems fit in this constellation to realize the constellation’s full potential. One of the new modifications in the latest satellites is an interlinking device which minimizes the time for connecting the satellites to the existing constellation. 

Tice admitted that two satellites had been equipped with linking lasers to increase the data transfer quantity between them and the neighboring satellites. A full switch and update of the lasers will increase the speed of data transfer globally for devices connected to this internet. 

If the interlinking mechanism proves to be efficient, then the US Federal Communications Commission will invest in this technology and reduce the Americans’ price. However, SpaceX warned the FCC of a possible milliseconds buffering of the signal. 

Currently, SpaceX is deorbiting the worn-out old satellites and clearing the subsequent debris to update their orbits with high quality and modified satellites to facilitate the transition to the 5G network. Another addition to this advancement is the TinTin prototypes from Analytical Graphics to minimize the buffering. 

To sum up, T.S. Kelso of the AGI advised SpaceX to deorbit four of its satellites, which have worn out after playing their role in the low-Earth orbit for long. The astrodynamicist identified the weaknesses in these four satellites after closely observing the performance of the four satellites. 

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Space

NOAA explores the market for the commercial weather data sources 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intend to dispense a plea for data around September to gain knowledge on the kind of information the agency intends to gather through satellite. Vanessa Griffin from the NOAA stated during a webinar in SpaceNews that they were heading back to the industry to probe about their business intentions, gather and obtain dissimilar kinds of environmental information.

As per the reactions, NOAA shall determine whether to do a fresh Commercial Weather Data Pilot program such as the one employed to assess commercial radio occultation information. NOAA initiated a slate in 2016 to assessed radio occultation information given by non-governmental agencies. This Commercial Weather Data Pilot ended around June alongside a report finalizing, “the business sector is competent in offering the quality of information necessitated to back up NOAA’s operational weather projecting necessities.

At the onset of this month, the NOAA dispensed a plea on regards to occultation information proposals. Griffin remarked that they anticipated bestowing deals, those were indeterminate-delivery, and indeterminate-quantity deals, around the middle of November alongside information delivery to commence on the festive month.

Originally the firm was expected to buy a small quantity of radio occultation information to guarantee that it bore the correct devices in place to take that information into their working models and their working processing streams, the entire system that needed to speak to one another and shift the information around. Griffin stated. Later, the organization intends to put up bigger orders, she added. While still at that, NOAA are investigating the market for fresh commercial information sources.

The firm’s NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture research, finished in 2018, reckoned that the firm should depend in the future on a hybrid architecture that comprises of both government satellites and commercial information whereby it was present. They displayed their capabilities to certify the NOAA necessities and operation desires, Griffin stated.

At this moment, the NOAA wishes to be acquainted with what is present. Griffin once more remarked that the method employed for offering data was wide open. Hence, they were expounding at all the dissimilar themes that they were presently backing with their satellite information as well as being capable of offering satellite information in reaction to those thematic regions. 

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Space

iSpace, a Chinese space launch company raises $173 million in the series B financing 

HELSINKI- A private Space Launch Company from China dubbed iSpace has been able to raise $173 million in series B corpulent financing to support the development of a novel series of launch cars and recyclable metal ox engines. iSpace reported that the corpulent funding was steered by CICC Alpha, Beijing Financial Street Capital Operation Center, citic Securities, Taizhonghe Capital, and others, including the current stakeholders.  

The close to 1.2 billion Yuan of money will be used in the Hyperbola development, a series of launch vehicles, renewable liquid oxygen methane engines, as well as the production and talent groups training. iSpace, also referred to as Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd, became the initial nominally private Chinese firm to initiate a satellite into the orbit in July 2019.

The firm’s Hyperbola-1 four-stage concrete spaceship of 20.8 meters launched two satellites into the low Earth orbit after launching a national Launch center, Jiuquan. The firm is currently making its more giant Hyperbola-2 liquid oxygen-methane launcher with a height of 28 meters tall and a diameter of 3.35 meters.  Hyperbola-2 will feature an initial renewable stage with a capacity of vertical landing. 

The 15-ton thrust JD-1 engine of the launcher finished a May 200-second fire test. The engine was successful in a secondary fright test on May 27, flagging the way for the forthcoming vertical launch, and vertical landing trials. JD-1 engines will energize the recyclable Hyperbola-2 metal ox launch capable of carrying over 1,100 payload kilograms into a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit 800 kilograms after the initial stage is to be reused and recovered.

iSpace anticipates carrying out a 100-kilometer vertical launch and landing trials with the Hyhperbola-2 initial stage in the next year. The full orbital flight is set to be conducted before the end of the year 2021. Landspace, a domestic contender, is also creating a methalox send-off vehicle, and Zhuque is also scheduled to have its initial launch in the year 2021. Both Zhugue-2 and Hyperbola-2 launch cars are anticipated to initiate from a specifically-built launch station near Jiuquan.

 iSpace, which was founded in 2016, is proposing additional launches of its concrete Hyperbola-1 spaceship and is also developing more giant launchers, incorporating Hyperbola-3 that features different initial stages as side thrusters. A recyclable space plane idea has also been brought by iSpace. iSpace had lastly raised more than $100 million in series A funding.

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Space

Kymeta raises enough funds to continue operating courtesy of the leadership of Bill Gates in this mission

The satellite company Kymeta has successfully managed to come up with $85.2 million in a fundraiser that Bill Gates led. These details formed the firm’s 25th August statement. 

Kymeta’s Washington facility, Redmond, will utilize the funds to finalize the advanced u8 antennas production, which will then be launched this year as per the president of Kymeta’s, Walter Berger, statement through an interview.

The finances will help propel the sales programs at Kymeta and the speed in distributing the firm’s products. The financial support will help the firm develop other exciting products like the Kymeta Connect service, for which the customers will have to subscribe to enjoy cellular services.

Berger is reluctant to reveal the amount raised in the fundraising, only stating that Bill Gates has given out $78.5 million and is a reliable financier. He added that the firm would be looking for other financial supporters to advance its projects.

This fundraiser is the fourth public event of the company since the formation of Kymeta. So far, the firm has revealed that the total it has garnered and which is a disclosure requirement is $282 million. Kymeta then began making antennas three years ago.

Kymeta intended to meet the maritime and railways’ communication needs but is currently working with the military customers and early adopters of their services.

Berger stated that the company considered a favorable market to supply their products with much ease reliably. He added that the targeted market includes the DoD, the federal government, and other customers whose interest is efficient communication services through antennas.

Kymeta conducted market research for close to two and a half years. Kymeta, later on, revealed its procurement of the Lepton Global Solutions, which connects the firm with the intelligence customers and other government agencies. Berger stated that the financial help from the high-profile supporters had been a great addition to acquiring new employees.

Currently, Kymeta is selling antennas for telephone communication customers with the hope of acquiring more federal government customers who are regular customers. Berger added that the firm is expanding its operation to meet the growing demand for its services.

Berger stated that this firm is looking forward to a future where the geostationary satellite companies and low-Earth orbit satellite developers will depend on them for antenna development operations. The u8 antennas can connect with three satellites to ensure an uninterrupted communication linkage among the linked systems.

To sum up, Kymeta is an upcoming industry participant that will facilitate the growth of communication services in space. The finances will boost the firm to command a niche in the space industry.

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Space

Rocket Lab prepared to endeavor Electron booster recovery  

Rocket Lab states that it is on the path to test recuperating an Electron booster one of the days at the course of this current year, as it also upgrades the cargo performance of the small dispatch automobile. 

Rocket Lab publicized in the previous week that it finalized drop tests of a dummy Electron foremost phase at its New Zealand dispatch area, displaying that its parachute would dispatch as anticipated and decelerate the booster after re-entry.

Peter Beck, Chairperson of Rocket Lab, remarked that they essentially simulated the uppermost load case, whereby they dropped a fully weighted dummy stage out of the sky and boosted it to the topmost load point and then popped the canopy. This was during an agency webcast on the 5th of August.

Peter stated that was the last test of the entire recuperating system for the Electron foremost stage, a fragment of an attempt the agency publicized one year in advance to recuperate and re-use the boosters. Rocket Lab tested on previous dispatches the competency of the stage to execute and regulated re-entry and employing an airplane [helicopter]  to grasp the stage as it goes down under a parachute.

With the tests finalized, Peter stated that Rocket Lab plans to make its foremost attempt to recuperate a foremost stage on a forthcoming dispatch, dubbed as Flight 17 and anticipated to occur at the course of this year. He remarked that Flight17 was sitting on the hangar. Aside from that, he posted an image of the stage, displaying alterations to provide room for the parachute system as well as other recuperating hardware.

The agency has not publicized date for the Flight 17 dispatch. The forthcoming Electron dispatch that shall be a get back flight operation after the miscarriage of an Electron dispatch on the 4th of July is slated for later this month and shall be the 14th Electron operation. Peter stated not so long ago that the agency anticipates getting back a monthly dispatch cadence. 

Peter remarked that Rocket Lab should not endeavour to grasp the stage in mid-air on the Flight 17 operation, concentrating on merely recuperating the booster from the ocean. He added that they should remove it out of the ocean, take it back and place it in the factory, and then they shall observe what they have obtained. Thus, it would determine the nature of the task they have ahead of them.

Rocket Lab highlighted in the previous year that it chose to go after re-usability to increase its dispatch rate without having to conduct significant investments in accelerated booster production, hence single re-use would have been brilliant.

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Galileo Next Generation satellites already on the horizon 

After European Commission issued a strategy to speed up the manufacture of Galileo Next Generation, European Space Agency ordered its satellite makers to provide bids for the initial G2 satellite group. The newly made spaceship will launch in 2024. 

The manufactured second-generation satellites (G2) will carry out all the first-generation satellites’ functions with the help of substantial improvements. Paul Verhoef, Director of ESA Navigation, said that the satellites manufactured should be very flexible and be of the latest technology. Making second-generation satellites is one hell of activity, especially for the European Space Agency and the entity. Verhoef said that the state-of-the-art satellite constellation satellites need to launch in the next four years without delay. 

Improvement of the industry

After two years of tireless competitive dialogues with three renowned system integrators, ESA provided a so-called ‘Best and Final Offer’ entreat tender on 11 August. Currently, the European Space Agency is carrying out a double-sourcing strategy, and the two agreements must be legalized before the end of this year. In that strategy, each of the selectees will manufacture two satellites meant for progress purposes, having a chance of making up to 12 satellites. 

New, advanced and overthrowing a standing mindset

Apart from being competent in their operation, the Galileo satellites must be flexible, easy to reconfigure into a trajectory to meet the needs of anticipated revolution in end-under requirements. Additionally, the required exploration satellites (those that convey the actual navigation signal to smartphones and other ground receivers) have advanced their applications. The whole process will require in-depth examination and development activities, and the European Space Agency has helped a lot. 

European Space Agency has already developed such an antenna to prove the idea of the Agency’s ESTEC technology amenity situated in the Netherlands. The know-how has been allocated to three bidders where each one will determine their ability to manufacture a navigation satellite to enhance practicability. Coming up with a final moon that has a flexible shipment is very challenging, and none of those navigation satellites have been launched. 

Advancing into the future

The European Commission wants what was to be branded as a ‘transition group’ to become the Galileo Second Generation Satellites. The European Commission and the EU associates have decided to be very ambitious and enhance the Galileo structure’s working abilities. The shift in the satellite brand clearly illustrates that the new group of satellites is advancing. 

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Arianespace resumes operations in its French facility with the launch of three spacecraft.

Arianespace marked the resumption of operations at its Guiana Space Center in Kourou with the launch of two communication satellites and a satellite servicer. The deployment was through the Ariane 5 rocket. 

The Ariane 5 rocket launched for space at 6 p.m. before releasing the spacecraft into its orbit in 48 minutes. The spacecraft had a malfunctioning sensor resulting in the postponement of the launch for two weeks. Another factor that delayed this launch to August 15 was lousy weather, which rebutted takeoff for 30 minutes. 

Ariane 5 rocket launch from the Guiana Space Center is the first after five months due to the coronavirus outbreak. The predecessor mission was in March from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome for OneWeb. OneWeb was launching a constellation before halting it due to bankruptcy filing and the coronavirus pandemic measures. 

The announcement by the World Health Organization that coronavirus is a pandemic resulted in a stoppage of operations in the Kourou facility. Since the French government runs the facility via its CNES space agency, they shut down operations in the facility to contain the spread of the virus. 

CNES and Arianespace reopened the facility for launch activities so that Ariane 5 and Vega deployments can occur from the Guiana Space Center. The launch visibly sees the resumption of operation of Ariane 5, also known as the VA253 mission. This launch mission is the first in which three spacecraft cumulatively launch into their orbits. 

The three spacecraft on this mission was Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 satellite servicer, Intelsat’s Galaxy-30 communications satellite, and Japan’s Bsat-4b satellite. The separating component for these satellites from the Japan lighter one is SYLDA. 

Arianespace chief executive Stéphane Israël stated that these three satellites were aboard the most advanced Ariane 5 rocket. The three satellites have a capacity of 9700 kilograms. The rocket is simply a work of art capable of hosting payloads weighing 10200 kilograms. Arianespace is currently working on the Ariane 6 rocket, which will have a capacity of 11500 kilograms. 

Northrop Grumman and Intelsat collaborated to launch MEV-2 and Intelsat 10-02 in their orbits. These two spacecraft will perch in their orbits next year, according to Intelsat’s CEO Stephen Spengler. The MEV-2 servicer will host this Intelsat satellite as it navigates through its geostationary pathway. 

Initially, the MEV-1 satellite servicer landed with the Intelsat satellite in a death orbit above the actual satellite geostationary location. The two partners witnessed this furtive experience from which they decided to retract and launch their spacecraft within the geostationary pathway. 

Finally, the satellite launched on behalf of Intelsat is part of its relocation efforts from the FCC-procured satellites. Israël added that Arianespace’s upcoming launch would be for the Vega mission hosting 53 small satellites. The postponement of this mission to September from June follows the lousy weather.