Satellite fleet operator SES on Sept. 22 said its SES Government is commercializing a low-altitude tactical surveillance aerostat equipped with optical surveillance and reconnaissance and a satellite link for border control, disaster relief and special-events monitoring.
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat on Sept. 21 said the failure of a thruster on its recently launched IS-33e satellite could reduce the satellite’s in-orbit life, but that the effect would be minimal.
LeoLabs Inc., a Silicon Valley startup preparing to build a worldwide network of phased-array radars to detect and track objects in low Earth orbit, plans to install a radar at Texas’ Midland International Air and Space Port, according to a Sept. 13 announcement.
Operators of commercial geospatial imagery services on Sept. 15 agreed that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an increasingly useful complement to their business but are unlikely to pose a direct threat to satellite systems for defense and intelligence customers.
Satellite fleet operator Avanti Communications, which is seeking a buyer or strategic investor to avoid a loan default, has won fresh support from its long-time supporter, the European Space Agency, in the form of a $12-million investment to provide broadband in Africa, ESA and Avanti said.
Airbus Defence and Space on Sept. 15 said it would finance, apparently on its own, a constellation of four very-high-resolution optical Earth observation satellites to launch in 2020 and 2021.
Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher on Sept. 15 successfully placed five high-resolution optical Earth observation satellites — one for the Peruvian government and four for Google-owned Terra Bella — into low Earth orbit.
NOAA awarded contracts Sept. 15 to two companies to provide weather data as part of a pilot program that could lead to greater uses of data from commercial satellites.
The French export-credit agency, Coface, on Sept. 13 said it was examining the OneWeb global internet-delivery constellation with an open mind but that it remains unclear whether the agency could guarantee a large portion of OneWeb’s debt.
The European Space Agency (ESA) on Sept. 13 gave final go-ahead for development of the next-generation Ariane 6 heavy-lift launch vehicle, confirming a rendezvous that many thought impossible when it was set in December 2014.
Virgin Galactic announced a contract for four launches of satellites for a planned communications constellation.
Satellite fleet operator SES, in a direct challenge to competitors ViaSat, Eutelsat and Inmarsat, is investing $500 million in a large, all-Ka-band spot beam high-throughput satellite to launch over the Americas in 2020 for aeronautical connectivity and other mobility applications, industry officials said.
The commercial company with arguably the most at stake in a quick and successful return to flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 8 gave a ringing endorsement of the launch-service provider even as SpaceX founder Elon Musk issued statements saying the investigation will be complicated.
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Blue Origin plans to conduct the next flight of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle in October, a launch that the company’s founder says will test the vehicle’s abort system.