Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s next-generation launch vehicle, the H3, says it is on schedule for a first launch in 2020, and will soon learn if the cost-cutting efforts pursued over the past three years will meet the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s goal of halving launch prices compared to the H-2A.
Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.
The companies signed the contract Thursday with the European Space Agency, which procures the satellites on behalf of the EU.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted June 22 to make OneWeb the first of what will likely be several new non-geosynchronous orbit (NGSO) satellite constellations granted regulatory approval to operate in the United States.
Citing a long-term drought in satellite orders, Space Systems Loral has laid off a number of employees at its California satellite manufacturing facility, the company confirmed June 22.
Europe’s Space Rider reusable spaceplane is three years or so from its debut, but the European Space Agency is already making plans to privatize the unmanned orbital vehicle. ESA officials said Space Rider could be operating commercially by 2025, flying science payloads and bringing them back to Earth for roughly $9,200 per kilogram.
ESA’s director of telecommunications and integrated applications, Magali Vaissiere, joined 16 European satellite industry leaders at the Paris Air Show June 21 to sign a joint statement on collaborating on the Satellite for 5G initiative. 5G networks will offer extremely low latencies and high capacity, enabling widespread deployment of Internet of Things technologies including autonomous cars, connected factories and smart infrastructure.
SES says its 14-year-old satellite that malfunctioned and strayed from its orbit over the weekend poses no collision or interference danger to other satellites in the vicinity.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium is willing to use pre-flown Falcon 9 first stage boosters for the second half of its fleet replacement if SpaceX can show that reuse will shorten Iridium’s wait for launches.
Russian company Glavkosmos is seeking to become a major player in the small satellite launch market, with plans to launch up to 120 satellites as secondary payloads on three Soyuz missions this year.
Thales Alenia Space has taken a “minority stake” in French airship maker Airstar Aerospace with the goal of completing a prototype of its Stratobus pseudo-satellite by 2020.
The U.K. government has committed to capturing 10 percent of the global space market by 2030 and is pouring support into emerging enterprises including spaceports, small satellite makers and application developers. However, the continuing uncertainty around Brexit concerns companies.
A pair of French entrepreneurs have raised 1.7 million euros ($1.9 million) for a new electric propulsion system to address the small satellite market.