Satellite manufacturers said they are being pulled in every direction by customers who want their spacecraft to last longer in orbit, or maybe only half as long, and who hesitate to finalize a purchase because it could be obsolete in a few years.
Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on Oct. 11 said it had inaugurated its design-to-cost spending-reduction plan by ordering a direct-broadcast television satellite from Orbital ATK of the United States and Airbus Defence and Space of Europe.
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.
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.
Satellite Internet startup OneWeb Satellites has completed the preliminary design review for its 700-satellite constellation and expects to have its entire satellite subcontractor team committed by by early August, Chief Operating Officer Eric de Saintignon said June 30.
SI Imaging Services (SIIS) of South Korea on July 6 said it had begun commercial sales of imagery from its Kompsat-3A optical Earth observation satellite, making Korea the second nation, after the United States, to put 50-centimeter-class pictures on the open market.
The European-built service module for NASA’s Orion crew-transport vehicle will be three months late in being shipped to the United States following modifications to the design recommended by a June 16 program review, a senior European Space Agency official said June 17.
Airbus Defence and Space UK will build the European Space Agency’s Biomass forest-carbon-monitoring satellite under a contract valued at 229 million euros ($260 million), the two parties announced May 3.
Airbus and OneWeb on Jan. 26 announced they had formed the company OneWeb Satellites, which will build the OneWeb constellation.
The European Space Agency has dismissed Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor for operations of Europe’s share of the International Space Station, opting to perform much of the Airbus work itself.
The European Space Agency on Aug. 5 said it had successfully conducted 100 high-speed laser links between its Sentinel-1A radar Earth observation satellite in low Earth orbit and the AlphaSat satellite in geostationary orbit.
Airbus Defense and Space on July 24 said it has begun moving the Skynet 5A military telecommunications satellite from its 6 degrees east slot to 94.8 degrees east over the Asia Pacific, where it is expected to begin operations late this year.