Laser-Optical Payload Proposed for TerraSAR-X

EADS Astrium is proposing to place a laser-optical communications payload terminal on Europe’s future AlphaSat telecommunications technology demonstration satellite to communicate with Germany’s TerraSAR-X Earth radar Earth observation satellite.

The payload technology would be a second-generation version of hardware installed on the French Spot 4 optical Earth observation satellite and Europe’s Artemis data-relay spacecraft, which like the future AlphaSat is in geostationary orbit. EADS Astrium built the laser-optical payloads terminals on these spacecraft, which have logged years of successful intersatellite transmissions of Earth observation imagery, which is then sent to ground stations.

Bernard Laurent, head of the telecom systems department at EADS Astrium, said the payloads aboard Spot 4 and Artemis, designed in the 1980s and launched in the 1990s, weigh 150 kilograms. The newer-generation systems will weigh 40-45 kilograms and transmit data at rates of 300 megabits per channel per second //PER SECOND???–WF//ok/ , or six times the speed of the Artemis-Spot 4 link predecessors .

the 150-kilogram payloads terminals designed in the 1980s and launched in the 1990s would be replaced on the new satellites with 40- or 45-kilogram units capable of transmitting at rates of 300 megabits per channel — six times the speed of the Artemis-Spot 4 link.

EADS Astrium is under contract to the French arms procurement agency to build a demonstration laser terminal to be placed on an aircraft to communicate with Artemis. That experiment is scheduled to start flight tests in 2006.

Future host platforms for the technology include potential uses are for Europe’s planned unmanned aerial vehicle, EuroMALE. Laurent said the laser link would be useful //BE USEFUL??–WF//ok/ only for drones flying at altitudes of 6,000 meters or higher ///OR HIGHER???–WF/ok/ . Because of the interference caused by humidity in the atmosphere, communications between tactical drones flying at lower altitudes ///FLYING AT LOWER ALTITUDES??–WF/ok// and a satellite would be less effective.

European government authorities have approved the AlphaSat program through to development of the AlphaSat satellite platform but have yet to select a payload. TerraSAR-X is scheduled for launch in late 2006. It is being built by EADS Astrium and also partly financed by the company in a partnership with the German government.

The German government has also has invested in a different laser technology developed for intersatellite links by Tesat Spacecom of Backnang, Germany. Tesat hopes to use a system terminal it designed for TerraSAR-X to communicate with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s NFIRE satellite , also in low Earth orbit , which is scheduled for launch to low Earth orbit in 2006.

SpaceX Sets Nov. 26 Date For Maiden Falcon Launch

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) plans to launch its Falcon 1 rocket from the its Kwajalein test site in the Marshall Islands Nov. 26.

“All systems are go, and it looks like we’re going to make that date,” SpaceX chief executive officer Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a telephone interview Nov. 18. The rocket is carrying the FalconSat-2 satellite, which will be used by the Air Force Academy’s satellite program to measure space plasma phenomena, which interfere with space-based communications.

The launch will be the first for the El Segundo, Calif.-based company, which most recently had been aiming for an Oct. 31 launch but decided to devote an additional month to testing of its Merlin engine. While the engine on the rocket passed all qualifications, an engine of the same model failed during testing in September.

“It’s hard to say what will happen on launch day,” Musk said. “The history of rockets is one that’s filled with failures, frankly, but even if something does go wrong, I can say with really great certainty that from a SpaceX perspective, we’ve left no stone unturned as far as testing and retesting.”

If the launch is successful, it will be the first in a series of scheduled launches for 2006, Musk said. The company is still evaluating a date for its second launch, which will carry the Pentagon’s experimental TacSat-1. ; Musk said SpaceX has not confirmed whether that satellite will be will launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base or Kwajalein. The company also plans to launch a satellite for the Malaysian Space Agency in the third-quarter of 2006, Musk he said.

SpaceX also is making further progress on its Falcon 9 rocket, Musk said. Construction has begun on the first-stage tank, and Musk anticipates a flight unit to be complete by the middle of 2006. The company has sold its first Falcon 9 launch to a U.S. government customer for a 2007 mission. The company also expects to do a Falcon 9 launch for Bigelow Aerospace Airspace of Las Vegas for the following year. The company has taken in a total of $200 million in contracts to date, Musk said in a Nov. 18 press conference. Musk said he needs to raise another $100 million to complete Falcon 9 and will approach outside investors early in 2006.

Jeremy asked me to ask him this and I’m a bit fuzzy on the background here, so let me know if I need to clarify below- MJF

///cut for space///Musk says he believes Falcon 9 can still compete for launches of the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, despite the fact the rocket is still in development.

“When the first buy of EELV was given out, obviously Boeing and Lockheed Martin still had rockets in development, so I don’t think this should exclude us, particularly because we have good reason to believe we will complete [Falcon 9],” Musk said.

EADS Wins $101 Million Science Satellite Contract

Peter B. de Selding

Space News Staff Writer


Here is a web item and news brief.

PARIS — EADS Astrium will build three satellites to study the Earth’s Eath’s magnetic field for the European Space Agency (ESA) under a contract valued at about 86 million euros ($101 3 million), the company EADS Astrium announced Nov. 17.

Under the contract, EADS Astrium’s facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany, production facility will oversee production of the three Swarm satellites, with a substantial number of components coming from the company’s British facilities in Stevenage , and Portsmouth. , England.

Swarm is scheduled for launch in 2010. The three-satellite mission was selected by ESA Earth observation managers in May 2004 and given a budget of about 180 million euros including the satellites’ construction and launch, ground facilities and operations in orbit.

Two of the Swarm satellites will fly side by side in polar low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 450 kilometers, with the third flying in a similar orbit 80 kilometers higher. The spacecraft will study the Earth’s magnetic field and are considered the successor of the German Champ satellite, which is currently is in orbit and expected to be retired in late 2008.

Aegis Missile Defense System Scores Milestone Intercept

The Pentagon’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system scored its first successful intercept of a target with a warhead that separates from its booster rocket during testing on Nov. 17, according to a U.S. Missile Defense Agency news release.

The interceptor rocket was fired from the USS Lake Erie using a system developed by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Raytheon Co. built the Standard Missile-3 interceptor rocket, while Orbital Sciences Corp. built the target under a contract with Lockheed Martin.

U.S. Government Eyes Dec. For Satellite Services RFP

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is expected to issue by the end of December introduce a request for proposals for the second of its satellite communications services contracts. by the end of next month, a spokesman said at a workshop in Arlington, Va. Nov. 16.

GSA representative Jim Russo, who led a Nov. 19 session on the government purchase of satellite communications at the Civil Government SatCom Users Workshop sponsored by the Satellite Industry Association, said that GSA then plans to award contracts grant contract awards for the program in early 2006.

Satcom 2 II , as the program is known, is a follow-up to a government from the first commercial satellite services procurement vehicle lead by GSA, which that covered the years ran from 2000 through 2006, Russo said. Participants in the existing program range from military users such as the Department of Defense to civilian agencies including the Internal Revenue Service and Veterans’ Affairs, who use satellite communications for everything from emergency response to distance learning programs, GSA representative Sabrina Crane said at the workshop. Sales for the program since 2000 have exceeded $320 million, Crane said. The program services more than 120 different federal customers. , she said.

The previous program involved the awarding of multiple contracts with nine lead vendors, including ranging from Norway-based Telenor Satellite Services and of to General Dynamics of Falls Church, Va. The program aims to allow “one-stop shopping” for agencies to purchase their commercial satellite services, Russo said. “Our real goal here is to provide a vehicle which makes it as easy as possible for agencies to complete their missions,” Russo said.

Skynet 5 Insurance Policy Likely To Be Scrapped

The British Defence Ministry’s Skynet 5 military telecommunications satellite program, whose construction and operations have been farmed out to a private company, is likely to scrap its current satellite insurance policy in favor of building a third satellite, according to British government and industry officials.

Under the ministry’s current contract with EADS Space Services’ Paradigm Secure Communications, two large Skynet 5 satellites are under construction, with only long-lead -item components for a third spacecraft being provided. The first Skynet 5 is scheduled for launch in late 2006, with the second to follow in mid-2007.

The program currently features full insurance coverage for the two satellites and their launches, both on European Ariane 5 rockets. But given the cost of the coverage insurance , program managers are leaning toward scrapping the policy insurance coverage and proceeding directly to full construction of the third Skynet 5.

Simon Kershaw, satellite acquisition team leader at the British Defence Procurement Agency, said a decision on a third satellite is likely before the end of the year.

“What we have now is two satellites, plus certain items for a third, combined with an insurance policy covering the launch plus operations,” Kershaw said. “If there were a problem on the first launch, we could fill in with residual capacity on a Skynet 4 satellite. What we are trying to decide is whether to trade the insurance for the physical assurance of having a third satellite.”

One industry official involved with the program said that given today’s insurance rates, especially the annual cost of insuring insurance a satellite once it is in orbit, the advantages of building a third Skynet 5 immediately are clear. In addition, this official said, the cost of building the satellite will be less if the it is contract ed is structured to permit builder EADS Astrium of Stevenage, England, to combine the effort it with the work being done on the first two Skynet 5 satellites.

Here is the second milsatcom brief.

Italy Expects To Lease Sicral Satellite Capacity

Italy expects to be able to lease to other nations the equivalent of one-half of one of its Sicral military communications satellites but has no intention of transferring Sicral development and operations to the private sector as Britain has done with its Skynet system, according to an Italian defense official.

Commander Giovanni Durando, Durando, who ismanager for communications services at the Italian Defense Ministry’s Military Satellite Control and Management Center, said the Sicral 1 satellite launched in early 2001 is healthy and expected to operate through 2010 and probably longer. Sicral 1b, now under in construction at Alcatel Alenia Space’s Italian production plant, is scheduled for launch in 2007. Sicral 2, the contract for which has not been finalizedwhich has not yet been fully contracted, is scheduled for launch in 2010.

Italy, France and Britain are providing the NATO alliance with satellite capacity under a multinational joint agreement. To meet NATO specifications, Sicral 1b will be hardened to protect it against nuclear radiation.

Durando said that Italian national requirements are equivalent to 1.5 Sicral satellites. Once Sicral 1b is in orbit, Italy expects to have capacity available for lease even after NATO’s requirements are taken into account. The satellite will be carrying mainly an SHF and UHF payload, with one EHF channel to be reserved for Italian police to use from remote locations for two-way high-speed data communications links.

“The fact that the system is managed by military people is important,” Durando said. He said the merger of Alcatel Space of France — which builds the French Syracuse 3 satellites — with Italian satellite builder Alenia Spazio could lead to a common satellite order from France and Italy.

France’s military satellite communications schedule is similar to Italy’s. One Syracuse 3 is in orbit, a second is scheduled for mid-2006 and a third will be needed for 2010.

“We may be able to make some efforts [in common with France] to minimize costs,” Durando said. “It is a viable solution that should be investigated.”

here is the third milisatcom brief.

NATO Satellite Policies Fall Behind the Times

The NATO’s alliance’s strategy and budget have fallen far behind the alliance’s its operational needs and satellite communications is space policy is no exception, according to NATO’s the organization’s program manager for satellite communications.

Retired British Army Brig. Tim Waugh of the NATO C3 Agency said the organization is struggling to adapt its purchases and its capabilities to the fact that collective defense — once NATO’s principal mission — has given way to force projection, crisis management, humanitarian aid and deployments well beyond NATO’s historical field of responsibility.

All of this should drive a new satellite policy but has not, Waugh said. “The latest NATO strategy was made in 1999,” Waugh said. “There is no NATO focus on satcoms activity. We do it on an ad hoc basis. We are not focused on pulling it all together. Who would have guessed that NATO would have a role in humanitarian aid after the Pakistan earthquake?”

NATO has agreed to purchase satellite capacity to replace the aging NATO 4 IV satellites in a multiyear services deal with France, Britain and Italy covering UHF and SHF transmissions. A separate contract for covering EHF services, which the United States is all but certain to win, is expected in 2006.

The leased capacity will not provide global coverage, but NATO has no clear policy on leasing gap-filler capacity from commercial satellite operators, Waugh said, even though such capacity has been leased on the short-term, spot market.

“Use of commercial capacity is something we are going to have to come to terms with,” Waugh said. “We cannot keep using just military assets.”

Waugh said NATO is laboring to upgrade its satellite ground segment to make it responsive to the new NATO missions. Plans call for It is consolidating NATO’s its overly complicated satellite ground terminal network, with contracts expected to be signed in 2006 and 2007.

“When NATO was 19 nations, we had 19 ground terminals — it was almost a national virility sign for member nations,” Waugh said. “We are modernizing but it takes time. It is a real challenge to integrate with the NATO terrestrial network.”

The capacity reserved aboard the French, British and Italian satellites, he said, may not be sufficient to cover NATO’s future needs. “We may need to look at augmenting this, with [the three nations] and with commercial suppliers.”


Here is a fourth milsatcom brief.

Spainsat Expected To Supplant Hispasat 1B

The Spanish Ministry of Defense expects to quit using cease the use of the aging Hispasat 1B telecommunications satellite this spring once its Spainsat spacecraft is operational in orbit following a scheduled January or February launch aboard a European Ariane 5 ECA rocket, according to Maj. Roberto Pelaez, Spanish representative in the NATO Satellite Communications Working Group.

Hispasat 1B, launched in 1993 2003 and carrying both commercial and military payloads, was scheduled to be retired in 2003. Running low on fuel, it was placed into an inclined orbit while awaiting the launch of the all-military Xtar-Eur and Spainsat satellites. Xtar-Eur, owned and operated by a private-sector consortium, was launched in February and became operational in May at 29 degrees east longitude. Spainsat will operate at from 30 degrees east.

As part of its satellite replacement effort, Spain’s defense ministry has s Spanish defense authorities have begun a two-part, $383 million upgrade of its satellite ground infrastructure. The upgrades, part of included in a program called Secomsat, include s tactical ground terminals for Spanish troops as well as main prime and backup satellite control centers. Also included are shipborne terminals for 16 surface ships vessels and eight submarine terminals.

Production and installation of the ground hardware is expected to be completed by 2020, with almost all of the gear being developed by Spanish industry, Pelaez said.

Spain is not part of the three-nation grouping that won a contract to provide satellite capacity to NATO, but Pelaez said once Spainsat is up Spanish authorities will have more capacity than they need. The Xtar-Eur satellite is already being marketed by Xtar LLC, and Pelaez said Spain has signed mutual-backup provisions for satellite-capacity sharing with NATO, France and Italy, and is drafting a similar deal with the British government.

here is the fifth milsatcom brief.

Complications Abound in Dutch Satcom Planning

Managers of the Dutch Defense Ministry’s Netherlands Military Satellite Communications Project said they have been squeezed by program constraints that have required them to make decisions that are incompatible with conventional prudent program management.

For example, as Examples: — As one of the nations signed on as partners in the U.S. Advanced EHF satellite program, they have been obliged to commit to the purchase of ground terminals before a U.S. prime contractor for the equipment has been named, and before a firm price has been set. “We need to sign a contract shortly for Dutch Navy terminals, but no prime contractor has been selected, so we will need to come up with an explanation” to the Dutch military command, said Dutch Navy Capt. Hans van der Wall, project manager for the Dutch military satellite communications office.

FurtherIn another example, Dutch officials assumed their EHF shipborne satellite terminals would be compatible with NATO standards. But NATO’s purchase of EHF capacity has been delayed, and no decision is expected for at least several months, raising the possibility that the Dutch Navy will face compatibility issues down the road. //I DON’T QUITE UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS. CAN YOU CLARIFY??–WF//fixed/

In another third example, the — The Dutch military procurement policy permits multiyear leases, purchases and Dutch authorities have recently concluded a three-year contract, with an option of three more years, with New Skies Satellites of The Hague for C- and Ku-band capacity on the NSS-703 satellite. But assessing how much capacity the different military branches will need has been almost impossible.

Dutch Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Groot said the different prospective users tend to forecast their requirements in a “window-shopping” manner and are unable to separate core requirements from less-necessary ones to accommodate budget requirements.

Dutch officials are also are negotiating with Paradigm Secure Communications of Britain, which manages British military satellite services, for X-band capacity, Groot said.

This month, NASA, Boeing Developing New Flying Wing Concept

NASA and Boeing researchers recently completed the first phase of testing of a 5- five percent scale model of a concept for a new flying wing the aircraft in the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel in Hampton, Va.

The model, which has a 4- four meter wingspan and weighs around 37 kilograms, was flown in the tunnel’s wind stream constrained by a tether cable, and is the biggest model tested in the tunnel, according to Dan Vicroy, a flight dynamics principle investigator for NASA’s Langley Research Center.

The concept could lead to a more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft, according to Vicroy. The plane ‘svolume is conducive to carrying high quantities of fuel or people, Vicroy said. It would be able to carry a large amount of fuel or a large number of people, so it would be useful to the military as a tanker or transport plane, he said.

The model’s lightweight nature, however, makes it more susceptible to turbulence, but steps can be taken to alleviate that problem, he said. The B-2 bomber took aircraft was the first to take advantage of flying wing technology, Vicroy said, but this new model would be the first transport flying wing aircraft.

The project is a joint endeavor between NASA and Boeing Phantom Works, based in Long Beach, Calif. According to Vicroy, NASA contributed use of its tunnel facilities and a team of five 5 -10 technicians per year, and Boeing contributed additional resources.

For the technology to come to a reality, at least seven more years would need to be invested into developing an applicable product, Vicroy said. This winter, the model will go through a mounted test in the wind tunnel, and a remote-controlled version of the plane will be tested at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., this spring, Vicroy said.

Boeing project manager Bob Levak did not return three calls seeking comment this week.

SpaceDev Gets $2.7 Million To Improve Rocket Motor

SpaceDev will develop a new rocket motor with nine times the power of its most advanced existing motor , under a new contract from the U.S. Air Force.

The Poway, Calif.-based company has received a $2.7 million contract to begin work on a large hybrid rocket motor, according to a Nov. 17 press release from SpaceDev.

The company will design a small common booster capable of producing between approximately 45,000 and 60,000 kilograms of thrust, significantly higher than that of the technology used for its SpaceShipOne aircraft, chief executive officer Jim Benson said in a Nov. 17 phone interview.

The new rocket motor shows an increase in performance and will use fuel more efficiently, according to Benson.

The new rocket motor will be applicable for a variety of applications, Benson said, such as for launching large payloads or as a launch vehicle for small groups of low-cost microsatellites.

The company is gearing the development for towards use for its planned six-passenger Dream Chaser vehicle, which it is developing for use for future commercial tourism use, or for routine NASA transport to the international space station.

The Air Force is interested in the development because it improves the efficiency of motors, and because it can be used for cheap, responsive small-launch vehicles, which have a variety of uses for the agency, Benson said.

Benson said it is unclear how long it will take to develop the hybrid rocket motor.

“Without a fully funded program in advance, it’s hard to put a time schedule on it,” Benson said. “But we’d like to be launching something within a couple of years.”

Iridium, ICG Developing Credit-Card Billing System

Iridium Satellite of Bethesda, Md., and the International Communications Group (ICG) are working to develop a billing service so customers using Iridium’s satellite network can pay for individual telephone calls with credit cards.

The service currently is undergoing testing and is expected to be available to all customers by early 2006, Iridium said in a Nov. 9 press release. Using the service, customers are able to enter their credit card information through a phone keypad, a credit card swipe device or a prestored information packet installed in the Iridium satellite terminal. The system then will transmit the information to ICG’s calling card center, where the credit card number and expiration date will be verified.

“We developed the credit card calling solution in response to demand from our customers who wanted an easy and painless way to bill calls to their credit cards,” Armin Jabs, president of ICG, said in a prepared statement. ICG, based in Newport News, Va., develops communications management systems.

Second Milstar Satellite Surpasses Design Life

The second U.S. Air Force Milstar communications satellite has surpassed its 10-year on-orbit service life and continues to provide critical and secure links to U.S. national leaders and military forces worldwide, Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., which built the satellite, announced Nov. 15.

The satellite launched Nov. 6, 1995, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on a Lockheed Martin Titan 4 rocket. It is the second of two Milstar Block 1 satellites, the first of which was launched in February 1994 and is still operating.

The satellites are equipped with UHF and low-data-rate Extremely High Frequency payloads, which were built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology of Redondo Beach, Calif. Boeing Satellite Systems of El Segundo, Calif., contributed crosslink payloads so the satellites could communicate on-orbit.

The Air Force launched the first Block 2 Milstar satellite in 2001. The Milstar 2 satellites offer a number of advancements compared to the Block 1 craft, including medium-data-rate Extremely High Frequency payloads built by Boeing.

Great Circle Shipping Installing Iridium Gear

Great Circle Shipping of Bangkok, Thailand, is equipping 34 of its bulk cargo carriers with Thrane & Thrane maritime terminals to use the Iridium satellite network for ship-to-shore voice and data transmissions, Iridium Satellite of Bethesda, Md., announced Nov. 9.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. is installing the terminals under a service contract with Great Circle. No financial information was disclosed.

DRS Technologies Wins GOES Sensor Contract

DRS Technologies nabbed a contract valued at $38 million to develop advanced infrared sensors for the next generation of U.S. geostationary-orbiting weather satellites, the company announced Nov. 15.

The sensors will be part of the Advanced Baseline Imager, a key instrument aboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R, or GOES-R, spacecraft, DRS of Parsippany, N.J., said. The Advanced Baseline Imager will monitor clouds, storms and overall atmospheric conditions at various wavelengths.

DRS will provide infrared sensors and focal plane arrays for five flight instruments, the company said. The work will be performed at DRS Sensors and Targeting Systems in Cypress, Calif., with deliveries expected to run from 2007 to 2009.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will operate the GOES-R-series satellites. The first of those satellites is slated to launch in 2012.

Telenor Satellite Launches Account-Management Tool

Telenor Satellite Services, a subsidiary of Telenor of Norway, has launched a new online account-management tool that enables service providers and customers to better manage use of satellite terminals and phones, view call data and other information, Telenor announced Nov. 9.

The service, My Source, grants users the ability to select prepaid plans and reload prepaid cards. It also features Web Dial, allowing customers to set up international calls via the Internet, Telenor said.

“With this dynamic new tool, we have made it very easy for our service providers and their customers to have direct electronic access to modify their accounts, immediately view call data and subscribe and unsubscribe to services,” Anders Kallerud, vice president of Telenor Satellite Services, said in a prepared statement.

Wf,tew–we can use this as a news brief or to fill a hole in the back of the book.

European Commission Picks GMES Focus Areas

The European Commission announced Nov. 14 that it has selected emergency management, land monitoring and maritime services the first three focus areas for its Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative, which is being run with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The three service areas will be the focus of so-called “fast track” development programs to be in place by the end of 2008. They will rely on satellite and terrestrial sensors already in place or planned by organizations including ESA and several national space agencies in Europe.

The emergency management service will aid in predicting and responding to natural and man-made disasters. The land monitoring service will focus on mapping Europe’s land cover and land-use patterns to assist in developing urban-planning and other policies. The marine services will focus on global and regional ocean-climate monitoring.

GMES, whose funding level is still unclear because of ongoing debate over the European Commission’s 2007-2013 budget, is intended to federate Europe’s diverse Earth observation programs on behalf of European Union governments. It is the principal European contribution to the 10-year Global Earth Observation System of Systems, approved by about 60 governments in February.

Rocket Firm Blue Origin Calls Seattle Suburb Home

The Blue Origin rocket company, bankrolled by founder Jeff Bezos, plans to set up its corporate headquarters and primary operations in Kent, Wash., near Seattle, next year.

Secretive in their rocket work, The secretive company Blue Origin is rumored to be engaged in developing a passenger-carrying rocket that would take off and land vertically.

According to a recent statement from Kent Mayor Jim White, Blue Origin will house its research, design, manufacturing, assembly and test operations in the city, creating up to 100 jobs.

Flight tests will be conducted in west Texas.

“We were won over by Kent’s attractive business climate,” Blue Origin Program Manager Rob Meyerson said in a press statement issued by the city. “It is centrally located with easy access to major transportation corridors.”

Kent’s proximity to the SeaTac airport and other transportation infrastructure and its location as a mass-transit hub was a factor in Blue Origin’s decision to establish its new headquarters in the city, White said.


Texas takeoffs

Back in June Earlier this year , some details of Blue Origin’s rocket work were disclosed in pubic meetings held in Texas. The rocket company is building launch facilities in Culberson County, Texas, to test a series of launch vehicles. The first vehicle will take off and land vertically, carrying three or more passengers astronauts to the edge of space, Meyerson said.

During those meetings, Meyerson said Blue Origin anticipates a flight test of its vehicle possibly as early as in the fourth quarter of 2006. Construction of the launch site and related facilities is scheduled to begin in early 2006 and take about a year to complete.

Incremental construction of the launch site and facilities is scheduled to begin in early 2006, and should take about a year to complete.

Blue Origin will conduct flight tests for three to five years before regular commercial flights would begin, Meyerson said. During the testing phase, less than 25 launches a year are anticipated, he said.

Test program

The Blue Origin reusable launch vehicle (RLV) would haul paying passengers on suborbital jaunts, according to a briefly posted document posted briefly on the company’s Web site. The hydrogen peroxide- and kerosene-propelled rocket would consist of be composed of a propulsion module fueled by kerosene and hydrogen-peroxide and a crew capsule.

The Bezos booster would fly be fully reusable, flying autonomously under the control of onboard computers without ground-based intervention . There would be no ground control during nominal flight conditions, the document explained. The craft is designed to take off vertically from a concrete pad and land vertically in an area near the launch site, a similar flight profile to the trajectory flown by the Pentagon/NASA-sponsored Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X).

The DC-X was built under contract at McDonnell Douglas and repeatedly flew from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico starting in the early 1990s.

Blue Origin said it intended to perform unmanned RLV developmental test flights from the proposed facility beginning in the third quarter of 2006. Once the technology had been thoroughly tested, passenger flight service using the RLV would occur at a maximum rate of 52 launches per year. The RLV was identified as being capable of carrying three or more passengers per operation.

According to source , Blue Origin has tested an unpiloted vertical takeoff and vertical landing platform, purportedly powered by four turbojets. Shakeout testing of the platform’s control system took place in Central Eastern Washington State.

Wf,tew–?? For brad. 1 sent to peter

//questions answered, but don’t set until I confirm one brief on Thurs. morning -ba///

MDA, Boeing Begin Moving X-Band Radar to Alaska

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Boeing planned to begin transporting the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) by Nov. 18 from the shipyard in Corpus Christi, Texas, to its final destination in Adak, Alaska, where it will help defend the United States against long-range ballistic missiles, Maria McCullough, Boeing’s director of communications for missile defense, said Nov. 17.

Chicago-based Boeing, the prime contractor on the radar, announced in a Nov. 14 news release that the SBX would will leave the Gulf of Mexico via the Straits of Magellan aboard the Motor Vessel Blue Marlin, which is owned and operated by Dockwise Shipping B.V. of Breda, The Netherlands.

Although the SBX is self-propelled so it can move through the Pacific to support the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program , the Blue Marlin can transport it in less than half the time it SBX would require to get to Adak there under its own power.

The SBX, which will provide tracking, discrimination and hit-assessment functions, completed sea trials recently to demonstrate its ability to operate on the ocean for extend periods, Boeing said. completing personnel, supplies and fuel transfers as well as at-sea maintenance duties.

The SBX is scheduled to arrive at its home port in Adak in early 2006, McCullough said, adding she couldn’t be more specific as the transit transfer time is “highly dependent on Mother Nature.”

Sea Launch Announces Contract With DirecTV

Sea Launch LLC landed a contract to launch a large Ka-band geostationary satellite for satellite television provider DirecTV Group of El Segundo, Calif., in early 2007, Sea Launch of Long Beach, Calif., announced Nov. 15.

Financial terms of the contract, which includes an option to launch an additional spacecraft, were not disclosed.

Sea Launch said the 6,080-kilogram satellite is one of three Boeing 702-model spacecraft being built for DirecTV, but did not specify which one. Under a contract announced in September 2004, Boeing Satellite Systems International is building three 702-model spacecraft for DirecTV to carry high-definition television programming.

At the time of that contract announcement, the first of those satellites, DirecTV 10 and DirecTV 11, were slated for delivery in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The third satellite, DirecTV 12 was to be kept as a ground spare.

Sea Launch spokeswoman Paula Korn said it is yet to be determined which of the satellites will be launched aboard the company’s Zenit 3SL rocket.

In September 2005, International Launch Services of McLean, Va., announced a contract to launch either the DirecTV 10 or DirecTV 11 satellite in the second quarter of 2007 aboard a Russian Proton rocket.

Items here read by warren. Sea launch item needs first read

Indian-Led DTH Venture Leases Insat 4A Capacity

Tata Sky Ltd. of Mumbai, India, the satellite-television venture owned by India’s Tata Group with a minority stake held by News Corp., has agreed to lease all 12 Ku-band transponders aboard India’s Insat 4A satellite, scheduled to be launched in December, Tata and the Indian government’s commercial space arm, Antrix Corp., announced Nov. 14.

Financial terms were not announced. Insat 4A, owned by the Indian Space Research Organisation, is scheduled for launch aboard an Ariane 5 GS rocket in December. It carries 12 C-band transponders in addition to its Ku-band payload.

Tata Sky is 80 percent owned by Tata Group in keeping with Indian regulations prohibiting non-Indian companies from owning more than 20 percent of shares in direct-to-home (DTH) satellite ventures. Australia-based News Corp. has long been trying to get a foothold into India’s DTH market.

Tata Sky Ltd. Chief Executive Vikram Kaushik said in a statement that ISRO’s Insat 4A will be “the most advanced and high-powered Ku-band satellite in the region.”

Tata Sky will be competing with DishTV, owned by Indian media tycoon Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group, which leases its own satellite capacity on a New Skies Satellites spacecraft.

Wf–still working with this

*//this will need to be confirmed on Thursday, but I wrote it assuming it will ship out then. So we can’t set bradbriefs until I confirm. Also art item///-ba.

WorldSpace Picks Integral To Provide Control System

Integral Systems of Lanham, Md., has won a contract from WorldSpace Inc. to provide satellite control systems for WorldSpace’s AfriStar and AsiaStar radio-broadcasting satellites geostationary satellites, which broadcast the company’s satellite radio service , Integral announced Nov. 14.

The control systems will be based on Integral’s Epoch Integrated Production Suite, which integrates Microsoft Office products for automated data analysis and distribution. The units are expected to extend the life of WorldSpace’s satellite control system by at least 15 years, according to the news release.

“The new system not only prepares us for the expansion of our satellite broadcast network, but enables us to continue offering our subscribers high-quality digital audio and multimedia programming anytime and virtually anywhere in our coverage areas,” Brian Park, WorldSpace’s vice president for broadcast satellite operations, said in a prepared statement.

The systems will be installed at WorldSpace’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., and its regional center in Melbourne, Australia, over the next five to six months, according to Integral spokesman Stuart Daughtridge. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Austrian Firm To Supply Satellite Trolley to Boeing

Austrian Aerospace of Vienna will supply an additional mobile satellite integration platform to Boeing Satellite Systems International of El Segundo, Calif., the Vienna-based company announced.

The order follows following the recent delivery of the Austrian Aerospace’s company’s largest-ever platform to El Segundo, Calif.-based Boeing, Austrian Aerospace announced.

The mobile satellite integration platform, also known as a trolley, is used to rotate satellites to facilitate integration of their payloads. Austrian Aerospace’s biggest platform sold to Boeing, which was recently delivered, weighs 25,000 kilograms and is capable of maneuvering a satellite weighing up to 22,000 kilograms, Austrian Aerospace said.

Financial terms of the latest deal were not disclosed, but Austrian Aerospace said that in the past 18 months it has received $2.2 million in orders for satellite-maneuvering platforms from U.S. satellite customers.

The mobile satellite integration platform, also known as a trolley, is used to rotate satellites to facilitate integration of their payloads. Austrian Aerospace’s biggest platform sold to Boeing, which was recently delivered, weighs 25,000 kilograms and is capable of maneuvering a satellite weighing up to 22,000 kilograms, Austrian Aerospace said.

Orbital’s Measat-1R Deal Worth Nearly $70 Million

Orbital Sciences Corp. will build the Measat-1R telecommunications satellite for Malaysian satellite operator Measat Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd. under a contract valued at $69.9 million, Kuala Lumpur-based Measat said in a Nov. 11 filing to the Kuala Lumpur Bursa, or stock exchange.

Under the contract, Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences will deliver Measat-1R by August 2007. Measat has not yet signed a contract contracted with a launch-services provider.

Measat-1R, based on Orbital’s Star 2 platform, will carry 12 36-megahertz Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders and is expected to operate for 15 years at from Measat’s 91.5 degrees east orbital slot. It will replace Measat-1, which is being retired.

The contract also includes options for at least one more satellite, Measat said.

“Measat is experiencing strong demand for satellite services at our key 91.5 degrees east orbital position,” Measat Director Tun Hanif Omar said in a statement. “With the Measat-1 satellite operating close to capacity, and strong demand in leasing capacity on the new Measat-3 satellite, we see a clear need to replace the Measat-1 … and provide expansion capacity for our Ku-band services.”

Measat-1R’s The//MEASAT 1R??–WF/question sent to peter/// Ku-band payload will carry beams for direct-broadcast television services to Malaysia and Indonesia. Tun Hanif Omar said more than 2 million antennas are now pointed to Measat-1.

NASA, Hollywood Join To Release Create Teaching Material

NASA has joined partnered with Columbia TriStar Marketing Group of Culver City, Calif., and Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston to develop teaching materials resources for educators that spark student s’ interest s in science and mathematics using science concepts from in the book and motion picture “Zathura.”

In a The agency announced Nov. 9 press release, NASA said the new partnership aims to use an exciting space adventure story as a vehicle to foster interest in space exploration as well as enhance science curricula at the elementary-school level. //MY CHANGES. CQ??–WF/yes, ba/ the elementary science curriculum using the story of an exciting space adventure to introduce the science behind concepts featured in the book and movie.

The partnership developed a program dubbed “Space Science: Adventure is Waiting,” which features an education program featuring posters and classroom activities to build up student s’ science skills. in science and language arts.///NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN BY SCIENCE AND LANGUAGE ARTS?? WHAT ARE WE REALLY TRYING TO SAY HERE??–WF//I fixed it -ba/ The education materials are available for free at NASA educator-resource centers, bookstores, movie theaters and via the World Wide Web. available for download on all partners’ Web sites.

“Zathura , ” is a fictional story by Chris Van Allsburg about in which a group of children who find themselves on an outer space adventure. The book, , was a New York Times bestseller in 2003, and . It was adapted into a feature film that was and released in theaters theatres Nov. 11.

RT Logic Wins Air Force

Satellite Transceiver Award

RT Logic To Develop Versatile Transceiver

RT Logic , a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based subsidiary of Integral Systems,has won a Small Business Innovation Research Phase 2 contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., to develop a programmable satellite transceiver that can operate over in a field a wide swath of bandwidth to increase interoperability between military and civil ground systems.

Integral announced Nov. 10 that RT Logic of Colorado Springs, Colo., along with Seakr Engineering Inc. of Centennial, Colo., are working to produce a model for a spaceflight transceiver that can be programmed in flight to accommodate different changing///DIFFERENT??–WF/yes./ waveforms. RT Logic will use its S-Band/L-Band I/Q modulator and demodulator as the basis //MY CHANGE. CQ??–WF/yes, ba/ for a platform to field the dual-band, programmable receiver.

No financial details about the contract were disclosed. RT Logic is a subsidiary of Integral Systems of Lanham, Md.