Balky Solar Array Stymies Shuttle Crew

NASA mission managers were weighing their options Dec. 15 to fix a stubborn solar array left half-exposed above the international space station (ISS) during a Dec. 13 spacewalk.

ISS flight crew conducted a “wiggle” test on one of two solar wings of the station’s mast-like Port 6 (P6) Dec. 15. The purpose of the activity was to jar loose a sticky guide wire, said John Curry, NASA’s lead ISS flight director for the STS-116 shuttle mission aboard Discovery.

The P6 array, which stretches out over the space station’s port side, has been in a mid-retracted position since Dec. 13, when initial efforts by Discovery and ISS astronauts to pack it away were stymied by incorrect folds, likely caused by friction between the array’s guide wires as they thread through a series of grommets.

In a separate attempt to loosen the solar array Dec. 15, ISS flight engineer Thomas Reiter began a vigorous aerobic workout of lifts and squats using the outpost’s Interim Resistive Exercise Device to shake the P6 solar arrays , said Mike Suffredini, deputy ISS program manager for NASA.

ISS flight controllers were hoping that either of the two non-spacewalk approaches would be successful since mounting a fourth spacewalk during Discovery’s STS-116 mission carried time pressures, posed shock hazards and also involved the inherent risks that are always present when astronauts leave a spacecraft.

While it need not be retracted completely during the STS-116 mission, the solar wing and another on the P6 truss must be packed away before the segment can be relocated to the end of the recently installed Port 5 truss later next year and might have to be addressed before a Russian spacecraft docks at an Earth-facing berth in April.

U.S. Signs Deal with India For NPOESS Ground Station

The U.S. and Indian governments signed an agreement that will allow the United States to place a ground station in India that is capable of receiving data from a new generation of U.S. government weather satellites that will begin operating about 2013.

The Indian National Remote Sensing Agency will host the ground station, known as SafetyNet in Hyderabad, India, according to a Dec. 15 news release from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Indian Space Research Organis ation and the Indian National Remote Sensing Agency will work with NOAA scientists to calibrate data received at the SafetyNet station from the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), according to the news release. Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Mass., will build key hardware for the ground station, according to the news release.

Canada’s MDA Will Build Worldview 1 Ground System

MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. (MDA) will build the ground systems that process and disseminate data collected by DigitalGlobe‘s Worldview 1 satellite. MDA of Richmond, B.C., will modify existing ground stations and build new ones, according to a Dec. 14 press release from MDA.

Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe’s Worldview 1 satellite, which is being constructed under the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s NextView program, is scheduled to launch in mid-2007. MDA will install the first ground station soon after the launch, the release said.

Delta 2 Lofts Classified NRO Satellite from Vandenberg

A classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite was launched by a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Dec. 14.

Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., which produces the rockets’ second-stage engines, and the Air Force announced the successful launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-2.

“Vandenberg ensures national security with each executed launch, continuously proving that no one does it better,” said Col. Jack Weinstein, mission commander and 30th Space Wing commander. The 30th Space Wing is responsible for all military space and missile launch activities on the West Coast.

The launch marks the 254th successful use of Aerojet’s liquid second-stage engine on the Delta 2.

Avanti Splits Off Satellite Unit To Raise $9.8 Million

The British media-distribution company building a broadband communications satellite to serve Europe plans to separate the satellite venture from the rest of the company’s business and issue publicly traded shares in the new venture.

Avanti Screenmedia of London plans to raise about 5 million pounds ($9.8 million) by issuing new shares in the satellite division, to be called Avanti Communications Group, on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, pending approval by the company’s shareholders.

Seventy percent of the revenue would be used for Avanti’s existing business of placing video screens with advertising content in retail outlets. The remainder would be invested in developing the satellite venture, Avanti said.

The move, announced Dec. 13, will better reflect the differences between Avanti’s two businesses, Avanti said. The company’s Hylas satellite, partly financed by the British government, is under construction by a Euro-Indian joint venture and is scheduled for launch in late 2008. It will carry Ka- and Ku-band transponders and operate from the British-registered 33.5 degrees west orbital position.

Avanti said in its disclosure to London Stock Exchange authorities that it already has sold 7.5 percent of the Hylas satellite’s capacity, to an unnamed buyer, for 25 million pounds, “thereby demonstrating the revenue potential of the satellite.”

Avanti Chief Executive David Williams will be leaving his Screenmedia post to become chief executive of the new satellite company.

State Department Official Defends U.S. Space Policy

Repeating numerous warnings over the past decade that the United States is vulnerable to a “Space Pearl Harbor,” Robert Joseph, undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, told a Washington audience Dec. 13 that protecting the nation’s space infrastructure must be put on equal footing with the need to protect U.S. assets on land, sea and in the air.

During his remarks at the Marshall Institute — the first on-the-record comments by any administration official since the new U.S. space policy was issued nearly four months ago — Joseph refuted allegations that the document represented a unilateral policy stance or that the policy could lead to an international arms race in space.

While similar in tone to the 10-year-old space policy issued during the Clinton administration, the Bush policy has been criticized for taking a more aggressive tone and prompted speculation about just how far the U.S. might go to protect its interests.

Joseph rebuffed those criticisms and also rejected suggestions that the United States should agree to treaties limiting military activities in space, saying such treaties only limit U.S. missile defense capabilities.

“What normally one finds when you strip away the veil on the issue of weaponization in space … is a desire to constrain U.S. options for the development of our missile defense capabilities. It is those missile defense capabilities that are designed to counter offensive ballistic missiles that are traveling to space on the way to destroy military or civilian targets.”

And though he noted no knowledge of the development of space-based weapons systems, Joseph said he believes the current policy leaves open that possibility. “The National Space Policy doesn’t direct the development or deployment of weapons in space, nor does it preclude them,” he said.

Finmeccanica Retains Right To Buy Small Piece of Avio

Italy’s Finmeccanica announced Dec. 14 that it has retained an option to purchase the space division of Avio S.p.A., which builds rocket motors, as part of an agreement with Avio’s new owner, the Cinven Ltd. private-equity group.

Rome-based Finmeccanica sold its 30 percent stake in Avio to Cinven for 432 million euros ($570.5 million) in an agreement that included Carlyle Group’s sale of its 70 percent Avio stake, also to Cinven. Finmeccanica’s sale price means the company tripled the value of its initial Avio investment, made alongside Carlyle in September 2003.

At the same time as it sold its stake, Finmeccanica repurchased a 15 percent shareholding in Avio for 130 million euros.

Avio is the prime industrial contractor for Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher, now in development, and is a partner with Snecma of Paris in the construction of the strap-on boosters for the heavy-lift Ariane 5 vehicle. Avio has a 6 percent stake in the Arianespace commercial-launch consortium and a 5 percent share of Cira, Italy’s aerospace-research center.

EU Ministers Fail To Select Galileo Headquarters Site

European transport ministers failed to agree Dec. 12 on where the government body overseeing the Galileo satellite navigation project will be headquartered. Eleven of the European Union’s 25 member states are vying to host the organization , and none of them has been willing to stand down to permit a compromise.

In the latest delay affecting the Galileo project, the location of the Supervisory Authority, responsible for Galileo’s security policy and the oversight of its private-sector managers, will be pushed back into 2007.

Susanna Huovinen, Finland’s minister of transport, voiced frustration at the unwillingness of individual nations to surrender their national preferences to enable Galileo to move forward.

“There has been sufficient time to take a position on this, but it’s a difficult issue,” Huovinen said in a Dec. 12 press briefing in Brussels after the two-day ministerial meeting. “I guess I have to say now that we still have 11 best candidates. Nobody gave up.”

Huovinen said European heads of state in 2003 agreed that new European Union agencies should, where possible, be located in one of the European Union’s 10 new member states. But not all transport ministers agree with that, she said.

The Supervisory Authority has already begun initial operations and this month is taking over responsibility for Galileo from the Galileo Joint Undertaking, which is being dissolved, as scheduled, the week of Dec. 18.

European Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the lack of a home for the Supervisory Authority will not stop the organization from managing negotiations with a private-sector consortium over a 20-year contract to manage Galileo as a for-profit business.

Barrot said a Heads of Terms agreement — a document spelling out the basic principles of the 20-year concession contract — is still expected to be agreed to by the end of December . Concession negotiations then would continue on a more detailed basis, with a formal contract to follow. Whether the concession deal can be signed by the end of 2007 remains unclear.

Raytheon Delivers TacSat-3 Payload to U.S. Air Force

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems of El Segundo, Calif., has delivered the payload for TacSat-3, the third in a series of experimental U.S. Air Force satellites intended to demonstrate direct tactical support to commanders in the field.

The Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer (ARTEMIS) program required Raytheon to develop a hyper spectral sensor within 15 months for $14 million. The experimental payload is designed to help find potential ground threats including enemy forces, weapons and other equipment, Raytheon said in a Dec. 12 news release. The military is interested in hyperspectral sensors because of their potential to detect ground targets hidden by camouflage netting or forest canopies.

The TacSat-3 platform is being built by Swales Aerospace of Beltsville, Md., and slated for launch in 2007 aboard a Minotaur rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

In a prepared statement, Brian Arnold, Raytheon vice president for strategic systems, hailed the ARTEMIS development project as a key step along the way to satellites that can be launched quickly to meet the emerging needs of U.S. troops in the field.

“Completed on cost and on schedule, ARTEMIS paves the way for space assets that can be designed and built rapidly to meet an immediate need by a field commander,” said Arnold, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and former commander the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center . “The life expectancy of such payloads is months as opposed to years, allowing Raytheon to place lower-cost, best-value technology solutions in the warfighter’s hands in less time.”

Ground-Based Telescope Records Solar Shock Wave

Scientists using a ground-based telescope observed a shock wave that traveled across the visible surface of the sun that was triggered by a Dec. 2 solar flare, according to a press release from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, N.M.

Such blasts, known as Moreton waves, are rare and very powerful, according to the NSO’s K. S. Balasubramaniam. “It is unusual to see such powerful waves encompassing the whole sun from ground-based observatories,” Balasubramaniam said. “Its significance comes from the fact that these waves are occurring near solar minimum, when intense activity is yet to pick up.”

The observation was made by the Optical Solar Patrol Network telescope, which was developed by the NSO and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

Orbital Awarded $27 Million For Two Minotaur Launches

Orbital Sciences Corp. won a $27 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles for two launches of Hypersonic Test Vehicles (HTVs) aboard Minotaur 4 rockets, the company announced Dec. 14.

The HTV technology demonstration system launches will be used to support the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Falcon program, which, according to the DARPA Web site, is an effort to develop hypersonic technologies that could be used on a future Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle capable of transporting a payload to a location 9,000 nautical miles from the continental United States in less than two hours.

The 3rd Space Test Squadron of the SMC is responsible for the contract. The new deal represents the second and third Minotaur 4 launches purchased by SMC.

The Minotaur launches will be a first for the Falcon program, according to DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker.

Orbital expects to launch HTV-2a and HTV-2b in 2008 and 2009, respectively. After separating from the Minotaur 4 in space, the HTVs will cond uct autonomous hypersonic test flights.

ILS Proton M Rocket Launches Measat 3

Malaysia’s Measat Satellite Systems Sdn Bhd is expected to begin commercial operations of its Measat 3 telecommunications satellite in February following its successful Dec. 12 launch aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton M rocket, Measat and ILS announced.

The Proton M vehicle, conducting its 39th mission for the U.S.-Russian ILS, placed the 4,765-kilogram Measat 3 into a geostationary transfer orbit just over nine hours after liftoff from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Built by Boeing Satellite Systems International, Measat 3 is a 601HP satellite frame carrying 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. Once in-orbit checkout is concluded, it will operate alongside the Measat 1 satellite at 91.5 degrees east longitude.

Adding Measat 3 will triple the company’s capacity from the 91.5 degree orbital slot. Measat said its three C-band beams will provide television and telecommunications broadcasts to 110 nations from Japan to Africa. The three Ku-band beams provide direct-broadcast television services to South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur-based Astro All Asia Networks plc, Malaysia’s successful direct-broadcast television provider, will use Measat 3 to add local programming as part of a “substantial expansion by mid-2007,” Astro Chief Executive Rohana Rozhan said in a statement.

Measat has access to 16 orbital slots and is considering a major expansion into Africa and the Middle East. It has one satellite on order, the Measat 1R, under construction by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., and planned for launch in late 2007 or early 2008.

Measat 3’s launch occurred a year later than scheduled following a series of hiccups at Boeing’s El Segundo, Calif., satellite-manufacturing plant. Boeing also built Measat’s two previous satellites, Measat 1 and Measat 2, both of which were launched in 1996 with contracted 12-year in-orbit service lives.

Telenor To Order New Satellite in Mid-2007

Norway’s Telenor Satellite Broadcasting will order a new satellite by mid-2007 to replace its Thor 3 satellite, the Oslo-based company announced Dec. 12. Telenor owns two Thor satellites and is co-owner, with Intelsat of Washington, of the Intelsat 10-02 spacecraft.

The new satellite will be located at Telenor’s 1 degree west orbital slot, the same slot now occupied by Thor 2 and Thor 3. Thor 2, which is to be retired by early 2009, will be replaced by Thor 2R, currently under construction by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

Thor 3 is expected to be retired in 2010. Both operating Thor satellites are Boeing 376 models with 15 transponders.

Cato Halsaa, managing director of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, said in a Dec. 12 statement that the Thor 3 replacement will feature a larger number of transponders “to facilitate the growing demand for satellites, both in the Nordics and the rest of Europe.”

Telenor spokesman Glenn Mandelid said the company is not yet disclosing the specifications it is seeking in the new satellite.

SES Finishes Share Buyback Program, Authorizes Another

Satellite-fleet operator SES Global completed its latest share-buyback program Dec. 4, canceling slightly more than 25 million shares of stock the company had purchased in several steps throughout 2005 at a total cost of 233.13 million euros ($307.9 million).

Meeting Dec. 14, shareholders of Luxembourg-based SES Global agreed to start another buyback effort, authorizing the company to purchase of up to 10 percent of the total number of outstanding shares , an effort that can continue to June 2008.

SES purchased and then cancel ed 6.8 percent of its shares in 2005. The buyback program in 2006 totaled 3.6 percent of its shares. SES Global is traded on the Paris-based Euronext stock market and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

Raytheon Ships 2nd FBX-T Missile Tracking Radar

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems of Tewksbury, Mass., has shipped the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s second Forward Based X-Band Transportable (FBX-T) radar to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for final testing, the company said in a Dec. 11 press release.

The missile tracking radar was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, Raytheon said. Acceptance testing on the radar is scheduled to be completed by March, and the U.S. Air Force will determine where the radar is deployed, Raytheon spokeswoman Joyce Melikian said.

Raytheon delivered the first FBX-T radar ahead of schedule and under budget in November 2004. That radar is now deployed in Japan.

Raytheon was awarded a total of three contracts for four radars, valuing approximately $950 million, according to Melikian. The next system is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2007, she said.

GRACE Satellites Provide Insight Into Water Trends

Scientists are learning about long-term water distribution trends, including decreased flows in African river basins and increased flows in the United States , using data collected by NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites.

NASA scientists are using the five-year GRACE data archive to look at water storage trends in more than 50 river basins around the world , according to a Dec. 12 press release from NASA.

The data can be used to make more informed water management decisions, the release said.

The research showed significant drying over the past five years in a number of African river basins, including the Congo, Zambezi and Nile . By contrast, the Mississippi and Colorado River basins showed increases over the same time period, the release said.

Harris Gets $5 Million To Encrypt Army Terminals

Harris Corp. will provide the U.S. Army with encryption devices that can be used on existing and future satellite terminals under a contract with an initial value of about $5 million, the company announced Dec. 14.

The device is called the Sierra 2 -based Advanced Cryptographic Module solution, and consists of circuit boards and chips integrated together into a package designed to provide better security, according to Harris spokesman Brent Dietz. It will be compatible with future military satellite communications systems such as the Transformational Communications Satellite program and the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, Dietz said.

Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris is building the modules under the U.S. Army’s Programmable Objective Encryption Technologies program, which is a general security upgrade being done to support the higher-bandwidth systems now being developed, according to a Dec. 14 press release from Harris.

The modules will be used by the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center in Fort Monmouth, N.J. The number of modules was not specified, Dietz said.

The contract issued by the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., could be worth up to $12 million if the service orders more equipment, Dietz said.

Radar Reveals Details of Mars Subsurface Features

NASA scientists are using a new method to uncover more details about basins and other features that are buried below the visible surface of Mars .

Ancient impact basins were discovered on Mars’ northern hemisphere using a device called the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding, launched upon the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft in 2003 . These findings were published in the Dec. 14 issue of Nature, according to a Dec. 14 press release from NASA.

The project is the first to use a sounding radar to explore a planet’s surface, the release said. The lower crust of the martian surface was buried over time by lava, as well as sediments transported by winds and floods, the release said.

Viaspace Inc. Increases Stake in QWIP Systems

Viaspace Inc., a Pasadena, Calif., company that specializes in finding spinoff applications for NASA and U.S. Department of Defense technology, has increased its stake in QWIP Systems Inc., a developer of infrared detectors, Viaspace said in a Dec. 11 press release.

Carl Kukkonen, chief executive officer of Viaspace, said his company now owns between 6 percent and 7 percent of QWIP Systems. He declined to disclose the value of the transaction.

QWIP Systems is developing quantum well infrared photo (QWIP) detector technology with funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Missile Defense Agency. The sensor technology is useful for nighttime tracking and surveillance.

USA Software Wins Industry’s Top Rating

The flight software division of space shuttle operator United Space Alliance (USA) has received the software industry’s highest-level standard certification, the company said in a Dec. 8 press release.

USA’s Flight Software Element writes software for various projects in human spaceflight and related programs.

The Houston-based company received a Capability Maturity Model Integration Maturity Level rating of 5, the highest possible, the release said. The rating is done by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Scientists Find Engine Driving Space Weather

Scientists working with data from several different satellite systems have found evidence that the major driver of near-Earth space weather is not the solar wind’s electric field but rather the rate at which the magnetic fields of the Earth and sun merge.

The magnetic fields of the Earth and sun connect at a spot some 64,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, according to a Dec. 8 press release from the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of Laurel, Md. This interaction appears to directly affect the circulation of charged particles and magnetic fields that are responsible for near-Earth space weather such as the aurora, the press release said.

The research team, which includes scientists from APL and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., has developed a formula for describing the rate at which the magnetic field lines from the sun and Earth merge. They are using this formula to predict 10 different types of space weather activity, some of which can disrupt satellite operations.

The research is based on satellite data collected by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Air Force, the press release said.

SAIC, Zebra Imaging Team on 3-D Products

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has teamed up with Zebra Imaging to develop 3-D holographic imaging products for defense and intelligence customers, according to a Dec. 11 press release from SAIC .

Austin, Texas-based Zebra Imaging designs holograms and displays for government and commercial clients.

San Diego-based SAIC will invest in Zebra through its SAIC Venture Capital Corp. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed .

Lockheed Device Controls Four Unmanned Platforms

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. has successfully demonstrated a device that can control four different unmanned aerial and ground vehicles simultaneously , the company said in a Dec. 11 press release.

The device consists of a computer with a customized hand controller . The ongoing tests are being conducted under the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, the release said, and will continue into the beginning of 2007.

Operators controlled the movement of the Micro Air Vehicle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Silver Fox UAV, a robot and a ground vehicle.

AGI To Help Track Santa’s Christmas Trek

For the 10th straight year, a software program designed by Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI) will “track” Santa Claus on his journey from the North Pole during the Christmas season.

Exton, Pa.-based AGI participates in the sleigh-tracking project with the North American Aerospace Defense Command. AGI’s program produces reports, videos and pictures from 24 stops on the trip, ending at the Hawaiian Islands, according to a Dec. 8 press release from AGI.

The project’s W eb site registered 913 million hits from 204 countries and received 100,000 e-mails last season, the release said.

Harris JTRS Radio Certified For Software Compatibility

A radio that Harris Corp. is developing for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) has been tested and certified by the JTRS Joint Program Executive Office as compliant with the software that will be used to operate it.

The office is charged with developing and integrating all the software-driven radios associated with the program. All radios made for the program need to be compatible with the Software Communications Architecture being designed for the system, according to a Dec. 11 press release from Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris.

More than 17,000 radios, including Harris’ Falcon 3 AN/PRC-152 model, are expected to be in service by summer 2007.

Telenor To Sell BGAN Customers Calling Cards

Telenor Satellite Services plans to sell pre-paid calling cards to customers of Inmarsat Ltd.’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, according to a Dec. 11 press release from Telenor, a reseller of London-based Inmarsat services.

Telenor of Rockville, Md., will offer additional pre-paid BGAN services, such as Internet Protocol and text-messaging services, according to the release.

ViaSat Awarded $35 Million FAB-T Contract Modification

ViaSat has finalized a $35 million contract modification with Boeing for its work on the satellite communication terminals for the Family of Advanced Beyond-line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) program.

Carlsba d, Calif.-based ViaSat is a subcontractor to Chicago-based Boeing on the program. The contract extends ViaSat’s work through 2011 and adds additional technical requirements, according to a Dec. 11 ViaSat press release.

The contract was originally slated to run until 2007, according to Joe LoBello of Brainerd Communications, which does public relations for ViaSat.

The goal of the FAB-T program is development of terminals capable of communicating with a number of different satellites, the release said. ViaSat has already delivered two terminals to Boeing for the program.

Inmarsat Sends Equipment To Typhoon Stricken Island

Inmarsat is providing telecommunication terminals and satellite access to families whose homes were devastated by the typhoon that hit Catanduanes Island in the Philippines Dec. 5.

London-based Inmarsat has provided four satellite terminals to Telecoms Sans Frontieres, a French aid agency, and the devices have helped approximately 2,600 people make calls, according to a Dec. 8 press release from Inmarsat.

The terminals are located at an emergency calling center in Virac. Inmarsat donated two more terminals to aid workers and local authorities for emergency response purposes, the release said.

Integral Control Center Takes Command of Echostar 11

Integral Systems Inc. will add the Echostar 11 satellite to the control system Integral uses to operate the rest of EchoStar’s fleet.

Englewood, Colo.-based EchoStar’s fleet is operated by Lanham, Md.-based Integral’s Epoch IPS satellite control system, according to a Dec. 13 press release from Integral .

The system supports more than 200 satellites in total, the release said. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, according to Integral spokeswoman Tory Harris.