FIRST UP Satcom | LeoSat optimistic on regulatory progress • Russia plans IoT constellation • SSTL starts lunar comms mission
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A company whose constellation was approved this month by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is confident the endorsement will speed regulatory headway with other nations. LeoSat CEO Mark Rigolle said the approval “will help us getting landing rights in other countries.” LeoSat is preparing a constellation of 78 to 108 satellites at 1,400 kilometers for global, high-speed broadband connectivity. Rigolle said LeoSat’s cross-linked satellite system will be fast enough to contend with fiber and support future 5G network applications. [FierceWireless]
Russia plans to introduce an Internet-of-Things satellite network as part of its future 640-satellite Sphere system, according to a report from Roscosmos. The report did not state how many satellites would comprise the Internet-of-Things sub-constellation, called Marathon. The full Sphere constellation, expected to be complete by 2026, is designed to use a mix of 640 satellites for communications, navigation and remote sensing. [Sputnik]
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) plans to send a 35-kilogram satellite into orbit around the moon in 2021. The satellite, called DoT-4, will link back to Earth using a ground network from Goonhilly Earth Station. SSTL is planning a follow-on satellite in 2023, with the goal of fielding a lunar constellation of communications satellites. [Via Satellite]
An Indian launch is still on schedule for tonight. The countdown for the PSLV launch of the HysIS hyperspectral imaging satellite is underway, with liftoff scheduled for 11:28 p.m. Eastern. The rocket is also carrying 30 small satellites that will be deployed in a lower orbit after the release of HysIS. [UNI]
Harris Corporation received a contract worth up to $217.7 million from the U.S. Army to monitor, configure and maintain the Wideband Satcom Operational Management System network. Three bids were submitted for the program, according to the Defense Department. Under the contract, Harris will handle on-site maintenance, operations, personnel training and other services. The company will provide these services at military bases in Florida, Maryland, Colorado, Hawaii, Japan and Germany until July 2027. [GovConWire]
Boeing also received a DoD satcom contract, this one worth $383.4 million from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center for the Protected Tactical Enterprise Service, or PTES. The company is tasked with providing a ground system that supports satellite communications with enhanced anti-jamming features and a low probability of interception for tactical warfighters in contested environments. Boeing is expected to complete the project by the end of 2025. [Nasdaq]
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Lockheed Martin are joining forces to offer ground stations as a service to space startups. The joint venture, called AWS Ground Station and announced Tuesday, combines a network of Lockheed ground stations called Verge with AWS data centers, allowing customers to access the network on a “pay-as-you-go” basis similar to other AWS cloud computing services. The companies state that the service will make it easier and cheaper for startups to communicate with and gather data from their satellites. [SpaceNews]
Swedish Space Corporation on Nov. 23 opened a new ground station, this one located in Sri Racha, Thailand. The ground station is based at the Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s Space Krenovation Park. Swedish Space Corporation said the new site will accelerate access to information from satellites. [Swedish Space Corporation]
Space Florida is working on a deal to bring a small-launch company to the state. At a board meeting Tuesday, the state space development agency said it is negotiating with an unnamed company to set up manufacturing and launch operations on the Space Coast, an effort called “Project Maricopa.” The board approved plans to offer up to $18 million in infrastructure upgrades for the company, which would invest $52 million of its own money in facilities there and create 239 jobs. [WMFE-FM Orlando]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.