GMV providing ground infrastructure for Space Norway satellites • AAC Clyde wins cubesat order
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Spanish supplier GMV received a contract from Northrop Grumman to provide the flight control system for Space Norway’s two highly elliptical orbit satellites. GMV said it will install the equipment at ground stations in Norway to control the twin Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission. Northrop Grumman is building the ASBM satellites, which will carry payloads for the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, the U.S. Air Force and British operator Inmarsat. The satellites are scheduled to launch in late 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. [GMV]
One of Eutelsat’s new satellites has started service. Eutelsat-7C, a Maxar-built satellite that launched in June on an Ariane 5 rocket, is now broadcasting television channels from its 7 degrees east orbital slot. Eutelsat transferred customers from Eutelsat-7A to Eutelsat-7C overnight from Jan. 27 into Jan. 28. Eutelsat-7C has 19 additional transponders, increasing Eutelsat’s capacity over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company is relocating Eutelsat-7A as part of its fleet optimization strategy. [Eutelsat]
AAC Clyde Space received a second satellite order from Israeli startup NSLComm. The Swedish satellite manufacturer is tasked with providing a turnkey solution for NSLSat-2, including securing a launch slot, commissioning the six-unit cubesat on orbit, supplying a ground system and conducting spacecraft operations. AAC Clyde Space said it is positioned as the “preferred supplier” for a constellation NSLComm is planning. AAC Clyde Space built NSLSat-1, which launched last year on a Soyuz rocket. NSLSat-2 is expected to launch in the third quarter of 2021. AAC Clyde Space said its contract for the satellite is worth 15 million Swedish Krona ($1.56 million). [AAC Clyde Space]
Kepler Communications has decided to manufacture its satellite constellation in-house. The company said it will build its constellation of 140 satellites in a 5,000-square-foot facility at its Toronto headquarters. The company said it made that decision after an “exhaustive analysis” of the supply chain for smallsats, concluding that the industry has “a significant challenge ahead in maturing the supply chain” for smallsat components. [SpaceNews]
ETL Systems, a U.K.-based supplier of signal routers, amplifiers and other equipment for satellite ground infrastructure, has raised a “significant investment” from CBPE Capital, the amount of which was not disclosed. ETL Systems said it will use the capital to expand its business “to take advantage of positive market drivers in the satellite industry and solid industry conditions.” Ian Hilditch, CEO of ETL Systems, said the company exports more than 80% of its satellite products globally. The company has international offices in the U.S. and Dubai. [ETL Systems]
The Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces, is increasing its space surveillance capabilities domestically and through a new partnership with the U.S. Air Force. The Bundeswehr said Jan. 29 that it signed a memorandum of understanding to join the Combined Space Operations Initiative in late 2019, joining the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Bundeswehr said France is anticipated to join in the near future. The Bundeswehr said it plans an 80% increase in staff devoted to space situational awareness by 2025. [Bundeswehr]
A senator is asking the FCC to take action on a OneWeb request to expand its satellite constellation. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) requested in a letter to the FCC that the agency approve a request by OneWeb submitted in 2018 to add 1,260 satellites to its existing authorization for a 720-satellite constellation. The company says it needs to start making arrangements soon for launching those additional satellites after 2021, when the initial constellation will be complete. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a response to Kaine, said the FCC was continuing to review OneWeb’s request, including how it would affect other satellite systems. [SpaceNews]
The American subsidiary of an Australian company plans to take over the assets of satellite data relay company Audacy. EOS Defense Systems USA, a subsidiary of Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd. of Australia, will buy Audacy’s assets and FCC license for $6.75 million. EOS said it plans to develop a constellation of satellites in medium Earth orbit to provide data relay services for government and commercial satellites, the business that Audacy tried to develop before shutting down last year. [SpaceNews]
Space weather “super storms” with the potential to damage satellites in orbit and electronic systems on Earth occur an average of once every 25 years, according to a study by the University of Warwick. Researchers used geomagnetic records collected in the U.K. and Australia to review solar weather across 150 years. “Our research shows that a super-storm can happen more often than we thought,” said professor Richard Horne, who leads Space Weather at the British Antarctic Survey. Smaller, but still significant solar storms were recorded 42 out of 150 years, according to the university. [University of Warwick]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.