GMV reports 30% space revenue boost • ESA patents new telemetry compression technique

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Afghanistan is requesting India provide capacity on one of its satellites to enable remote education during the coronavirus outbreak. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said use of an Indian satellite would help with social distancing to prevent new cases of COVID-19 infections. As a landlocked country bordering Iran, a country with one of the highest rates of infection, Ghani said that Afghanistan is particularly challenged when combating the disease. Satellite connectivity would support education for Afghan youth and women, he said. [Hindustan Times]

GMV reported 140 million euros in 2019 space revenue ($152.5 million), up 30% year over year. Space counted for more than half of the Spanish company’s 245 million euros in total revenue. Contracts to provide ground control infrastructure for the European Union’s Galileo satellites and OneWeb’s constellation of small broadband satellites contributed to that growth, GMV said. The company also received a contract last year to develop the processor for the French space agency CNES’s MicroCarb mission, and is participating in European Space Agency missions such as Space Rider, Heracles and ExoMars. [GMV]

The European Space Agency has patented a family of signal compression standards developed using its Proba-2 microsatellite. The standards help compress satellite telemetry data, reducing bandwidth needs when linking with ground stations. Satellite operators can use the freed up bandwidth to beam down more valuable data, such as scientific measurements or imagery, depending on the type of satellite. [ESA]

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Cubesat builder AAC Clyde is urging all staff that can work from home to do so amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, estimating that 70% of its employees are in positions that enable remote work. The remaining 30% are involved in manufacturing activities that require a physical presence. AAC Clyde said it will not participate in conferences or exhibitions for the next two months, and has introduced a near-term travel ban to avoid the risk of employees getting quarantined or stranded due to national and regional travel restrictions. [AAC Clyde]

Inflight connectivity company Gogo is seeking relief on its satellite capacity contracts as demand for air travel plummets. Gogo CEO Oakleigh Thorne said decreased airline traffic has had a knock-on effect on demand for passenger wi-fi. Because the coronavirus pandemic is driving airlines to remove planes from service, Gogo is not issuing financial guidance for 2020. Gogo plans to use its heft as a large buyer of satellite capacity from companies like Intelsat and SES to get more favorable terms for capacity leases. [SpaceNews]

Smallsat propulsion startup Phase Four received a Phase 1 Small Business Innovative Research contract from the U.S. Air Force tech accelerator AFWERX. Phase Four will begin adapting its Maxwell in-space propulsion system for military customers. The company’s Maxwell thrusters can carry up to 1 kilogram of xenon fuel, enough to provide 10,000 newton seconds of impulse. [Phase Four]

Intelsat has selected SpaceX to launch its Intelsat 40e satellite. Intelsat said a Falcon 9 will launch the Maxar-built satellite in 2022, with terms of the deal not disclosed. Intelsat-40e will provide connectivity in Ku- and Ka-band over North America, supporting customers in government, in-flight connectivity and enterprise businesses, and also carries a NASA Earth science hosted payload, TEMPO. [SpaceNews]

L3Harris has developed a version of its deployable mesh antenna for small satellites. The Smallsat Perimeter Truss is one-third smaller and half the weight of the Advanced Perimeter Truss, which L3Harris produces for large government and commercial geostationary satellites. It is designed for satellites weighing between 180 and 1,000 kilograms, with the first use on a satellite for an undisclosed customer launching in the next two years. [SpaceNews]

Arianespace has suspended upcoming launches because of the closure of its French Guiana launch site. The spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, is closed following guidance from the French government to suspend all nonessential activities during the coronavirus pandemic. That decision will delay a Vega launch scheduled for March 24 as well as a Soyuz launch that had been rescheduled for early April. Other spaceports are continuing operations, with OneWeb saying early Tuesday its next Soyuz launch of 34 satellites is still scheduled for Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. [SpaceNews / OneWeb]