Small satellites that have propulsion systems, but don’t have encrypted commanding systems, pose a small but real threat of being hacked and endangering other satellites, according to a new study.
Jordi Puig-Suari, the California Polytechnic State University professor who along with Bob Twiggs, now a professor at Morehead State University in Kentucky, invented the cubesat in 1999 as a university teaching tool, is preparing to head off into the sunset. Literally.
Kepler Communications, a Canadian startup designing a network of 140 telecom cubesats, has teamed up with the Satellite Applications Catapult in the U.K. to build a third and final prototype before pressing on with the full constellation.
Akash Systems, a San Francisco startup that sells RF power amplifiers for satellites, announced Jan. 30 it has raised $3.1 million in seed round funding, which it plans to use to develop its own line of cubesats.
Swedish space company ÅAC Microtec announced Dec. 22 it plans to acquire Scottish cubesat manufacturer Clyde Space, creating what the companies believe will be a dominant force in a growing sector of the industry.
The space industry has at least 10 startups all wanting to use cubesats or other small satellites to help keep all manner of interoperable devices connected to a rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
General Atomics is better known for building Predator combat drones and mining uranium than building spacecraft, but that could change as the company develops an interest in building defense-focused cubesats.
Following a decision to pull eight Spire commercial cubesats from an Orbital ATK Minotaur 4 launch from Cape Canaveral Aug. 26 carrying a military payload, the U.S. Air Force says it and other government agencies are crafting clear procedures on how to handle such future rideshare agreements.
Astro Digital has confirmed that two satellites it launched as secondary payloads on a Soyuz rocket in July have failed, joining several other satellites that mysteriously failed on that mission.
At least eight of the nine cubesats sent by the Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket into a 600-kilometer orbit July 14 alongside a larger spacecraft, the Kanopus-V-IK Russian Earth-imaging satellite, are not responding to commands from their operators.
An executive with the company that provided launch services for more than 70 satellites launched on a Soyuz in July said there is no evidence that the failure of several of those satellites was caused by the rocket.
Dauria Aerospace has been unable to establish contact with the two MKA-N cubesats launched in July aboard a Soyuz rocket.SpaceNews has learned that two additional cubesats are not responding to commands from their operators; two others are not in their intended orbits.
Helios Wire will use the money to pay for satellites to help customers track and communicate with billions of devices worldwide.
As the number of cubesats and other small satellites grows, experts advise that some degree of industry self-regulation will be needed to avoid collisions that could lead to more restrictive government regulations.
"We are seeking your input,” said Kimberly Robinson, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s SLS secondary payloads manager. “We want to make flexible options and accommodate the type of cubesats you want to fly in the future.”
The Cold Atom Space Payload mission “will create a new wave of space applications,” according to Craig Clark, Clyde Space chief executive.