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Markus Payer

NASA’s Ingenuity flew 39 seconds and 3 meters above the Red Planet

Paris, 20 April 2021. – 39.1 historic seconds: NASA’s Mars Helicopter Ingenuity succeeded to become the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover last night.

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US Intelligence expects China to expand space weapons

Paris, 19 April 2021. – China intends to expand its destructive anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon arsenal to target U.S. satellites, the annual report of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) concluded.„China has already fielded ground-based ASAT missiles intended to destroy satellites in LEO and ground-based ASAT lasers probably intended to blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors on LEO satellites,” the unclassified report published last week found.

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Biden names Pam Melroy deputy to new NASA chief Bill Nelson

Paris, 19 April 2021. – U.S. president Joe Biden names former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy to serve as the agency’s deputy administrator, alongside Bill Nelson who was named 14th NASA administrator in March. “Pam’s experience as an astronaut, space shuttle commander, and U.S. Air Force test pilot would bring to NASA a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the agency,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk commented.

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Inmarsat and OneOcean to deploy digital navigation

Paris, 19 April 2021. – The mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat partners with OneOcean, a compliance and navigation service provider, to drive the “digitalisation of navigation and compliance in the maritime industry”, the companies announced. Under the agreement, OneOcean leverages Inmarsat’s technology platform to apply its software solutions and “transform the way voyage planning software is deployed, updated and integrated between ship and shore”.

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NASA selects SpaceX’s Starship for $2.89 billion lunar landing

Paris, 19 April 2021. – It’s a big deal: NASA has selected SpaceX's Starship to land two American astronauts on the Moon. The firm-fixed price, milestone-based contract total award value is $2.89 billion, NASA said. The U.S. space agency picked SpaceX over Blue Origin to develop its first commercial human lander that will carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface as part of its Artemis program, NASA said.

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HawkEye 360 adds $55 million to its funding

Paris, 16 April 2021. – The Earth monitoring and analytics startup HawkEye 360 secured $55 million in additional funding, bringing the total amount raised so far to over $155 million, the company said. The new (Series C) round was led by NightDragon and included further investment from existing investors Advance, Razor's Edge Ventures, Shield Capital, Dorilton Ventures, Adage Capital, and Esri International, the firm said.

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Blue Origin succeeds next New Shepard test flight

Paris, 16 April 2021. – Beautiful start, beautiful landing: Blue Origin successfully completed its 15th New Shepard mission, on its way now to fly astronauts and customers to the edge of space, the company owned by Jeff Bezos said. After its successful lift-off, the crew capsule with a dummy passenger reached an apogee of more than 100 kilometers, before returning, with parachutes, to its launch site in Texas.

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ICEYE opens production plant in the U.S.

Paris, 16 April 2021. – The Earth monitoring startup ICEYE opens a production facility in Irvine, California, to better serve U.S. customers ad set the pace for further growth, the company said. The U.S. site will host the production of multiple spacecraft “simultaneously” and contain a research and development lab, offices, and a customer engagement space, ICEYE said. It will also host a Mission Operations Center for monitoring and operating U.S. licensed spacecraft.

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Astranis raises $250 million for its GEO internet

Paris, 16 April 2021. – A step into GEO: The San Francisco-based Astranis, a company that wants to offer satellite internet via small and light geostationary satellites, raised $250 million at a valuation of $1.4 billion, in a round led by BlackRock, RockAstranis CEO John Gedmark told CNBC. The new round brings Astranis’ total funding to more than $350 million since its founding in 2015, according to the business channel.

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Northrop Grumman extends Intelsat 10-02’s life in orbit

Paris, 14 April 2021. – Northrop Grumman and Intelsat succeeded with an in-orbit docking of a life extension module to one of Intelsat’s commercial satellites, the companies said. Northrop Grumman’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics, successfully completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 to the Intelsat 10-02 commercial communications satellite.

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