Capitol Momentum - Jan 2023

Viktoria Urban

JAXA and ESA spacewalkers carry out system upgrades on ISS

Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA conducted the first spacewalk by two international partner astronauts without a NASA astronaut on Sunday, 8:15 a.m. ET, NASA reported. The event happened just three days after the Russian spacewalk. This was Hoshide’s fourth and Pasquet’s sixth extravehicular activity (EVA) and the 12th spacewalk of the year.

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SpaceX launches all-civilian crew into three-day Earth orbit

SpaceX is launching four civilians into space on Wednesday, 8:00 pm ET from launch pad 39A, at NASA's Kennedy Center, Reuters reports. The three-day mission marks the first time to enter Earth orbit with exclusively private citizens. The news comes after billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos both conducted few-minute space flights during the summer.

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South Korean consortium invests in Relativity Space

A consortium of three South Korean companies invests US $50 million in American rocket start-up Relativity Space, News Naver reported. The three companies are Hanwha Aerospace, NH Investment & Securities and Consus Asset Management. The investment is part of the US $650 million Relativity Space raised in the Series E funding round in June, Maeil Economic Daily said.

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DARPA increases Lockheed Martin’s Blackjack contract

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) increased Lockheed Martin’s contract for the Blackjack program by US $25.3 million, the agency announced. The Blackjack project is aimed at validating high-speed military communication, navigation and missile warning capabilities of small satellites.

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SpaceX to launch Yahsat’s Thuraya 4-NGS satellite

Yahsat has chosen SpaceX to launch its Airbus Defence and Space-built Thuraya 4-NGS next-generation mobile connectivity satellite, the companies announced. The terms of the contract have not been disclosed by either side. Yahsat selected Airbus to develop Thuraya 4-NGS last year. The preliminary design review in June found that the development of the satellite was on schedule.

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D-Orbit signs €2,2 million space debris removal contract with ESA

The UK branch of D-Orbit signed a €2,197M contract with ESA for phase 1 of the development and in-orbit validation of a “Deorbit Kit”, D-Orbit said. The agreement is part of ESA’s Space Safety Programme. The decommissioning kit is a self-contained suite of equipment that can be used with space vehicles of any size.

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Orolia awarded €70 million in atomic clock contracts for Galileo

Orolia is paid €70 million to provide atomic clocks for the first 12 satellites of the Galileo Second Generation System (G2S), Orolia announced. The funding comes in two contracts, one with ESA and the other with Leonardo. The news comes after the European Commission and ESA chose Orolia’s Skydel GNSS signal simulation core engine for the G2S radiofrequency constellation simulator in May.

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Masten is to develop positioning and navigation network on the Moon

Masten Space Systems was awarded a Phase II SBIR contract to develop and test a lunar positioning and navigation network prototype, Masten said. The GPS-like solution is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s AFWERX program. The network will boost cislunar security, improve landing accuracy and hazard avoidance by providing location tracking for spacecraft and astronauts on the lunar surface.

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