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#SpaceWatchGL Venture Space – February 2024

If the space-tech industry was lumbering towards the launchpad in January ($475m globally), then February was liftoff: space-tech startups raised a whopping $1.7b in funding in February.The month was bolstered by a massive $932m public-private investment into China’s Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology (SSST), but also featured a $355m investment into RocketLabs (US) and a €85m investment into UnseenLabs (France). These megadeals join 30 smaller deals in a historically strong month for spacetech startups worldwide.

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ispace and CDS Partner for Lunar Location Measurement Tech

ispace Europe S.A. (ispace), the Luxembourg-based subsidiary of ispace, inc., and Control Data Systems SRL (CDS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to payload services and strategic cooperation on future lunar missions. The agreement aims to leverage ispace’s lunar transportation services and CDS’s advanced localization (position measurement) and telecommunications capabilities to promote further exploration of the lunar surface aimed at supporting long-term human habitation and infrastructure on the Moon.

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Firefly Aerospace Expands to Support Medium Launch Vehicle

Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation Company, has opened a Rocket Ranch expansion in Briggs, Texas, more than doubling the size of its manufacturing facilities. The space transportation Company also added two new test stands and installed machinery to support the production of Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 and the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) the companies are co-developing together.

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Rivada Secures U.K. Satcom Market Access License

Rivada Space Network

The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) has granted Rivada a license that enables the company to provide satellite communications services in Great Britain. This is as Rivada is launching a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites to provide government communications, maritime and aviation connectivity, enterprise networking and backhaul services for telecommunications networks.

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Bright Ascension and Third Planet Orbital Announce Partnership

Bright Ascension

Bright Ascension Ltd and Third Planet Orbital Ltd have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) fostering collaboration and development of joint capability. The agreement commits the two companies to pool their expertise and resources to identify and pursue promising opportunities within the fast-growing New Space industry. Through this collaboration, Bright Ascension and Third Planet Orbital will form the foundations of a standardized integrated software and hardware platform. 

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Speedcast Wins Connectivity Contract with P&O Maritime Logistics

Speedcast has announced a multi-year contract award by P&O Maritime Logistics to manage communications onboard 59 support vessels operating around three continents and 12 countries across the globe. As a result, Speedcast will deploy its latest SIGMA management and edge computing platform onboard to create a software-automated network comprised of GEO and LEO VSAT, 5G and L-band solutions, delivering the highest service experience and reliability.

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Viasat Wins Northrop Grumman Contract to Support AFRL Initiative


Viasat, Inc. has won a contract from Northrop Grumman to support the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) initiative, called the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) Call 003 program – better known by its nickname 'Global Lightning.' As a result, the company's high-capacity geostationary satellites will support the program, which is connecting commercial space internet services for military users

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#SpaceWatchGL Climate – The first case of Space Washing?

On the 26th of January 2024, 118 marine conservation and environmental organizations signed a petition asking Iridium to stop producing their Short Burst Data (SBD) modules, real-time GPS tracking devices, because such service is used in dFADs, short for drifting fish aggregating devices, fishing tools scientifically proven to be environmentally harmful. Iridium’s answer acknowledged the potential issue, but declined the criticism. Whether the responsibility lies in the hands of the satellite tracking service providers, or with wholesale satellite network operators such as Iridium, it’s the first crack in a canvas painted by a domain that refuses to accept and take action upon a bitter reality: Space-based technology is dual-use in every sense, and the extreme efficiency and power of our services can, is and will be used for crimes against the environment, if not thoroughly regulated.

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NASA Names New Station Manager


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Dana Weigel as the International Space Station (ISS) Program manager, based at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Weigel succeeds Joel Montalbano, who has accepted a position as deputy associate administrator for the Agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Both positions will be effective April 7.

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CREAN Welcomes Sam Peterson as new Chief Commercial Officer


CREAN has announced its newest addition to its team as it hires Sam Peterson as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). This strategic hire marks a significant step forward for CREAN as it continues to accelerate growth through new product and service offerings to our customers with complex engineering, production, and supply chain challenges.

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