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North America

Mk-II Aurora achieves rocket-powered flight

Dawn Aerospace, a space transportation company with operations in New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the United States, has announced the successful completion of the first rocket-powered flight campaign of its spaceplane, the Mk-II Aurora. The flights occurred at Glentanner Aerodrome on the 29, 30, and 31 March. For the Company, the accomplishment signifies a major milestone in its mission to revolutionize space access as well and thus provide end-to-end space transportation.

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Everland names Space Intelligence as primary data partner

Latin American Forest Everland

Everland, a US-based company representing a portfolio of high quality REDD+ forest conservation projects in the world, has named Space Intelligence, a nature mapping service based in Scotland, as its main data partner. Everland will use technology and data from Space Intelligence to build a comprehensive view of changes in land cover across three continents, covering a portfolio of site-based REDD+ projects and their surrounding regions. 

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Spire Global Awarded Contract for Radio Frequency Data

Spire data company satellite. Credit Spire Global

Spire Global, a space-to-cloud data and analytics company based in Virgina US, announced on the 3rd of April that they have been awarded a contract by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) for commercial radio frequency (RF) remote sensing. This contract is part of the NRO’s Strategic Commercial Enhancements (SCE) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) program in September 2022. 

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Virgin Orbit Files for Bankruptcy

Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy after the satellite launch firm was unable to secure the funding necessary to keep operating and cut about 85% of its staff. The company listed $243 million in assets and $153.5 million for its total debt in a Chapter 11 petition that it filed in Delaware. However, Virgin Investments Ltd has committed to offering an additional $31.6 million to keep the Company's operation going while it seeks a buyer.

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SDA Successfully Launches Tranche 0 Satellites

The Space Development Agency (SDA) has announced the successful initial launch of Tranche 0 (T0) of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). These will make up the Transport and Tracking Layer satellites that demonstrate the low-latency communication links to support the warfighter with a resilient network of integrated capabilities, including tracking of advanced missile threats from low-Earth orbit (LEO).

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Register Today for our Space Café “33 minutes about the Lunar Policy Handbook” on 11 April 2023

This Space Café WebTalk will feature Héloïse Vertadier and Christopher Johnson in a conversation with Torsten Kriening about "Lunar Policy Handbook: Guiding Responsible and Sustainable Development of the Moon". This document is a reference guidebook for government personnel and private actors in the space industry. It is designed to be a high-level guide that is useful for a broad audience of space actors, outlining policy issues and operational considerations related to lunar activities.

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X-energy Partners with Kinectrics for Helium Test Facility

X-Energy Reactor Company and Kinectrics have announced a partnership to design, construct, and operate one of the first commercial-scale Helium Test Facilities (“HTF”) in North America. This facility will test and verify the performance of critical structures, systems, and components of X-energy’s Xe-100 advanced small modular reactor in helium-based high-temperature and high-pressure environments.

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New Moon to Mars Program Office Established by NASA

NASA announced on the 30th of March that it has established the new Moon to Mars Program Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington to carry out the agency’s human exploration activities at the Moon and Mars. Amit Kshatriya will serve as the agency’s first head of office, effective immediately. Kshatriya previously served as acting deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development.

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Intelsat to Operate Air Pollution Monitoring Space Instrument

Intelsat has completed testing of the operational and data collection system for the first space-based instrument to monitor major air pollutants across the North American continent every daylight hour at high resolution. The new UV-visible spectrometer, which Intelsat operates for NASA and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will launch on the Intelsat 40e (IS-40e) satellite tentatively next month.

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Ai Telecom partners with Astranis and ST Engineering iDirect

Ai Telecom offices. Credit Ai Telecom

Ai Telecom Networks, a Mexican satellite and terrestrial communications provider, will partner with Astranis - American geostationary communications satellite operator and manufacturer- and ST Engineering iDirect - an American satellite communications company - for new MicroGEO satellites. The satellites and ground infrastructure will deliver connectivity for 4G cellular backhaul and enterprise services across Mexico and part of Central America. Ai Telecom's MicroGEN satellites will be built by Astranis and will use ST Engineering iDirect's Mx-DMA MRC waveform technology. 

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