SpaceTalks 4.0 - 2024

Space for Earth

#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

NASA

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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UKSA Opens Calls for Science and Technology Demonstrators

Axiom Space

The UK Space Agency has opened two new funding calls worth £15 million, one for science and another for technology demonstrators. The calls are in preparation for a tentative agreement to fly a team of four British astronauts on a commercially sponsored mission, potentially to the International Space Station (ISS). The announcement follows the Memorandum of Understanding the UKSA and Axiom Space signed in October 2023, which outlined the plans to pursue a commercially-sponsored UK astronaut mission and an initial request for ideas for science and technology.

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Aldoria and SES Partner on Satellite Conjunction Alert Service

Aldoria

Aldoria has announced a project agreement with SES on a conjunction alert service aimed at enhancing satellite safety. Beginning March 1, 2024, Aldoria will consequently commence a three-month Project Agreement with SES. Under this agreement, Aldoria will offer its conjunction alert service, which provides satellite operators with advanced tools to track their satellites, identify potential collision risks, and receive timely alerts through conjunction data messages (CDM).

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ISISPACE-led Consortium to Develop TANGO Satellites for ESA

TANGO satellites

The European Space Agency (ESA) has given the green light for the realization of the Dutch TANGO satellites with ISISPACE as the prime contractor. TANGO (Twin Anthropogenic Greenhouse gas Observers) comprises two satellites flying in tandem. It will be a unique European measurement system that will determine methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions for individual industrial plants. Furthermore, it measures greenhouse gas emissions at source level from power plants, coal mines, landfills and factories, among others

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Unseenlabs Announce BRO-12 and BRO-13 Satellite Missions

Unseenlabs

Unseenlabs has announced its satellite fleet expansion and will consequently be launching two new satellites, the new unseenlabs bro-12 and bro-13 satellites. The satellites will tentatively launch in March as part of the transporter-10 mission aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket via Exolaunch from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

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Sateliot Achieves 5G Service Connection with KSATlite and AWS

Sateliot

Sateliot, an operator of a Low-Earth Orbit 5G Internet of Things (IoT) satellite constellation acting as a seamless roaming extension of cellular networks, has achieved 5G service messaging connection via the Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) commercial network, KSATlite, together with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Sateliot's LEO satellite constellation seamlessly integrates with KSAT's advanced ground network services, creating a robust system that ensures reliability, scalability, and global coverage.

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Astroscale Successfully Launches Debris Inspection Spacecraft

Astroscale

Astroscale Japan Inc., a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc., has successfully launched its commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand, on Sunday, February 18, at 2:52 pm UTC. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected ADRAS-J for Phase I of its Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration program. Astroscale Japan is responsible for the design, manufacture, test, launch and operations of ADRAS-J.

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EpiSci Selected by SDA for SBIR Phase II Award

SDA

EpiSci has announced an SBIR Phase II contract with the Space Development Agency (SDA) to advance the capabilities of low earth orbit (LEO) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensors. This effort builds on EpiSci’s expertise in signal processing technology using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) techniques to provide warfighters a competitive advantage.

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LeoLabs and SWF Lead Joint Statement on Debris Remediation

LeoLabs has released a joint statement on debris remediation signed by representatives of commercial entities in collaboration with the Secure World Foundation (SWF). LeoLabs and SWF led this effort in response to the continual accumulation of massive derelict objects (e.g. spent rocket bodies, etc.) in low Earth orbit (LEO). As of January 2024, around 29% of the total mass in LEO consists of these massive objects, 43% of which were left in orbit since the turn of the century. These objects pose the greatest debris-generating potential in LEO, putting the satellites the global economy relies on at risk.

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