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Space

Orbex Secures Patent for ‘Petal Fold’ Reusable Rocket Technology

Upwards view of Orbex Prime rocket. Credit Orbex

Orbex has successfully patented its REFLIGHT reusable rocket technology following patent approval in several European markets, based on the patent grant by the European Patent Office, as well as in the United States. The technology works well with micro-launcher rockets like Orbex’s Prime rocket since it enables recovery of the launch vehicle by repurposing existing structural features while adding very little additional weight to the vehicle. It thereby enables reusability with very limited overall performance penalty and no additional rocket propulsion emissions in the upper atmosphere during re-entry.

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Spire Global to Scale Constellation for HANCOM InSpace

Spire Global logo. Credit Spire Global

Spire Global, Inc. has announced an agreement with HANCOM InSpace (“Hancom”), initially a spin-off by Korea Aerospace Research Institute and now a part of HANCOM Group, for Sejong-2 and Sejong-3, two additional satellites with Spire Space Services. Under this agreement, Spire will build and operate the satellites, expanding the capabilities of HANCOM-1 (Sejong-1). Together, these satellites will form a constellation for Korea’s first three-satellite remote sensing image data service.

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Koonibba Test Range Gets Set for Inaugural Launch

Southern Launch

The new launch facilities at the Koonibba Test Range, South Australia’s first permanent spaceport, are almost complete ahead of the impending inaugural launch. Located northwest of Ceduna, the range is a partnership between Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation. It is the largest commercial testing range in the Southern Hemisphere. Subject to final regulatory approval, the spaceport will witness its first suborbital test launch of German manufacturer HyImpulse’s SR75 rocket at the end of April or early May.

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UKspace Appoints Colin Baldwin as New Executive Director

UK Space Satellite Image. Credit UK Space Agency

UKspace has appointed Colin Baldwin as Executive Director of UKspace to lead the organization, following the decision by its Director, Lizzie Kerr, to step down from her role with the official trade association of the UK space industry. Lizzie will be retiring on 30 June 2024 after more than five and a half years in her post. Colin Baldwin's appointment as Executive Director of UKspace will consequently take effect from 1 July 2024.

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GITAI Completes Technology Demonstration Outside the ISS

GITAI USA Inc. (GITAI) has announced the successful completion of all planned tasks in an external demonstration focusing on in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM). These tasks are crucial for on-orbit satellite servicing and were accomplished using a 1.5-meter-long autonomous dual robotic arm system (S2) outside the International Space Station (ISS). This milestone marks GITAI’s second successful demonstration, following an earlier demonstration inside the ISS in 2021.

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Firefly Aerospace to Demonstrate Launch and On-Orbit Services

Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace, Inc. has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to conduct a trade study on its capabilities to rapidly launch Firefly's Elytra vehicles and support missions beyond Geosynchronous Orbit, referred to as xGEO. Once complete, the trade study will provide the groundwork for up to two Firefly demonstration missions that will advance the DoD's responsive access to xGEO.

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SatSure Partners ReOrbit for Space Infrastructure Solution

SatSure

Bengaluru-based deeptech EO analytics and platform company SatSure, along with its subsidiary KaleidEO, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ReOrbit. This partnership aims to develop innovative full-stack solutions to meet the future market demands in the Earth Observation (EO) segment. As a part of this partnership, KaleidEO will provide the bleeding edge of future-ready payload technology meant for sub-meter imaging capability. Meanwhile, SatSure’s downstream solutions and analytics stack will support businesses needing last-mile connections.

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