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Dish Network and EchoStar merging to expand telecom empire

EchoStar satellite. Credit EchoStar

Charlie Ergen is consolidating his telecommunications empire, merging Dish Network and EchoStar, his satellite and broadband services in an all-stock deal, reports CNBC. The deal is reuniting two businesses that have been separate for about 15 years, after Ergen took EchoStar out of Dish Network in 2008. Echostar was founded in 1980, selling satellite dishes before launching its subscription satellite service in 1995. 

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RIKEN and others collaborate to launch NinjaSat X-ray observatory 

RIKEN, Japan’s largest research institution, Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, and Kongsberg NanoAvionics announced on the 7th of August their collaboration on the NinjaSat1 X-ray observation mission. The aim of this two-year mission in low Earth orbit (LEO) is to observe X-ray photons from bright X-ray objects in the universe. The NinjaSat team intends to observe black holes and neutron stars that brighten suddenly in X-rays and coordinate with on-ground optical observatories to study how matter accretes to these compact objects. 

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Rocket Lab to Launch HASTE Mission from Virginia

Rocket Lab electron vehicle. Credit Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has announced it has signed a new launch services agreement with a confidential customer for a HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron) mission. The mission will consequently launch from Complex 2 at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in 2024. The contract signing with the new customer came just days after Rocket Lab successfully launched the first HASTE mission on 17 June 2023 for Leidos under the Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonic Test Bed (MACH-TB) program.

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Spire Global Awarded Space Services Contract by GHGSat

Spire Global logo. Credit Spire Global

Spire Global announced on the 8th of August that it has been awarded a Space Services contract by GHGSat, a global monitor of greenhouse gases from space. Under the agreement, Spire Global will build, launch, and operate four additional 16U satellites that will carry GHGSat payloads to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. This has been built upon Spire’s initial agreement for three 16U satellites that will launch by the end of 2023. The addition of these satellites will enhance GHGSat’s global emissions monitoring and measurement capacity

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KSAT announces fully automated Ka-band network

KSATlite service image. Credit KSAT

KSAT announced on the 8th of August the world’s first commercial fully automated Ka-band Ground network optimised for Smallsat constellations. The KSATlite Ka-band solution will be optimal for data-intensive applications currently being planned and developed. It will be powered by Ka-band technology, and intends to open new opportunities for high-speed data transfers. The service will provide downlink capabilities of 10 Gbps and more with the right selection of radios. 

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ICEYE US Receives First Task Order Under NASA


ICEYE US Inc has received its first Task Order under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with NASA, enabling NASA to acquire ICEYE’s synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data for evaluation by scientific and academic communities. This will help to determine suitability for advancing NASA’s Earth Science research objectives. The BPA gets its funding from the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate. Since 2020, NASA’s Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program has been identifying, evaluating, and acquiring data from commercial sources that align with NASA’s Earth Science Division objectives.

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Warpspace Selected for NEDO’s “SBIR Program” for FY2023


Warpspace has announced that the National Research and Development Agency New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has accepted its proposal, "Development of a modem and router to realize a multi-protocol platform for optical communications in space,"  for the Japanese "SBIR Program" (one-stop-shop type) for fiscal year 2023.

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NOAA Removes Limits on Commercial Remote Sensing Licenses


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has, through its Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office has announced the modification of operating licenses of multiple commercial satellite systems. These license conditions had previously restricted the operations of commercial satellites, preventing them from offering their full remote sensing capabilities to the public. On July 20, 2020, NOAA implemented new, specific regulations on private remote sensing systems.

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Space Café Radio – with Dr. Ernst Pfeiffer

In this episode of Space Café Radio, we have an insightful conversation with Dr. Ernst Pfeiffer, the CEO of HPS Group and Chairman of the German Space SME. Our host, Torsten Kriening, publisher at SpaceWatch.Global delves into the current state of the German and European space markets. Moreover, we explore the potential repercussions of the proposed German space budget cuts amounting to 180 million euros, anticipated for confirmation by the government by the end of 2023.

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Umbra Releases Hi-Res Commercial Satellite Image

Umbra, a space radar technology company, has announced that it has successfully produced a 16-cm resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image. According to the Company, it is the highest-resolution commercial satellite image ever released. The company also announced that it’s now able to provide customers with the highest-quality data its satellites are capable of capturing — in all formats and resolutions, including complex data better than 25 cm, for the first time.

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