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Starship’s Second Flight, SaxaVord Issues, and Omani Spaceport Progress Unveiled

This week, uncover the highlights of Starship’s second flight, navigate through SaxaVord’s challenges, and witness the stellar progress at the Omani spaceport. Stay in the know about the smallsat market. Stay informed on the latest commercial payloads and launch news!

Precious Weekly: November 13 — 19, 2023

Starship's Second Flight, SaxaVord Issues, and Omani Spaceport Progress Unveiled

Image: NSF’s footage of the Starship’s second test launch

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Launch Updates

Read this Ars Technica piece if you missed the second test launch of Starship on Saturday: “Sorry, doubters: Starship actually had a remarkably successful flight.”

🇩🇪 HyImpulse will 🚀 launch their hybrid suborbital rocket SR75 from Australia, from 🇦🇺 Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in March 2024. The company completed the assembly and integration of the launch vehicle, as well as integrated tests of the onboard electronics. [HyImpulse

Construction at Scotland’s 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 SaxaVord Spaceport halts due to unpaid bills totaling £1M, resulting in canceled rocket launches. 🇩🇪HyImpulse, committed to the site, relocates its SR75 suborbital rocket’s maiden flight to Australia.  [Daily Record] One more German launch startup 🇩🇪 Rocket Factory (RFA) also planned to launch its RFA ONE rocket from the spaceport.

 

Progress

  • 🇺🇸 Project Kuiper demonstrated the first two-way video call over Amazon’s end-to-end communications network. [Amazon]
  • 🇺🇸 Firefly’s Alpha rocket gears up for 🚀 Flight 4, only two months after the VICTUS NOX launch. Stage integration is complete, and it’s now rolled out to the pad. [Firefly]

 

Headlines

🇮🇳 ISRO partners with 🇲🇺 Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) to develop, launch, and operate a multispectral imager satellite for the island nation Mauritius. While the launch date remains undisclosed, this strategic partnership is slated for an extensive duration of 15 months. [TS2 Space]

🇯🇵 ispace unveils the final design of its 26 cm tall, 5 kg micro rover for Mission 2, contributing to lunar exploration and NASA’s Artemis program. Scheduled to launch in Winter 2024 on SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Payloads include:

  • Water electrolyzer equipment from 🇯🇵 Takasago Thermal Engineering Co.
  • Self-contained module for food production experiments from 🇯🇵 Euglena Co.
  • Deep space radiation probe developed by the Department of Space Science and Engineering, National Central University, 🇹🇼 Taiwan
  • Commemorative alloy plate modeled after the “Charter of the Universal Century”. [ispace]

Eric Berger reports that 🇺🇸 Lockheed Martin and 🇺🇸 Boeing are nearing a decision on the sale of 🇺🇸 United Launch Alliance (ULA). Potential buyers include Jeff Bezos-owned 🇺🇸 Blue Origin, an unnamed private equity fund, and a well-capitalized aerospace firm. ULA’s Vulcan launcher, set for a Christmas launch, features the BE-4 rocket engine from Blue Origin. [Ars Technica]

🇺🇸 Astranis will build a second MicroGEO broadband satellite for the Philippines. The first satellite ordered by 🇵🇭  Orbits Corp will be launched in Q1 2024, and the second one,  “AGILA”, later in 2024. [Astranis]

🇦🇪 Bayanat, 🇦🇪 Yahsat, and 🇫🇮 ICEYE expand the domestic Earth observation satellite fleet to seven synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, covering the Middle East. The move aims for better coverage and higher revisit rates. Launch date not specified. [ICEYE]
 

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The UAE’s 🇦🇪 Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) is set to launch MBZ-Sat, its advanced imaging satellite, between July and September 2024 via a 🇺🇸 SpaceX rideshare mission. Additionally, MBRSC aims to announce more missions for 2025, 2026, and 2027 by year-end. [Khaleej Times]

The 🇴🇲 Omani National Aerospace Services Company (NASCOM) has chosen 🇬🇧 UKLSL for the Etlaq Spaceport development. NASCOM, backed by Omani investors, plans groundbreaking in Q2 2024 for a 24-month phase-one development. Meanwhile, Omani 🇴🇲 ETCO SPACE, with partners 🇵🇱 SatRev and 🇵🇱TUATARA, successfully launches its inaugural satellite, Aman-1, via Transporter 9. [Times of Oman]

🇩🇪 Morpheus Space, a miniature electric thrusters manufacturer, launches Journey software, a space mobility platform that simplifies satellite mission design, in-orbit transfers, and propulsion system selection. [Morpheus]

🇺🇸 Spire Global launches Constellation Management Platform that simplifies satellite constellation operations. The development of the platform is supported by the Luxembourg Space Agency and the ESA’s €1.5M award. [Spire]

🇫🇷 Airbus unveils Detumbler, a magnetic damping device weighing in at around 100g to prevent tumbling of satellites at the end of their lives. A tech demo is scheduled in 2024 on an 🇫🇷 Exotrail mission. [Airbus]

🇧🇬 EnduroSat’s new 3,200 m2 satellite Space Centre in Bulgaria enables satellite modules delivery within two weeks. The company’s team can now assemble, test, integrate, and deliver 10+ satellites per month. [SmallsatNews]

 

Funding, Grants, and Contracts 

🇪🇸 Fossa Systems, a satellite-based IoT solutions provider, receives investment from Nabtesco and Indico Capital Partners to build out its constellation. The amount is undisclosed. [Fossa]

🇺🇸 Momentus has secured $6.5M in gross proceeds by finalizing an agreement with an existing investor who exercised warrants to purchase shares. [Momentus]

🇯🇵 Japan establishes a new $6.6B fund for space sector development. [Japan Times]

🇺🇸 Firefly Aerospace concludes another financing tranche, raising approximately $300M since the beginning of 2023, and reaching a $1.5B pre-money valuation. Led by investors like AE Industrial Partners and Mitsui & Co, the investment follows the U.S. Space Force’s VICTUS NOX mission. The company expects to announce a close of its current financing round soon. [Firefly]

🇮🇱 Creation-Space secures $1M from CreationsVC, aiming to accelerate space startups. Founded in 2023, it focuses on space tech innovation for climate impact. [CTech]

🇮🇱 An Israeli SpaceTech startup GorillaLink raises $2M, develops Satellite Emergency Hotspot for secure and affordable connectivity during emergencies. [CTech]

 

Offtopic (BUT ESSENTIAL)

🇺🇸 Viasat partners with 🇺🇸 Skylo to launch a direct-to-device satellite service, utilizing 🇺🇸 Ligado’s SkyTerra satellite network. The global rollout, starting in early 2024, enables connectivity in various devices worldwide, offering opportunities for mobile operators, equipment manufacturers, and IoT solution providers. [Via Satellite]

 

Discover our smallsat updates from last week – read now!

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