Categories
Space

Addition of satellite internet to offer services by Wisper ISP

Wisper ISP Inc., which is a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), has provided satellite as a substitute to their rooted wireless technology for Illinois residents since 2015. Wisper wants to expand its satellite services to its network in Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas.

One of the major Wisper’s Satellite Internet customers is Theresa Pointon of St. Libory since the company shifted to that area in January 2020. Theresa said that she is so happy with the Satellite service, adding that it has enabled her children to learn online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nathan Stooke, Wisper’s CEO and Founder, said that the company is excited satellite to offer services throughout the entire network. He added that this means that more Americans in the rural areas will now access the internet, which will aid in closing the Digital Divide gap. Nathan also noted that Wisper would continue growing, and its growth will be felt in different regions.

Fixed Wireless Technology utilizes uplifted structures to reach customers’ homes. These raised structures include cell towers, water towers, and grain elevators. The current potential needs the tools on the consumer’s roof to have a sightline to the uplifted structure. This means that the optical path cannot be blocked by any terrain or trees. The consumer must be not over 3-5 miles from the consumer’s uplifted structure to get superior signals. Satellites have a significant difference with fixed wireless since their equipment hangs in orbit, which is over 100 miles above the Earth’s surface, rather than an uplifted structure.

The following are Wisper’s satellite plans:

Liberty Plans

  • Liberty 12 comes with 12GB at the cost of $60 per month for 12/3
  • Liberty 12 with 25GB at the expense of $80 per month for 12/3
  • Liberty 12 comes with 50GB costing $90 per month for 12/3

All these liberty plans offer a free zone from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Standard Beams

  • Bonze 12 offering 35GB at the cost of $70 per month for 12/3
  • Silver 12 with 45GB costing $100 per month for 12/3
  • Gold 12 comes with 65GB at $150 per month for 12/3

High-Capacity Beams

  • Bronze 12 comes with 40GB at the cost of $70 per month for 12/3
  • Silver 25 with 60GB costing $100 per month for 25/3
  • Gold 30 comes with 100GB for $130 per month for 30/3
  • Gold 50 with 100GB at the cost of $150 per month for 50/3
  • Plat 100 comes with 150GB at $200 per month for 100/3

Currently, Wisper is working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to facilitate the Lifeline Program that is providing a discount to low-income earners. Those who want to enroll in the Lifeline program can visit www.lifelinesupport.org.

Categories
Space

The Satellite Operations Contract between MDA and the Canadian Space Agency

In an announcement, MDA declared that it won a contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The terms of this agreement include the provision of satellite flight operations. CSA will also expect data management services from MDA. Another expectation by the agency is satellite missions that create awareness of space and also facilitates Earth observation.

The main focus of MDA will be NEOSSat, SCISAT, and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). It will offer various services, including controlling and monitoring the spacecraft’s health, analyzing operations, maintaining the basic system, and handling data order. Others are managing image quality, processing data, and archiving data. Its area of jurisdiction will be in Longueuil, where the agency’s Multi-Mission Control Centre lies.

Nevertheless, one must acknowledge that MDA will not be doing all that alone. On the contrary, it will achieve it throw the collaboration of two giant space companies. Its other Canadian counterparts are Mission Control Space Services and Calian Advanced Technologies. The contract is three years long, and its worth is CAD$ 36.6 million minus taxes. If a need arises, the deal might be extended but not for more than two more years.

It is important to note that it is not the first time MDA and CSA worked together. During the construction of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, the former was also at the heart of it. It is a third-generation radar satellite system, and its importance in Canada is indispensable. The country launched it in June 2019, and the launch was a success. Its commission happened later that same year. Ever since the launch, MDA offers all its necessary satellite operations services. As a result of this contract, it is only right to say that MDA’s mandate over RCM just got even more substantial. As a matter of fact, its stand in satellite operations is also at another level.

MDA will also be in charge of SCISAT. It is also crucial, and it has been helping Canada and the rest of the world understand ozone layer depletion since 2003. A decade later, the idea of Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) saw the light of the day. The space services firm will also be managing this space telescope. Although other similar missions exist now, it was the first one on satellites and asteroids detection and tracking.

MDA also has a contract with the country’s Department of National Defense. This agreement obliges it to operate Sapphire. The launch vehicle for this surveillance satellite is the same one that lifted NEOSSat off. It is also the same case with MDA’s RADARSAT-2, which is an Earth observation satellite.

Categories
Space

Upcoming commercial crew mission of SpaceX to deploy in April

The second operating SpaceX commercial crew flight to the International Space Station, transporting astronauts from Japan, Europe, and the United States, will be launched in the mid-April. NASA announced on January 29 that it had set a start date of April 20 for the station’s Crew-2 mission. NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency space-explorer Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency on board as mission experts will be the Commander as well as Pilot, respectively. The four would substitute the Crew-1 space-explorers who traveled on the first operating Crew Dragon flight to the station in November.

In late April or even early May, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker, as well as the JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi would return to the spacecraft, predicting that Crew-2 will deploy on its current timeline. NASA previously reported a no-earlier-than-launch period of March 30 for the Crew-2. However, it did postpone the project to enable Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft to deploy uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 flight for an estimated one-week mission no sooner than March 25. The Starliner as well as Crew Dragon dock at one of the station’s two ports, including one that is used by Crew-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft.

A Soyuz spaceship, Soyuz MS-18, planned for launch about April 10, is also included in the pause to April 20. Three Russian cosmonauts will be taken to the station, with the Soyuz MS-17 returning to the Earth a week later, with the Russian cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov on board, as well as NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. “We will really begin to increase our plans for doing some touring vehicle operations across the mid-March period,” Kenny Todd, NASA’s deputy manager of the International Space Station program, stated during a January 22 conference on a forthcoming series of the station spacewalks.

He didn’t provide a timetable for certain missions during the briefing. In a January 27 comment to SpaceNews, utilizing the NASA designation for the Soyuz MS-18, he stated, “We are still collaborating with our Russian colleagues as well as the Commercial Crew Program to solidify the schedules for the Crew-2 and Soyuz 64S flights.” “At present, both flights are targeted for spring 2021; however, specific launch schedules have yet to be confirmed.” The first in a sequence of spacewalks was conducted by two of the Crew-1 explorers; Hopkins and Glover, on January 27, operating on the exterior of Columbus module to aid the Bartolomeo external payload system mount a new contact antenna there.

Categories
Space

Albedo Startup concentrates on the 10-centimeter Earth imagery

Albedo, the newest space corporation to enter the popular Y Combinator start-up accelerator, intends to set up a 10 centimeter per pixel resolution satellite constellation providing Earth imagery. That is the same resolution that created a stir when, in August 2019, former President Trump tweeted pictures of a badly destroyed Iranian launchpad. At the time, geospatial mapping analysts indicated that the imagery was actually captured by secret NRO surveillance satellites costing more than $1 billion. (Prices and capacities of NRO satellites are classified.)

Albedo aims to minimize the expense of capturing 10-centimeter resolution electro-optical imagery as well as two-meter resolution thermal imagery by operating refrigerator-sized satellites at the low altitudes with the large-aperture cameras. “To accomplish this resolution effectually, there are technological advances we are using today to operate super low,” Topher Haddad, co-founder as well as Chief executive of Albedo, informed SpaceNews. For instance, Denver-based Albedo intends to empower satellites with the electric propulsion and develop them for the on-orbit refueling. Haddad stated he is sure that refueling will be possible in the low Earth orbit until Albedo requires approximately two years refilling the first generation of the satellites after the deployment.

“By rendering imagery accessible and incorporating the tremendous value of the high resolution, our aim is to increase the demand,” Haddad added. Although 10-centimeter imagery is not available for sale commercially without a special authorization in the United States, Haddad is adamant that by the moment it starts deploying satellites in the year 2024 and develops a constellation of 24 satellites in the year 2027, Albedo will encounter few constraints. Haddad, who served at the Lockheed Martin as a senior systems engineer, worked on confidential remote sensing projects, co-founded Albedo with Winston Tri, who used to work at Facebook as a software engineer, as well as AJ Lasater, a former employee of Lockheed Martin systems, who served as an architecture manager, in the year 2020.

When they entered Y Combinator, a venture start-up accelerator located in Mountain View in California, whose space sector alumni include Astranis, Momentus as well as Relativity Space, the trio started working on Albedo full time. In the startups that it picks, Y Combinator spends. Eric Migicovsky, who is a partner at Y Combinator, stated Albedo “has a huge amount of work it is supposed to do.” “I could see this as being a no-brainer for the customers if they can develop at the pace they are preparing and get to the level of quality.” Albedo founders have held detailed interviews with potential clients while engaging in Y Combinator and received letters of intent priced at $56 million, Haddad stated.

Categories
Space

The NAPA report pioneers the assignment of Space Traffic Management responsibility to the Department of Commerce 

Congress is championing a report that gives the Commerce Department the authority to solve the growing traffic challenge in space, also known as STM. The formulation of this research report by NAPA (the National Academy of Public Administration) by August this year is per the Congress’s demands before the allocation of funds to various units. Some leaders expressed their concern over the space traffic management, outlining that the suitable agency to handle this task is the OSC (the Office of Space Commerce) following the SPD 3 regulations stipulated by the legislature.

The NAPA committee evaluated both OSC and the Defense Department to determine their capability to handle space crises and outline a mechanism that cancels the collision problem among the space utilities. To mention but a few, the committee members included Michael Dominguez – the retired Space Force associate secretary, NASA’s director Sean O’Keefe and NRO’s retired executive – Marty Faga.

This study comes amid speculations that the Defense Department, which is currently managing this crucial task, will be delegating this task to four agencies: NASA, OCST, and AST. The research report evaluated the four agencies in terms of technological prowess, leadership skills, and their capability to connect with space stakeholders. OSC outshined the other three because of its admirable leadership and collaboration with various space stakeholders. The NAPA committee members settled on OSC since it can handle this mega responsibility with the government’s explicit support.

Additionally, the report recommended OSC for agreeing to integrate the STM responsibility into its system through its collaboration with other firms. The report outlines OSC’s strategy of taking STM duties as the facilitators of data unification systems. This concept is different from the expected direct control by the agency of space traffic to maintain sanity and prevent collisions. OSC views STM responsibilities as a method of appreciating technological advancements by various space companies and fostering innovative commercial space firms’ survival. This move will enhance the country’s success in becoming a space leader and create unity in the global space industry.

Commerce Department’s secretary Wilbur Ross expressed his happiness after the government and the space industry movers considering the Commerce Department’s suitability in handling the STM responsibilities. He added that the agency is expectant to collaborate with Congress to fulfill the objectives of the tasks assigned to it. One of the Commerce Department’s leaders stated that they anticipate the report to clear doubts about the agency’s capacity to deliver space traffic control duties.

In conclusion, the leader assured Congress that its trust in the Commerce Department to perform the STM duties is all under control and appreciated. The Commerce Department hopes that it can procure more funds from Congress’s finance bill to initiate more operations to support the realization of the STM duties as per the law.

Categories
Space

The role of government in small dispatch market not so clear

Specialists have cautioned for some time that the smallsat market cannot back up the dozens of agencies presently advancing small dispatch automobiles. The agreement is that only a handful shall sustain, and the American regime, specifically the Defence Division, shall play a crucial function in choosing the ones that remain in business. The Pentagon has, by this time, beckoned its objective to back up the industry, even though the ways at which it is going to do so have welcomed controversies.

Ellen Lord, the Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment in April recognized small dispatch as one of the divisions of the Defense industrial base most unfavourably impacted by the COVID-19 crisis economic outcome

The Pentagon publicized around June its intention to bestow $116 million worth of deals to six small dispatch suppliers using finances approved under the Defense Production Act, a Cold War-era by-law meant for marshal local production in times of need. The Trump administration appealed to the Defence Production Act in April to increase the production of medical gear to fight the crisis. The rule also grants the Pentagon freedom to invest in local industries it deems essential to national security.

Nevertheless, the small dispatch deals were retracted in July amidst a disturbance concerning how the receivers were picked, an issue that the Pentagon never commented about. The Air Military’s chief procurement official executive, Will Roper, stated that DoD chose to transfer the funds to other primacies and that the small dispatch deal would have to hang on until financing became available.  

Deputy President of commercial space, Janice Starzyk revealed to SpaceNews that the DPA small dispatch issue was peculiar. The procedure and standards for the choice of six firms —X-Bow, Astra, Rocket Lab, Aevum, Space Vector, and VOX Space, remain unknown, Starzyk remarked.

Chairperson of Smallsat Alliance, Chuck Beames, stated that DoD wanted to support the industry but regrettably mismanaged the Defence Production Act deals. Deputy President of future operations at Astra, Fred Kennedy, one of the firms among the six chosen for Defence Production Act deal, approved that DoD had upright intent but nosedived at the application. 

Aside from that, NASA is playing an advocating duty with a recent dispatch procurement.

NASA unveiled at the onset of July, an outline appeal for suggestions for its Venture Class Launch Service Demonstration 2 program, searching for suggestions for dispatches of collections of tiny satellites. A complete version is scheduled for unveiling after July, with proposals expected by the end of August.

Venture Class Launch Service Demo 2 is a restoration of the firm’s initial Venture Class Launch Service slate that NASA commenced around 2015 to promote the advancement of small dispatch automobiles.

Categories
Space

Demo-2’s space explorers applaud the Crew Dragon spacecraft for a memorable experience.

NASA‘s veteran astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft commended the craft, saying that it was a fantastic experience to board the vehicle.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were full of praises for the collaborated efforts of SpaceX and NASA’s commercial crew program after designing the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The two astronauts safely jetted back to Earth after a mission that took over two months. 

Hurley reported that the flight had no hitches whatsoever, an experience that is spectacular compared to what they usually go through on space missions. In his experience, Hurley explains that this is the first mission that was glitch-free from the beginning to the end. Not even space shuttle missions are this way perfect.

An illustrative example is that Hurley anticipated that the vehicle shifts out of position and swerve into the dense atmosphere before the subsequent parachute ejection. However, he narrates that the space vehicle was steady and in perfect motion throughout the reentry mission.

Behnken recollects a pictographic memory of the capsule diving down the Earth’s atmosphere. He states that the Dragon came to life approaching the atmosphere and propelled downwards to stay in the orthodox altitude in the reentry mission.

Behnken explains that the Dragon exceptionally thrust itself down the atmosphere like a bird following its path. The capsule was outrightly steady and moving down the Earth withstanding the atmospheric pressure and winds.

Nonetheless, the atmospheric noise and the Dragon’s propulsion noise were high though the astronauts were ready for noise-proof devices. The cataclysmic motion of the spacecraft was an exuberant sight from the astronauts’ view. The astronauts felt like they were moving inside an animal’s body.

Initially, NASA’s plan was for the Demo-2 mission to spend a few days at the International Space Station before jetting back to Earth. NASA altered the plan to increase the days to months so that Behnken and Hurley can perform various operations at the station, including spacewalking. Additionally, this extension was to test the spacecraft’s feasibility to stay in space for such a long period.

Behnken is happy to have experienced the Crew-1 mission, tests, and the Crew-2 mission is confident that the upcoming missions will be eventful and tantalizing. He remarks that the upcoming mission to fly four astronauts to space will be memorable after experiencing this Demo-2 mission. The spacecraft is fully fit for the upcoming launches since the two experienced astronauts tested their performance while at the International Space Station.

Finally, Behnken connotes that some modifications can be done on the spacecraft for more comfort of the crew. NASA is keen to make the vital modifications as it reviews the report.

Categories
Space

Cubesat illustrates Earth science device

WASHINGTON – A Cubesat initiated earlier in the current year has adequately tested an edition of an instrument that will hover on a more significant NASA operation in development.  

The Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP) Cubesat was installed in February from the International Space Station (ISS) following its delivery to the station on a Cygnus cargo space ship. The Cubesat ferries imaging Polarimeter was built to gauge the properties of aerosol and cloud particles in Earth’s atmosphere.  

Space Dynamics Lab (SDL) of Utah State University manages the three-unit Cubesat and also designed the spacecraft. The payload was created and is run by the University of Maryland B Baltimore County (UMBC). The payload accomplished “first flight” in April and took their original pictures in May. 

Tim Nelson, the program director for HARP at SDL, stated that the spaceship displays that CubeSats can offer valuable data in Earth sciences. Tim confirmed in a statement that the application of Earth observation technology-based in space has, in the past, been the domain of big satellites. He added that HARP helps confirm that miniaturized antennas on tiny satellites can generate a high degree of reliability at a portion of the time and cost it takes to construct bigger satellites. 

The instrument’s utility derives from its capability to gauge the size allotment of cloud droplets that can give information on the ice and water clouds properties. That could, in turn, enhance aerosol processes modeling and assist in reducing qualms in climate modeling.

HARP is a forerunner for a related instrument dubbed, HARP2, being developed by UMBC for NASA’s Plankton, Cloud, Aerosol, ocean Ecosystems mission. HARP2 is set to feature enhanced resolution and antenna performance and will be in a position to offer world coverage every two days from the sun-synchronous orbit of PACE. 

PACE has been the talk of frequent attempts at cancellation in the budget request of the administration, comprising in the 2021 fiscal year budget proposal earlier in the current year. Nonetheless, Congress has declined those proposals and decided to fund the development of PACE. The spaceship is set to initiate on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late 2022. 

Tiny satellites such as CubeSats play a significant role in technology demonstration, exploration, scientific research, and educational research at NASA. These small satellites offer a cheap platform for NASA operations, comprising planetary discovery, Earth observations, and essential space and Earth science.

Categories
Space

Pentagon selects SpaceX and ULA to run the NSSL Phase 2 contract 

The US Air Force has selected the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to meet the NSSL Phase 2 contract’s demands. This five-year contract involves the deployment of national security payloads for the US forces, which attracts $653 million.

ULA and SpaceX overtook Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman to win the Phase 2 contract called the National Security Space Launch payload deal. 

So far, the United Launch Alliance confirmed the reception of a $337 million deal while SpaceX got a $316 million deal for the respective projects. These contracts will run through the 2022 financial year according to the press release by the Pentagon.

SpaceX and ULA will be launching missions beginning 2022 to 2027 when the Phase 2 contract schedules to come to a halt. The Department of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office will be launching over 30 missions in this Phase 2 contract. 

Air Force’s assistant secretary for procurement, technology and transit services, Will Roper, stated that the agency motivates innovation by serving both the government and commercials through the competitive launch market. 

Roper reiterates that the success of Phase 2 contracts will mark a milestone in which the US will stop depending on Russia for the launch of payloads. He said that the deployment of the American payloads via the American rockets would minimize their reliance on the Russian RD-180 engines. The US will be able to launch space vehicles in both its private and public sectors.

The transition to the advanced space launch cars will help the US minimize their use of Atlas V rocket, which has a Russian-made engine. The Department of Defense will no longer purchase the Atlas V rockets for its launches once this ideology becomes law at the terminal of 2022.

Phase 2 of the NSSL contract details that ULA will receive 60% of the subcontracts, while SpaceX will receive 40%. The Pentagon will be giving out missions to these rockets’ developers annually, depending on the rising demand. The Air Force forecasts to purchase launches in the next half-decade until the purpose comes to a cataclysmic end.

The initiation of the Phase 2 NSSL contract began last year with the auction of agreement between various firms. The firms that participated in this bid include Blue Origin, the United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Northrop Grumman. The startups like Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman lost the contracts to ULA and SpaceX, forcing them to focus on their ongoing projects.

Nonetheless, ULA is organizing the creation of the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle, which survives on Blue Origin’s engine. SpaceX, on the other hand, is giving out Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, the approved projects for Phase 2. The CEO of Blue Origin is happy that their engine will be usable in the upcoming eventful launches of the Vulcan.

In conclusion, Northrop Grumman was unhappy with the Pentagon’s choice but confident that they submitted a quality proposal for consideration in the NSSL Phase 2 contract bid.

Categories
Space

Virgin Galactic details SpaceShipTwo test flight program to grab FAA Passenger Trips authorization

A commercial operator’s permit might be just a single spaceflight away for the Virgin Galactic.  The Virgin Galactic head space officer, George Whitesides, confirmed that the firm’s latest SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity, has been to suborbital space two times on the piloted trial flight, initially in December 2018 and subsequently in February 2019. One or two additional operations should be sufficient to gratify the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) permit requirements. 

Whitesides confirmed during a news discussion held on Tuesday, July 28, that their trust is that the statistics they got from the forthcoming flight will be able to give them final data that is needed to clear their commercial operating permit.  

The central focus of the media occasion was to converse about the cabin interior of SpaceShipTwo, the blueprint of which Virgin Galactic revealed on Tuesday. 

The SpaceShipTwo that is steered by two pilots and carries about six passengers is towed up by a shipper plane dubbed WhiteKnightTwo. At close to 50,000 feet altitude, SpaceShipTwo detaches and blasts off it aboard shoot up motor that powers the spaceship to space.

The six passengers on board the SpaceShipTwo will observe the Earth’s curvature against the deep space and get several minutes of buoyancy before returning for a runway touchdown at Virgin Galactic commercial hub spaceport in New Mexico.  

Whiteside confirmed that close to 600 people had secured a seat onboard the suborbital spaceship at a recent price of $250,000 for one ticket, and the number is expected to increase in the coming days. However, Whitesides also stressed that Virgin Galactic targets bringing down the price after a while, making spaceflight more available to more customers all over the world.  

The two spaceflights of VSS Unity to date the two came from Space Port and Mojave Air in California, close to the central offices of The Spaceship Company, the manufacturing subsidiary of Virgin Galactic. However, Spaceport America will accommodate the future space missions of the company. VSS Unity, together with its shipper plane, which is a WhiteKnightTwo car dubbed VMS Eve, moved to the New Mexico location earlier in the current year to finalize their test operation. 

The operation will not finish with the two piloted flights or the forthcoming one, even after they net Virgin Galactic, a profitable functioning license from the FAA. The last phase is going to be a small number of flights which will have some test passengers; who are going to be four in the back, where they are going to perform final phases of testing out customer experience.