...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

Copernical Team

Copernical Team

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BlueWalker 3, an enormous and bright communications satellite, is genuinely alarming astronomers
Trail from BlueWalker 3 above Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona. Credit: KPNO/NOIRLab/IAU/SKAO/NSF/AURA/R. Sparks

The night sky is a shared wilderness. On a dark night, away from the city lights, you can see the stars in the same way as your ancestors did centuries ago. You can see the Milky Way and the constellations associated with stories of mythical hunters, sisters and journeys.

But like any wilderness, the night sky can be polluted. Since Sputnik 1 in 1957, thousands of satellites and pieces of space junk have been launched into orbit.

For now, satellites crossing the night sky are largely a curiosity. But with the advent of satellite constellations—containing hundreds or thousands of satellites—this could change.

The recent launch of BlueWalker 3, a prototype for a satellite constellation, raises the prospect of bright satellites contaminating our night skies. At 64 square meters, it's the largest commercial communications satellite in low Earth orbit—and very bright.

Pollution of the night sky

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With a small network of satellites around Mars, rovers could navigate autonomously
An artist's concept for a smallsat constellation around Mars for polar exploration. Credit: Serena Molli

When it comes to "on the ground" exploration of Mars, rovers make pretty good advance scouts. From Pathfinder to Perseverance, we've watched as these semi-autonomous robots do what human explorers want to do in the future. Now, engineers are studying ways to expand rover exploration on Mars. One thing they're thinking about: communication satellite constellations for Mars surface navigation.

The current generation of Mars rovers landed in easily accessible places. Other Martian regions, such as the poles, or Valles Marineris, remain pretty much untouched. That's partly because they're difficult to reach and their present challenges. The poles hold a lot of clues to the Martian climate system. Although one cap is known to be mostly water ice, both caps could contain (or be hiding) additional water either in underground lakes or frozen beneath the caps.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018 15:31

Meteosat Third Generation

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Meteosat Third Generation

Meteosat Third Generation

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Silicon pore optics technology

Member State delegations pledged a record-breaking €16.9 billion budget for ESA at last week's Council at Ministerial Level in Paris, including renewed support for dedicated R&D programmes employed by ESA’s Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality to invent the future in space. 

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New York NY (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Maxar Technologies and SiriusXM (NASDAQ: SIRI) have announced a new agreement commissioning Maxar to build and deliver two new geostationary communications satellites for SiriusXM. The SXM-11 and -12 satellite orders increase the total number of spacecraft in development for SiriusXM by Maxar to four, following the 2021 agreement for the construction of SXM-9 and -10. "This investment reaf
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Washington DC (UPI) Nov 30, 2021
NASA's Orion space capsule, which is in day 15 of its Artemis 1 test flight, is scheduled to leave its current distant retrograde orbit on Thursday, as the spacecraft begins the process of returning home to Earth. Artemis 1 mission management leaders provided a preview on Wednesday, from Johnson Space Center, of the upcoming maneuver that will ultimately send the test flight past the mo
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Toulouse, France (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Arianespace signed a contract with longtime customer Intelsat to launch two satellite payloads, IS-41 and IS-44, using the heavy-lift Ariane 64 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in 2025. This agreement repurposes a previous launch contract and adds one additional satellite. "We are honored, yet again, by our faithful longtime partner Intelsat with another significant contract," said
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Paris (ESA) Dec 01, 2022
On November 29, 2022, Arianespace announced having signed with the European Commission (Directorate General for Defence, Industry and Space), a contract for the procurement of five launch services with Vega C for the Copernicus component of the European Union's (EU) Space Programme. "I would like to thank the European commission, especially the DG DEFIS teams, along with ESA, for continuin
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Midland TX (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTS) has announced the pricing of its previously announced public offering of its Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (the "Class A Common Stock"). The Company has agreed to sell 13,636,364 shares of Class A Common Stock at a price to the public of $5.50 per share. The Company has granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to an additiona
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New York NY (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
at AWS re:Invent 2022, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it successfully ran a suite of AWS compute and machine learning (ML) software on an orbiting satellite, in a first-of-its-kind space experiment. The experiment, conducted over the past 10 months in low Earth orbit (LEO), was designed to test a faster, more efficient method for customers to collect and analyze valuable space data dir
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