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(15 September 2020 – ESA) Today ESA awarded a €129.4 million contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the Agency’s first mission for planetary defence.

This ambitious mission will be Europe’s contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort, set to perform sustained exploration of a double asteroid system.

Hera – named after the Greek goddess of marriage – will be, along with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) spacecraft, humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, a little understood class making up around 15% of all known asteroids.

Hera scans DART’s impact crater (courtesy: ESA)

The contract was signed today by Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality, and Marco Fuchs, CEO of Germany space company OHB, prime contractor of the Hera consortium. The signing took place at ESA’s ESOC centre in Germany, which will serve as mission control for the 2024-launched Hera.

Hera is the European contribution to an international planetary defence collaboration among European and US scientists called the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment, AIDA. The DART spacecraft – due for launch in July 2021 – will first perform a kinetic impact on the smaller of the two bodies. Hera will follow-up with a detailed post-impact survey to turn this grand-scale experiment into a well-understood and repeatable asteroid deflection technique.

While doing so, the desk-sized Hera will also demonstrate multiple novel technologies, such as autonomous navigation around the asteroid – like modern driverless cars on Earth – while gathering crucial scientific data, to help scientists and future mission planners better understand asteroid compositions and structures.

Hera will also deploy Europe’s first ‘CubeSats’ (miniature satellites built up from 10 cm boxes) into deep space for close-up asteroid surveying, including the very first radar probe of an asteroid’s interior – using an updated version of the radar system carried on ESA’s Rosetta comet mission.

Due to launch in October 2024, Hera will travel to a binary asteroid system – the Didymos pair of near-Earth asteroids. The 780 m-diameter mountain-sized main body is orbited by a 160 m moon, formally christened ‘Dimorphos’ in June 2020, about the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

DART’s kinetic impact into Dimorphos in September 2022 is expected to alter its orbit around Didymos as well as create a substantial crater. This moonlet asteroid will become unique, as the first celestial body to have its orbital and physical characteristics intentionally altered by human intervention. Hera will arrive at the Didymos system at the end of 2026, to perform at least six months of close-up study.

Hera’s mission control will be based at ESA’s ESOC centre in Darmstadt, Germany, also the home of ESA’s new Space Safety and Security programme, of which Hera is a part.

This contract signing covers the full Hera satellite development, integration and test, including its advanced guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system. Contracts for Hera’s two hosted CubeSats and relevant technology developments are already ongoing.

Hera’s European partners

The contract has been awarded to a consortium led by prime contractor OHB System AG in Bremen.

Of 17 ESA Member States contributing to Hera, Germany is in the forefront, tasked with the overall Hera spacecraft design and integration, main navigation cameras, tanks, thrusters, high-gain antenna, reaction wheels, and mass memory unit.

Italy is leading the mission’s power and propulsion subsystems, and is providing the deep-space transponder that will enable the mission’s radioscience experiment. In addition, Italy is leading the dust and mineral prospecting CubeSat, named after the late Andrea Milani, distinguished professor and leading asteroid scientist.

Belgium is developing Hera’s on-board computer and software, the brain of the spacecraft, plus its power conditioning and distribution unit – the heart of its electrical subsystem. It is also contributing to Hera’s Japanese-developed thermal imager and CubeSats operations center at ESA/ESEC.

Luxembourg is leading the radar-hosting ‘Juventas’ CubeSat and the inter-satellite communication system allowing the two Hera CubeSats to communicate with Earth through an innovative network using Hera as data relay.

Portugal and Romania are developing the laser altimeter which will provide crucial information for the autonomous navigation functions. In addition, Romania is developing the image processing unit, harness and the electrical test equipment (while also contributing to its GNC development).

The Czech Republic is responsible for the full satellite structure, payload software (to command the instruments), independent software validation and ground support equipment for pre-flight satellite testing. It is also providing components for Juventas’ low-frequency radar and data processing software on the second CubeSat.

And Spain is developing Hera’s advanced guidance, navigation and control system as well as the deep-space communication system. It is also providing the Juventas gravimeter instrument.

  • Austria is supporting with mission data analysis and processing
  • Denmark is contributing to the Juventas CubeSat and remote terminal unit
  • France is providing Juventas’ low-frequency radar, as well as star trackers and support to the CubeSats’ payload operations planning and close-proximity trajectories
  • Hungary is supporting scientific calibration of the cameras
  • The Netherlands is developing the new deep-space CubeSat deployment system and providing Hera’s Sun sensors
  • Switzerland is contributing with structural elements and mechanisms for the solar arrays
  • Finland is providing the second CubeSats’ multi-spectral imager and onboard equipment. It is also providing the data processing unit
  • Poland is contributing with Juventas’ low-frequency radar deployable antennas
  • Ireland is providing an innovative inertial measurement unit for the Hera spacecraft to support deep-space navigation
  • ESA Associate Member State Latvia is contributing a time-of-flight detector for the mission’s laser altimeter.

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US Department of Defense awards Gilat multi-million-dollar orders for military communications program

US Department of Defense awards Gilat multi million dollar orders for military

(28 October 2020 – Gilat) Wavestream has received multi-million-dollar orders from the US Department of Defense (DoD). Wavestream’s unparalleled high-power 50W Ka-band military Block Upconverter (BUC) powers the DoD military communications program.

(courtesy: Wavestream)

Wavestream’s 50W Ka-band BUC is the most widely deployed solid state amplifier built at this power level. Wavestream’s production capacity of military-grade high-power Ka-Band SSPA/BUCs is unmatched and as such military customers have been trusting Wavestream’s innovative and reliable RF solutions for over 14 years.

“Wavestream has supported the military communication program since 2007 and continues to deliver high-quality products that meet the program’s stringent ruggedization and RF operation specifications,” said Bob Huffman, Wavestream’s General Manager. “This win demonstrates our military customers’ faith in our ability to continue to execute at a high level for years to come.”

About Wavestream

Wavestream, a Gilat subsidiary is the industry leader in the design and manufacture of next generation satellite communications high power transceivers for In Flight Connectivity, Ground Mobility and Gateway markets. Since 2001, we provide system integrators with field-proven, high performance Ka, Ku and X band Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), Block Upconverters (BUCs), Block Down Converters and Transceivers. We design, manufacture and repair our products in-house and have delivered over 40,000 systems in the past 15 years. Wavestream products provide high quality and reliability under the harshest environmental conditions and we are currently certified to ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100D standards.

About Gilat

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ: GILT, TASE: GILT) is a leading global provider of satellite-based broadband communications. With 30 years of experience, we design and manufacture cutting-edge ground segment equipment, and provide comprehensive solutions and end-to-end services, powered by our innovative technology. Delivering high value competitive solutions, our portfolio comprises of a cloud based VSAT network platform, high-speed modems, high performance on-the-move antennas and high efficiency, high power Solid State Amplifiers (SSPA) and Block Upconverters (BUC).

Gilat’s comprehensive solutions support multiple applications with a full portfolio of products to address key applications including broadband access, cellular backhaul, enterprise, in-flight connectivity, maritime, trains, defense and public safety, all while meeting the most stringent service level requirements. Gilat controlling shareholders are the FIMI Private Equity Funds.

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Globalsat Group successfully tests Iridium Edge Pro

Globalsat Group successfully tests Iridium Edge Pro

(28 October 2020 – Globalsat Group) The Pan-American consortium Globalsat Group, with a multi-country presence throughout the Americas, has been taking part in the successful “beta” tests of the Iridium Edge Pro, the new ultra-compact terminal for Iridium’s SBD service, with on board programmatic capabilities, satellite location signal receiver and various interfaces.

Iridium EDGE Pro Beta Test by Globalsat Group (courtesy: Globalstar Group)

The combination of CANbus and traditional Modbus enhances the flexibility of this satellite IoT device. Iridium partners can also take advantage of the BLE connectivity of Iridium Edge Pro by creating sophisticated solutions which incorporate wireless sensors that collect vital information and deliver it in real time.

By having a built-in GNSS reception module (GPS and other navigation and time systems), it allows resource tracking anywhere in the world, reporting positions and conditions through the Iridium constellation, thus being an extremely easy device to install and link to the resources which need to be monitored or controlled.

Globalsat Group has been able to verify that the multiple functionalities incorporated into this highly adaptive terminal allow it to be part of solutions that will optimize the logistics of operations of any scale, by facilitating very cost-effective and robust and real time data collection, transmission and even decision-making, both autonomous and remote. This can provide huge savings and significant risk reduction for customers, in areas such as:

  • Vessel and fishing monitoring
  • Mission critical electrical component management
  • Long-haul vehicle telematics and fleet management
  • Refrigerated container monitoring
  • Heavy equipment and construction machinery

Marcelo Sturmann, Product Manager of Globalsat Group, commented that “thanks to the opportunity that Iridium offered us, we have managed to understand how the new Iridium Edge Pro device can provide us with new opportunities in markets such as fishing and oil & gas, thanks to the simplicity in its configuration and the characteristics of its interfaces.” Sturmann adds that these qualities “combined with the diversity of resources that the Iridium low orbit constellation offers us and the compatibility with Amazon Web Services through the Iridium CloudConnect service, position Iridium Edge Pro as a product ready to become a success in the M2M and Industrial IoT ecosystem.”

Globalsat Group, in its capacity as a developer of value-added solutions and beta tester of the new device, is testing different applications for several markets, preparing training and live demonstrations for partners and customers in the region.

The consortium, with an extensive presence throughout the Western Hemisphere and the main actor in the MSS (Mobile Satellite Service or Mobile Satellite Service) field in many countries, carries out turnkey projects and also collaborates with other companies which require critical communication systems for sectors such as transport, energy, emergency management, resource monitoring, environment and others. This will facilitate the access of various markets to this technology and the added value necessary for its optimal implementation.

“With Iridium Edge Pro we now have a trio of out-of-the-box asset management products that serve a wide range of customer needs and applications,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Iridium. “As a programmable device with features like BLE connectivity, Java programming and CANbus protocol integration, we have created a smarter, more innovative and developer-friendly device than anything in the market today. Add in our truly global coverage with real-time two-way communications, and it’s clear a new standard has been set for the industry.”

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Gilat successfully demonstrates carrying 5G traffic with over Thaicom’s GEO HTS satellite

Gilat successfully demonstrates carrying 5G traffic with over Thaicoms GEO

(29 October 2020 – Gilat) Gilat Satellite Networks announced today that it successfully demonstrated carrying 5G traffic with outstanding performance over Thaicom’s GEO HTS satellite.

With this successful demonstration, Gilat’s cellular backhaul solution is declared operational and ready for implementation in the 5G architecture.

Superior user experience was recorded using Gilat’s Capricorn PLUS VSAT in the live demonstrations last month with two MNOs over Thaicom’s IPSTAR GEO satellite. Using a 5G handset, a large number of applications including: Browsing, Speedtest, Youtube 4K, VoLTE, ViLTE, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and even communication with a drone providing a live video stream, were tested with excellent results.

The tests were done with a number of 5G architecture options, including Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA), using Gilat’s Capricorn PLUS with adaptation of its patented GTP acceleration, reaching speeds of 400 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload and at times showing results better than the terrestrial connection.

“We are excited with the results of the close work with our partners in demonstrating the extraordinary capabilities of our flagship VSAT, Capricorn PLUS. We believe that these recorded results of 400/100 Mbps to/from the 5G handset are unique in the industry,” said Alik Shimelmits, Chief Technology and Product Officer at Gilat. “This was successfully demonstrated using Gilat’s Capricorn PLUS over Thaicom’s GEO satellite and MNOs are invited to go ahead and deploy Gilat’s solution for their 5G services.”

“I am very pleased that Thaicom and Gilat have jointly achieved such a significant milestone, further proving the strategic long-term relationship between the companies,” said Abhay Kumar, Regional Vice President Asia Pacific and Japan for Gilat. “This strong partnership went a long way in allowing us to demonstrate these remarkable 5G capabilities and positions us well to deliver value to MNOs as they embark on their journey to deliver differentiated 5G services to the people around the world.”

“Thaicom has deployed Gilat’s multi-service platform across many MNOs over the years. Gilat has been a very strong partner for Thaicom and we highly value this relationship,” said Nile Suwansiri, CCO Thaicom. “This demonstration of 5G capabilities in Thailand will enable us to deliver very strong services with our HTS IPSTAR satellite to address the MNOs satellite-based 5G requirements.”

About Thaicom

Thaicom is a leading Asian satellite operator and end-to-end service provider of satellite enabled communications since 1991. With nearly 30 years of experience in providing cost-effective satellite communications and a presence in 10 countries in Asia-Pacific, Thaicom is a partner of choice for many of the region’s leading broadcasters, telecom operators, and government customers. Thaicom’s video and data platforms offer a portfolio of integrated satellite communications that fuel the demand of these customers to connect and grow their markets in the digital era. Thaicom is a true innovator and satellite industry pioneer: with IPSTAR, Thaicom was the first operator in the world to develop and launch a High Throughput Satellite (HTS). Thaicom currently operates a fleet of four high performance satellites covering Asia, Oceania, and Africa.

About Gilat

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ: GILT, TASE: GILT) is a leading global provider of satellite-based broadband communications. With 30 years of experience, we design and manufacture cutting-edge ground segment equipment, and provide comprehensive solutions and end-to-end services, powered by our innovative technology. Delivering high value competitive solutions, our portfolio comprises of a cloud based VSAT network platform, high-speed modems, high performance on-the-move antennas and high efficiency, high power Solid State Amplifiers (SSPA) and Block Upconverters (BUC).

Gilat’s comprehensive solutions support multiple applications with a full portfolio of products to address key applications including broadband access, cellular backhaul, enterprise, in-flight connectivity, maritime, trains, defense and public safety, all while meeting the most stringent service level requirements. Gilat controlling shareholders are the FIMI Private Equity Funds.

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