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(2 December 2020 – ST Engineering iDirect) ST Engineering iDirect today announced that its MDM5010 modem has achieved an aggregate speed of 600Mbps, making it the industry’s fastest satellite modem for shared bandwidth capacity networks.

While these speeds have previously only been achieved with single channel per carrier (SCPC) point-to-point modems, bandwidth-sharing efficiencies can now be augmented to satisfy the most demanding throughput requirements in markets such as cruise, trunking and cellular backhaul.

Delivering three times more return throughput at 200Mbps using the innovative Mx-DMA return technology, coupled with up to 400Mbps on the DVB-S2X outbound for an aggregate speed of 600Mbps, the MDM5010 modem delivers enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE) for high throughput applications such as broadband connectivity to thousands of cruise passengers, crew and devices, including rich media streaming and content uploading.

ST Engineering iDirect’s Mx-DMA return technology, a core feature of the award-winning Newtec Dialog® platform, is a patented, efficient and dynamic waveform which enables service providers to seamlessly share satellite capacity more efficiently over a group of satellite modems. In this latest Dialog Release 2.2.3, the maximum return symbol rate per modem increased from 20Msps to 68Msps, which equates to a throughput increase from 70Mbps to 200Mbps on the inbound.

The MDM5010 modem (courtesy: iDirect)

“This is of huge significance, especially for the maritime and cell backhaul markets where demand for throughput and performance is increasing exponentially,” said Bart Van Poucke, Vice President, Products, ST Engineering iDirect. “With the need for very high speeds on the inbound, we pushed the boundaries of our Mx-DMA return technology to break the speed limit while increasing the flexibility and operational efficiencies that our customers depend on. This breakthrough will deliver the highest quality connectivity experience for users and enable our customers to offer the widest range of applications to expand their market share.”

Longtime partner and early adopter Speedcast International, a communications and IT services provider, validated the performance of the MDM5010 operating with the latest Mx-DMA waveform. Speedcast has deployed the technology across key sectors supported by their global multi-band network including cruise vessels, mega yachts, and other customer sets with significant bandwidth requirements. The Dialog platform and MDM5010 modems enable Speedcast to maximize bandwidth efficiencies by mixing very high speeds with large-scale modem deployments in the same bandwidth pool, equipping it to support higher throughput to meet passenger and operational demands while operating effectively across a multi-beam, multi-band satellite network.

“Speedcast has embarked on a strategic initiative to completely rearchitect our global mobility network, building a platform that can support the most demanding of customer operations, and any application requirement. We view Dialog as a fundamental building block of Speedcast’s new Unified Global Platform. The combined strengths of our overarching architecture and best-of-breed technology means that we can deliver the speeds and flexibility that meets our clients’ emerging requirements and operational needs across multiple verticals, including fixed terminals, rapid deploy terminals and mobility,” said Chris Hill, Chief Technology Officer, Speedcast. “From a technical perspective, the MDM5010 is an important part of the upper bound of our network platform, allowing us to deliver satellite links that are impressive not only in terms of Mbps, but also in terms of packet per second and simultaneous session counts. Many of our clients are already benefiting from this latest generation technological innovation, and we look forward to the further deployment to customers as our network re-architecture continues to progress.”

ST Engineering North America is the U.S. headquarters of ST Engineering, a global technology, defense and engineering group specializing in the aerospace, electronics, land systems, and marine sectors. Based in Alexandria, VA, it has major operations across 17 cities in 13 states and employs about 5,500 people providing innovative products and solutions to commercial and government customers across diverse market segments.

ST Engineering iDirect, a subsidiary of ST Engineering North America, is a global leader in satellite communications (satcom) providing technology and solutions that enable its customers to expand their business, differentiate their services and optimize their satcom networks. Through the merger with Newtec, a recognized industry pioneer, the combined business unites over 35 years of innovation focused on solving satellite’s most critical economic and technology challenges and expands a shared commitment to shaping the future of how the world connects. The product portfolio, branded under the names iDirect and Newtec, represents the highest standards in performance, efficiency and reliability, making it possible for its customers to deliver the best satcom connectivity experience anywhere in the world. ST Engineering iDirect is the world’s largest TDMA enterprise VSAT manufacturer and is the leader in key industries including broadcast, mobility and military/government. In 2007, iDirect Government was formed to better serve the U.S. government and defense communities.

Speedcast International Limited (ASX: SDA) is the world’s most trusted communications and IT services provider, delivering critical communications solutions to the Maritime, Energy, Mining, Media, Telecom, Cruise, NGO, Government, and Enterprise sectors. With more satellite capacity than any other provider, Speedcast enables faster, seamless pole-to-pole coverage from a global hybrid satellite, fiber, cellular, microwave, MPLS and IP transport network with direct access to public cloud platforms. The company also integrates differentiated technology offerings that provide smarter ways to communicate and distribute content, manage network and remote operations, protect and secure investments, and improve the crew and guest experience. With a passionate customer focus and a strong safety culture, Speedcast serves more than 3,200 customers in over 140 countries.

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Exolaunch delivers 30 small satellites into orbit on SpaceX’s first dedicated Rideshare launch

Exolaunch delivers 30 small satellites into orbit on SpaceXs first

(24 January 2021 – Exolaunch) Exolaunch has announced a successful launch of 30 commercial, space agency, and university satellites for its customers from Europe and the U.S. on the first dedicated rideshare mission of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program.

The mission, named “Zeitgeist,” lifted off on January 24 at 15:00 UTC on Falcon 9 “Transporter-1,” completing one of the largest and most diverse rideshare missions for Exolaunch.

Falcon 9 liftoff (courtesy: Exolaunch)

Zeitgeist kicked-off the first of several rideshares Exolaunch will manifest on Falcon 9 as part of a multi-launch agreement with SpaceX. On this mission, Exolaunch provided deployment, mission management and integration services to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Dresden Technical University, ICEYE, NanoAvionics and other commercial companies for IoT, Earth observation and scientific applications.

“This Zeitgeist mission set a new standard for rideshare launches and not only was a successful demonstration of Exolaunch’s capabilities, but also paved the way for smallsat developers from around the world to participate in SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program,” said Jeanne Medvedeva, Vice President of Launch Services at Exolaunch. “We are proud to be working with so many of the world’s leading satellite and technology companies to advance the NewSpace industry, and we are already looking ahead to additional Falcon 9 launches later this year.”

Zeitgeist was Exolaunch’s 12th rideshare mission. As with previous launches, Exolaunch utilized its proprietary flight-proven separation systems – CarboNIX, the next generation shock-free separation system for microsatellites, upgraded modifications of EXOpod cubesat deployers, as well as its EXObox sequencers to flawlessly deploy its customers’ satellites into the target orbit. With this launch, Exolaunch has flown 140 smallsats on multiple launch vehicles.

Exolaunch’s manifest on the Transporter-1 mission includes the following satellites:

  • Charlie nanosatellite built by NanoAvionics for Aurora Insight: The first of two nanosatellites, built and integrated by NanoAvionics for US radio frequency spectrum and wireless data provider Aurora Insight.
  • CubeLCT nanosatellite from the German Aerospace Center (DLR): The CubeLCT is developed by DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation in close cooperation with its commercialization partner Tesat-Spacecom (TESAT) in Backnang. The satellite has been developed and integrated by the Danish company GomSpace. The development of the CubeLCT serves the demand for increasing bandwidth, resulting in new sensor capabilities on small satellites.
  • SOMP-IIb (Student’s Oxygen Measurement Project) nanosatellite from Dresden Technical University: Part of a student small satellite project of the Dresden Technical University, the goal is to measure atomic oxygen of the upper atmosphere, test flexible solar cells and more.
  • 3 x ICEYE satellites: Three more satellites of the commercial constellation of radar imaging satellites built and operated by ICEYE.
  • 24 satellites from unnamed commercial customers.
  • Exolaunch continues to make space more accessible through regular and cost-efficient rideshare missions for small satellites. In addition to successful satellite deployments from SpaceX’s Falcon 9, Exolaunch’s flight heritage includes Arianespace’s Soyuz-ST, RocketLab’s Electron, Roscosmos’ Soyuz-2 and a scheduled mission with ISRO’s PSLV later this year.

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch provides rideshare launch and deployment services for NewSpace companies. Its flight heritage includes the successful deployment of 140 small satellites into orbit through its global network of launch vehicle providers. Exolaunch enables the visions of New Space leaders, the world’s most innovative startups, research institutions, government organizations, and space agencies. The company also manufactures flight-proven separation systems to deliver the best-in-class integration services and deployment for small satellites.

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Northrop Grumman completes validation test of new rocket motor for United Launch Alliance

Northrop Grumman completes validation test of new rocket motor for

(21 January 2021 – Northrop Grumman) Northrop Grumman conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL) today in Promontory.

This variation of the company’s GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Northrop Grumman conducted a validation test of its GEM 63XL rocket motor on Jan. 21 at its Promontory, Utah, facility. The GEM 63XL will support the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. (courtesy: Northrop Grumman)

“This new motor optimizes our best-in-class technologies and leverages flight-proven solid rocket propulsion designs to provide our customers with the most reliable product,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. “Evolving the original GEM 63 design utilizes our decades of GEM strap-on booster expertise while enhancing capabilities for heavy-lift missions.”

During today’s static test, the motor fired for approximately 90 seconds, producing nearly 449,000 pounds of thrust to validate the performance capability of the motor design. Additionally, this firing verified the motor’s internal insulation, propellant grain, ballistics and nozzle in a hot-conditioned environment.

Northrop Grumman has supplied rocket propulsion to ULA and its heritage companies for a variety of launch vehicles since 1964. The GEM family of strap-on motors was developed starting in the early 1980s with the GEM 40 to support the Delta II launch vehicle. The company then followed with the GEM 46 for the Delta II Heavy, and the GEM 60, which flew 86 motors over 26 Delta IV launches before retiring in 2019. The first GEM 63 motors supported ULA’s Atlas V rocket in November 2020.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

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SSC and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to collaborate in optical communication

SSC and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to collaborate in

(21 January 2021 – SSC) SSC and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands (Airbus DS NL) have signed an MOU for collaborative activities regarding ground equipment for space-to-ground optical communication.

The agreement will accelerate the development of commercially viable optical ground stations that will be offered by Airbus DS NL and used by SSC in delivering ground network services.

One of the collaborative activities in developing this capability includes optical communication tests against the CubeLCT optical terminal on the Photo Images Cross Laser (PIXL-1) Mission, organised in close co-operation with project partner TESAT. PIXL-1 will be launched the 22nd of January.

“Airbus Netherlands will be an important partner as SSC continues to add optical communication solutions to our global network of ground stations. Their modern infrastructure and industry-leading knowledge will be a vital contribution to our service offering”, says Stefan Gardefjord, CEO at SSC.

Optical communication between ground stations and satellites in orbit enables broadband connectivity via space, providing a secure and efficient solution for the fast-growing worldwide demand for data.

“Optical communication will be a game changer in this era in which we increasingly share data. We have a strong desire to work with Swedish Space Corporation to further build up our capabilities for optical ground stations, as they have been at the forefront of ground stations services for decades”, says Maarten Schippers, CEO at Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands.

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