UK: Satellites And Space Projects News-11 December

Last Updated: 30 December 2014
Article by John Worthy

Galileo satellite back on track: The European Space Agency announced on 3 December 2014 that planned manoeuvres aimed at correcting the orbit of the fifth Galileo satellite have been successful. The fifth and sixth Galileo satellites were launched into elliptical, rather than circular, orbits in August this year. Manoeuvres carried out during November have raised the lowest point of the fifth satellite's orbit, reducing the radiation exposure and putting the satellite into a more useful orbit.

Ariane 6: The European Space Agency's governing body has approved Ariane 6. ESA's announcement on 2 December was followed swiftly by confirmation from Airbus Defence & Space and Safran of their joint venture, which will lead on development and production of the new launcher. ESA hopes that low operational costs will make Ariane 6 more competitive than its predecessor.

Lunar mission crowdfunding: An initiative to raise crowdfunding for an exciting lunar mission was announced on 19 November 2014. Lunar Mission One will send an unmanned robotic landing module to the South Pole of the Moon. The mission will use pioneering technology to drill deep down into lunar rock dating back 4.5 million years, allowing scientists to better understand the origins and evolution of the Moon and the Earth. The mission aims to raise initial development funding through crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. Fieldfisher is providing legal advice to the project.

UK Space Agency funding: The UK Space Agency is offering up to £32 million to create opportunities for the UK space sector to share expertise in satellite technology and services overseas. Over the next two years, grants will be awarded to British companies to work with international partners developing satellite technology to tackle issues like flooding, deforestation and humanitarian crises in emerging economies. These grants will be match funded by industry.

ViaSat loan confirmed: ViaSat announced on 7 November 2014 that the US Ex-Im Bank has made a loan commitment to ViaSat for up to $524.9 million of long-term, fixed rate financing. In its statement, ViaSat said that the financing is expected to enhance the cash flow profile for ViaSat-2. Based on ViaSat's next generation, Ka-band satellite technology and architecture, ViaSat-2 is expected to be

the world's highest capacity satellite at the time of launch (scheduled for mid-2016).

Elon Musk and Greg Wyler in talks: Industry commentators reported that Elon Musk, (CEO and CTO of SpaceX) and Greg Wyler, founder of WorldVu Satellites are collaborating on plans to launch some 700 satellites for the delivery of internet access. Earlier this year, WorldVu secured regulatory approval for a large quantity of Ku-band spectrum for a constellation of small satellites to provide global internet access.

High Throughput Satellites: In its latest research report published on 20 October 2014, Euroconsult predicts aggregate revenues of $35bn from High Throughput Satellite capacity usage over the next 10 years, and that total HTS capacity supply will triple over the next three years from 600 Gbps to 1,720 Gpbs.

Thales Alenia Space: Spacenews.com reported on 31 October 2014 that Thales Alenia Space plans to build a new earth observation satellite production facility at its Cannes site. The new facility should be ready by late 2015.

Arabsat: Arabsat was due to discuss the manufacture and launch of four new satellites, two on Arabsat orbital positions, and two on Hellas-Sat orbital positions, at its 147th Board Meeting in Dubai on 5th and 6th November 2014. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iraq, Yemen and Tunisia were all scheduled to take part in the meeting.

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