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Satellite and Space Projects News - October 2017

John Worthy


United Kingdom

Our latest digest of recent news in the satellite and space projects sector.

UK Space Industry Bill: A UK government committee responsible for scrutinising proposed legislation has recommended changes to the UK's draft Space Industry Bill.  The recommendations are to ensure that the devolved regions (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have a say in changes to devolved legislation and so that there is judicial oversight of enforcement powers under the Bill. The Bill is currently progressing through its review by the House of Lords.

UK National Satellite Testing Facility – engaging with industry – The UK government has invited bidders for the development of the National Satellite Testing Facility, as part of a £100 million funding programme []. At the Industry Day on 11 September, RAL Space expanded on the programme requirements covering clean room equipment, vibration testing, acoustic testing, large thermal vacuum chamber, EMC & antenna testing facility and mass properties. Interested suppliers can obtain further details from Crown Commercial Services [].

Amos 6 compensation claim: Space Communications has made a $138m compensation claim in arbitration proceedings against Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd for the loss of its Amos 6 satellite.  The satellite was destroyed in the explosion on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in Florida on 1 September 2016.

Virgin Orbit: Virgin Orbit has been selected by commercial satellite developer Cloud Constellation Corp (CCC) to launch twelve satellites for CCC's SpaceBelt constellation.  SpaceBelt is being developed to deliver secure data storage and transmission services through a constellation of LEO satellites.  The first SpaceBelt launch aboard Virgin's LauncherOne is scheduled for 2019.

OneWeb Satellites: OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, plans to keep its production line in Toulouse open after production of the 900-satellites OneWeb constellation moves to Florida.  The Toulouse facility will provide a fall-back in case of interruption to the Florida production line and could also be used by third parties.

LeoSat and Supernet: LeoSat Enterprises and Pakistan's Supernet have entered into a strategic partnership. LeoSat will provide Supernet with over three gigabits of capacity on LeoSat's planned constellation of up to 108 Ka-band LEO high-throughput communications satellites.

Inmarsat and MHI: Inmarsat announced 11 September 2017 that it has chosen Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd (MHI) as the launch provider for the first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 fleet (Inmarsat-6 F1). which will support both L-Band and Ka-Band services.  The satellite is scheduled for launch in 2020 using MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle.

SES invests in Seraphim space VC fund: SES announced 14 September 2017 that it is investing in the Seraphim Space Fund, a venture capital fund launched by Seraphim Capital in December 2016 in order to support innovation in the satellite industry and to encourage research and development efforts across markets served by satellite.

Space Debris: Co-operation between individual and groups of countries is more likely to be effective in tackling space debris than international codes of conduct, according to a panel of experts brought together by Aerospace Corporation's Centre for Space Policy and Strategy on 21 September 2017.

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