UK unveils National Space Strategy: The UK government launched its National Space Strategy on 27 September 2021. The long-term strategy is built around four pillars: unlocking growth in the space sector, collaborating internationally, growing the UK as a science and technology superpower, and developing resilient space capabilities and services. The government intends initially to focus on specific high-impact areas. These include: (i) capturing the European market in commercial small satellite launch, (ii) remaining at the forefront of Earth observation technology and know-how, (iii) leveraging the UK Innovation Strategy to encourage the development of cutting-edge space products, (iv) strengthening bilateral relationships with established and emerging space nations, (v) working with the space sector to link local clusters into valuable networks of innovators and investors, (vi) leading global efforts on space sustainability, (vii) using space to modernise and transform transport systems and to improve public services and (viii) establishing a National Space Operations Centre that will combine civil and defence expertise to monitor, protect, defend, and promote UK interests in space.
Eutelsat rejects takeover offer: Eutelsat has confirmed that it rejected an unsolicited proposal from Patrick Drahi to acquire all of Eutelsat's share capital at €12.10 per share. Patrick Drahi is the founder and chair of telecoms group, Altice, which became BT's biggest shareholder when it acquired a 12.1% stake in the company earlier this year.
Isotropic Systems raises US$37m: Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, has raised over US$37m in Series B funding. The funds will support the development to product launch of Isotropic's next generation multi-link antennas. Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC, the world's first listed space tech fund, led the Series B round, and other participants included AEI HorizonX, Orbital Ventures and Firmament Ventures.
Norway gears up for orbital flights: Government-backed Norwegian aerospace company, Andøya Space, is to start construction of two launch pads for a planned spaceport on the island of Andøya in the Vesterålen archipelago. The company will offer launch services for payloads of up to 1.5 metric tons for polar and sun-synchronous orbits, and aims to be the first to offer orbital launch facilities in Europe.
OneWeb uses QuadSat drones: Danish company QuadSat is providing OneWeb with a novel and fast solution for verifying OneWeb's ground segment antennas. Traditionally, gateways are calibrated using visible geostationary satellites, but QuadSat provides antenna testing and tracking solutions using drones to simulate satellites, speeding up gateway calibration and deployment. QuadSat has carried out antenna validation for OneWeb at the Telespazio teleport in Scanzano, Italy and will now move on to other OneWeb sites.
Experts predict slow progress on space "norms": At a panel discussion on 17 September at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference, representatives from the UK and US governments, the US National Space Council and civil society welcomed international efforts to build consensus on the responsible use of space but acknowledged that international agreement is some way away. Recent UN initiatives to encourage space "norms" include a United Nations resolution passed in December 2020 inviting member states to submit ideas for responsible space behaviour, to which some 30 countries responded. The UK is also working on a drafting UN resolution to establish a working group to reduce the risk of space conflicts.
BAE Systems buys In-Space Missions: BAE Systems announced 14 September 2021 that it has acquired UK company, In-Space Missions, for US$18m. The acquisition will allow BAE Systems to create, launch and operate complete satellites in addition to its current capabilities in waveforms, electronics, and antenna and digital signal processing and analytics. Hampshire-based In-Space Missions designs, builds and operates satellites and satellites systems, and offers sustainable flights, combining multiple pay-loads for launch together on a single satellite. The company's first ride-share launch took place in June 2021.
Court rules on Spaceport Sutherland: The Scottish Land Court has given the green light to Space Hub Sutherland by approving a change in use of the land designated for the new spaceport. The Scottish Land Court's decision follows a ruling from Court of Session in Edinburgh in August 2021 rejecting legal challenges to the proposed spaceport on the A'Mhoine Peninsula brought by Wildland Ltd, a company owned by Anders and Anne Hoch Povlsen.
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