Spire Global (hereinafter referred to as Spire) , which launches microsatellite and provides ship position information (AIS) and weather information , has already launched 90 satellites with “inter-satellite communication function” in the last few months. We have revealed a plan to eventually replace the constellation satellites in the past.
Satellites cannot take data and send it to the ground immediately. Data can only be transmitted (downlinked) through a ground station, but since this ground station is not everywhere, data provision is too slow for some customers.
However, in the case of only one satellite, there is a waiting time and a limit in communication time because that satellite passes over the ground station, but the satellite that can communicate with the ground station is like a relay between satellites.
Looking at satellite ventures in other fields, the next-generation satellite “Iridium NEXT”, which was launched and started operation by Iridium Communications, which provides communication services, has an intersatellite communication function. In addition, SpaceX is testing intersatellite communications on the Starlink satellite.
Spire has also extended the satellite’s design life from two to three years over the past year, adding machine learning capabilities to process the satellite before it transfers data to the ground. He explained that he was able to reduce the amount of data.
In addition, Seattle-based space venture Black Sky announced on September 24 that it will increase the observation resolution of the next satellite to be launched from 1 m to 0.5 m and will be able to shoot at night.
ICEYE raises $ 870 million in Series C.
On September 22, Finland-based startup ICEYE announced that it has raised $ 87 million to complete the Series C round.
Founded in 2014, the company sells satellite images for commercial use and solutions that utilize satellite images, with the aim of building satellite constellations. Since the demonstration satellite “ICEYE X1” launched in January 2018, the satellite has been launched regularly, and the ICEYE X series is currently in orbit up to Unit 5.
In addition, ICEYE has released a solution “DARK VESSEL DETECTION” that can detect illegal vessels, and also released a 10FPS video with a resolution of about 1m generated by the SAR satellite, which has technological and business development capabilities.
Since they opened a base in San Francisco, USA in February this year, we can see that we are trying to expand our service not only in Europe but also in North America.
True Ventures, the same Silicon Valley venture capital firm as Series A and B rounds, led ICEYE’s Series C rounds. In addition, the new funding includes the Luxembourg-based New Space Capital, the Luxembourg Future Fund and the European Investment Fund.
ICEYE has raised a total of $ 125 million. The company plans to launch four ICEYE X series units in 2020 and eight units in 2021, and it is expected that the service will be expanded.
Will SKY Perfect J-SAT Will Launch Optical Telescope for Space Debris Countermeasures in 2022?
On September 24, JAXA and SKY Perfect J-SAT announced that they have signed an agreement on Educational Testing Satellite No. 9 (ETS-9).
The ETS-9 is a JAXA technology test satellite equipped with various cutting-edge technologies for reducing communication costs and is being developed for demonstration. Mitsubishi Electric is in charge of design and development as a prime manufacturer, and SKY Perfect J-SAT is entrusted with normal operation work after the demonstration period. The satellite will be launched by the H3 rocket in 2022.
In addition, SKY Perfect J-SAT has revealed that it will be equipped with an optical telescope that captures space debris in geosynchronous orbit as a shared payload. By understanding the space environment in cooperation with the Japanese government, we would like to avoid collisions between space debris and artificial satellites and contribute to space safety.
In June 2020, the company announced that it had begun designing and developing satellites for space debris in collaboration with JAXA, RIKEN, Nagoya University, and Kyushu University.
The satellite is attracting attention for being the first in the world to use a laser to remove space debris. The service is scheduled to start in 2026.
It is thought that the optical telescope of the shared payload announced this time will be used in combination with the space debris removal satellite.
New 3D printer developed by Made In Space to ISS
Made In Space , a pioneer in the development of 3D printers in outer space, has announced that it will bring a new 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) with the Antares rocket scheduled to launch on September 29 . If this launch is successful, the company’s 3D printer will be the fifth to be brought to the ISS.
The equipment this time is called a ceramic manufacturing module (CMM), which is a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer that uses ceramic resin. This will be the ISS’s first ceramic making machine. This CMM is positioned as a prototype and will be returned to Earth after verification on the ISS. After that, the final model with improvements, Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC), will be shipped to the ISS again.
Manufacture in a microgravity environment reduces gravity-induced defects such as sedimentation and composition gradients that occur during ground-based manufacturing. This makes it possible to manufacture heat-resistant reinforced ceramic parts with performance such as higher strength and lower residual stress.
Made In Space is considering not only manufacturing space equipment in outer space through the development of 3D printers in orbit, but also manufacturing precision equipment used on the earth in orbit.
We look forward to the future progress of Made In Space, which develops 3D printers using new materials and challenges local production for local consumption in orbit.