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SpaceNews This Week |  OneWeb raises money, scales back future constellation • DoD warns of domestic space component shortages
January 15, 2021
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THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES

OneWeb raises $400 million

Broadband satellite company OneWeb announced Jan. 15 it has raised $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network

Report: U.S. military space programs at risk of losing domestic sources of key components


DoD space programs need to invest in new technology and qualify new suppliers to ensure they have access to domestic sources, the Pentagon said in a report released Jan. 14.

SLS core stage ready for Green Run test firing


NASA officials expressed confidence that a key test of the Space Launch System scheduled for Jan. 16 will go well, keeping open the chances that the vehicle will make its long-delayed debut before the end of the year.

CIVIL SPACE


NASA and Japan finalize Gateway agreement
NASA and the Japanese government have completed an agreement outlining Japan's contributions to the lunar Gateway as NASA works to wrap up international contributions to the outpost.

NOAA proposes future geostationary constellation with East, West and Center satellites
After evaluating priorities for NOAA satellites to follow the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R Series satellites (GOES-R) in the 2030 to 2050 timeframe, NOAA's National Satellite, Data and Information Service is recommending flying three satellites over the United States.

NASA to upgrade space station solar arrays
NASA will start an upgrade this year of the solar arrays of the International Space Station to ensure the station has sufficient power to continue operating at least through the end of the decade.

Next-generation Dragon cargo spacecraft returns from space station
The first in SpaceX's new generation of Dragon cargo spacecraft completed its mission with a splashdown off the Florida coast Jan. 13.
 

MILITARY SPACE


Alabama's Redstone Arsenal selected as future home of U.S. Space Command
The U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, was picked as the preferred location of U.S. Space Command's headquarters.
 

After further review, Space Force confirms selection of NSTXL to manage industry consortium
National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL) on Jan. 15 received a contract to manage the U.S. Space Force's Space Enterprise Consortium for the next 10 years.

NGA wants faster access to commercial geospatial data
The NGA and NRO are stepping up research to better understand the emerging commercial geospatial intelligence market.

45th Space Wing forecasts more than 50 launches in 2021
As many as 53 space missions are projected to lift off in 2021 from Florida's Space Coast, the vice commander of the 45th Space Wing said Jan. 12.

L3Harris develops electronic antenna for command and control of military satellites
L3Harris Technologies announced Jan. 12 it completed the development of an electronic phased array ground antenna for the U.S. Space Force. 

White House executive order promotes development of space and defense nuclear power systems
Less than a month after issuing a policy directive on space nuclear power, the White House released an executive order Jan. 12 seeking to promote the development of small nuclear reactors for space and defense applications.
 

LAUNCH


Blue Origin launches New Shepard vehicle intended for crewed flights
Blue Origin flew a new model of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle Jan. 14, a flight the company says brings it "really close" to finally flying people.

SpaceX wins contracts for lunar lander, environmental satellite launches
SpaceX secured contracts Jan. 13 for the launches of a commercial lunar lander mission backed by NASA as well as a privately funded satellite to track methane emissions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne completes assembly of its first AR1 rocket engine
Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed the assembly of the first AR1, a new rocket engine funded by the U.S. Air Force.

China moves to next stage of super heavy rocket development
China's space contractor has announced progress on rocket engines designed for major space missions, including a new engine for future lunar missions.
 

COMMERCIAL SPACE


Intelsat orders two satellites from Airbus
Intelsat has ordered two geostationary communications satellites from Airbus Defence and Space that will support the satellite operator's aviation connectivity business.

Exotrail demonstrates miniature Hall-effect thruster in orbit
French startup Exotrail announced Jan. 12 that its miniature Hall-effect thruster ignited in orbit, and propelled a NanoAvionics R2 cubesat to change its semi-major axis by 700 meters.

Iceye to launch three SAR satellites on SpaceX rideshare flight
Iceye is preparing to send three Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites into orbit on the SpaceX Falcon 9 small satellite rideshare mission scheduled for launch Jan. 21.

Hanwha Aerospace claims 30% stake in Satrec Initiative
Hanwha Aerospace, South Korea's largest defense company, announced plans Jan. 14 to invest approximately $100 million to purchase 30% of the shares of satellite manufacturer Satrec Initiative.
Written by SpaceNews correspondent Debra Werner, SN Commercial Drive highlights innovation in satellite communications, Earth observation and the space sector overall. Delivered Wednesdays. 

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