March 2022 – Satellite Technology of the Year Nominees for 2021

Via satellite presents its annual Satellite Technology of the Year award to companies that develop and implement the most efficient satellite products and services available on the market. Via satellite measures that differently affect the consideration of products and services for nomination.

The nominee for the Satellite Technology of the Year award could be a significant technological breakthrough compared to previous products. It can also be a product that has achieved excellent financial success in a competitive situation. All nominations must have working status during the year or be available to clients through contracts and service agreements.

The winner of the award will be determined by public vote combined with the votes of Via Satellite. The winner will be announced during the Via Satellite Awards lunch on Wednesday, March 23, at the SATELLITE 2022 conference in Washington, DC. Voting is open online from February 22 until 12 pm on March 22 and is available at satelittoday.com/vote. . Nominees for Technology of the Year 2021 (in alphabetical order by company name):

Astroscale, Astroscale Demonstration (ELSA-d) spacecraft end-of-life services

Since its launch in March 2021, ELSA-d, managed by the Japanese space startup Astroscale, has become the world’s first active mission to demonstrate the basic capabilities needed to dock and remove space debris. The ELSA-d mission route includes a long list of extremely complex or completely unprecedented maneuvers in space. It must fulfill Astroscale’s promise of a full-fledged Active Debris Removal (ADR) service, which includes spacecraft customer search, inspection, rendezvous, and both tilting and docking without rotation.

ELSA-d consists of a service satellite and a client satellite that have been launched into space, superimposed on each other. The service satellite is equipped with close-up technology and a magnetic docking mechanism designed to safely remove debris from orbit. In less than a year in space, ELSA-d has already set operational benchmarks for future rendezvous and proximity missions and has successfully tested its ability to capture and launch a client spacecraft. The success of ELSA-d will pave the way for the next multi-client service Astroscale (ELSA-M), which is designed to be independent of customers, allowing you to service different spacecraft based on information provided by customers.

Commercial satellite and civilian space communities are closely monitoring the progress of ELSA-d. With tens of thousands of satellites planned to be launched into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) over the next 10 years, technologies that reduce the risk of destructive debris and ensure a safe operating environment will be critical to the industry’s ability to grow.

Capella Space, Capella Console Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Self-Service Platform Tasks

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is used to create two-dimensional images and reconstruct three-dimensional objects on the ground. Unlike traditional Earth observation (EO) technologies, SAR has the ability to see through clouds, smoke and night darkness. Capella Space is not the only SAR imaging provider on the market, but it offers the highest commercial SAR resolution on the market. Capella claims to be the only company to offer an online self-service and delivery portal that allows customers to directly set up and manage Capella’s satellites to receive individual SAR data. Customers control real satellites.

The Capella Console service eliminates the need for an average provider, which is very important for customers who need fast access to data. The console is paired with the Capella API to allow customers to search the company’s image library catalog or request new acquisitions through self-service constellations on demand. Users can log in, define their area of ​​interest and search the existing directory or submit a new purchase request. Once a new purchase is collected, automatically processed, and delivered, customers receive a warning so they can log in and access SAR images in a timely manner.

Currently, the Capella Console is used by the company’s clients in the field of defense and intelligence, as well as major commercial organizations in the field of shipping, agriculture, humanitarian organizations, disaster relief and finance. The company already has contracts with the U.S. Air Force, the National Intelligence Service and the Space Development Agency.

LeoLabs, space radar of Costa Rica

The Cosmos 1408 test of anti-satellite weapons, conducted by Russia in November 2021, hit international headlines and sparked new talk about the need to inform about the space situation and track orbital debris. The world probably wouldn’t have learned about the origins of the garbage-generating event so quickly and with such certainty had it not been for the LeoLabs space radar in Costa Rica. The data provided by LeoLabs allowed politicians and satellite operators to respond quickly. In a situation of potential collision, such a speed can save many spacecraft and even the lives of astronauts.

Located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, the fourth LeoLabs radar is also the first system located in the equatorial region, and the first of its systems in America, capable of tracking small objects up to two centimeters for both satellites and orbiters. garbage. The opening of the Costa Rica radar station also completed LeoLabs ’coverage of all NOA predispositions. This ensures the transparency of the space industry, as data released by the station show that space debris is involved in 97 percent of all possible collisions on the NOA.

Radar also allows LeoLabs to grow its business by supporting a wider range of customers, including SpaceX and its constellation Starlink and Transporter launches.

QuadSAT, a drone system for calibrating antennas

QuadSAT has developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that provide a wide range of antenna testing and calibration services for satellite terrestrial systems and technology companies. Drones can test antennas regardless of their location, allowing QuadSAT to offer customers both operational and cost-effective testing campaigns. Antenna testing in the past has been caused by geographical and financial inaccessibility. QuadSAT has stated that its drones allow ground systems to be tested in their own natural environment and eliminates the need to recreate weather conditions in artificial test conditions.

The company said the system increases the accuracy of the data and the profitability of the test campaign. This saves satellite operators from transporting antennas to test sites and from trying to simulate real conditions.

In 2021, QuadSAT conducted an antenna test campaign as part of its ongoing work with satellite operator LEO OneWeb. During the tests, QuadSAT performed several measurements, including azimuth, altitude, and raster sections, to provide data for processing. Measurements were made on antennas with and without fairings to assess the impact of fairings on antenna performance. The data were combined using QuadSAT’s own software to obtain accurate and uniform results.

QuadSAT also conducted a campaign to test the terrestrial satellite dish for SES. During the tests, QuadSAT drones evaluated 12 commercial marine antennas at two different sites over 23 days and allowed SES to investigate the performance of a wide range of antennas supplied by different manufacturers.

SpiderOak, OrbitSecure mission systems

OrbitSecure is a cybersecurity software solution designed to provide encrypted applications with guaranteed command, control, and communication (C3) in hybrid space and ground architectures. Its main capability is that it protects C3 and other data even when they are traveling on unreliable infrastructure. This innovation opens the door to more commercial communications providers to meet the stringent security requirements of government and military customers.

The OrbitSecure protocol provides communications to control spacecraft and payloads so that only authorized parties can manage, receive telemetry, and access spacecraft and their contents. It does this using ephemeral key generation, key rotation, and key assignment using “temporary authority”. Unlike traditional approaches to key management, which lead to a variety of data security risks, OrbitSecure creates and distributes thousands of unique cryptographic keys, defined in volume only for a specific satellite time, pass, person or action. This is useful for ground stations that are vulnerable if they reuse cryptographic keys when communicating with satellites in subsequent orbit passages.

OrbitSecure is a unique commercial ready-made space that allows budget-conscious operators to unload certain security issues, providing more time and resources for customers to focus on their key businesses.

Space flight, next-generation Sherpa (NG) space vehicles.

Spaceflight’s Sherpa-NG program includes a family of space vehicles designed to launch small satellites into custom orbital destinations and to minimize development time for satellite operators and manufacturers. The program includes Sherpa-NG’s new Orbital Vehicle (OTV), which can serve both as a free-flying deployer and as an interplanetary vehicle. The cars have been recognized for their unique Plug-and-Play modular subsystems. Their subsystems consist of hereditary and commercially available components and are equipped with a payload capacity. The flexibility provided by this modular design allows Spaceflight to customize Sherpa vehicles so that they can easily interact with most rockets.

Spaceflight first deployed its OTV technology in orbit in January 2021, when the Sherpa-FX1 was launched aboard the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission. Getting out of the launch vehicle, the free-flying OTV successfully deployed all the satellites, with the department initiated by onboard avionics.

Less than six months later, Spaceflight successfully launched the industry’s first OTV Sherpa-LTE1 electric motor along with the second Sherpa-FX2 freecraft aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5 mission (SpaceX Transporter-2 mission) in June 2021. Sherpa- LTE vehicles can deliver vehicles to LEO orbit, geostationary orbit (GEO), cislar orbit or escape from Earth. Sherpa-LTE can also use a propulsion mechanism to counteract the Earth’s gravitational pull and maintain the satellite’s correct orbital position. By mid-2021, OTV Sherpa had deployed 52 payloads for more than 15 different customers. Sun.

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