Space Notes: Spaceflight makes launch deal, RBC Signals to host Swarm, and a new fellowship is born
An artist's conception shows the HawkEye 360 satellites in orbit. (HawkEye 360 illustration)
- Seattle-based Spaceflight Inc. has signed an agreement with HawkEye 360 to support multiple launches of the Virginia-based company's radio frequency mapping satellites.
Spaceflight will provide mission management services for cluster 4, 5 and 6 launches of HawkEye 360. Each cluster is made up of three 65-pound satellites that fly in formation to collect a variety of geolocation data. SpaceX launched the first HawkEye 360 cluster into orbit in 2018 as part of a Spaceflight-organized ridesharing mission. Cluster 2 is due to be launched in December with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket equipped with Spaceflight's Sherpa FX orbital transfer vehicle.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 is one of several launch vehicles in Spaceflight's ridesharing portfolio. Other rocket offerings include Antares from Northrop Grumman, Electron from Rocket Lab, Vega from Arianespace, Alpha from Firefly Aerospace and PSLV from India. Spaceflight has launched more than 300 satellites in 32 carpools so far.
- Seattle-based RBC Signals was contracted by Swarm Technologies of California to host ground antennas for Swarm's satellite IoT communications constellation.
The antennas will support Swarm's next wave of satellites, which is part of a 150-unit constellation expected to go into full operation in late 2021. The first antenna included in the agreement was placed on Alaska's northern slope and supports the newest group of satellites to be deployed. These 12 satellites, each about the size of a slice of bread, were launched on September 2nd by an Arianespace Vega rocket.
It is planned that additional swarm antennas will be activated and hosted by RBC Signals in strategic locations around the world. Founded in 2015, RBC Signals uses proprietary and partner antennas to provide communications services to government and commercial satellite operators.
An artist's conception shows how the MakerSat payload creates a 10 meter long composite boom that extends from the OSAM-1 satellite. (Image by Maxar Technologies)
- Bothether, Washington-based Tethers Unlimited, has completed a critical design review for its MakerSat payload scheduled to fly aboard a NASA mission in the mid-2020s aimed at testing in-space service and manufacturing technologies.
MakerSat will be part of Maxar Technologies' Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), one of the payloads on NASA's OSAM-1 spacecraft. (OSAM stands for on-orbit maintenance, assembly and manufacturing). SPIDER is designed to mount a communications antenna in orbit, while MakerSat will make a 32-foot carbon fiber construction beam.
The project will test techniques for future space missions. "MakerSat will demonstrate the creation of the 2-by-4 models that can be used to build large telescopes for studying exoplanets and assemble future space stations," said Rob Hoyt, founder and president of Tethers Unlimited, in a press release.
The application window has opened for the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, a new program offering paid internship in the aerospace industry for Black and African American college students.
The scholarship program is modeled on the Matthew Isakowitz Scholarship, which offers summer internships for both undergraduate and graduate students who are passionate about commercial space travel. and the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which focuses on minority women and students in the aerospace industry. (GeekWire participated in the first year of the Brooke Owens Fellowship program.)
Seattle area companies participating in the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship program include Blue Origin, Boeing, and Stratolaunch. The program is named after Patti Grace Smith, who pioneered the civil rights movement, became assistant administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial space, and died in 2016 at the age of 68.
Information on the conditions of participation and the application process can be found on the scholarship website. The application deadline for internships in 2021 is November 15th.
More from GeekWire:
Spaceflight and Tethers Unlimited are working together on the deorbitation system for satellite carriers
Spaceflight signs address SpaceX for future ridesharing for satellite launches
Good news, bad news for Spaceflight: The satellite ridesharing market is heating up
SpaceX is sweetening the deal for satellite ridesharing, and Starlink is in it
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