April 18, 2016

Satellite Applications Catapult Extends UK Centers of Excellence Network (Source: Rocketeers)
The Satellite Applications Catapult is delighted to be adding two more Centers of Excellence in satellite applications to its network, as it continues to broaden its regional engagement and support the sector’s growth in the UK. These new Centers, which are co-funded by the UK Space Agency, are in response to the growing interest in how satellite data and technologies are helping businesses generate new ideas and solutions to grow.

The new Centers are being established to support the South West and South Coast of England and will join our established network of regional engagement initiatives and extend our reach beyond the East Midlands, Central Scotland and North East England. (4/17)

With $20M in Incentives, OneWeb Could Build Satellites for Other Users Too (Source: Reuters)
OneWeb will receive about $20 million in state and county financial incentives to locate near the Kennedy Space Center in the same industrial park where Jeff Bezos' space company, Blue Origin, is building a rocket factory.

OneWeb intends to not only manufacture its own spacecraft for high-speed Internet access, but also sell satellites configured for other purposes to other companies and organizations. Europe's Airbus Space and Defense Group, a partner in the project, has begun manufacturing an initial batch of 10 satellites for OneWeb at its Toulouse, France, manufacturing facility. (4/18)

OneWeb Opens Door to Bringing Virgin Galactic to Florida (Source: Reuters)
OneWeb also has signed launch contracts with Arianespace for 21 Soyuz rocket flights from the European Space Agency's spaceport in French New Guinea. Up to 36 OneWeb satellites can fly on a single Soyuz rocket. Some of OneWeb's satellites will be flown by Virgin Galactic, which is developing a low-cost, small satellite launcher, as well as a suborbital passenger spaceship. Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a major investor in OneWeb.

Editor's Note: Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne system for small satellites cannot operate from Spaceport America in New Mexico. While they have mentioned plans for launching off the coast of California, LauncherOne may serve a larger market (including their largest current customer, OneWeb) more efficiently by launching off the East Coast, either from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport's Shuttle Landing Facility or the Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville. (4/18)

Air Force Space Chief Worries About Launch Industry Overcapacity (Source: Financial Times)
The head of Air Force Space Command is worried about a "bubble" in the launch industry. Gen. John Hyten said recently that a growing number of commercial launch ventures made him worry whether there was enough business to sustain them all, noting a similar bubble in the late 1990s that burst when commercial satellite constellations went bankrupt. He added, though, he was encouraged by the development of new launch systems. "What we need to do is just encourage this industry to continue to blossom," he said. (4/18)

Japan Wants Emergency-Response Function to NavSat Fleet (Source: Nikkei)
Japan is planning to add emergency communications to a fleet of navigation satellites. The Michibiki series of satellites, designed primarily to augment the GPS constellation, will also support text-based emergency communications between smartphones and first responders in the event of an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster. The system is designed to be a backup should terrestrial cellular networks be disrupted, although it's not clear what kinds of phones will be able to use the satellite network. (4/18)

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