FCC Has Approved over 5,000 Smallsats to Provide Broadband Communications Services

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

OneWeb’s non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite constellation.

With its approval of SpaceX’s proposed constellation in late March, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now approved the deployment of 5,264 small satellites from four companies to provide broadband communications services from Earth orbit. Continue reading

Taking Satellite Propulsion from Fabergé Eggs to Mass Production: Interview with Brad King of Orbion Space Technology

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Orbion Space Technology’s Hall effect thrusters.

Orbion Space Technology is developing the Aurora propulsion system to serve the growing small satellite market. Orbion is relying on tried-and-true Hall effect propulsion technology as the basis for its Aurora system. Instead of developing a system based on entirely new technology, Orbion is working to mass produce systems based on proven technology. Continue reading

NASA Finally Sets a Direction Under President Trump, But Will Its Plans Make It Through Congress?

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

This artist rendering shows an aerial view of the liftoff of the 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity configuration SLS from the launchpad. Funding for the SLS will continue. Source: NASA

America’s preeminent space agency is proposing a major change in focus for FY19. Along with the rest of the federal government, NASA released its fiscal year 2019 budget request on February 13. While NASA’s budget faced few changes in President Donald Trump’s FY18 budget request, for FY19 NASA is looking to shift its priorities and thereby change how its funding is spent. Continue reading

Falcon Heavy Launches Successfully, but What Does the Future Hold for SpaceX’s Giant Rocket?

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

spacex falcon heavy tesla roadster launch

SpaceX Falcon Heavy blasting off on its first flight – Source: Flickr / SpaceX

With much fanfare, SpaceX successfully conducted a test launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 3:45 p.m. EST (8:45 p.m. UTC) on February 6. Following launch, the Falcon Heavy successfully placed its payload, one of CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadsters, into its intended orbit. Two of the three boosters also returned for a successful landing. The one small mark against the mission was the failure to land the core stage on SpaceX’s ocean barge. Continue reading

Aerojet Rocketdyne Gets Back on Track

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies and Bill Ostrove, Space Systems

AR1 Booster Engine. Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne

After a difficult few years, Aerojet Rocketdyne is getting back on track.  With its backlog steadily improving, the company has addressed its sales and past difficulties. Continue reading

SpaceX Falcon 9 Positioned as the Most Popular New Launch Vehicle in a Generation

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Carrying Koreasat-5A. Source: Flickr/SpaceX

On October 30, 2017, SpaceX successfully launched the Koreasat-5A satellite from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Falcon 9 delivered the Koreasat-5A to its targeted orbit and the satellite was deployed approximately 36 minutes after liftoff. Continue reading

Elon Musk Unveils More Details about Mars Colony

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

For the second year in a row, Elon Musk has used the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to unveil plans about his dream of developing a colony on Mars. During this year’s event – held in Adelaide, Australia – Musk disclosed plans that were much more practical than the ones he revealed at last year’s event in Guadalajara, Mexico. However, his plans are still a long way from becoming a reality. Continue reading

Northrop Grumman Acquisition of Orbital ATK Strengthens Diverse Space Offerings

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, and Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Antares launch. Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Behind all the sound and fury surrounding the recent UTC/Rockwell deal, Northrop Grumman quietly moved in earlier this week and scooped up rocket and missile maker Orbital ATK in a deal valued at $9.2 billion.  Under the agreement Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and Orbital ATK shareholder approval. Continue reading

ILS Proton Getting Back on Track

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ILS Proton launch

International Launch Services (ILS) has successfully delivered the Amazonas 5 satellite into orbit on an ILS Proton for HISPASAT.  The ILS Proton launched from Pad 39 at 1:23 a.m. local time on September 10 (7:23 p.m. UTC, 3:23 p.m. EDT on September 11).[i] Continue reading

Alta Devices Enters Growing Smallsat Market With Unique Solar Panel Technology

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Alta Devices unique solar panel technology.

Alta Devices, founded in 2007 in Sunnyvale, California, manufactures single-junction solar cell technology. The company’s largest market is the UAV market, and it also has a presence in the automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), and consumer device markets. With the market for small satellites rapidly expanding, the need for solar panels to power these spacecraft has emerged as a growing market for many companies, including Alta. Forecast International recently had a chance to talk to Alta about its work in the satellite market. Aarohi Vijh, Alta’s head of Product, and Rich Kapusta, chief marketing officer, provided answers. Continue reading