Monday, September 18, 2017

Telesat Now Planning 290 Satellite Constellation

          By Henry Stewart

Ottawa, ON based Telesat has confirmed that its proposed 117 satellite low Earth obit (LEO) constellation has now grown to approximately 290 satellites.

Artist’s rendition of a small satellite in LEO. Photo: SSTL

As outlined in the September 13th, 2017 Advanced Television post, "Canada’s Telesat planning 290 satellites," Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg made the announcement to delegates at the recently concluded 2017 Euroconsult World Satellite Business Week, which was held in Paris, France from September 11th - 15th.

Goldberg also told delegates that, under proposed new FCC regulations, Telesat was obliged to launch half of the new fleet, about 140 craft, within six years. The balance, once the second batch of 140 had been launched, would be in-orbit spares/replacements.

As outlined in the November 20th, 2016 post, "SpaceX, Telesat & Kepler Just Three of the Dozen Satellite Constellations Currently on the FCC Table," Telesat had initially proposed a much smaller fleet.

Telesat CEO Goldberg. Photo c/o SpaceNews/ Kate Patterson.
However, and as first reported in the September 11th, 2017 post, "New FCC Rules a Defeat for SpaceX, But May Signal Opportunity for OneWeb & Telesat," a series of proposed new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations may have given a competitive advantage to smaller satellite constellation proposals from firms such as Telesat, UK based OneWeb and others as they attempt to compete with Hawthorne, CA based SpaceX and its proposed 4000 plus army of super-fast internet satellites.

The new FCC rules were released for comment and feedback on September 7th and are expected to be approved at the next open FCC meeting on September 26th, 2017. Goldberg and others may be positioning themselves to take advantage of the new rules, once they take effect.

Telesat’s 1st prototype test LEO satellite is currently scheduled for launch in November on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket. A second LEO prototype is also scheduled for launch before the end of the year.

The satellites are built by UK based Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and Palo Alto, CA based Space Systems/Loral (SSL).

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

The Commercial Space Blog will be at the 18th CASI ASTRO Conference; May 15th - 17th, 2018 in Quebec City, PQ

          By Chuck Black

As outlined by Geoffrey Languedoc, the executive director of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), the upcoming 18th CASI ASTRO Conference, "promises to be the must-attend space event in Canada next year. We expect top-level speakers from Canadian industry, government and academia, international panels and keynotes, a technical program including over 200 oral and poster presentations and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss."

With a heartfelt promo like that, its no wonder that this blog often attends and covers CASI organized events.

But this year, we decided to try something a little more adventurous. Commercial Space blog editor Chuck Black has volunteered to speak and help organize some of the conference sessions relating to commercial start-ups, social media marketing of space activities and maybe even one or two other areas.

In exchange, Languedoc has promised (perhaps only half jokingly) a "small private, soundproof room" where members of the industry can give Commercial Space media representatives an off the record "piece of their minds."

On a less "cathartic" note, participation will also provide the opportunity for this publication to delve a little more deeply into upcoming space focused initiatives in Canada and around the world, and to help push those initiatives out on to the world stage.

The upcoming conference is the latest in a series of astronautics and aeronautics events that CASI holds every year. They are renowned for offering unparalleled opportunities to delegates from industry, academia, defence, security and government to meet and network with colleagues from Canada and around the world.

Another CASI organized and sponsored event. The fourth plenary of the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2014), which was held in Toronto, ON from September 29th - October 4th, 2014.  As outlined in the undated CASI IAC 2014 website, IAC 2014 "was a fantastic week of meetings, knowledge sharing and networking with a great line up of events, social programs and informative technical sessions involving industry leaders and heads of space agencies." Several of the most popular and interesting Commercial Space blog articles, including the multi-part, "A History of the Canadian Space Program - Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets," and the multi-part "150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History," originated as presentations at IAC 2014. This blog is hoping to push out many new stories based on knowledge gained from the upcoming CASI ASTRO. To see the complete video, simply click on the photo above. Photo c/o IAF.

ASTRO 18 will focus on Canadian capabilities, current activities, and prospects for growth domestically and in the international space arena. Five parallel tracks will be offered, as well as a robust Interactive Poster session.

The co-chairs of the ASTRO’18 Technical Committee are Dr. Christian Lange, the deputy of exploration strategic planning at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)  and Dr. Michele Faragalli, the space exploration and advanced technologies manager at Mission Control Space Services Inc.

The deadline for abstract submission is November 1st, 2017. Authors submitting abstracts will be notified by December 15th, 2017. For more information on the 2018 CASI ASTRO, check out the web page at

This blog looks forward to the upcoming ASTRO 18 and the opportunity to meet and greet with the finest of Canada's space community.
eveChuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Politico Revisits Kennedy's Famous "We choose to go to the Moon" Speech

          By Henry Stewart

On the anniversary of president John F. Kennedy's famous "Moon Speech" at Rice University on September 12th, 1962, a new generation of explorers, politicians and adventurers sat down in Washington, DC with the Arlington based Politico News Service to revisit many of the same questions which fascinated Kennedy.

The complete eighty-one minute discussion is available by clicking on the graphic above. Graphic Politico.

The September 12th, 2017 public presentation, sponsored by Colorado based geo-spatial content provider DigitalGlobe (currently being acquired by Richmond, BC based MacDonald Dettwiler), focused on Kennedy's legacy and how to move forward from it.

Featured speakers at this event included:
  • John Logsdon, the founding director and professor emeritus of the Space Policy Institute, at George Washington University.
  • Alex MacDonald, the senior economic adviser at NASA.
  • Teasel Muir-Harmony, the curator of the space history department, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
  • Bob Richards, the founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley, CA based Moon Express.
  • Secretary Heather Wilson, the principal space adviser at the US Department of Defense.
  • Eric Stallmer, the president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
The complete discussion, moderated by Politico defence editor Bryan Bender is available online by clicking on the graphic above. It's well worth a look.

And for those of us who'd like to compare the original, in all its glory, to what we say about it today, here's Kennedy's seventeen minute "Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort" from 1962.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Ukrainian Space Agency Issues Press Release About the Lybid-1 & Building Rockets for Canada

          By Chuck Black

The press service of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) has announced a meeting between SSAU head Pavlo Dehtiarenko and Canadian ambassador to the Ukraine Roman Waschuk on a topic of "mutual interest in the implementation of a potential of cooperation in the aerospace sphere."

If accurate, the "mutual interests" could certainly affect a variety of projects including the recent Maritime Launch Services (MLS) proposal to place a Ukrainian built Cyclone 4M commercial rocket launching facility in Nova Scotia and the Lybid-1 satellite, built several years back by Richmond, BC based Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA) under contract to the SSAU and with the help of Export Development Canada (EDC), which provided a $254.6Mln CDN loan under "Ukrainian government guarantees to finance the project in the summer of 2009," but which never really got around to being launched.

And the press release certainly does suggest that.
Ambassador Waschuk. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

But while it's likely a reasonably accurate representation of what the SSAU would like to see moving forward, only when the Ukrainian wish is combined with three Canadian dollars do you start to get a sense of its true value, which taken together adds up to only the cost of a large cup of coffee at Starbucks.

As outlined in the September 12th, 2017 Interfax Ukraine new agency post, "Ukraine, Canada start creating contract and legal base for developing cooperation in aerospace area," both sides have:
...pointed out the importance of creating the contract and legal base for promising partnership and supported the idea that the memorandum of understanding between SSAU and the Canadian Space Agency on cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space. 
At the meeting the sides also discussed urgent issues of the project being implemented with the participation of Ukraine and Canada and plans of promising cooperation on the global space market...
According to the e-mail:
Canada approved SSAU's measures to solve financial, organization and technical problems to complete the project on the creation of the National satellite communications system of Ukraine and the launch of the Ukrainian satellite Lybid. 
The creation of a launch complex in Canada with participation of private companies from the Ukrainian and Canadian space sector (has also been) determined as a priority direction for developing partnership in the aerospace area.
As for whether these meetings will have an real effect on Canadian/ Ukrainian cooperation, that's still up in the air. Certainly the Ukraine is hoping for the best although they might need Russian cooperation to move forward.

For more on the real situation behind the Lybid-1 satellite, check out the December 12th, 2016 post, "exactEarth, Lybid-1, the CSA (which Needs more Committees) and the Upcoming 2017 Earth Observation Summit."

For more on what it would actually take to build the MLS Cyclone 4M rocket and launch it in Canada, check out the September 08, 2017 post, "CATA Rage, Liberal Strategy, Space Advisory Board Tactics & Yuzhnoye Can't Manufacture Some Cyclone 4M Parts."
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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