May 2022 | No Comment

€2.5 million raised by Neuraspace to prevent satellite collisions

Neuraspace, the developer of an advanced AI-powered Space debris monitoring & satellite collision avoidance platform, has announced that it has raised €2.5 million from Armilar Venture Partners. The company will use these funds to accelerate the commercialisation of its platform.

Neuraspace’s proprietary AI technology enables more accurate satellite collision risk prediction and, by applying a data fusion strategy, offers increased robustness and resilience. The platform also automates many of the current manual processes and communications and delivers an end-to-end solution, providing operators with actionable orbital maneuver recommendations to avoid collisions, while delivering valuable insights to various other stakeholders including regulators, insurers and other Space-asset dependent businesses.

HFX funds a Satellogic dedicated satellite constellation

HFX has launched the worldwide Ukraine Victory Fund with an initial aim of raising $10 million to dramatically improve Ukraine’s access to satellite imagery as it fights Russia’s invasion.

The move comes after Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence asked for help in raising funds for a Dedicated Satellite Constellation (DSC) – a service provided by Earth observation satellite and data company, Satellogic. It will deploy its DSC service enabling Ukraine to manage a fleet of satellites for encrypted tasking and satellite imagery. It will drastically increase the country’s access to high-resolution images and video intelligence.

Pixxel announces $25m investment

Pixxel announced a $25 million Series A led by Radical Ventures, a Toronto-based firm known for investing in entrepreneurs that use artificial intelligence to transform massive industries. The new funding enables Pixxel to expedite production of the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation and to offer industry AI-powered insights.

SES adds third satellite from Thales Alenia Space

SES has announced that it has ordered SES-26 a fully software-defined geostationary (GEO) satellite from Thales Alenia Space. SES-26 will maintain and expand the wide range of content delivery and connectivity services to broadcasters, media companies, telco operators, internet service providers and governmental organisations across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The digital satellite with both Ku-band and C-band frequencies will replace SES’s NSS-12 satellite at 57 degrees East, one of SES’s longest-held and most valuable orbital positions. From this key location at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, SES will continue to deliver content and connectivity solutions to some of the world’s fastestgrowing markets.

OneWeb to resume satellite launches

OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company and SpaceX entered into an agreement that will enable OneWeb to resume satellite launches. The first launch with SpaceX is anticipated in 2022 and will add to OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation that currently stands at 428 satellites, or 66 percent of the fleet. OneWeb’s network will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

NOAA and Partners Discover Wreck of 207-year-old Whaling Ship

NOAA and partners have announced the discovery of the wreck of a 207-yearold whaling ship, called Industry, found on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The remains of the 20-metre long, two-masted wooden brig open a window into a little-known chapter of American history when descendants of African enslaved people and Native Americans served as essential crew in one of the nation’s oldest industries.

With guidance provided via satellite connection from partner scientists on shore, a team aboard NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer piloted a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the seafloor on 25 February 2022, at a suspected location first spotted by an energy company in 2011 and viewed briefly by an autonomous vehicle in 2017, but never fully examined.

Extra-terrestrial lab launches in South Australia

The Extraterrestrial Environmental Simulation (Exterres) Laboratory is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow researchers to develop new technologies to withstand the harsh deep space environment. Led by University of Adelaide Associate Professor John Culton, the lab will be used to test equipment such as rovers and materials needed for human exploration.

“Understanding how technology will perform when exposed to harsh extraterrestrial environments is critical to supporting long-term human presence in deep space, specifically the Moon and Mars,” said Culton, who is Professor of Off-Earth Resources and the Director of the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.

“Space hardware will be tested in the lab’s Regolith Thermal Vacuum Chambers (rTVAC), a nine square metre sealed lunar regolith simulant pit and a 27 square metre sandpit which can be tailored to simulate specific off-world environments.”

Hunting for pathogen killing Hawaiian tree using airborne remote sensing

A new study published in Ecological Applications by researchers from the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science discovered aircraftmeasured spectral differences in the foliar traits of trees that would later develop visible signs of ROD. This finding suggests that their unique aircraft mapping system may provide early detection of trees affected by the pathogen.

“We used repeat laser-guided imaging spectroscopy of forests on Hawaiʻi Island collected by the ASU Global Airborne Observatory to derive maps of foliar characteristics previously found to be important in distinguishing between ROD-infected and healthy ʻŌhiʻa canopies,” said Erin Weingarten, lead author, and now a PhD student at Colorado State University. “Data from these maps were used to develop a prognostic indicator of tree stress prior to the visible onset of browning.”

The ASU Global Airborne Observatory, or “lab in the sky,” mapped the two forest canopies from 2018 to 2019. Over the course of the year, one group of trees remained green. The other group changed from green to brown due to the onset of ROD symptoms. The team then assessed and compared spectral data of each group in 2018 for the foliar traits, or properties, of the leaves that have been linked to ROD. After analysis, the researchers observed key spectral differences in the leaf traits before the canopy turned brown.

Remote sensing satellite lifted successfully into orbit

China successfully sends a new remote sensing satellite of the Yaogan 34 series into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China at 3:09 pm on March 17, 2022.

The satellite will team up with its predecessor, the Yaogan 34-01, which has been in operation for nearly 11 months

MOSTI helps NADMA to analyse soil movement

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia is helping the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) to analyse soil movement at Taman Bukit Permai 2, Ampang using space remote sensing.

MOSTI deputy minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim said the analysis was carried out using the technology developed by the Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA).

He said seven types of information obtained from remote sensing and satellite images could provide early data in connection with soil movements, which could help in addressing landsliderelated risks posed by such incidents that occurred at the housing area.

Introducing the US Commercial Remote Sensing Legislation

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) announced the introduction of H.R. 6845, the Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act, to support commercial remote sensing activities in the U.S. The bill renews an expired requirement for the Department of Commerce to send an annual report to Congress on the status of commercial remote sensing applications, regulations, and adjudications.

“Remote sensing has become a crucial tool allowing us to improve crop production, weather forecasting, and emergency responses to natural disasters,” Lucas said. “The technology is constantly evolving, and the commercial remote sensing industry is seeing tremendous growth. To effectively support and manage commercial remote sensing activities, Congress needs timely and comprehensive reports from the Department of Commerce so we can evaluate the state of the industry and how regulations are affecting its growth. I appreciate Representative Perlmutter’s support of this legislation, and I look forward to working with him to pass this into law.”

“The American remote sensing industry leads the world in developing new technologies and capabilities to better understand what’s happening here on Earth and make informed decisions,” Perlmutter said. “Congress has a responsibility to effectively encourage and support the remote sensing industry, and this legislation will provide the information and data necessary to ensure continued growth and global leadership. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Lucas and my colleagues on this important bill.”

Copernicus Land Monitoring Service

The European Environment Agency (EEA) recently awarded a contract to a consortium under the lead of GAF with the partners GeoVille and VITO to implement the new High-Resolution Layer (HRL) Vegetated Land Cover Characteristics (VLCC), as part of the pan-European Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS). Its rich product portfolio will ensure both the continuation and evolution of successful precursor HRLs, such as Forest and Grassland, and the establishment of new HRL products focusing on crops and agricultural practises. The implementation of HRL VLCC will happen with funding by the European Union.

The HRL VLCC will comprise pan- European mapping of several new agriculture-related CLMS products such as annual crop types, agricultural cropping patterns and grassland mowing until the year 2023, while ensuring consistency with the grassland and forest products. The VLCC will form part of the pan-European component of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS), making regular large-scale information products available to a broad user community from European public bodies, to EEA member and cooperating countries, regional environmental authorities, research and academia as well as the value-adding sector. It will provide support for various environmental policies and make a significant contribution to assessing Europe’s current environmental status and monitoring changes over time.

Finding other earths by surveying space dust

A team of scientists found NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to measure a specific kind of space dust littered throughout dozens of nearby planetary systems’ habitable zones, or the regions around stars where temperatures are mild enough that liquid water could pool on worlds’ surfaces. Finding out how much of this material these systems contain would help astronomers learn more about how rocky planets form and guide the search for habitable worlds by future missions.

In our own solar system, zodiacal dust – small rocky grains largely left behind by colliding asteroids and crumbling comets – spans from near the Sun to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Seen from a distance, it’s the brightest thing in the solar system after the Sun. In other planetary systems it’s called exozodiacal dust and creates a haze that obscures our view of planets because it scatters light from the host star.

By studying exozodiacal dust, astronomers can find clues to what other planetary systems are like. The amount of debris hints at comet activity, since a greater number of comets should produce more dust. Seeing the dust’s distribution pattern could offer hints about orbiting planets, which could sculpt the debris with their gravity and carve paths through the material.

While other observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, have observed cold debris disks far from their host stars – farther from their stars than Neptune is from the Sun – no one has been able to photograph warm dust in the habitable zone region. While previous NASA projects have made preliminary measurements of exozodiacal dust in habitable zones, Roman’s images will be much more sensitive, thanks to its advanced high-contrast Coronagraph Instrument and its stable location in space. Orbiting a million miles from Earth around the Lagrange Point 2 (L2), instead of in low-Earth orbit like Hubble, means our planet won’t present such a challenging environment from which to make these observations.

Imaging warm debris closer to host stars is important because it’s made up of different material than outer dust disks. Closer to the host star, rocky grains dominate the dust; farther away, it is largely composed of icy grains. The debris in each region is created by different processes, so studying the chemistry of exozodiacal dust offers information astronomers can’t get by observing the outer regions around other stars.

By Ashley Balzer NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.


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