PR News WIre | August 31, 2023
Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, and Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company small satellite constellation prime, have entered the hot standby phase for VICTUS NOX, a Tactically Responsive Space mission led by Space Systems Command's (SSC) Space Safari Program Office. The team stands ready for the 24-hour callup and orbit requirements to complete final operations and launch at the first available window.
"Challenging missions like this is where Firefly excels, and we are extremely humbled and proud to provide the U.S. Space Force and the nation with the critical capability to launch on-demand in support of national security," said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. "Together with our mission partners, we'll be setting a new standard, proving nominal launch operations can be completed in a matter of hours rather than weeks to months."
Millennium and Firefly have entered a six-month hot standby phase and will wait for activation at an intentionally unknown time. During this phase, the U.S. Space Force will give the mission team an alert notification, kicking off a 60-hour window to transport the payload to Vandenberg Space Force Base, conduct fueling operations, and integrate it with Firefly's Alpha payload adaptor.
Space Force officials will then issue Firefly a launch notice with the final orbit requirements. The Firefly team will have 24 hours to update the trajectory and guidance software, encapsulate the payload, transport it to the pad, mate to Alpha, and stand ready to launch at the first available window. Once the payload is deployed in low Earth orbit, Millennium will attempt to fully initialize the space vehicle in less than 48 hours and then begin operations for its Space Domain Awareness (SDA) mission.
"What we're doing with VICTUS NOX has never been done before, and I attribute our success to the dedication and teamwork of our collective team – Millennium, Firefly, and SSC's Space Safari and Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) offices," said Jason Kim, CEO of Millennium Space Systems. "You need to have the willingness to know that there will be changes – whether requirements or processes. That's where the teamwork and close partnerships really came into play. It's about what help is needed to address a challenge – on all sides – and everyone pitching in to support that."
In preparation for the mission, Firefly manufactured and acceptance tested each critical component, engine, and vehicle stage for its Alpha rocket in addition to conducting a static fire to verify all systems operate within flight parameters. Firefly and Millennium also completed multiple rehearsals in preparation for launch, which included packing and delivering a satellite mockup to Firefly's integration facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base to practice all launch operations within the prescribed 24 hours.
"The U.S.'s ability to rapidly respond to on-orbit needs is critical to our national defense, particularly in today's evolving space environment," said Lt. Col. MacKenzie Birchenough, Materiel Leader for Space Safari. "The accelerated build time the team demonstrated for VICTUS NOX, combined with the demanding launch and on-orbit goals, exemplifies our strong commitment to preserving our nation's dominance and ability to freely operate in the space domain."
About Firefly Aerospace
Firefly is an end-to-end space transportation company with launch, lunar, and on-orbit services. As an all-American company headquartered in central Texas, Firefly is focused on delivering responsive, reliable, and affordable space access for government and commercial customers. Firefly's small- to medium-lift launch vehicles, lunar landers, and orbital vehicles provide the space industry with a single source for missions from low Earth orbit to the surface of the Moon and beyond
About Millennium Space Systems
Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company, is a small satellite prime, delivering high-performance constellation solutions for National Security Space. Founded in 2001, the company's active production lines and 80% vertical integration enable the rapid delivery of small satellites across missions and orbits – LEO, MEO and GEO.
About Space Systems Command
Space Systems Command (SSC) is the U.S. Space Force's field command responsible for acquiring and delivering resilient war fighting capabilities to protect our nation's strategic advantage in and from space. SSC manages a $15 billion space acquisition budget for the Department of Defense and works in partnership with joint forces, industry, government agencies, academic and allied organizations to accelerate innovation and outpace emerging threats. Our actions today are making the world a better space for tomorrow.
ZeroAvia | September 21, 2023
ZeroAvia today announced that Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM have co-led the company's latest financing round.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund have also participated in the investment.
This investment will enable ZeroAvia to accelerate progress towards certification of its first engine as well as delivering the company's mission of a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft.
In conjunction with the investment, Airbus and ZeroAvia have agreed to collaborate on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems. The companies also intend to work together on a number of critical technical areas, including liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.
ZeroAvia is pursuing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems as the most environmentally friendly and economically attractive solution to aviation's growing climate change impact. The company's hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft's propellers, with the only byproduct during flight being water.
Airbus is a global leader in fostering alternative propulsion using hydrogen. Fuel cell systems are an important part of its ZEROe aircraft concepts program, designed to deliver low-carbon emission airframes of various sizes. The industry major has recently ground tested a hydrogen engine concept at 1.2 MW power.
The investment will support ZeroAvia's continued growth and technology development, most notably progressing its first product – ZA600 - through to certification. ZeroAvia recently completed the first stage of flight testing of the prototype ZA600 and is moving to complete design work ahead of certification, targeting 2025 entry-in-service to support up to 20 seat aircraft.
The funding will also enable ZeroAvia to continue to progress its larger engine program - the ZA2000, a 2-5.4 MW modular powertrain designed to support larger commercial aircraft applications. The company is working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator provided by Alaska Airlines, with a view to first flight testing with a full size engine in 2024. The investment will help ZeroAvia extend the leadership it has established across core in-house technologies for multi-MW class hydrogen-electric engines, including high temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced electric motors and power electronics, and onboard liquid hydrogen fuel storage.
Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia, said: "Anybody following the development of hydrogen aviation - and its potential to transform the industry - will see this investment as a positive step. Airbus has led the way with its zero-emission vision and its commitment to extensive R&D programs. For ZeroAvia to now have investors such as Airbus coming on board is the strongest possible validation of the prospects for hydrogen-electric propulsion technology."
"ZeroAvia has already been successful in flight testing fuel cell propulsion, and hydrogen storage and distribution systems on board their Do-228 flight test platform which puts them in a strong position to take their technologies to the next phase of development," said Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus Vice President ZEROe aircraft. "In addition, ZeroAvia is supporting the development of a wider hydrogen ecosystem for aviation - technologies, decarbonised hydrogen supply and certification of hydrogen propulsion systems - which all complement well with our own ambition to bring a ZEROe hydrogen powered aircraft to service by 2035."
Andy Challis, Co-Head of Principal Investments, Barclays, said: "Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen has been identified as a key decarbonisation pathway for hard to abate sectors, such as aviation. Our Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio is one of many ways which Barclays is supporting green-tech companies to innovate and scale, recognising that doing so at speed is crucial for a timely transition to net zero. ZeroAvia has shown that with ambition, technological innovation and the right support from both the public and private sector, it is possible to scale and implement such hydrogen technologies at pace, as evidenced by the ZA600 moving ever closer to commercial flight. We're delighted to be making a follow-on investment and look forward to seeing ZeroAvia continuing to drive change in the aviation sector."
Majid Mufti, Managing Director NEOM Investment Fund, said: "At NEOM, we are committed to identifying and implementing sustainable solutions that pave the way for a greener future. Our focus on maximizing renewable energy sources and fostering innovation in alternative fuel systems aligns with ZeroAvia's pioneering efforts in hydrogen-electric propulsion technology. Developing a green hydrogen future is central to NEOM's mission, and participating in this venture with ZeroAvia was a natural choice for us. We look forward to working closely with the company and contributing significantly to reaching that future."
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation as the initially targeting a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by the end of 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. Based in the US and the UK, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its three prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, secured a number of key partnerships with major aircraft OEMs, secured pre-orders for nearly 2,000 engines from a number of the major global airlines, with future revenue potential over $10bn. ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government's Jet Zero Council.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2022 it generated revenues of € 58.76 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world's leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.
About Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital
As part of the firm's broader commitments, Barclays will invest £500m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, innovative, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement. Investments will be strategic to Barclays, its clients and the communities it serves, with clear scalable propositions that deliver both environmental benefits and economic returns.
NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like. It is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future. It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation.
NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity.
PR News Wire | September 01, 2023
SpiderOak, a leader in zero-trust cybersecurity and resiliency software for space systems, today announced the successful deployment and demonstration of its OrbitSecure technology aboard the International Space Station . This milestone, achieved using Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Snowcone edge computing device provided by Axiom Space, completes the next critical step in SpiderOak's plan to demonstrate increasingly complex orbital flight demonstrations.
On July 31, 2023 in cooperation with Axiom Space and AWS, SpiderOak's OrbitSecure software was uploaded to the space station. The system successfully demonstrated sending and receiving secure ops traffic between ground and low-Earth orbit. Communication to the space station was handled via the Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRS).
This successful demonstration positions SpiderOak as a critical enabler for the burgeoning new space economy, which heavily relies on the secure transfer of data and mixed workloads across hybrid platforms in space. For the first time, SpiderOak has validated the potential of containerized workloads in a space environment, demonstrating a secure, software-defined model applicable to the unique challenges of space operations.
"The future of space is undeniably software-defined," said John Moberly, SpiderOak's Senior Vice President for Space. "Our successful demonstration shows that it's not just possible, but effective and secure, to run containerized workloads in modern orchestrated environments with secure data channels from orbit to ground and vice versa."
This breakthrough opens immense potential to secure even the newest data intensive operations in space, including in-space manufacturing, scientific research, and commercial human spaceflight. Moreover, it lays the groundwork for creating orbital data centers.
As data centers extend into space, the need to secure communications, not only from the station to the ground but also within the data center itself, increases. SpiderOak's demonstration builds upon the company's foundational work with Ball Aerospace, addressing these necessities and cementing SpiderOak's position as a leader in securing mixed workloads across heterogeneous platforms.
"SpiderOak's innovative efforts contribute to reshaping the way we approach space networking," said Jason Aspiotis, Axiom Space Director of In-Space Infrastructure & Logistics. "The team's successful demonstration of OrbitSecure technology is a significant step toward building secure, dynamic, and scalable space communications and data processing infrastructures."
SpiderOak's successful demonstration also highlights the vast potential for government and commercial workloads, with secure orchestration for containerized tasks in space. As constellations grow and interconnect, new hardware can seamlessly join the mission, with older systems easily uploaded and integrated into new tasks.
"This represents a pivotal advancement toward a future where national security is maintained beyond the confines of our terrestrial defenses, reinforcing information assurance in an increasingly digitized and interconnected universe," said Charles Beames, Executive Chairman of SpiderOak. "We are paving the way to secure all space operations -- military, commercial and civil spaceflight – and scale at the speed of need through remote software deployment. More significantly, new commercial systems can combine with emerging U.S. Space Force platforms to make measurable improvements to secure our national defense."
SpiderOak is a 100% U.S.-owned and operated software company that delivers end-to-end cybersecurity and resiliency solutions for civil, military, and commercial space operations. Our commercially available products are built upon a foundation of zero-trust encryption and distributed ledger, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your most sensitive data in the space domain.