DEFENSE AND SPACE
Vega C | July 14, 2022
The Vega C rocket has completed its inaugural flight, placing the main payload LARES-2 – a scientific mission of the Italian Space Agency ASI – into its planned orbit. Six additional research CubeSats from France, Italy and Slovenia flew as secondary payloads. The launch caps a multi-year effort by ESA, the prime contractor Avio and industrial partners in 13 ESA member states to build on the heritage of its predecessor, Vega.
Vega C represents a dramatic capability boost compared to Vega, which has been flying since 2012. With the new first and second stages and an uprated fourth stage, Vega-C increases performance from Vega’s 1.5 t to about 2.3 tons in a reference 700 km polar orbit.
Vega-C features a new, more powerful first stage, P120C, based on Vega’s P80. Atop that is a new second stage, Zefiro-40, and then the same Zefiro-9 third stage as used on Vega.
The re-ignitable upper stage is also improved. AVUM+ has increased liquid propellant capacity, to deliver payloads to multiple orbits depending on mission requirements and to allow for longer operational time in space, to enable extended missions.
The P120C motor will do double service, with either two or four units acting as strap-on boosters for Ariane 6. Sharing this component streamlines industrial efficiency and improves cost-effectiveness of both launchers.
“This great success is the result of the work of our people in cooperation with ESA, ASI and CNES, and highlights once again the Avio and Italian excellency in space technology in the European domain. The presence of the Italian Minister for Innovation and Digital Transition Vittorio Colao here at the flight testifies the attention and commitment of the Italian Government, that with the National Recovery Plan has decided to provide an additional boost to research and innovation in a key sector for the Country and for independent access to space. The Maiden Flight of Vega C has been just completed, but in the coming days we will start to work to the next one, expected by year-end: the first of 7 flights already booked.”
Giulio Ranzo, Avio’s CEO
Merlin Labs | July 12, 2022
Merlin Labs, the leading developer of autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, announced that Dan Elwell, former Acting FAA administrator, industry advocate, and pilot, has joined the company's advisory board. He will advise the company on policy and strategy as it engages with regulators in shaping the future of autonomous flight.
"Throughout my career, I've been an advocate for common-sense implementations of new technologies in the aerospace industry, with a particular focus on safety and efficiency. What Merlin Labs has been building these last few years, with its numerous applications across civilian and government aviation, has been tremendously interesting to observe, and I'm excited to help shepherd it to commercial and governmental adoption under Merlin's 'crawl-walk-run' approach."
Elwell has extensive experience in governmental administration: he served as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration from June 2017 to November 2020, including an appointment as Acting FAA Administrator from January 2018 to August 2019. Prior to that appointment, Elwell served as a Senior Advisor on Aviation to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation. He had previously served at the FAA as the Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning, and Environment from 2006–2008.
Lieutenant Colonel Elwell retired from military service as a Command Pilot with more than 6,000 hours combined civilian and military flight time in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve, including combat service during Operation Desert Storm.
In the private sector, Elwell held the position of Senior Vice President for Safety, Security, and Operations at Airlines for America (A4A), where he was responsible for leading the advancement of commercial aviation safety and security excellence for major U.S. air carriers. Prior to that, Mr. Elwell was Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association. In this role, he represented civil aerospace manufacturers and led policy development and advocacy for the civil aerospace manufacturing industry.
Elwell was a commercial pilot for 16 years with American Airlines, flying numerous airframes, during which time he also served as Managing Director for International and Government Affairs at American Airlines.
Elwell is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned a degree in International Affairs. He earned his pilot wings at Williams Air Force Base.
About Merlin Labs
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Boston, with additional offices in Los Angeles, Denver, Mojave, and Auckland, NZ, Merlin Labs is building the definitive autonomy system for all things that fly.
Trive Capital | June 16, 2022
Karman Space & Defense backed by Dallas-based private equity firm Trive Capital has partnered with Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. to acquire the MG Resin family of technologies. The acquisition of MG Resins represents a significant expansion of Karman's core competencies in integrated composite systems for space & defense applications and creates a leading manufacturer in the carbon/carbon market.
The senior leadership team at CRG developed the patented MG family of resins to address the growing need for ultra-high temperature materials with higher char yields, improved processability, and reduced cycle times. CRG designed an innovative solution that will enable the production of best-in-class, high strength carbon-carbon parts at temperatures above 1200 °C.
"We are excited to partner with Karman and believe that their set of differentiated capabilities, capacity and talented team makes them the right strategic partner to deliver the MG Resin value proposition to customers across the space, missile, defense and hypersonic supply chains. We believe that joining forces with Karman will accelerate the commercialization of carbon-carbon technologies and look forward to creating value for customers,"
Patrick Hood, Chief Executive Officer of CR.
"This is a big milestone for Karman," said Tony Koblinksi, Chief Executive Officer of Karman. "CRG's MG Resin systems will allow Karman to offer highly differentiated high-temp materials solutions to our customer base. The MG Resin carbon-carbon technology, along with other CRG-developed resin systems, will serve as the launch point for Karman's broader move into advanced material sciences."
"With this acquisition, Karman can now offer vertically integrated composite systems. We believe that adding leading up-front material science capabilities to our existing design, engineering and manufacturing competencies will further Karman's mission to provide a single point of accountability, reduced lead times and higher quality to OEMs" commented David Stinnett, Partner at Trive Capital.
Monument Capital Partners advised Cornerstone Research Group. Haynes & Boone LLP served as legal counsel to Trive Capital.
Karman Space & Defense is an integrated concept-to-production solutions provider for the space and defense industry's most complex and mission-critical projects. Through its four divisions the company provides solutions for integrated dynamic systems, assemblies, and advanced manufacturing that are used in our industry's most critical programs, including crewed-space flight and hypersonic missions. Headquartered in Huntington Beach, CA, with facilities in Washington, Alabama, and Washington DC, Karman brings together industry-leading capabilities, advanced technologies, and the multi-decade history of its four business divisions, AAE Aerospace, AEC, AMRO, and Systima.
CRG is a high-technology company delivering products and services to aerospace, defense and industrial customers since 1997. Our multidisciplinary teams redefine what is possible to deliver innovative solutions with the support of a network of hundreds of leading technology providers. As result, CRG is a recognized fast-growing leader in innovation and technology commercialization, making the Inc. 5000 for the 7th time in 2020. Our technology portfolio covers a broad range with primary emphasis in aerosystems, power and energy, medical and sensors technology, materials science, and advanced manufacturing.
Trive Capital is a Dallas, Texas based private equity firm with more than $4 billion of regulatory assets under management. Trive focuses on investing equity and debt in what it sees as strategically viable middle-market companies with the potential for transformational upside through operational improvement. We seek to maximize returns through a hands-on partnership that calls for identifying and implementing value creation ideas.
AgEagle Aerial Systems, Inc. | May 16, 2022
AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. an industry-leading provider of full-stack drone, sensor and software solutions for commercial and government/defense use, announced new and enhanced technological features and capabilities of Measure Ground Control, helping to drive greater value from autonomous drone operations for enterprise customers and professional drone service providers spanning a wide range of industries.
Offered as Software-as-a-Service, Measure Ground Control continues to earn the trust and fidelity of its blue chip, industry-diverse customers by providing a single platform to automate flight management systems safely and securely; easily manage drone programs of any scope and scale; and process, analyze and share drone-captured image data and visualization necessary for assessing risks, improving workflow processes and achieving time and cost efficiencies across enterprises of virtually any size. With the aim of empowering AgEagle’s customers to readily extend their reach and human capability through adoption of scalable autonomous drone programs, Measure Ground Control users can
While AgEagle’s origins are rooted in Agriculture, its ‘Ag’ distinction now more closely correlates to the Company’s ‘agnostic’ approach to serving the global autonomous robotics industry through delivery of solutions that help its customers achieve specific goals and objectives from their respective drone operations.
“Ground Control was literally built from the ground-up, working closely with customers to intimately understand their unique needs, frustrations and challenges and to solve real human problems. As a result, our performance-driven software platform avails scalable, autonomous drone programs that are incredibly easy to deploy and manage and from which our customers’ can aggregate vast amounts of data and deep insight necessary to make important, well-informed decisions in their day-to-day business operations – be it an Energy, Infrastructure, Agriculture or other commercial enterprise,”
Barrett Mooney, Chairman and CEO of AgEagle
Continuing, Mooney said, “Ground Control can be readily and affordably integrated into existing processes and IT systems – and integrated with the latest advancements in drone hardware, sensors and tools – facts which we view are central to our software’s ultimate value proposition for current and future customers. Moreover, in addition to our working towards ensuring that Ground Control works seamlessly with AgEagle’s growing line of US government approved fixed wing drones and sensors, we also welcome opportunities to collaborate with other leading drone solutions companies on integration initiatives to help push the limits of autonomous flight in industries where commercial drone programs are having pronounced impact on business economics, workforce safety and workflow efficiencies.”
Measure Ground Control is currently compatible with DJI’s Inspire, Mavic, Matrice, Phantom and Spark branded drones; as well as Parrot’s Anafi, Anafi Thermal and Anafi USA drones. Native U.S.-made apps, equipment and other tools supported by Ground Control include RedEdge-MX, Wing’s Open Sky, Pix4D, Scopito, AirMap, Azure and AWS storage servers. Ground Control also provides for a robust API that allows for the integration of many other in-house programs and third party solutions, including ESRI QGIS, Power BI, Salesforce, CHEQROOM and others.
About AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc.
AgEagle and its wholly owned subsidiaries are actively engaged in designing and delivering best-in-class drones, sensors and software that solve important problems for our customers. Founded in 2010, AgEagle was originally formed to pioneer proprietary, professional-grade, fixed-winged drones and aerial imagery-based data collection and analytics solutions for the agriculture industry. Today, AgEagle is a leading provider of full stack drone solutions for customers worldwide in the energy, construction, agriculture and government verticals.