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Good morning. Should be a fun and normal day for space analysts, with earnings from *checks notes* Trimble, EchoStar, Astra, Kratos, and Virgin Galactic. That’s $TRMB, $SATS, $ASTR, $KTOS, and $SPCE, for those following along at home. *shivers*

In today’s newsletter:
🚀 Alcántara
🌌 Payload survey 
💫 Nyx spacecraft
📝 The contract report

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Alcántara Awakens

Image: AEB

Innospace, a South Korean rocket startup, has reached an agreement with Brazil to launch the first suborbital test flight of HANBIT TLV in Q4 of this year. 

Hi, HANBIT: The 15-ton thrust, single-stage hybrid rocket that will be flown from Brazil is but one step in a longer journey. HANBIT TLV is designed to validate the first stage of HANBIT Nano, Innospace’s forthcoming small launcher with 50 kg of payload capacity. 

  • The suborbital vehicle will carry SISNAV, an inertial navigation system payload, for the Brazilian military.
  • It will lift off from the Alcântara Space Center, which is operated by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). 

About Alcántara

FAB and the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) are opening up Alcântara to more commercial endeavors and foreign launchers. Alcântara is a crown jewel of a launch site, geographically and strategically speaking, as it’s located on the northern coast of Brazil and just two degrees south of the equator. 

  • In 2019, US and Brazil signed a technological safeguards agreement to facilitate US-origin satellite launches from Alcântara. 
  • Last April, Virgin Orbit announced that it would launch from Alcântara. In addition, Hyperion, Orion AST, and C6 Launch are negotiating agreements with FAB/AEB for commercial suborbital/orbital launches.

“Alcântara does not have a tough schedule. You have a lot of slots that can be used by everybody,” AEB President Carlos Moura told Payload last month. “What we are finding is that most of the companies do not need to be in our country for a long time. They want to arrive, use it for a few weeks, and then get out.”

“Some of them are really planning, if everything goes okay, to invest in their own facilities,” Moura said. “That’s why the government and ministries are organizing this, in order to upgrade the infrastructure in the city.”

Read/share online.

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Nyx Gets Green Light

Franco-German startup The Exploration Company has successfully completed a system requirement review of its Nyx spacecraft.

TLDR: The Exploration Company was founded in 2021 with the aim of supplying long-duration in-orbit hosting services to customers, at a fraction of the cost of the ISS. The company is developing a modular spacecraft capable of extended stays in orbit and, eventually, the ability to visit multiple locations on the surface of the Moon.

The startup announced May 3 that its Nyx spacecraft had passed its first major design review. The review was conducted to ensure the vehicle addresses the correct system solutions and that the overall design is ready to move into the preliminary design phase. 

“We had experts from ESA, DLR, CNES, and industry and it gave us insight into what they want to do in the future and how our vehicle fits into their roadmap,” The Exploration Company Chief Engineer Jon Reijnefeld told Payload. “This gives us the view that we’re not the only ones thinking about this and that there is potential out there.”

Stripped-down demo: The company will launch its first mission aboard the maiden Ariane 6 flight. Dubbed the Bikini Demo, the mission will include a small capsule weighing just 20 kg and will be used to test thermal models. This initial mission is fully funded with the $7.2M (€6.8M) the company has raised so far.

Read/share online.


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In Other News

  • World View reached 1,000 reservations for its forthcoming stratospheric balloon tourism service. Tickets cost $50,000, and flight deposits are $500. ICYMI, we recently spoke with World View CEO Ryan Hartman.
  • The FAA completed its payload review for the first Momentus (NASDAQ:MNTS) Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle mission.
  • Airbus (EPA:AIR) Q1 defense/space revenues increased 16% YoY to ~$2.59B (€2.45B). Space systems made up 25% of the unit’s revenue. 
  • Via Capstone Partners: Earnings for ADGS (aerospace, defense, government, security) public companies rose 22% in 2021. Meanwhile, M&A transaction volumes for ADGS jumped 50%, returning to pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Stratolaunch aced the fifth test flight of Roc, the world’s largest airplane and hypersonic air launcher. On Star Wars Day, no less, the company declared: “The force is strong in this plane.”
  • Analysys Mason has acquired NSR, which will now become the satellite and space division of the TMT management consulting firm. 

Correction: In all of our excitement about on-orbit servicing, we got out over our skis yesterday. We mistakenly wrote that Astroscale’s ELSA-d servicer spacecraft had performed a capture with the client craft. In fact, ELSA-d performed a close-approach maneuver to test new capabilities.

  • “Over the next several months, we’ll analyze the next phase of the mission, including the potential for a safe and viable magnetic recapture of the client,” Astroscale’s Dave Hebert tells Payload.

The Contract Report

  • Vyoma and Atos will create an orbital object-tracking database to help operators avoid collisions.
  • AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ:ASTS) and Globe Telecom signed an MoU to provide space-based broadband to remote and underserved areas in the Philippines.
  • Prométhée contracted NanoAvionics to build its first EO smallsat.
  • Axiom Space and the UAE will fly an Emirati astronaut to the ISS on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, expected in 2023. Separately, Axiom has procured Canadarm3 technology from MDA, under a contract covering 32 external robotic interfaces for the Axiom Station.
  • Arabsat contracted Thales Alenia to build its first fully software-defined satellite.
  • GomSpace, in a~$1M deal, agreed to deliver KSAT’s Mission Control System for the ESA’s Arctic Weather Satellite mission.
  • AAC Clyde Space will deliver a ground station valued at ~$345K to an African client.
  • Inmarsat’s satellite broadband will connect the OceanGate 2022 Titanic Expedition as it documents the shipwreck and its rate of decay.
  • NewSat won a multi-million dollar US Army task order to “provide a system-wide upgrade” for the Jordanian Border Security Program.
  • Maritime Launch Services and Reaction Dynamics say they’ll launch from Spaceport Nova Scotia beginning next year, giving Canada sovereign launch capabilities.
  • Satellogic (NASDAQ:SATL) signed a new multi-launch agreement with SpaceX for its next 68 EO satellites (via Payload).

The View from Florida

Photo: ULA. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner was hoisted atop Atlas V, ahead of a launch scheduled for May 19.

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