Commercial Innovation Center (CIC)

We Are Better Together

Our Commercial Innovation Center (CIC) is a first-of-its-kind, online development and test platform that provides a secure, virtual, open ecosystem and test sandbox for developers and researchers. We do it by harnessing the combined powers of commercial remote sensing, unclassified open datasets, cloud technologies, in a secure development ecosystem fueled by new, emerging, and seasoned tools, services and data to create solutions that keep our nation safe. The Riverside Research CIC is the place where commercial subject matter experts come together securely to collaborate and create the best commercial solutions to real world scenarios before they're integrated and deployed in the field.

Together, we win

It’s not as much fun to play in the sandbox by yourself, right? We know from experience that it’s the collective work of many people with diverse experiences and backgrounds that create the most effective solutions. By design, the CIC encourages partnerships, increases data accessibility, integrates app development, and facilitates the creation of transition-ready prototypes. Because of our unique position as a nonprofit in the defense space, we can provide the neutral environment where collaborative innovation thrives. As demonstrated on this video, capitalizing on all commercial sensors available improves our progress towards persistent observation.

Access to rich datasets

Data is the one thing that is guaranteed to continuously grow and change. Technology entrepreneurs’ success revolves around access to these data and developing improved AI and machine learning tools creating integrated and advanced applications for businesses in support of (United States Government) USG needs.

Advanced tools and applications

Advanced tools and applications

Technology innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality present significant entrepreneurial opportunities, yet all require geospatial data for development. Early-stage entrepreneurs, academic researchers, and innovators will now have access to the large datasets that are traditionally only available to large, established industry players. Such datasets are often too costly for early-stage entrepreneurs and researchers to acquire, and even if the datasets are made available, they are often not packaged in a manner that allows innovators to work with the data—they are overwhelmingly unwieldy and non-standardized. The CIC data environment seeks to solve that problem, allowing researchers and entrepreneurs new opportunities for experimentation, testing, and training.

The CIC pairs this data with tools and services to streamline development timelines by ensuring flexible licenses are available for your R&D activities within the CIC ecosystem. As new tools and services become available, we negotiate with the vendors for early and shared access amongst our CIC participants to the latest and greatest capabilities from established vendors in the remote sensing market. This visual shows a few or our early integrators, and as new vendors are integrated, we’ll let the community know!

CIC Data Search and Discovery

Your all-access pass

The CIC supports and enables industry, scientific, academic, and governmental R&D activities by facilitating access to commercial remote sensing data. Riverside Research integrates the hardware, software, processes, data, tools, internet accesses, demonstration capabilities, and other IT infrastructure required to execute CIC participant SIBR projects and meet R&D objectives. Our CIC offers:

  • Exposure to diverse and emerging data and data types for more data scientists
  • Increased interaction between content providers and new application developers; enables cloud-hybrid, multi-INT applications
  • Lowered entry barriers by eliminating the need for a user-developed system
  • Integrated orchestration-to-analysis workflow
  • Timely teaming, technology, and tipping
  • Accelerated access and use of commercial remote sensing solutions and innovation
Right where you want it

Right where you want it

Are you looking for a cloud-hosting environment where you can easily access commercial data for development and test—all from one place to safely develop, load, and test capabilities?

Our trusted, unclassified, virtual development platform provides access to R&D-licensed commercial remote sensing phenomenologies (e.g., EO, radar, IR, RF), connects emerging and established vendors with shared application tools and services, and facilitates GEOINT, MASINT, and Multi-INT research and development. The CIC includes:

  • An ecosystem of commercial data providers (CDPs)
  • A network of application developers
  • Common R&D data and COTS/GOTS tools (e.g., loading, discovery)
  • Common testing data (curated, tagged)
  • Robust DevOps environment
  • Hybrid cloud-ready infrastructure
  • Protected intellectual property and data rights
  • Maturing secure data fabric
CIC mission, vision & values

CIC mission, vision & values

Mission: Provide data scientists and algorithm developers with a virtual development and test platform and access to new and diverse commercial remote sensing data to develop algorithms, tools, and services.

Vision: Work in the Nation’s interest to offer proven expertise and experience in commercial remote sensing to solve problems through innovation, agility, and creative thinking.

Values: Encourage partnerships and connect emerging and established users across USG and industry with shared application tools, services, and diverse commercial constellation data.

Participant Agreements: We offer access to a secure, virtual, cloud-based ecosystem to perform R&D using existing and emerging commercial sources to develop and test algorithms, tools, and services accelerating USG objectives.

Commercial Experts: We offer our commercial experience, data scientists, and phenomenology experts to support efforts using the CIC to perform commercial utility assessments, new sensor development, synthetic data V&V, data value/usability studies, and more.

Products and Services: We offer access to CIC-based products and services such as synthetic data generation, data tagging, AI/ML V&V, data compression, data geo-registration, and more.

Work With the Commercial Innovation Center
Press Inquiries About the CIC

Commercial Innovation in the News: February 2023


07 Feb 23 - New consortium to leverage satellite imagery to illuminate emerging global issues.
A consortium was recently announced with satellite data specialist Planet Labs, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the AI for Good Lab at Microsoft to illuminate “emerging threats to health and well-being.”
This effort is going to cover many different areas, including both people movement as well as crop monitoring, with a big focus on how climate change will affect public health and other measures of well-being.

08 Feb 23 - Maxar Wins National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Contract. This morning, Maxar announced that it has won a contract worth $192M over five years to supply American allies with high-res optical, SAR and 3D imagery. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) award falls under the Foreign Commercial Imagery Program. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract will see the US and its allies tap data from four Maxar offerings.

08 Feb 23 - Satellite Imagery of Wetlands in China.
Engineers from the China Remote Sensing Satellite Ground Station (RSGS), a big research facility hosted by the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) presented satellite images on several important wetlands of China to mark the World Wetland Day, which celebrates annually on February 2 to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and planet.

09 Feb 23 - Sentinel-4 set to join next weather satellite.
Copernicus Sentinel-4 is a state-of-the-art ultraviolet, visible, near-infrared spectrometer instrument that has been developed to deliver hourly high-resolution measurements of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde, as well as aerosols.

13 Feb 23 - Satellite Data Analytics: The Future of Space Intelligence.
Satellite data analytics is a rapidly growing field that is transforming the way we understand and utilize space. With advancements in technology, satellite data analytics is becoming more accessible, accurate and actionable, creating new opportunities and challenges for the space and satellite industry. In this article, we will explore the recent trends, dynamics, and future opportunities in the satellite data analytics market, along with the strategies adopted by leading market players and the top trending developments in major countries.

NGIS have responded to several devastating disaster events this summer, providing a full picture of the flooding events from space. Visualizing imagery of an affected area from a bird’s eye view allows for a comprehensive understanding of the scope and severity of a flood. This information can be used to make more informed decisions about evacuation routes, emergency response efforts, and potential damage assessments.

15 Feb 23 - Satellite Images Show Cleanup Operation at East Palestine Train Derailment Site.
Satellite imagery taken by Maxar Technologies on February 15 shows the aftermath and cleanup operation after a train carrying toxic materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3. The images show cleanup operations in progress 12 days after the derailment. Burned railcars on either side of the rail lines can be seen as well as possible hazardous material trailers and containers, Maxar said.

16 Feb 23 - Inmarsat and Addvalue join BlackSky to accelerate EO with IDRS.
Inmarsat and its technology partner Addvalue, have announced that real-time geospatial intelligence company BlackSky will include IDRS (Inter-satellite Data Relay Service) in its next-generation satellite design, to drive Earth Observation (EO) activities.

21 Feb 23 - Maxar to Provide Environmental Monitoring for Government of Guyana.
Maxar Technologies, provider of comprehensive space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, today announced that the Guyana Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has entered into a three-year contractual agreement with Maxar to provide the nation with environmental monitoring services for both offshore and terrestrial applications.

22 Feb 23 - Planet Partners Enable Sustainable Agriculture in Europe. In August, Planet announced its first three certified partners through our new Planet Orbit Certification Program, all of whom have a deep understanding of Planet data and are creating innovative solutions on our platform. These solutions are making it easier for users to process and use Planet data. In the last few months, we have been thrilled to see how our partnerships are enabling impact around the world.

From local farming to flash floods, ASU researchers and students are using satellite imagery of Earth to help solve global environmental problems. The imagery data comes from Planet, a commercial satellite company that partners with governments, businesses and universities with the goal of creating change and shaping policies. In 2019, ASU became their first university partner, and on Feb. 16, the Planet Showcase was held at Memorial Union on the Tempe campus, where professors and students gathered to share how they have used the data from Planet.

28 Feb 23 - Maxar awarded Phase 3b of One World Terrain Contract for US Army.
Maxar Technologies has been awarded Phase 3b of the U.S. Army's One World Terrain (OWT) prototype Other Transaction Agreement contract.
The OWT program delivers 3D global terrain capability and associated information services that support a fully accessible virtual representation of the physical Earth through the Army network. OWT is a key component of the Army's Synthetic Training Environment (STE), which provides a realistic, common and automatically generated global geospatial dataset for simulation, mission command and intelligence systems to conduct collective training, mission rehearsal and mission execution at the point of need.


07 Feb 23 - Orbital Sidekick raises $10M to bring hyperspectral imaging to oil and gas pipeline monitoring.
“There’s really no persistent, objective, high-accuracy monitoring service that’s available to operators today,” he said. So he and Orbital Sidekick co-founder Tushar Prabhakar set out to create one. Their startup’s solution is a data analytics product that generates intelligence using a constellation of satellites equipped with hyperspectral sensors — and it’s caught the energy industry’s attention.

13 Feb 23 - NASA Looks to Award $25M Contract for Infrared Satellite Instrument.
NASA and Goddard Space Flight Center are looking for proposals for an infrared instrument intended to fly on the Geostationary Extended Observations, or GeoXO, according to a solicitation released Friday.
According to the document, the hyperspectral infrared instrument—known as the GeoXO Sounder, or GXS—will give “sounding observations of the western hemisphere for the first time” and provide important information on the “spatial and temporal gradients of atmospheric temperature and water vapor” to be used for numerical weather prediction models.

27 Feb 23 - Pixxel Unveils the First-Ever Set of Hyperspectral Images.
Pixxel, India’s space data startup unveiled the first-ever set of images from its hyperspectral pathfinder satellites as part of its ‘First Light’ Campaign today. The images released capture intricate details of the land and water features of regions such as Krishna River Delta (India), Palm Islands (Dubai), Super pit (Australia), Saloum River Delta (Senegal), Granny Smith Gold mine (Australia) and Brockman (Australia).


01 Feb 23 - South Korea picks Vega C to launch satellite grounded by Russian sanctions.
South Korea has selected Arianespace’s Vega C rocket to launch a multipurpose imaging satellite, KOMPSAT-6, that has remained grounded due to sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine. KOMPSAT-6 is South Korea’s second satellite equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), following KOMPSAT-5, launched in August 2013 on a Dnepr-1 launch vehicle from Dombarovsky, Russia. Once in orbit, KOMPSAT-6 will monitor the Earth from about 505 kilometers above the Earth’s surface at a resolution of 0.5 meters per pixel for five years.

02 Feb 23 - ICEYE partners with Esri on geographic information system.
ICEYE a Finnish-based provider of natural catastrophe solutions and insights has expanded its Esri Partner Network relationship with Esri, the market leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, location intelligence and mapping to provide its user with access to near-immediate natural catastrophe insights at the property level.

NISAR (NASA-ISRO SAR) is a joint Earth mapping satellite project between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization, scheduledfor launch in the first quarter of 2024 and to operate for three years. It is the first radar imaging satellite that uses two frequencies (L and S microwave bands) and enables systematic mapping of the Earth’s crust with an unprecedented level of detail.

14 Feb 23 - Maxar signs agreement with Umbra for direct access to radar imaging satellites.
Maxar has signed a contract with satellite imagery startup Umbra to get dedicated access to the company’s radar imaging constellation, the companies announced Feb. 14. The partnership will allow Maxar to directly task Umbra’s satellites and integrate synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data into its portfolio of Earth intelligence products and services, Tony Frazier, head of Maxar’s public sector Earth intelligence, told SpaceNews.

22 Feb 23 - Capella teams with analytics firms to promote use of radar imagery.
Capella Space, a company that operates a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging satellites, is partnering with data analytics firms to help increase access to SAR imagery, the company announced Feb. 22. The first three companies to join Capella’s analytics partner program are Woolpert, a geospatial intelligence and strategic consulting firm; Kayrros, a global energy and environmental geoanalytics company; and Floodbase, a company that uses geospatial data to generate flood maps in real-time.

23 Feb 23 - SAR solutions provider Asterra in talks for first satellite.
Israeli geospatial analytics firm Asterra is considering ordering its own satellite as it struggles to compete with government agencies for images, an executive said Feb.22. Speaking on a SpaceCom conference panel here, chief technology officer Lauren Guy said Asterra has been resisting its own spacecraft since he co-founded the company five years ago. Asterra’s analytical solutions are based on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data sourced from three satellites: Japan’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2, and the Saocom 1A and 1B radar spacecraft that Argentina operates jointly with Italy.

24 Feb 23 - ESA Biomass Satellite Set To Map Earth’s Essential Old Growth Forests.
After months of successful testing, ESA announced yesterday that this new earth explorer mission is a few Steps closer to its mission. That is, delivering what ESA terms completely new information on our precious forests and the carbon they store. The mission’s ‘P-band’ long wavelength, synthetic aperture radar will deliver completely new information on global forest biomass. This not only includes the trunk of the tree but also its bark and branches, says ESA.

28 Feb 23 - NASA's SWOT water satellite suffers instrument shutdown in orbit.
A joint NASA-French satellite designed to map Earth's water in amazing detail is struggling to turn on an instrument during its setup in orbit. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite's main science instrument, called KARIN (Ka-band Radar Interferometer), "unexpectedly shut down" due to a problem with the high-power amplifier subsystem, agency officials wrote in a Feb. 23 blog. There is no cause yet found for the issue, but "engineers are working systematically to understand the situation and to restore operations," NASA officials wrote.

Special Capability

01 Feb 23 - Enter the Hunter Satellites Preparing for Space War.
In October, True Anomaly hopes to launch two Jackal “orbital pursuit” spacecraft aboard a SpaceX rocket to low earth orbit. The Jackals will not house guns, warheads, or laser blasters, but they will be capable of rendezvous proximity operations (RPO)—the ability to maneuver close to other satellites and train a battery of sensors upon them. This could reveal their rivals’ surveillance and weapons systems, or help intercept communications.

02 Feb 23 - AAC Clyde Space to be part of first European Space Situational Awareness (SSA) GEO satellite.
Europe, with its fleet of military and commercial GEO satellites, increasingly needs independent space monitoring and surveillance capabilities. The Naucrates satellite will fulfill a critical role in the European ability to perform SSA. The satellite will be positioned in a stable orbit outside the GEO belt not to disturb other satellites or transmissions, with the capability to approach other objects in GEO to take centimeter level resolution images.

08 Feb 23 - High resolution satellite data - UP42.
UP42 gives you access to very high-resolution commercial satellite imagery from different suppliers, together in one place.

13 Feb 23 - Ursa Space Launches Python Toolbox API on Esri ArcGIS Pro Software.
Ursa Space Systems, a leading satellite-analytics-as-a-service provider, has announced the release of a Python toolbox for satellite analytic and data ordering within Esri ArcGIS Pro, a full-featured professional desktop GIS application. Ursa Space leverages the world's most comprehensive and progressive satellite data virtual constellation, comprising synthetic aperture radar (SAR), Optical, and radio frequency (RF) sensing from multiple commercial sources and advanced data fusion capabilities.

20 Feb 23 - Vigilance Mission Enters Operational Phase with Monthly Service Delivery Milestone.
Kleos Space S.A., a space-powered defense & intelligence technology company, is pleased to confirm that the Vigilance Mission (KSF1) satellites have now been entered into operations following achievement of reliably delivering data products against a monthly service level to Government and Commercial customers.

20 Feb 23 - How AI can actually be helpful in disaster response.
Humanitarian teams in Turkey and Syria are using machine learning to quickly scope out earthquake damage and strategize rescue efforts.

21 Feb 23 - HEAVY.AI partners with Bain, Maxar, NVIDIA to provide high-fidelity digital twins for telecom networks.
HEAVY.AI, an provider of advanced analytics, has announced it is expanding its collaboration with NVIDIA to include lobal management consulting firm Bain & Company and Maxar, a provider of space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence. This collaboration will provide communication service providers (CSPs) with faster and more accurate tools for determining antenna placements, assuring optimal signal coverage and enabling greater efficiencies in network deployments.

Thales and LuxCarta, a company specialized in the production of geospatial products derived from satellite imagery, join forces to offer artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced solutions for intelligence and military cartography. This agreement reinforces the partnership between the two companies, which have been working together since 2020.

27 Feb 23 - Entering a new orbit of data.
Satellites are being used with AI, machine learning and other digital innovations to unlock new opportunities for the energy sector. Jonathan Spencer Jones explains.


02 Feb 23 - Hydrosat wins Air Force contract for thermal infrared data analytics.
Hydrosat won a $1.2 million Air Force contract to investigate uses of thermal infrared data for national security applications, the company announced Feb. 2. Based in Washington, D.C., Hydrosat is a startup founded in 2017 that analyzes data from satellites to study the planet’s environmental conditions. The contract was awarded by AFWERX, an Air Force organization that works with startups. The customer for the data is the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

07 Feb 23 - Overhead Persistent IR is how hypersonic and maneuverable threats will be tracked.
Beginning mid-decade, Space Systems Command will begin to launch a new constellation of five ballistic missile early warning satellites known as the Next Generation OPIR satellites to augment the existing Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites.

09 Feb 23 - Satellite Vu secures £81m commitment to access ‘world’s thermometer’.
Satellite Vu is due to launch their first spacecraft in June 2023 and ahead of this opened their Early Access Program to provide customers and partners with preferred access to their imagery products, as well as the opportunity to secure valuable capacity on the inaugural satellite.

21 Feb 23 - Hydrosat Achieves Unparalleled Accuracy with Its Crop Yield Forecast.
Hydrosat, the thermal infrared data and analytics company, announced unparalleled results from the successful Beta run of its Crop Yield Forecast product in summer 2022. Hydrosat piloted its Crop Yield Forecast with an exclusive set of users that included Fortune 500 agriculture and food processing companies in the United States and Europe. Compared to actual crop yield numbers, Hydrosat's US Corn Forecast had an error of only 0.75%, while our US Soybean Forecast had an error of only 1.01%. This level of accuracy outperforms other commercial yield forecasts and demonstrates the advantage that infrared imagery and machine learning bring to the analysis.

General Synthetic Text

15 Feb 23 - AI innovations in retail demand effective data strategies.
AI’s transformative powers are being realized across industries. From self-driving cars to robots in manufacturing, AI is slowly capturing market share. Every business that adopts AI tools needs to be aware of the different data-powered innovations within their industry and the types of data needed to bolster efficiency and decision-making.

15 Feb 23 - Synthetic Media – Types, Application, & Ethical Ramifications.
Synthetic media came to popular attention for its ability to manipulate perception, especially via deep fake. However, it is more than just deep fakes. Synthetic media is any media generated using artificial intelligence, such as videos, pictures, sounds, texts, or virtual objects. As more business execs incorporate the full potential of synthetic media, its use will dramatically transform various industries and applications, showcasing fantastic results.

15 Feb 23 - UK opens new synthetic training system at RAF Waddington.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced the opening of a new distributed synthetic multi-domain integration training system, referred to as Gladiator.
It has been designed to link different synthetic training devices or simulators to a central hub that can allow operators from various domains and force elements, including land, air, water, cyber and space, to train together in a safe and secure environment.

17 Feb 23 - AI startup using satellite imagery to trace the path of Chinese balloon.
Synthetaic founder Corey Jaskolski said this is a novel way to use commercial imagery to track aerial vehicles.

Synthetic Vendors (Imagery)

24 Feb 23 - Maxar unveils 3D digital twin for VR and simulation.
Maxar Technologies and have collaborated to develop SYNTH3D, a synthetic 3D digital twin of the Earth's surface that is highly compatible and visually pleasing for use in gaming, simulation, entertainment, virtual reality (VR), smart city, and metaverse applications.

Commercial Imagery / Vendors / Satellites / Research / Defense

01 Feb 23 - China Deploys SAMs at Woody Island in the South China Sea: Analyst.
A recently acquired satellite image reveals the existence of a Chinese air defense installation on the Paracel Islands, leading experts to believe that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) now has a permanent presence of surface-to-air missiles in both the disputed South China Sea archipelagos.

01 Feb 23 - IBM and NASA Partner on Earth Science AI Research.
This morning, NASA and IBM announced a partnership that leverages the agency’s suite of geospatial data and historical imagery to generate insights on how the Earth and its climate has changed over time. IBM’s AI will analyze petabytes—that’s thousands of terabytes—of NASA’s Earth science literature and imagery, then make the process and results freely available to researchers.

01 Feb 23 - DARPA wants to push the boundaries of where satellites can fly.
In the fall of last year, DARPA announced that it was looking for new ways to keep satellites operating in the lower edges of space.
DARPA defined Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) as orbits less than 450 km, or roughly 280 miles, in altitude. Low Earth Orbit, by contrast, is 2,000 km or 1,200 miles. The benefits of being in Very Low Earth Orbit include, according to DARPA, “improved spatial resolution for optical imaging, higher signal-to-noise ratios for radar and lidar systems, improved geospatial position accuracy.” These all let cameras and other sensors on the satellite better observe activity on Earth below, and communicate those observations more quickly and accurately.

01 Feb 23 - Exploring New Frontiers: The Rise of CEE Spacetech Companies and Startups.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania ~ with a growing pool of talented engineers and a supportive ecosystem, Central and Eastern Europe is poised for significant growth in the space industry during the next few decades, as regional startups are exploring new frontiers in satellite technology, space exploration, and other spacetech fields.

01 Feb 23 - China launches second possible Type 093B hull.
Planet satellite imagery shows the new hull is 110 m in length, with an approximate beam of 10 m, similar to the seventh Type 093 hull launched in May 2022. After relocation to the fitting-out pier, the hull had a waterline measurement of 105 m.

03 Feb 23 - The IC’s Biggest Open-Source Intelligence Challenge: Mission Creep.
From establishing the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces against innocent civilians in 2012, to documenting war crimes by invading Russian forces in Ukraine in 2022, the past decade has seen the explosion of open-source intelligence (“OSINT”). The discipline draws upon an ocean of (putatively) publicly available data – now ranging from selfies to car registrations to satellite imagery – to perform a kind of forensic analysis that would have been nigh impossible in previous eras.

06 Feb 23 - Turner: Takedown timing of suspected spy balloon ‘like tackling the quarterback after the game is over’.
Mike Turner (R-Ohio) blasted the Biden administration for allowing a suspected Chinese spy balloon to fly across the middle of the U.S. before shooting it down over the Atlantic Ocean, arguing the move was “like tackling the quarterback after the game is over.”

06 Feb 23 - On The Need For A of Near-Earth Object Characterization Constellation In Low-Earth Orbit.
In 2005, the United States Congress passed a bill mandating the detection, tracking, cataloguing and characterization of 90% of the140 meter and larger near-Earth objects (NEOs) by 2020. At the deadline ∼35% were detected, tracked and catalogued, but only a small fraction were characterized.

06 Feb 23 - Seraphim Releases 2023 Space Ecosystem Map.
Seraphim, a leading space VC, has published its 2023 market map, detailing the state of innovation in the in-space economy with an eye on the year ahead.

06 Feb 23 - CACI Enters R&D Agreement With US Army.
CACI has signed an R&D agreement with the U.S. Army to develop advanced payload technologies, space sensor applications, and resilient Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT).CACI is planning to launch a demonstration satellite early this year with two mission payloads, which will demonstrate alternative positioning, navigation, and timing (APNT) and tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. The Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center is interested in evaluating these technologies for military use.

07 Feb 23 - Two Homegrown Satellites Unveiled in Iran.
The two satellites were showcased at a ceremony in Tehran on the occasion of Iran’s National Day of Space. The Nahid-2 telecommunication satellite has been built by the Iranian Space Research Center at the request of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA).
The Tolou-3 satellite is an imaging satellite commissioned by the ISA and produced by Iran Electronics Industries. Tolou-3 is capable of capturing black and white images with a spatial resolution of five meters. It also has a 10-meter resolution in color mode.

08 Feb 23 - Esri Releases New App to Easily View and Analyze Global Land-Cover Changes.
Esri, the global leader in mapping and location intelligence, has now released a new online application, Sentinel-2 Land Cover Explorer. The app is structured around a web-based version of its own high-resolution global land-cover map, derived from European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

08 Feb 23 - Is a space junk disaster inevitable? Another close call.
LeoLabs is a private company that tracks objects as small as four inches (10 cm) in low-earth orbit, from stations in the U.S. and New Zealand. It said that – on the morning of January 27, 2023 – a rocket body passed as close as 19.7 feet (six meters) from a defunct satellite (launched in the late 20th century). That’s knuckle-whitening distance, in orbit! And this near-disaster happened at an altitude of 611 miles (984 km) above Earth’s surface.

08 Feb 23 - S. Korea to Develop Microsatellite System by 2030 to Enhance Security Monitoring.
South Korea plans to develop a microsatellite system by 2030 to better monitor the Korean Peninsula and surrounding waters from space. The microsatellite system will consist of multiple synthetic aperture (SAR) radar satellites and electro-optical satellites.

09 Feb 23 - Motiv Space Systems Selected for Orbital Debris Mitigation.
Motiv Space Systems has been selected by the U.S. Space Force's innovation arm, SpaceWERX, for a Phase 1 STTR to develop robotically aided Active Debris Remediation (ADR) services.

09 Feb 23 - Satellite hack: BAE Systems forecasts major attack within 2023.
The company's head of space security predicts hack via satellite blinding laser, payload hijacking and insider compromise during 2023.

09 Feb 23 - Space Force seeks ideas for potential ‘commercial space reserve’ fleet.
The Space Force today is meeting with officials from other government agencies, and on Friday with industry, to discuss how the Defense Department might build a Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve — a space parallel to the existing air and maritime civil reserve fleets that can be called up by the government in times of crisis or conflict to support military missions.

09 Feb 23 - China starts development of new Fengyun-3 meteorological satellites.
The development of China's 4th batch of Fengyun-3 (FY-3) meteorological satellites has been launched, according to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Upgraded from the FY-1 series, the FY-3 series is the second generation of Chinese polar-orbiting meteorological satellites and is designed to beef up the country's global data acquisition capability to collect more information on cloud and surface characteristics.

09 Feb 23 - Chinese Balloon Had Tools to Collect Electronic Communications, U.S. Says.
The Biden administration provided its most comprehensive description of the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States last week, saying on Thursday that the machine was part of a global surveillance fleet directed by China’s military and was capable of collecting electronic communications.

12 Feb 23 - First Open Cosmos MENUT satellite EO images received.
MENUT – the first Earth Observation (EO) satellite built and launched by Open Cosmos – has returned its first images. MENUT is part of the Open Constellation, a global shared satellite infrastructure built and managed by Open Cosmos. Countries, institutions and companies are able to contribute their own satellites and create the world’s biggest mutualized constellation.

12 Feb 23 - Astronomers Say Chinese Satellite Beamed Green Lasers Over Hawaii.
Astronomers believe the green laser beams spotted over the Hawaiian Islands last month came from a Chinese satellite. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) said in a January 30 tweet that the space agency’s Subaru-Asahi Star Camera on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii captured green laser lights in the cloudy sky over Maunakea, Hawai’i.

13 Feb 23 - How mapping tech, satellite imagery came to the rescue in quake-hit Turkey, Syria.
Real-time artificial intelligence (AI), Geographic Information System (GIS) and a multi-dimensional view of the quake-hit landscape in Turkey is now being extensively employed to visualize and drive relief operations.

13 Feb 23 - Climate ‘teleconnections’ may link droughts and fires across continents.
Large-scale climate patterns that can impact weather across thousands of kilometers may have a hand in synchronizing multicontinental droughts and stoking wildfires around the world, two new studies find. These profound patterns, known as climate teleconnections, typically occur as recurring phases that can last from weeks to years.

13 Feb 23 - NATO initiative to bolster alliance’s space-based data collection.
The “Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space” (APSS) initiative will allow NATO to better support operations and improve intelligence sharing among its commanders by more quickly receiving and transmitting data gathered from a variety of space-based sensors operated by its member-nations, as well as from commercial data and imagery.

14 Feb 23 - Chinese balloons have been ‘transiting’ Middle East, top general says.
Chinese balloons have overflown the Gulf region, a top US general told reporters Monday, a revelation that comes after a 72 hour period which saw the US shoot down three flying objects in American airspace — and acknowledgements from the Pentagon that it has changed how it surveils US territory.

14 Feb 23 - OSINT analysts geolocate Iran’s “secret” underground airbase.
According to the Twitter account of Babakh Tagvaee, the new airbase can be found 120 km northeast of Bandar Abbas closes to highway 92 from Hajjiabad to Shahrake Shahid Rajai, some 30 km west of Tarom, Hormozgan.

14 Feb 23 - Damage at Iran military site hit by drone.
Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press on Friday showed damage done to what Iran describes as a military workshop targeted by Israeli drones, the latest such assault amid a shadow war between the two countries.

14 Feb 23 - White House: "No indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity" with recent takedowns of high-altitude objects.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sought to put to rest any questions about whether recent objects detected in the national airspace are tied to aliens, saying Monday that there is "no indication" of extraterrestrial activity related to the handful of high-altitude objects shot down in a nine-day span.

15 Feb 23 - Satellite Images Reveal Chinese Balloon Bases.
CHINA’S SPY BALLOON took off from a base on Hainan Island along the country’s southern coast, American intelligence reportedly believes. New satellite imagery obtained by researchers shows that the island is home to a balloon launch facility.

15 Feb 23 - NCEI Contributed to Broad Range of Scientific Journals in 2022.
While the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is proud to be known as one of the premier archives of environmental data, there is more goingon than protecting the Nation’s vital data for posterity. In 2022, the research topics published by NCEI SMEs literally ranged from the seafloor to the surface of the sun. NCEI SMEs authored over 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals in 2022.That averages to eight papers a month, and NCEI SMEs were the lead authors in 42% of those papers. The papers were published in 56 different scientific journals.

15 Feb 23 - The International Reference Ionosphere – A Model Ionosphere.
An accurate and reliable description of Earth’s ionosphere is of critical importance because of our increased reliance on satellite technology and the significant impact the ionosphere has on it.

15 Feb 23 - China ramps up surveillance, security threat with new satellite support from Antarctica.
China earlier this month said it would develop new ground stations in Antarctica to support its satellite activity and data collection as concerns mount over Beijing’s surveillance programs and the rising security threats directed at the U.S.

16 Feb 23 - Spurred by Ukraine war, 18 Western countries plan to share remote sensing data.
A group of 17 European nations plus Canada today announced a plan to share intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance data from satellites — spurred by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has highlighted the value of space-based remote sensing for warfighting.

16 Feb 23 - Hainan island: Known as ‘China’s Hawaii,’ the vacation hotspot is also a strategic military base.
It’s known as the “Hawaii of China,” a tropical island paradise where the Chinese middle class enjoys sandy beaches, five-star resorts, and duty-free luxury shopping. But Hainan, China’s southernmost province, is also a strategically important island. And just like Hawaii, it is also home to key military bases. US officials told the New York Times they had been tracking the balloon since it lifted off from Hainan in late January. CNN previously reported that the US began tracking the balloon long before it entered the airspace of Alaska.

16 Feb 23 - Space Command crafting requirements to improve satellite mobility.
As the Pentagon eyes increasing threats in space — from on-orbit debris to enemy spacecraft flying too close for comfort — U.S. Space Command wants its surveillance satellites to be more maneuverable.

16 Feb 23 - First Global Image From NOAA-21’s CrIS Instrument.
Three months after the NOAA-21 satellite launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, an instrument onboard that provides valuable weather forecasting measurements to global weather models sent back its first science data. The data from the new Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument will continue the critical infrared soundings that play an important role in numerical weather prediction.

16 Feb 23 - Astroscale Wins UK MoD Funding to Study Space Domain Awareness Missions.
Astroscale’s U.K. subsidiary has been awarded 100,000 pounds in funding from the UK Ministry of Defense to perform a study on space-based space domain awareness. Astroscale Ltd. will lead the consortium, working with Raytheon NORSS, a business unit within Raytheon UK, and consultancy SJE Space. The study will work to further knowledge of space-based space domain awareness by reviewing current technologies that are used in these missions and analyzing how the tech will progress in the coming decades.

16 Feb 23 - Airbus Defense and Space gross profit down 44.8% on charges for loss of Pleiades satellites and Ariane 6 rocket delays.
Airbus’s Defense and Space division reported a 44.8% decline in pretax profit for 2022 on charges for the loss of two high-resolution optical imaging satellites in a December launch failure and the continued delay in the commercial introduction of the Ariane 6 heavy-lift launcher.

16 Feb 23 - In the News: Student and Staff Researchers Identify Chinese Balloon Launch Sites.
A team of student and staff researchers at the Middlebury Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies is again at the forefront of global security issues. Through satellite imagery, the open-source intelligence (OSINT) group identified a likely site for launching spy balloons on China’s Hainan Island off its southern coast.

16 Feb 23 - Space Compass and Skyloom Finalize Partnership to Bring Optical Data Relay Services to the Earth Observation Market.
Skyloom and Space Compass (a joint venture between NTT and SKY Perfect JSAT) today announced that the companies finalized their partnership, including the launch of SkyCompass-1, their first geostationary-based (GEO) optical data relay node over Asia-Pacific by Q4 2024. The team’s cutting-edge communication and networking systems will serve the rapidly growing Earth-Observation (EO) market for real-time, high-capacity, direct-to-cloud data transfer.

17 Feb 23 - European Startups Hungry for Space Tug Market Share.
Today in Europe, there are no fewer than 13 companies developing or operating orbital transfer vehicles, known in short as OTVs or more colloquially as space tugs.

20 Feb 23 - Space Force considers public-private partnerships to respond to crises.
When the Pentagon was ordered to evacuate U.S. troops and civilians from Afghanistan in 2021, the military’s transportation command called up the nation’s commercial airlines to help with the evacuation. This was a rare instance when DoD activated the
Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), a program set up by the U.S. government with commercial airlines to augment airlift capacity during emergencies. The U.S. Space Force is looking at how to establish similar arrangements with commercial space companies that manufacture satellites, operate launch vehicles and provide services like satellite-based communications and Earth imagery.

20 Feb 23 - Machine Learning Model Boosts Amazon Carbon Storage Estimate.
A collaboration led by an Oregon State University College of Forestry researcher has used very-high-resolution satellite imagery to develop a machine learning model that aims to improve climate scientists’ ability to estimate aboveground carbon stocks in the Amazon. Findings of the study, funded by NASA, were published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management.

21 Feb 23 - Revolutionary Space Debris Removal Mission Advances to Next Phase.
Switzerland-based ClearSpace and its industrial partners have successfully passed their first major program review with the
European Space Agency (ESA) for its ground-breaking mission to remove a large debris object from Earth orbit. With this milestone, ClearSpace has shown the ability to meet the technology requirements this mission demands.

22 Feb 23 - Element 84 Acquires Azavea to Provide Comprehensive, Impact-Focused Geospatial Solutions.
Alexandria, VA-based Element 84 has acquired Philadelphia technology company Azavea, joining forces as a singular professional services firm focused on the open-source geospatial technology ecosystem. The work conducted at Element 84 and Azavea addresses every step in the processing, visualization, and analysis of geospatial and Earth observation data.

22 Feb 23 - NOAA Satellite Captures Images of Powerful Solar Flare.
Satellite imagery captured the moment the sun hurled a powerful solar flare in Earth’s direction, on February 17, according to NASA. This footage, taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES East satellite shows the powerful burst of energy erupting from the sun’s surface.

22 Feb 23 - Satellite photos show expansion of Chinese-funded naval base in Cambodia.
Recent satellite images taken of the coastal area around Sihanoukville, Cambodia, show a significant development of a China-funded naval base that would help Beijing boost its power projection not only in Southeast Asia but also the Taiwan Strait.

23 Feb 23 - U-2 Pilot over Central Continental United States.
A U.S. Air Force pilot looked down at the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovered over the Central Continental United States February 3, 2023.

23 Feb 23 - First look at tropical blooming trees using space satellites.
For the first time, a tropical mass flowering of various tree species was viewed from space using satellite technology. The satellite imagery was analyzed by an international team led by researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

23 Feb 23 - China Reveals New Heavily Armed Extra-Large Uncrewed Submarine.
New evidence points to China's XLUUV (extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicles) being armed with torpedoes. This is a significant leap in this space and, together with a large-scale development program, may be out-pacing the West.

23 Feb 23 - The 10 Hottest Satellite Companies in 2023.
Back for its fifth year, Via Satellite’s 10 Hottest Companies list highlights the “must watch” companies in the satellite sector.

23 Feb 23 - Future focus: Towards better flood and drought monitoring.
Remote sensing experts are opening up access to global and near-real-time observations of the water cycle. Wolfgang Wagner explains how this is improving our understanding of floods, droughts and the challenges posed by climate change.

24 Feb 23 - Accelerating Africa’s Sustainable Development with Geospatial Intelligence.
This article explores the importance of GIS and its application in Africa. It discusses how technological advancements transit geospatial application into intelligence and highlights several modern technologies Africa must invest in to unlock the potential of geospatial intelligence for sustainable development.

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) requested the activation of the international charter on “Space and Major Disasters” at 7:04 a.m. local time. The charter was created by the National Space Research Centre and the European Space Agency in 1999, soon joined by the Canadian Space Agency. Today, 17-member space agencies have joined forces to provide free satellite imagery as quickly as possible over the disaster area.

26 Feb 23 - China ponders microwave weapons as Starlink countermeasure.
A paper in the February edition of Chinese journal Command and Control Simulation, titled "The impact of the 'Starlink' constellation on space situational awareness and countermeasures", was penned by researchers from the People's Liberation Army Space Engineering University in Beijing. The paper also expresses a worry that Starlink satellites could have dual purposes – such as carrying reconnaissance systems for the US military – meaning China needs the ability to degrade their abilities. The paper notes that destroying Starlink satellites would create so much debris that access to space, and operation of satellites, could become tricky. The authors therefore ponder lasers and "high-power microwaves" as means to disable certain satellites.

27 Feb 23 - Mini fridge-sized instrument in space to provide critical data for tracking tropical cyclones.
Two weather instruments are delivering critical weather information at a fraction of the size and cost of satellites. Known as the Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR) and Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems (TEMPEST), the instruments have "exceeded expectations" as trial runs, according to NASA.

Satellite Launches

02 Feb 23 - MOSA-compatible satellite finished, will launch in 2023.
Lockheed Martin has completed the assembly of the first LM 400 multi-mission spacecraft ahead of its first launch later this year, the company announced in a statement. The LM 400 is a mid-sized satellite built to conduct remote sensing, communications, imaging, radar, and persistent surveillance missions for military, civil, or commercial users. It is currently under contract with the U.S. Space Force's MissileTrack Custody program in medium-earth orbit.

02 Feb 23 - New satellite to police carbon dioxide emitters from space.
The first-ever satellite designed to detect emitters of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is set to launch to space this year, promising to provide authorities with a tool to police compliance with emission reduction efforts designed to slow down climate change. The satellite, built by Canada-based company GHGSat, will be able to spot major carbon dioxide sources such as individual coal-fired powerplants and cement production sites.

07 Feb 23 - NISAR: NASA-ISRO Earth Satellite's Science Payload To Be Shipped To Southern India Before Orbital Launch.
The science payload of NISAR, or the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, jointly built by NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to be shipped out to southern India, the Earth science satellite's last stop before it is launched into orbit. NISAR is an Earth-observing mission aimed at making global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging. NASA and ISRO are providing two radars that are optimized to allow the NISAR mission to observe a wide range of surface changes. The mission is expected to be launched in 2024, and has a planned duration of three years.

07 Feb 23 - Orbital Insight launched the TerraScope geospatial intelligence platform.
TerraScope blends computer vision and geolocation sensor data to detect changes, monitor activity, and discover patterns of life at any location.

07 Feb 23 - Europe’s next radar satellite tip-top for flight.
Following its arrival at Thales Alenia Space’s cleanroom facilities in the south of France last October, Europe’s next radar satellite, Copernicus Sentinel-1C, has been put through its paces in a series of tests and demonstrated that it is in tip-top condition for flight.

07 Feb 23 - U.S. Space Force Launches Third Pathfinder Mission to Demonstrate High-Bandwidth Protected Communications.
The U.S. Space Force launched Hispasat‘s Amazonas Nexus satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 6 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla. The Pathfinder 2 mission is the third Pathfinder mission to explore the military use of commercial technologies to allow the provision of affordable, resilient, wideband satellite communications, according to Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC).

09 Feb 23 - India's new rocket flies 1st successful mission, delivering 3 satellites to orbit.
A new Indian rocket successfully delivered three satellites to orbit on Thursday night (Feb. 9), bouncing back from its failed debut flight in August2022. The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) lifted off from India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre Thursday at 10:48 p.m. EST (0348 GMT and 9:18 a.m. local time on Feb. 10), carrying the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO)EOS-07 Earth-observation satellite and two ride-along CubeSats skyward.

12 Feb 23 - Large number of launches planned.
China plans to carry out more than 70 launch missions this year, according to the nation's major space contractors. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the nation's dominant space enterprise, has more than 60 launch missions planned for this year, and it aims to deploy more than 200 spacecraft in orbit, according to the Blue Book of China Aerospace Science and Technology Activities in 2022, which was compiled and published by the company last month.

16 Feb 23 - S. Korea to launch 1st military surveillance satellite in November.
South Korea plans to launch its first military surveillance satellite in November under a project to deploy a total of five such satellites by the mid-2020s, the state arms procurement said Friday. In a briefing to the National Assembly's defense committee, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) unveiled the plan to launch an electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) satellite under the project worth 1.2 trillion won (US$927 million).
Along with the EO/IR satellite, the country seeks to secure four synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ones under the project key to Seoul's efforts to bolster surveillance capabilities and reduce reliance on foreign intelligence sources.

16 Feb 23 - Japan aborts launch of flagship H3 rocket moments before lift off.
Japan on Friday aborted the launch of its first new medium-lift rocket in three decades moments before the H3 vehicle was meant to lift off after secondary booster engines strapped to its side failed to ignite. During the live-streamed event, the H3's main engine cut off after the launch countdown had reached zero, leaving the 57-metre (187 ft) rocket on the ground at the Tanegashima spaceport along with its payload, the ALOS-3 land observation satellite, which is also equipped with an infrared sensor designed to detect North Korean ballistic missiles.

23 Feb 23 - GHGSat to Launch High-Resolution Emission Monitoring Satellites.
GHGSat has announced the upcoming launches of six additional satellites in 2023. The first three are GHGSat satellites, named Mey-Lin (C6), Gaspard (C7)and Océane (C8), which will travel into orbit this Spring onboard SpaceX’s Transporter-7 rideshare mission. GHGSat’s satellite methane sensors combine low detection thresholds and high resolution. Furthermore, industry, governments, and financial services worldwide leverage the timely and frequent insight the monitoring constellation provides to proactively drive reductions in emissions.

26 Feb 23 - Egypt Launches Earth Observation Satellite, Horus-1.
The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) CEO, Prof Sherif Sedky, announced that Egypt had added another Earth observation (EO) satellite to its fleet after successfully launching the Horus-1 satellite into the sun-synchronous polar orbit. Horus-1 was onboard China’s Long March 2C (Chang Zheng 2C), launched successfully on 24 February 2023 from the SLS-2 pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.

26 Feb 23 - ISRO Aditya L-1: Launch Of India's Maiden Solar Mission Slips To December 2023.
ISRO's Aditya-L1 mission will now be launched in December instead of mid-2023, experts revealed at the ongoing IIT BHU workshop. The solar mission named Aditya-L1 is being designed to study the Sun's lesser-known properties such as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and the solar winds which affect the overall space weather.

28 Feb 23 - Rocket Lab Plans Two Launches Days Apart From Two Continents.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc, a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it is preparing to launch two dedicated missions in March from the Company's launch sites in the United States and New Zealand - within days of each other. One Electron rocket is ready and in position at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand to deploy satellites for Spaceflight Inc. customer BlackSky, a real-time geospatial intelligence company. Meanwhile, a second rocket is simultaneously undergoing final launch preparations at Launch Complex 2 in Virginia to deploy satellites for American space tech company Capella Space, the world's leading provider of commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

Orbital Debris

13 Feb 23 - FCC approves Kuiper’s orbital debris mitigation plan.
The FCC approved Kuiper Systems’ updated orbital debris mitigation plan, thereby satisfying a condition of the 2020 approval for Kuiper to deploy and operate its non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite constellation. Kuiper Systems is a subsidiary of Amazon.

20 Feb 23 - Office of Space Commerce examines options for commercial SSA pilot project in LEO.
With one commercial space traffic coordination pilot project successfully completed, the Office of Space Commerce is considering ways to do a similar project in the more challenging environment of low Earth orbit. Speaking at the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference Feb. 8, Richard DalBello, director of the Office of Space Commerce within NOAA, said the office had just completed a two-month project to test the ability to perform space situational awareness in medium and geostationary Earth orbits using only commercial data.

26 Feb 23 - Silent threat looms in space: The menace of space junk.
Space junk can be dangerous because it travels at high speeds and can collide with active satellites or spacecraft, potentially causing damage or even catastrophic failures. In fact, collisions with space debris have been known to cause damage to the International Space Station and other spacecraft in orbit.

27 Feb 23 - The 5 big worries the Commerce Department has about space traffic management.
The Commerce Department is wrestling with a handful of tough issues as it works to flesh out a framework for a future US space traffic management regime, stemming in large part from the “tripling of active spacecraft in orbit” in recent years, according to the senior official responsible for commercial space.

28 Feb 23 - Astroscale Brings In $76M.
Astroscale, a Japanese startup designing orbital debris removal and on-orbit servicing technology, announced Sunday that it has closed a $76M Series G round to accelerate its growth and development. As the world prepares to launch potentially tens of thousands of satellites into LEO in the coming decade, the need for effective space debris management is becoming increasingly obvious. Astroscale’s approach: By building spacecraft that can dock with stray satellites and deorbit them, Astroscale believes that it can make the orbital environment safer for everyone involved.


03 Feb 23 - Chinese surveillance balloon in US airspace causes international stir.
China has confirmed that a massive high-altitude balloon seen over Montana this week was an uncrewed Chinese airship. The balloon was spotted near Billings, Montana, on Wednesday (Feb. 1) as it appeared to be hovering stationary, high in the sky. On Thursday (Feb. 2), U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed that they had detected and are tracking a "high-altitude surveillance balloon" over the continental United States. NORAD stated the balloon poses no physical or military threat to anyone on the ground, according to Cmdr. Gen. Glen VanHerck.

07 Feb 23 - Turkey earthquake prompts United Nations to activate emergency satellite mapping.
The United Nations has activated its emergency mapping satellite service following a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syriaon Monday (Feb. 6). In the wake of the damaging earthquake, the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) announced via Twitter on Monday (Feb. 6) that it has activated its emergency mapping service, which "provides satellite image analysis during humanitarian emergencies related to disasters, complex emergencies and conflict situations."

07 Feb 23 - How fallen space junk could aid the fight against orbital debris.
Up-close inspection of space debris here on Earth is helping scientists better understand the destructive reentry process.

07 Feb 23 - Relativity Space stacks 3D-printed rocket on launch pad ahead of 1st flight.
The 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket from Relativity Space may make its debut flight later this month if all goes to plan.

08 Feb 23 - Mysterious Russian satellite breaks up in orbit, generating cloud of debris.
A mysterious Russian satellite broke apart early last month, creating a cloud of debris that could linger in Earth orbit for a while. The Kosmos 2499spacecraft disintegrated on the night of Jan. 3, according to the U.S. Space Force's 18th Space Defense Squadron (18th SDS), which tracks human-made objects in orbit.

10 Feb 23 - Hurricane-tracking satellites can also keep tabs on harmful microplastics in the ocean.
A satellite system designed to track hurricanes can reveal where damaging microplastics accumulate in the ocean. A new study now reveals why. In 2021, researchers from the University of Michigan and Southwest Research Institute found that spacecraft from the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System can distinguish areas in the ocean with higher concentrations of microplastics.

15 Feb 23 - New satellite photos show surface cracks from devastating Turkey earthquake.
New images from the U.S. Earth-observation company Maxar Technologies
show surface cracks
that appeared when three lithospheric plates that meet in the affected region — the Anatolian, Arabian and African plates — collided on that fateful Monday.

16 Feb 23 - Planetary defense: Protecting Earth from space-based threats.
Planetary defense is the effort to monitor and protect Earth from asteroids, comets and other objects in space.

27 Feb 23 - How many satellites can we safely fit in Earth orbit?
Experts have been sounding alarm bells for years that Earth orbit is getting a bit too crowded. So how many satellites can we actually launch to space before it gets to be too much?

SpaceFlight Now

08 Feb 23 - Russian weather satellite deployed in geostationary orbit.
Russia launched a geostationary weather satellite Feb. 5 on a Proton rocket, heading for a position more than 22,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean to cover Russia’s Far East and the wider Asia-Pacific region. The Elektro-L 4 weather satellite lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:12:52 a.m. EST (0912:52 GMT; 2:12 p.m. Baikonur time), riding a Proton booster into a foggy sky over the snow-covered spaceport in Central Asia.


01 Feb 23 - Space Development Agency issues draft solicitation for 72 satellites.
The Space Development Agency is planning a new procurement of 72 satellites to continue to build out a military constellation in low Earth orbit.
The Space Development Agency (SDA), an organization under the U.S. Space Force, is building a layered network of military satellites. The Transport Layer will serve as a tactical network to move data to users around the world, communicating classified data such as early warnings of missile launches. The agency already has acquired satellites for Tranche 0 and Tranche 1 of the Transport Layer. The new solicitation is for 72 Tranche 2 Beta satellites. The first launch of Tranche 0 satellites is scheduled for March. Tranche 1 would launch in 2024 and Tranche 2 in 2026.

02 Feb 23 - China to build satellite ground stations in Antarctica.
China is to construct new ground station facilities to its Zhongshan research base in Antarctica to support satellite data acquisition.
The antennas will assist data acquisition from Chinese satellites that orbit in polar and near-polar orbits. Satellites in these orbits are visible near the poles multiple times a day, allowing more frequent opportunities for downlink than with stations at lower latitudes.

05 Feb 23 - World View emphasizes remote sensing as it prepares to go public.
World View, the stratospheric ballooning company that announced plans to go public last month, is emphasizing remote sensing, and not tourism, as its primary market for the next several years. The company, which said Jan. 13 it would go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Leo Holdings Corp. II, filed an investor presentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission Feb. 3 that provided new information about its finances and business plans.
In the presentation, the company described how it believed its balloon platform, called a “stratollite,” could compete against satellites and aerial platforms in providing high-resolution imagery for extended periods.

07 Feb 23 - Space industry undeterred by congestion and debris.
More than 6,000 satellites are orbiting the Earth and 33,000 are projected to launch over the next decade. There are also tens of thousands of inactive objects, or space junk, requiring satellites today to have to maneuver through crowded debris fields. But the space industry does not expect its growth to be dampened by congestion or by a doom-and-gloom narrative, executives said Feb. 7 at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View, California.

07 Feb 23 - Space Force touts benefits of deploying military payloads on commercial satellites.
Pathfinder 2 will give the U.S. military access to communications services during the entire lifetime of Hispasat’s Amazonas Nexus.

08 Feb 23 - Firefly’s first U.S. Space Force launch targeted for May.
The chief executive of Firefly Aerospace Bill Weber said Feb. 7 the company is preparing to launch its first mission for the U.S. Space Force in May. The mission will attempt to demonstrate industry capabilities to send a payload to orbit on 24 hours’ notice.

08 Feb 23 - DoD procurement of space tech is evolving, but pace of change is slow.
There is a major push at high levels of the Pentagon to change the procurement culture, including efforts by the Space Force to use commercial services instead of building satellites in-house. “But this change is not just something that’s going to happen overnight,” Lt. Col. Nicholas Estep, program manager at the Defense Innovation Unit, said during a panel discussion at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View, California.

09 Feb 23 - Artificial intelligence aiding the space business across the board.
Space companies are finding new ways to exploit artificial intelligence for commercial and national security applications, executives said Feb. 8 at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View, California. “Whether you’re running a constellation or operating any space system, AI is paramount,” said Alvaro Alonso Ruiz, co-founder of Leanspace, a French startup building a cloud infrastructure to run space missions.

10 Feb 23 - House and Senate plan new NASA authorization bills.
In a Feb. 10 speech at the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said a multiyear authorization was needed even though Congress included a NASA authorization act in the CHIPS and Science Act, a broad science and technology bill, that was enacted last year.

10 Feb 23 - Loft Orbital creates new subsidiary for government and defense.
Space infrastructure startup Loft Orbital has formed a new subsidiary, Loft Federal, focused on the U.S. national security market, the company announced Feb.10. In a social media post, Loft Orbital said the “creation of this new entity enables us to maintain our culture and expand our work and partnership with the federal government.”
Loft Orbital is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and has operations in Toulouse, France. The company said it is actively recruiting workers for Loft Federal, based in Golden, Colorado.

11 Feb 23 - White House reviewing input on mission authorization concepts.
The National Space Council is continuing work on a proposed framework for regulating commercial space activities that is being watched closely by both industry and Congress.

14 Feb 23 - DoD can ‘tune’ space surveillance sensors to track spy balloons.
As the Pentagon continues to recover the remnants of the Chinese spy balloon shot down Feb. 4 off the coast of South Carolina, the Biden administration is forming an interagency group to investigate these aerial surveillance objects and study options for their detection and analysis. One of those options would be to “tune” the U.S. military’s space surveillance sensors to help detect high-altitude aerial surveillance platforms in the upper layer of the atmosphere, John Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, said Feb. 14.

15 Feb 23 - Maxar moves to close deal with Advent after receiving no competing offers.
The $6.4 billion acquisition of Maxar Technologies by the private equity firm Advent International remains on track to close in mid-2023 following completion of a 60-day “go shop” period when other offers could have been considered.

15 Feb 23 - Pentagon working with Congress on unclassified space strategy.
Congress directed DoD and the director of national intelligence to “make publicly available a strategy regarding defending and protecting on-orbit satellites”

16 Feb 23 - Analyst: U.S. military space budget likely to get another boost in 2024.
The Biden administration in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 is likely to seek a significant increase for the U.S. Space Force, the National Security Space Association’s head of legislative affairs Mike Tierney said Feb. 16. The White House is expected to release the president’s federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 on March 9.

17 Feb 23 - First Launcher orbital transfer vehicle fails.
Launch services startup Launcher said its first orbital transfer vehicle failed shortly after deployment on a launch last month, but that it will fly upgraded versions of the vehicle later this year. In a Feb. 16 statement, Launcher said its Orbiter SN1 vehicle malfunctioned shortly after deployment from a Falcon 9 rocket on the Transporter-6 rideshare mission Jan. 3 when it could not properly orient itself so that its solar cells could generate power. Launcher announced development of Orbiter in 2021 to move satellites to their desired orbits after launch.

17 Feb 23 - Peraton wins NOAA contract.
Peraton won a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contract with a potential value of nearly $400 million to provide ground services for polar-orbiting weather satellites. Under the Low Earth Orbit Ground Sustainment Services contract announced Feb. 17, Herndon, Virginia-based Peraton will support and maintain the Joint Polar Satellite System Common Ground Services. JPSS CGS offers communications links for satellites operated by NOAA as well as the agency’s U.S. government and international partners.

20 Feb 23 - Secretive military space agency stepping out of the shadows.
When a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched a national security mission to geostationary Earth orbit Jan. 15, the Space Force revealed that three of the payloads onboard were developed by one of its most secretive agencies, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office.

21 Feb 23 - FAA forecasts surging commercial launch activity.
The Federal Aviation Administration forecasts that commercial launches it licenses could more than double in the next several years, putting an additional strain on the handful of spaceports that host them. The forecast was included in a National Spaceports Policy report that the FAA submitted to Congress earlier in the month. The report, required by a provision of the 2018 FAA reauthorization act, was designed to evaluate space transportation needs and propose policies for supporting spaceport development.

21 Feb 23 - The growing Chinese space threat.
The recent Chinese spy balloon scare has attracted the attention of a bipartisan coalition in Congress, which is concerned about just how robust China’s satellite and intelligence operations are.

24 Feb 23 - New Chinese commercial spaceport to host first launch next year.
A launch tower for commercial launches will be completed by the end of the year near China’s coastal Wenchang spaceport and begin hosting regular missions in 2024. Construction and commissioning of the first launch station at Hainan Commercial Launch Site will be completed by the end of this year, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
stated Jan. 29.

25 Feb 23 - Commercial space a key topic for National Space Council advisory group.
The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) of the council met Feb. 23 for the first time since the White House announced a new membership roster for the group in December. The meeting was largely focused on planning by the UAG and its six subcommittees on topics ranging from national security to education.

25 Feb 23 - Space Force looks to energize industry with next round of launch contracts.
Anywhere from 60 to 70 missions are projected for the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 procurement.

27 Feb 23 - Air Force navigation satellite to launch on Vulcan’s first national security mission.
A U.S. Space Force mission carrying a navigation satellite to geostationary Earth orbit has been confirmed as the first national security launch of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket. USSF-106 will carry the Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3), an experiment funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory and billed as the future GPS. NTS-3, made by L3Harris, will broadcast positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) signals from geostationary Earth orbit. It will seek to demonstrate next-generation PNT technologies for the U.S. military and provide an alternative to GPS.

28 Feb 23 - Industry group to examine potential security threats in cislunar space.
The Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or Space ISAC, is forming a group to focus on the security threats the United States could face in cislunar space outside Earth orbit. Based in Colorado Springs, the nonprofit Space ISAC was founded in 2019 to facilitate collaboration across the space industry to prepare for and respond to cyberattacks and other threats.

Questions about Commercial Innovation Center (CIC)