Shorts Cuts: MDA’s Blockbuster Deal, Deep Space Industries Update, GHGSat New Satellites, SmallSat Launch Availability and More

Credit: SpaceQ.

In this weeks Short Cuts we talk about another blockbuster deal by MDA in the acquisition of DigitalGlobe, Deep Space Industries revenue revealed, GHGSat confirms it will acquire two more satellites, the Canadian Space Agency wants your input on technology development and more.

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MDA to Acquire DigitalGlobe Strengthening its U.S. Position

It turns out the acquisition of Space Systems Loral (SSL) in 2012 was just the opening act in MDA’s U.S. strategy. Today the company announced that it was acquiring DigitalGlobe for $3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion) in shares and cash. The deal includes taking on DigitalGlobe’s $1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in net debt. Both companies reported their 2016 revenue today, which when combined, is just over $3 billion.

WorldView-4’s first public image, taken on November 26, features the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Shibuya, Tokyo. The site hosted events during the 1964 Olympic Games and will again host international competition when the games return to Tokyo in 2020
WorldView-4’s first public image, taken on November 26, features the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Shibuya, Tokyo. The site hosted events during the 1964 Olympic Games and will again host international competition when the games return to Tokyo in 2020. Credit: DigitalGlobe.

Deep Space Industries Revenue Revealed and They’re a Part of Two Winning NASA Proposals

Recently we wrote about Daniel Faber leaving Deep Space Industries (DSI) and including some information on their revenues. Well it turns out they generated more than was publicly known. According to Faber on his LinkedIn profile, the company has generated US$10 million in revenue.

“As the former CEO of Deep Space Industries, Mr. Faber built a solid technology business, aggressively advancing a vision of delivering off-earth resources to the space economy. Under his leadership, the company released its first products with significant customer traction, grew sales from zero to nearly $10 million, changed global perceptions and regulations around space resources, and positioned DSI to systematically create and commercialize all the technology necessary for mining asteroids.”

Earlier this week DSI was a part of two winning proposals selected by NASA  as part of their new public-private partnerships to advance U.S. commercial space capabilities. DSI was a part of these two proposals;

  • Trans Astronautica Corporation, Lake View Terrace, California – Theia: Synthetic Tracking Demonstration for Commercial, NASA and Other Government Agency Applications to Space Situational Awareness, Planetary Defense, and Asteroid In Situ Resource Utilization

Addressing a potential need for increased space situational awareness, this orbital demonstration mission will seek to detect near-Earth asteroids and orbital debris through a new technique that helps detect small, fast-moving objects that are dimly lit. Working with Deep Space Industries of Moffett Field, California, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Trans Astronautica will test a synthetic tracking system that detects objects streaking though its field of view and then, working in a way analogous to HDR imagery, builds a composite image of the object.

  • ExoTerra Resource, Littleton, Colorado – 300-Watt CubeSat Solar Electric Propulsion Demonstrator

Opportunities to launch as secondary payloads offer an affordable way to get small spacecraft into orbit, but safety restrictions on launching with energetic and pressurized materials often prevents those spacecraft from carrying significant propulsion capabilities. ExoTerra will flight test a 300-watt solar electric propulsion system that uses iodine in place of xenon gas. Iodine can be launched as an inert solid and then vaporized into an ionized gas once in orbit, which removes the risk to the launch vehicle. Launching as a dense solid instead of a gas also increases the amount of propellant that can be stored in the same volume on the spacecraft. ExoTerra’s demonstration mission will attempt a flyby of a near-Earth asteroid with an instrumentation payload provided by Deep Space Industries of Moffett Field, California.

What Space Technology Should the Canadian Space Agency Fund?

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has issued a Letter of Interest (LOI) soliciting ideas from the space community for the Space Technology Development Program (STDP) before a potential Request for Proposals (RFP) is issued. This is a refreshing departure from recent STDP solicitations.

Although the timeframe to respond is short, two weeks from the notice, which was February 15, it does allow those interested in having a say in what may be considered for the potential RFP.

Canadian Space Technology Space Technology Development Program
Copyright: SpaceRef Canada Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

GHGSat Orders New Satellites

From GHGSat: GHGSat has started work on two new satellites, called GHGSat-C1 and GHGSat-C2. The satellites will share the same design but will stagger manufacturing for planned launches in H2 2018 and H1 2019. These satellites are indicative of the strong market response to GHGSat products and services in just 8 months after launch of GHGSat’s demonstration satellite, Claire.

TRAPPIST-1 Is Another Exciting Star System as We Hunt for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds

Today NASA announced another exciting find in its quest to find exoplanets and habitable worlds. TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star 40 light-years from space and today astronomers announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets, three of which are in the star’s habitable zone and could host oceans of surface water.

This artist's concept allows us to imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f, located in the TRAPPIST-1 system in the constellation Aquarius
This artist’s concept allows us to imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f, located in the TRAPPIST-1 system in the constellation Aquarius. Credit: NASA.

ESA Announcement of Opportunity for the Launch of Multiple Light Satellites on a Vega Flight

This demonstration provides the first of the launch opportunities under the new Light satellite, Low-cost Launch opportunity (LLLor L3) Initiative initiated at the ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level in December 2016 with the aim to provide low-cost and regular launch services for European Institutional light satellites through full exploitation of the Ariane 6 and Vega C launch systems’ capabilities.

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About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactice Inc. Boucher has 18 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 25 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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