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Australia’s competition watchdog agency ruled out the idea of Telstra buying the National Broadband Network. Telstra created a division known as InfraCo final 12 months as a way of shopping for the $51 billion publicly funded communications firm, which operates two satellites. Competing telecommunications suppliers Singtel Optus and Vodafone Australia welcomed the Australian Competitors and Client Fee’s stance blocking Telstra and different corporations. Australian Communications Minister Paul Fletcher additionally rejected the concept of Telstra shopping for NBN, saying legislation blocks NBN ownership by a vertically integrated telco. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Aircraft-tracking company Aireon launched a free emergency response service. The corporate’s Plane Location and Emergency Response Monitoring, or ALERT, system gives the last-known location of any plane outfitted with an ADS-B transponder. The Irish Aviation Authority, considered one of Aireon’s buyers, is offering employees to function the free service. Aireon makes use of a community of sensors hosted on Iridium satellites to trace plane over oceans and different locations past the attain of terrestrial radar. Greater than 193 clients, together with airways, air navigation service suppliers, and search-and-rescue companies, are utilizing the ALERT service, which opened for pre-registration final August. [Avionics International]
Globalstar has purchased a license from one of its suppliers for a solar-powered asset tracking device. The Louisiana-based satellite tv for pc operator paid Carmanah Applied sciences Company $700,000 for a “perpetual license” to its SmartOne Photo voltaic mental property, together with manufacturing gear and different belongings. Globalstar and Carmanah signed a provider settlement in August 2016, via which Carmanah designed and constructed the Web-of-Issues units for Globalstar. [Globalstar]
A startup developing a line of drag sails to deorbit satellites received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from NASA. Vestigo Aerospace mentioned it should additional product improvement via the six-month, $125,000 examine. The corporate will collaborate with Purdue College’s House Flight Tasks Laboratory on the undertaking. Vestigo’s founder David Spencer is a Purdue alumnus and affiliate professor at Purdue’s Faculty of Engineering. [Purdue University]
The FCC will release draft regulations this week intended to streamline the licensing of small satellites. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, talking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce occasion Tuesday, mentioned the laws will make licensing small satellites cheaper and sooner with the intention to higher match the fee and tempo at which smallsat operators typically perform. Pai mentioned the streamlined laws, as proposed, will apply to satellites 180 kilograms or much less with a most lifetime of six years. Business has sought such streamlining, noting that laws at present deal with smallsats the identical as a lot bigger, dearer satellites. [SpaceNews]
Inmarsat says its contract with Airbus Defence and Space for three Inmarsat-7 satellites is open-ended, leaving the choice to purchase many extra satellites. Peter Hadinger, Inmarsat’s chief expertise officer, mentioned the corporate’s plan is first to attain international protection with the Inmarsat-7s with three satellites, then add capability via extra satellites. “Now we have each expectation that we are going to be getting extra of those spacecraft going ahead,” he mentioned. Whereas Inmarsat and Airbus have a partnership round satellite tv for pc manufacturing, Hadinger mentioned that doesn’t imply Inmarsat will exclude different producers in its buy selections. [SpaceNews]
Development of “self-driving” spacecraft could be more difficult than for self-driving cars. To organize for self-driving automobiles, mobility corporations have spent greater than a decade gathering information from hundreds of automobiles outfitted with cameras and different sensors. No comparable database exists for corporations or authorities companies aiming to offer spacecraft extra autonomy. Synthetic intelligence affords the promise of enabling spacecraft to autonomously reply to threats and share data with different satellites in a constellation, however spacecraft operators will solely embrace AI once they believe it won’t create new issues. [SpaceNews]
Amazon says it will be able to provide service with its proposed Kuiper Systems constellation after launching less than a fifth of the total system. The corporate’s FCC submitting said that its first wave of 578 satellites would supply web service in two bands between 39 and 56 levels latitude each north and south of the equator. Subsequent waves would supply service at decrease latitudes. Amazon mentioned that satellites in its deliberate orbits ought to decay naturally inside 10 years in the event that they fail, however that it might search to deorbit satellites inside a 12 months of the tip of their lives. [SpaceNews]
Companies like Amazon planning satellite megaconstellations need to follow three rules, experts say. One is to develop new expertise shortly, utilizing speedy iteration to advance key techniques. One other rule is make selective use of automation within the manufacturing and operation of satellites. The ultimate rule is to just accept a point of failure in satellite tv for pc techniques, notably within the early stage of their improvement. [SpaceNews]
SpaceNews Senior Workers Author Jeff Foust contributed to this text.