Slingshot Aerospace, a technology company focused on enhancing spaceflight safety and optimizing orbital operations, announced a significant expansion to its Slingshot Global Sensor Network’s low-Earth orbit (LEO) tracking capabilities. This expansion aims to establish the largest commercial optical sensor network in the world for observing LEO objects on a large scale.

By the end of 2023, Slingshot plans to deploy over 80 new optical sensors, including their proprietary telescopes and ultra-wide field-of-view sensors. This expansion will bring the total number of sensors in the network to more than 200, distributed across over 20 locations worldwide. As part of this expansion, two new sites will be added in the Southern Hemisphere, and additional sensors will be installed at existing sites globally.

The increased capacity of the network will enable Slingshot to conduct 100 times more LEO observations daily, resulting in over one million observations per day. This expansion will enhance the company’s ability to track and monitor LEO objects, contributing to improved spaceflight safety and more efficient orbital operations.

Slingshot Aerospace’s efforts aim to advance the field of space observation and facilitate a better understanding of the activities and dynamics in low-Earth orbit.

The rapid deployment of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations has created an urgent need for more frequent tracking and characterization of objects in LEO. Slingshot Aerospace is addressing this need through its global network of sensors, which will significantly improve observation frequency, accelerate revisit rates, and enable persistent optical tracking of the over 6,500 active satellites currently in LEO.

Melanie Stricklan, Co-founder and CEO of Slingshot Aerospace emphasized that the company’s enhanced space situational awareness data is already trusted by government organizations and satellite operators worldwide. With this expansion, Slingshot aims to become the leading commercial space surveillance and tracking provider for all orbital regimes. The increased capabilities of the Global Sensor Network will provide operators with critical insights and enable successful space operations.

The Slingshot Global Sensor Network generates precise angular and brightness data that goes beyond existing LEO radar tracking capabilities. Angular data allows for enhanced orbital state generation, providing information on how objects are moving. Brightness data enables object characterization and change detection. Leveraging proprietary sensors with daytime LEO tracking capabilities, the network offers five times more observation opportunities than night-only systems. This extended observation window allows customers to have more frequent observations of their satellites and objects of interest. Additionally, the expansion adds redundancy to the network, mitigating intermittent weather outages typically associated with smaller electro-optical observation networks.

Slingshot Aerospace’s Global Sensor Network is the foundation for its groundbreaking service, Slingshot Vantage. This service, the world’s first and only day and night optical satellite tracking and monitoring service from low-Earth orbit (LEO) to geostationary orbit (GEO), empowers government and commercial customers worldwide to enhance their space situational awareness. It offers high-quality observations, orbital analytics, and event detection, providing customers with best-in-class insights.

The data collected through the Global Sensor Network also fuels Slingshot Digital Space TwinTM, which serves as the intelligence core for Slingshot’s product portfolio. This includes Slingshot Beacon, an innovative two-sided coordination and data-sharing solution for satellite collision avoidance, which is the first of its kind in the industry.

Slingshot Aerospace has recently expanded its executive team with two key appointments. Leslie Hildebrand, a former executive at Lockheed Martin, has been appointed as the Senior Vice President of Government Business Development and Strategy. Hildebrand brings over 23 years of experience in strategic business development to her new role. Pieter Kreuk has been named Chief Financial Officer, leveraging his extensive financial leadership experience gained through senior positions at Ernst & Young and other companies.

By expanding its Global Sensor Network and strengthening its executive team, Slingshot Aerospace remains at the forefront of innovation in the space industry, driving progress and making space safer for all stakeholders.

Thuraya, a company owned by Yahsat, has recently launched an upgraded multi-language software for Thuraya MarineStar, its maritime voice, tracking, and monitoring solution. The announcement about the software upgrade was made on April 25th. Since its initial release in 2019, Thuraya has already sold over 29,000 MarineStar devices across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The new 2.0 ML firmware for MarineStar enhances its capabilities in geofencing, air programming, tracking, monitoring, fish catch reporting, and integration. It also introduces support for seven languages. Notably, the firmware update includes a new reporting mechanism for fishing and port call status, benefiting both vessel owners and maritime port authorities. This feature allows for analysis of fishing locations and the duration of fishing activities, helping to reduce the risk of overfishing and ensure compliance with national and international regulations for sustainable fishing practices.

Sulaiman Al Ali, Chief Commercial Officer of Yahsat, expressed the company’s commitment to customer-centric innovation, providing efficient and affordable technology tailored to the day-to-day needs of businesses. The new MarineStar software aims to give users a competitive advantage in the marine communications market, offering unrivaled capabilities. Yahsat is dedicated to developing state-of-the-art technological solutions that advance the maritime and fishing industries and contribute to the growth of a sustainable blue economy.

Thuraya, has also entered into a partnership with Cobham SATCOM to offer a range of next-generation broadband products for land, aeronautical, and maritime users. The agreement, announced on Monday, designates Cobham as a primary distributor, on a non-exclusive basis, for Thuraya’s Next Generation Broadband Products (NGBP) for a minimum period of five years.

The partnership will come into effect with the commencement of commercial operations on Thuraya 4-NGS, which is expected to be launched in the second half of 2023. According to the companies, the agreement has the potential to generate over $80 million in service revenue for Thuraya.

Ali Al Hashemi, CEO of Yahsat, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, highlighting Cobham’s strong commitment to the success of the Thuraya 4-NGS program. He stated that the partnership allows them to leverage Cobham’s unique capabilities and expertise, enhancing the value they can jointly deliver to distribution partners and end customers.

This collaboration between Thuraya and Cobham aims to provide advanced broadband solutions and expand their offerings in the land, aeronautical, and maritime sectors.

Intellian and OneWeb have conducted a successful demonstration of Intellian’s flat panel user terminal operating on OneWeb’s commercial network. The demonstration showcased the terminal’s ability to achieve maximum download and upload speeds supported by the OneWeb system in full duplex mode, with seamless beam and satellite handovers.

The event took place at Intellian’s advanced development center in Maryland and utilized Intellian’s small form-factor electronically scanned array (ESA) user terminal. Following the successful demonstration, Intellian confirmed its plans to enter production of the terminal in the fourth quarter of this year.

Intellian’s President and CEO, Eric Sung, expressed satisfaction with the over-the-air demonstration, emphasizing the validation of their ESA technology and the progress towards launching integrated products that will benefit all of OneWeb’s commercial customers. Sung also highlighted Intellian’s new manufacturing campus in Korea, launched in 2022, which enables the delivery of products at an impressive scale while ensuring quality assurance for their partners.

OneWeb has been steadily deploying its Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, including a recent launch conducted by SpaceX on January 10th. The company has successfully deployed over 80% of its initial constellation and is already providing commercial services in collaboration with distribution partners in regions such as Alaska, Canada, the U.K., Greenland, and the wider Arctic area. The company has plans to expand its services further across the United States, southern Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and other locations including Africa.

In a separate development, Intellian has made an announcement regarding the expansion of its XEO series of VSAT antennas. This expansion includes the introduction of the X100D model this month, and there are plans to release the X150D model in the third quarter of the year.

Intellian Technologies unveiled the latest details of their electronically scanned array (ESA) technology at SATELLITE 2023 on Monday, March 13. The company’s full-duplex ESA user terminal, named OW11FL, is specifically designed to operate on the OneWeb satellite network. Production of this terminal is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2023.

The OW11FL user terminal boasts a low-profile and weatherized antenna, catering to the connectivity needs of enterprise customers. Intellian’s ESA product aims to facilitate connectivity in remote communities with limited infrastructure, enabling cellular backhaul solutions and installations on critical first responder vehicles.

In addition to the OW11FL, Intellian also introduced two customer user terminals tailored exclusively for SES’s O3b mPOWER communication system. The mP85 and mP240 terminals, expected to be delivered this year, are designed to serve SES’s telecommunications, enterprise, and cloud customers.

Eric Sung, President and CEO of Intellian Technologies, emphasized the significance of this milestone, highlighting their position as a leading technological innovator in the satcoms industry. Sung also underlined Intellian’s commitment to maintaining production in their state-of-the-art facilities, enabling them to deliver high-quality products with meticulous control over their supply chain.

On Monday, Gilat Satellite Networks announced that it had received significant multimillion-dollar orders for its platforms and terminals from Intelsat, expanding their deals to support in-flight connectivity (IFC) and cellular backhaul. These orders will enable Intelsat to serve additional aircraft and increase managed services for mobile network operators (MNOs), according to the companies.

The technology will be used to meet demand for IFC, cellular backhaul, and other applications in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Europe, increasing network capacity over IS-40e, IS-46, and E10B. Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Network and Media at Intelsat, said that Gilat’s platforms continue to prove themselves as a system that allows Intelsat to streamline IFC and cellular backhaul service fulfillment worldwide.

The specific platforms and terminals ordered were not disclosed by Gilat, but Intelsat has previously ordered the SkyEdge II-c and SkyEdge IV for IFC services from the company in the past year and a half.

Gilat Satellite Networks has been awarded follow-on orders from SES for their SkyEdge IV VSAT platform. These multimillion-dollar orders are in support of SES’s O3b mPOWER constellation and the recently launched satellite, SES-17. The new orders will expand SES and Gilat’s presence in various sectors, including maritime mobility, cellular backhaul, and fixed data. The SkyEdge IV platform will be deployed at additional gateways worldwide.

The SkyEdge IV VSAT platform is specifically designed to cater to the evolving satellite connectivity ecosystem. It is capable of operating across multiple orbits, including software-defined satellites, and supports various use cases such as fixed and mobile connections, 5G, and IoT.

Amir Yafe, Vice President of Mobility & Global Accounts at Gilat, expressed pride in providing SES with the advanced SkyEdge IV platform to support their multi-orbit business objectives. By working together as strategic partners, they aim to actively address the increasing demand for satellite communication services worldwide, serving both fixed and mobile applications.

The announcement of these orders was made by Gilat on September 6, and the financial terms were not disclosed.