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An artist’s conception of ARABSAT-6A. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

With the participation of nine Arab countries, headed by Saudi Arabia, Arabsat is to hold its Board of Directors meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT) will hold its 160th Board of Directors meetings in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 3-4, 2018, under the chairmanship of Dr. Nasser Al-Hujailan, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information in Saudi Arabia.

Khalid Balkheyour, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arabsat, said, “This meeting will discuss the results of 2017 as well as the estimated budget for the coming year 2018.” He also added, “Arabsat is preparing now to launch two new satellites in 2018 to complete its 6th generation satellites project, which consists of four satellites.”

The post Nine Arabsat Member States to Attend Board Meeting in Istanbul appeared first on SpaceWatch Middle East.

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Fortunato De la Peña, Secretary of Science and Technology in the Philippines. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines is on the verge of creating a national space agency in 2018.

According to the Filipino Secretary of Science and Technology Fortunata de la Peña, the national space agency will be formed “as soon as the laws are passed.”

The Congress of the Philippines have created House Bill 3637 and Senate Bill 1211, also known as the Philippine Space Act of 2016, filed in 2017 by lawmakers. These bills lay the legislative foundations for the establishment of a Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and the Philippine Space Agency.

Once established by law, all research and development projects conducted across Filipino government agencies to do with space science and technology will be consolidated under the space agency. The aim of this move is to strengthen Filipino national security, disaster preparedness and management, and climate change resiliency.

Also under development is DIWATA-2, the second and improved version of the country’s first microsatellite DIWATA-1, which will be launched in the second quarter of 2018.

The launch of DIWATA-2 is being timed so that it can replace DIWATA-1, which will come to the end of its expected operational lifetime in late 2018.

DIWATA-1 was built by nine Filipino engineers of the PHL-Microsat team funded by the DOST. It was placed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) on April 27, 2016.

DIWATA-1 has four cameras sensors: the High Precision Telescope (HPT), space-borne multispectral imager, a wide field camera, and a mid-field camera. These sensors are designed to capture high-resolution images primarily for disaster monitoring.

DIWATA-2 will have the same sensors but with enhanced resolution and an amateur radio unit for alternative means of communication. This could be used for disaster monitoring, according to Leonard Paet, part of the 11-man PHL-Microsat team building DIWATA-2 in cooperation with the Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan.

DIWATA-1 passes over the Philippines at least 45 times a day and has since captured 844 images of the different parts of the country, almost completing a satellite imagery map of the Philippines.

The post Philippines To Focus on Space Agency and Satellites in 2018 appeared first on SpaceWatch Middle East.

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Joseph Weiss, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries. Photograph courtesy of IAI.

As he approaches six years as President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and retirement age, and following a long series of managerial positions held at IAI during more than 20 years, Joseph Weiss has informed the Company’s board of directors of his decision to step down from his position after a new CEO is identified and an orderly succession process has taken place.

Weiss was named President and CEO of IAI, Israel’s largest Aerospace Corporation in 2012. During his tenure, he has led the company to many accomplishments, primarily through the increase in the number of new contracts signed across the globe to unprecedented record of U.S.$5.5 billion in contracts in the past year and all-time record order backlog of over U.S.$11 billion.

Mr. Weiss thanked the past and present chairmen and members of the board for trusting him to guide IAI to significant business expansion, opening of new markets, and aligning huge global contracts in face of fierce competition with multinational giants and for taking it to unusual technological heights. During Mr. Weiss’ term, IAI has also become Israel’s largest high tech corporation. These accomplishments come in addition to implementing a far reaching growth plan that includes streamlining, payroll reductions, and refining the business focus.

“I end my term as the CEO of Israel’s largest defense company, which is also the country’s largest high tech company, in a year which is one of the most successful and turbulent in its history. The achievements of the past year allow IAI to start the coming decade well prepared for global competition and highly esteemed as an innovative and leading technology company. I am proud to leave behind me robust technological and business infrastructure and corporate culture aligned with the evolving competitive climate. This infrastructure comprises our greatest asset: human capital of employees and executives. It is with great pride and satisfaction that I hand over the helm to the next generation of talented managers. I am confident they will take IAI even farther, preserve and grow its huge contribution to Israel’s security and economy,” said Weiss.

A search committee will be established within the next few weeks to select a new CEO for IAI. Mr. Weiss has agreed with the chairman of the board, Harel Locker, that he will remain at the helm until a new CEO is appointed, and as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition in all aspects of the Company’s multiple and diversified operations.

Harel Locker, IAI’s chairman said, “Reaching retirement age is a major milestone in everyone’s life, and even more so when you assume responsibility of the scope Joseph Weiss had. On behalf of the board of directors and all the company, I would like to thank Joseph for six very significant years as President and CEO of Israel’s leading defense and technological company, and for 20 years of outstanding career at IAI. He has skillfully navigated the complex operations of IAI in face of huge challenges. IAI’s accomplishments under Weiss’s leadership are impressive by any standard and its massive contribution to Israel’s security and economy has grown significantly. We will continue to walk the road outlined by Weiss so as to secure the Company’s foothold in the global markets and its continued growth.”

The post IAI’s Joseph Weiss To Step Down As CEO After Six Years In Charge appeared first on SpaceWatch Middle East.

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Wow. It’s been a busy year at SpaceWatch Middle East, but it’s also been a very rewarding one as the team has seen the platform grow form literally nothing to a publication that has earned a following that we could never have dreamed of and interest from all over the world.

An artist’s conception of the Airbus-built Sentinel-2B remote sensing satellite.

To us, space and the impact that is has on humanity, is what drives us forward. We are coming closer than ever to space, making it part of our life on Earth. Space influences the geopolitics of our world. It is present in our daily lives, whether we realise this or not. It also holds our future. Our content – independent and all-embracing – is what has made SpaceWatch Middle East so unique and we are looking forward to delivering more of the same in the coming year.

You, our Readers are the foundation of our magazine, and we love to hear your opinions on our content so please do keep your emails coming. This magazine is a collaborative effort, so if there is something that you think we should be covering, let us know.

Over the past year, the Middle East region has made it very clear that space is going to form a big part of the region’s future. Countries such as Israel, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates are all going to be very active in space. Some may be launching communications satellites to deliver essential services such as the telecommunications, Internet and broadcast services. Others are

NASA’s Terra satellite captures a dust storm off of the west coast of Morocco. Image courtesy of NASA.

looking at exploring other planets. Take, for example, the ambitious UAE activities. Firstly, there’s the Hope Mission which seeks to explore Mars. Then there is the announcement of the coordination of human settlements on Mars by 2117; the UAE Astronaut programme that seeks 4 astronauts to go to the International Space Station within 5 years; YahSat’s upcoming AlYah-3 spacecraft and the first UAE cubesat, Nayif-1. All these activities are coordinated under the new UAE Space Policy. These are very different objectives, but all highly significant for the UAE’s position in the space race and to stimulate and inspire the youth to be part of it. Finally it is worth to mention that UAE’s MBRSC was awarded to host the International Astronautical Congress 2020 in Dubai, the first IAC in the arab world.

And it’s not just the Middle East. In Africa, a region that SpaceWatch has also broadened its focus to in 2017, there have been huge developments in space and many emerging countries that are engaged in or planning space activities such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. Our post about the Ethiopian plans to go to space gained over 9,000 views – the most viewed post in 2017.

Image courtesy of the Secure World Foundation.

This year, we have partnered with and carried analysis from two standout sources: The Precis and the Secure World Foundation. The Secure World Foundation aims to work with governments, industry, international organisations, and civil society to develop and promote ideas and actions to achieve the secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of outer space benefiting Earth and all its peoples. The Précis is a quarterly space law and policy report produced by Space Law & Policy Solutions, run by the prominent space lawyer and friend of SpaceWatch Middle East, Michael J. Listner. We look forward to including more of their expert analysis and others on the many aspects of the space environment as we go forward.

As the magazine has grown we have also welcomed further extremely valuable analytical contributions and we would like to thank Dr. Olga Stelmakh-Drescher, Natalie Fuchs, Vasilis Zervos (DPhil), Dr Michael Simpson for their time and efforts. We look forward to working with you all again in 2018.

2017 was also a year of anniversaries. We saw the Cassini spacecraft, in its twentieth year, take its death plunge into Saturn’s rings. After 13 years circling the mysterious planet and its moons the spacecraft has given the most comprehensive imagery and data ever seen of Saturn. Another historic anniversary occurred in July with the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landings. Though the 48th anniversary may seem nothing special, it marks just two more years until the 50 year that first humans set foot on the moon. Sadly, we also lost the last man on the moon, Eugene Cernan, this spring, along with other pioneering astronauts.

Jan Schmidt, Head of Space, Swiss Re

With great pride, we conducted a plethora of fascinating interviews – 37 in total in 2017 – with space industry leaders, both established and emerging, across many different sectors. Our top interviews included leaders such as Sky and Space Globals (SAS) CEO Meir Molam, Eutelsats Simon Gray, Swiss Re’s Jan Schmidt and also leaders of organisations such as the Swiss Space Office Johann Richard and we were very grateful to speak twice with UNOOSA Director General Simonetta DiPippo.

Our Themed Weeks were a big hit. We have run two to date, on Space Resources and also the Chinese Silk Road initiative, One Belt One Road. Both were extremely popular with contributions from global top experts on those topics. We will not stop here. We have more in the pipeline, including weeks covering exciting and diverse subjects such as space archaeology and space insurance.

This year, we have also seen the power of satellite imagery demonstrated at the emergency, disaster and

Flood in Northern Syria after collapse of the Zeyzoun Dam; Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

humanitarian response level. In Syria, satellite imagery from NASA’s Terra satellite showed the extent of the damage after the Zeyzoun Dam burst in northern Syria. It also showed the terrible human suffering that has been inflicted upon the Syrian people with schools, hospitals and homes clearly destroyed. The detailed imagery captured by satellites has been invaluable to humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of both natural and manmade disasters all over the world, enabling them to deliver critical communications, medical help, food, shelter and aid to those affected. Satellite imagery has also been invaluable in terms of meteorology and the prediction of weather events, enabling people to evacuate from affected areas in advance of hurricanes. It has also helped emergency response teams to track the course of wildfires in order to save lives.

At SpaceWatch Middle East, the sheer pace of development has to be the greatest and most notable hot topic of 2017:

We have seen rapid development of space activities in the Middle East region with emerging space actors as well as advanced missions taking place.

2017 was also the year that New Space became an established art of space vocabulary and we have tracked the progress of New Space companies such as Clyde Space, Astroscale, Else, SpaceIL, TeamIndus, PTScientists, Sky and Space Global and many, many more.

We have seen private and governmental institutions making bids to return to the Moon. There is very real talk of the establishment of a Moon Village Concept by ESA and Donald Trump has set the wheels in motion to put the United States firmly back on the Moon after nearly half a century. The Google XPrize has also seen an explosion of private companies competing to send their own spacecraft to the Moon. In addition, we have also seen the emergence of For All Moonkind – an initiative that seeks to protect historic sites on other planets for the benefit of humanity.

Dr. Moriba Jah. Photograph courtesy of the University of Texas, Austin.

However, if we are to make space the next frontier for humanity, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment has to be Space Situational Awareness. In the last few years in particular, companies have emerged that intend to launch mega constellations – hundreds, even thousands of small satellites into LEO, especially. With already crowded orbits around the planet, a solution must be found to tackle the issue of space debris and also to coordinate properly these mega constellations that could pose a threat. We were lucky enough to tackle this subject earlier in 2017 with Moriba Jah of the University of Texas who has proposed a space taxonomy to effectively label space junk so that we know exactly what is up there, where it is and what threat it could carry. The industry needs to be responsible moving forward to prevent potential on-orbit catastrophes.

The other burning question is how to tackle space governance. This is a hugely complex matter and, though there are a number of international treaties in place, more must be done as humanity extends into space. The UN plays a key role, but other bodies play an important part as well and it is vital that a framework that protects and enables space to be a safe and sustainable environment is put into place.

As we know here on Earth the issue of cyber and cyber security is becoming an important part of our security. This is only going to become increasingly important as we go forward and more threats appear. This is an integral topic that we have covered in SpaceWatch Middle East as countries seek to protect themselves from the harm that cyber threats bring.

And last but not least, we have tracked the ever evolving launcher industry. We have sought to cover the developments in this hugely exciting market, form the dominance of SpaceX to the new kids on the block such as Rocket Labs. It’s been an amazing year for the launch market and it will be fascinating to see which new entrants will be successful in various categories of launch vehicle.

One ongoing element of our activities will be the coverage of global space and cyber events. In the current year we attended or covered events such as the GLEX in Beijing, IAC in Adelaide, Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, CabSat in Dubai, GeoInt and Intergeo in Berlin, UNOOSA High Level Forum and Annual Meeting of Future Councils at WEF in Dubai, SpaceTech Expo in Bremen and finally the Swiss Space Days in Lausanne. Next year we will continue the coverage of major events in the industry, but we would also like to hear your opinions on these and other events that we may not have on our radar. If you would like us to cover these for you, let us know.

Finally, we want to continue to deliver our content together with you! Please share your thoughts with us anytime at office@thorgroup.ch .

We wish you and your families a Happy New Year filled with joy, success and curiosity!

Your SpaceWatch.Global Editorial Team!

Ad astra!

The post #SpaceWatchME Review of 2017 – A Year in Content appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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Credits: Roscosmos

Angosat-1, Angola’s first communications satellite has re-established contact with its ground station in Luanda.

The contact was confirmed by ANGOP (Agencia Angola Press) via a telephone call with the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information technology, Manual Homan. Homan said that it was normal for such an event to happen shortly after a satellite launch and that Angosat-1’s committed technicians had successfully made contact on Thursday.

The satellite was launched on 26 December on a Zenit rocket from Baikonour and contact was initially established but them lost as it made its way to its final orbit at 13 degrees east.

AngoSat-1 uses C- and Ku-bands on 44 transponders, and will primarily broadcast satellite television. A mission control headquarters and associated infrastructure is located on the outskirts of Luanda, the capital of Angola.

The post Angosat-1 Re-establishes Contact appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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As part of the partnership between SpaceWatch Middle East and The Précis, a quarterly space law and policy report produced by Space Law & Policy Solutions, run by the prominent space lawyer and friend of SpaceWatch Middle East, Michael J. Listner, SpaceWatch Middle East is occasionally publishing select articles from The Précis. Reproduced here are Michael’s analysis of Chinas Tiangong-1 situation from a Special Issue XX of The Précis from October 30, 2017. Details of how to subscribe to The Précis are provided at the end of this commentary.

The pending reentry of China’s first large space station, Tiangong-1, is eliciting the usual hyperbole in the media and in some cases making alarmist claims about the threat the station poses. That is not to say the reentry of Tiangong-1 should be taken lightly as with a mass of ~8.5 metric tons, it is the largest space object to reenter the atmosphere uncontrolled since Skylab, which had a mass of ~100 tons and reentered on July 11, 1979. It is uncertain where and when the space lab will reenter and hence whether it will affect populated areas.

Chinese-centric media outlets quote Chinese officials stating the reentry of Tiangong-1 is not concerning; however, Beijing is likely mindful the uncontrolled reentry implicates liability and duties under international law, specifically if any remnants impact the territory of other sovereign states and cause damage. This Special Issue will examine the applicable legal instruments and the international legal obligations that could be implicated by Tiangong-1’s reentry as well as some of the potential legal and political outcomes of the station’s reentry.

Background

Credits: jucelinoluz.com

Tiangong-1 was launched on September 29, 2011 atop a Long March 2F launch vehicle.[1] The station is 10.4 meters long and has a main diameter of 3.35 meters. It had a liftoff mass of 8,506 Kilograms and provides 15 cubic meters of pressurized volume. The station is designed to accommodate a crew but also hosts a suite of instruments that operate independent of a crew.[2] Tiangong-1 was crewed twice by three taikonauts by Shenzhou-9 in June 2012 and Shenzhou-10 in June 2013. Tiangong-1 ended its service on March 21, 2016 and shortly after China admitted it had lost its telemetry link and the station was orbiting uncontrolled. Tiangong-1 is expected to reenter the atmosphere between October 2017 and April 2018, although a more firm time-frame will likely become available as the station’s orbit further deteriorates.

International Legal Obligations

The fundamental question surrounding Tiangong-1’s reentry is this: What happens if debris from the reentering space station survives and lands in territory of another sovereign nation? Connected to question is what happens if debris lands in the territory of another sovereign nation and causes damage in form or another? Underlying these two questions are two treaties, which China has ratified:[3] the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Rescue Agreement) and the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the Liability Convention).

The Rescue Agreement

The first set of legal obligations should remnants of Tiangong-1land in the territory of another sovereign state would not rest only with China but with the sovereign state whose territory the vestiges landed. This is borne out in Article 5 of the Rescue Agreement[4], which lists out the following legal obligations for a Contracting Party.[5]

  • A Contracting Party that discovers that a space object or its component parts has returned to Earth and landed in its must notify the launching authority and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.[6]
  • The Contracting Party shall if requested by the of the launching authority and with their assistance take measures to recover the space object or its component parts.[7]
  • Space objects or their component parts found beyond the territorial limits of the launching authority shall be returned to or held at the disposal of representatives of the launching authority. The launching authority must furnish identifying data prior to their return.[8]
  • Any space object or its component parts that is believed to be hazardous or have a deleterious nature may notify the launching authority. The launching authority must immediately take steps, under the direction and control of the said Contracting Party, to eliminate possible danger of harm.[9]
  • The launching authority must bear the expense incurred by the Contracting Authority under paragraph 2 and 3.[10]

Under the Rescue Agreement, if remnants of Tiangong-1 landed in the territory of a sovereign state, that state would have the responsibility to contact China through diplomatic channels and apprise them there is the likelihood “component parts” of Tiangong-1 have landed in their territory. Conversely, China would be obligated to supply identifying information at which point arrangements would be made to return those “component parts” to China.

The Liability Convention

Another possible player in the reentry of Tiangong-1 is the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects otherwise known as the Liability Convention.[11] The Liability Convention expands upon the principles of liability for damage caused by space objects introduced in Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty.[12] The Liability Convention envisions two scenarios where damage could be caused by a space object. The first scenario envisions a space object that causes damage to the surface of the earth or an aircraft in flight. The second scenario envisions an event where a space object causes damage someplace other than the surface of the earth, i.e. outer space or another celestial body.

It is the first scenario that could implicate Tiangong-1. Article II of the Liability Convention stipulates…

“A launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space object on the surface of the earth or to aircraft flight.”[13]

Article II creates a strict liability standard where a launching state[14] is considered strictly liable for any damage caused by a space object launched even in the face of circumstances of the damage caused are outside its control. The Liability Convention does not prevent a private citizen of the aggrieved state who was affected or damaged by the space object from seeking redress through the judicial system of the launching state.[15] However, it does prevent redress for the damage caused if a claim is “…being pursued in the courts or administrative tribunals or agencies of a launching State or under another international agreement which is binding on the States concerned.”[16].

What this means is if remnants of Tiangong-1 impact the territory of another sovereign state, China can be held strictly liable for any damages. The key to this; however, is the aggrieved state must present a claim under the Liability Convention through diplomatic channels and it must do within one-year of the occurrence of the damage or the discovery of damage.[17]

There is precedent for claims under Article II of the Liability Convention with the reentry and subsequent crash of Cosmos 954 on January 24, 1978, in the Northwest Territories of Canada.[18] The crash spread radioactive debris from the onboard nuclear reactor that powered Cosmos 954’s radar. The debris from Cosmos 954, which was registered to the then Soviet Union, was located by Canadian authorities and initially identified as coming from Cosmos 954. Canada’s Department of External Affairs issued a diplomatic communiqué invoking Article 5 of the Rescue Agreement, whereby the Canadian government informed the Soviet Union that per its obligation under that Agreement it discovered what it believed to be the remnants of Cosmos 954.[19] The purpose of Canada referencing the Rescue Agreement in this initial communiqué was not only to fulfill its obligations under that accord, but it also likely used it to reinforce that Canada identified the debris as coming from Cosmos 954 and as such belonged to the USSR in advance of its claim under the Liability Convention.

A formal claim against the USSR was made by Canada’s Department of External Affairs via Note FLA-268 on January 23, 1979. FLA-268 cites the legal rationale for Canada’s claim for damages, including its recitation of the Liability Convention. Note FLA-268 was followed on March 15, 1979 with Note FLA-813, which contained the revised costs of the Phase II cleanup of the debris from Cosmos 954 and the text of diplomatic communiqués concerning the incident between the Department of External Affairs and the Embassy of the USSR from February 8, 1978 to May 31, 1978.[20] The Canadian government claimed $6,041,174 (Canadian) but settled for $3,000,000 (Canadian) for the damage caused by Cosmos 954.[21] The Canadian government also reserved the right to be compensated for additional damages that may occur in the future because of the incident, any costs incurred should a claims commission[22] need be established under the Liability Convention and any awards made by the Claims Commission.[23]

Conversely, there is the reentry and scattering of debris from the aforementioned Skylab. The United States assured the international community at the time any debris from Skylab that survived reentry would likely fall in the Indian Ocean. Contrary to that assurance, several pieces of debris fell in the Australian town of Esperance, and authorities in Canberra were alerted. Shortly thereafter, officials from NASA arrived to inspect and collect samples of the debris. The citizens of Esperance were encouraged to bring pieces of debris to the officials for which they were given a commemorative plaque and a model of Skylab.[24] The officials from NASA did not collect all the debris, and in one case a piece of debris was turned over to the San Francisco Examiner, which was offering a $10,000 reward to the first person who could bring a piece of Skylab to the paper’s newsroom.[25] Aside from the plaques and models, there was no official compensation for the debris falling on the town; however, a ticket was issued a year later by the president of the town council against the United States and NASA in particular for littering, which the United States government has yet to pay.6

Otherwise, no formal claim was made by Canberra under the Liability Convention for the incident. One can only speculate as to Canberra’s rationale for not doing so, and it is noteworthy it seems the United States never officially identified the debris as coming from Skylab, and the fact the United States never collected all the debris seems to bear that out. In this instance, it is possible the lack of appreciable damage, politics alone or a combination of these factors figured into Canberra’s decision not to press a formal claim for compensation against a Cold War ally.

The Question of Tiangong-1.

Credits: english.sina.com

This discussion circles back to the original premise: What happens if debris from the reentering space station survives and lands in territory of another sovereign state? Will the aggrieved state invoke the Rescue Agreement and/or the Liability Convention and will China honor its commitments under these two international treaties? The answer depends on whether any appreciable components reach the surface and whether compensable damage is caused. It also depends on politics and the effect and reach and relationship China might have with the state in question. In other words, China’s soft-power and economic influence over the state in question might be considerable so as to deter the state raising a claim for liability or even formally invoking Article 5 of the Rescue Agreement.

On the other hand, the aggrieved state could file a claim under Article 5 of the Rescue Agreement and make a claim under Article II of the Liability Convention against China through its diplomatic organs. A diplomatic dance would ensue with China either flatly ignoring the Article 5 notification and request or stalling the provision of identifying information to positively identify the components as part of Tiangong-1. This would have the effect of frustrating a potential claim for liability under Article II of the Liability Convention. Equally, China could cooperate with a notification under Article 5 and eventually admit liability for any damage that occurred to bolster its standing in the international community and add credence to the narrative it seeks cooperate with other nations. Surely, the soft-power reaped from such an action would fair outweigh any financial or political embarrassment that might otherwise be had from admitting liability.

There also lies the possibility China could preemptively take steps to recover any components from Tiangong-1 and settle any potential claims for damage before a state invoked Article 5 and Article II of the Rescue Agreement and Liability Convention respectively. Not only would this preempt the need for diplomatic haggling and the political embarrassment of eventually admitting liability, but it would also garner China greater soft-power influence and prestige among not only the state affected but also other states with whom it has relations or wishes to increase its influence to include the United Nations and in particular the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs.[26]

Conclusion

The legal and geopolitical outcome of Tiangong-1 will not play out until the question of when and if remnants of the station impact land within the territory of another sovereign power. It is premature to outright dismiss Tiangong-1 not affecting the surface of the earth as its orbit frequently carries it over many sovereign states, including the continental United States.[27] Until its final plunge from orbit can be better estimated, the media will continue to inquire of experts and hype the story. Subscribers are encouraged to take these reports in the context that the seriousness of the reentry should not be overstated but at the same time not understated. Once the reentry occurs, the following days and weeks will reveal whether there will be any ramifications and whether international space law and geopolitics will find themselves in the mix once more.

[1] Tiangong-1 is identified as NORAD 37820 and its COSPAR identifier is 2011-053A.

[2] See Tiangong 1 Spacecraft Overview, available at http://spaceflight101.com/spacecraft/tiangong-1/ for a general discussion of the specifications of Tiangong-1.

[3] The underlying presumption for the analysis under both the Rescue Agreement and the Liability Convention is all states involved have either ratified, acceded to or otherwise agree to be legally bound to both accords.

[4] Article 5 of the Rescue Agreement harmonizes and builds on Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty with regards to ownership of space objects. See Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, October 10, 1967, art. VIII, para. 2, 18 UST 2410, available at https://www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm.

[5] “Contracting Party” is not defined in the Rescue Agreement but it does relate to states who have either ratified, acceded to or agreed to be bound by the terms of the Agreement.

[6] See Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space 19 UST 7570, 672 UNTS 119, December 3, 1968, art. 5, para. 1.

[7] See Rescue Agreement, art. 5, para. 2.

[8] See Id. art. 5, para. 3.

[9] See Id. art. 5, para. 4.

[10] See Id. art. 5, para. 5.

[11] Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects 24 UST 2389; 961 UNTS 187, October 9, 1973, available at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/Conv_International_Liab_Damage.pdf.

[12] See Outer Space Treaty art. VII, which states “[e]ach State Party to the Treaty that launches or procures the launching of an object into outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and each State Party from whose territory or facility an object is launched, is internationally liable for damage to another State Party to the Treaty or to its natural or juridical persons by such object or its component parts on the Earth, in air space or in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies.”

[13] Liability Convention, art. II.

[14] “Launching state” is defined by the Liability Convention in Article I(c).

[15] See Id. at art. XI.

[16] In other words, an aggrieved state cannot seek redress by filing a claim under the Liability Convention if is seeking a remedy through another means. See Id.

[17] See Id., at art. X.

[18] Cosmos 954 (COSPAR ID: 1977-090A) was a Soviet Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite (RORSAT) powered by an on-board nuclear reactor. Its mission was to search for and track Unites States Naval tasks force. See Cosmos 954, National Space Science Data Center, available at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1977-090A.

[19] In its February 8, 1978 communiqué to the Embassy of the USSR, the Department of External Affairs per Article 5(4) of the Rescue Agreement asked the following questions to help it in its search for components of the satellite: 1) What is the nature and amount of fuel? 2) What is the chemical or alloy composition of the fuel? 3) What is the decaying characteristics of the reactor fuel? 4) What shielding was used? 5) Was there any other container which might have provided some protection? 6) If the satellite had come to earth in the Soviet Union what the Soviet authorities have looked for (type of material, energy level and spectrum of ionizing radiation)? Over what size of geographical area would it have been distributed. 7) Is the reactor the same or essentially similar to ‘ROMASKA’ reactor described in IAEA Atomic Energy Review, Vol. 9, Nr. 2, 1971 by Pushkarsky & Okhotik? See 18 I.L.M. 913-915.

[20] See 18 I.L.M. 889, 899, 910-930.

[21] The resulting agreement and compensation actually paid by the Soviet Union is seen more as a punitive measure for Cosmos 954 violating Canadian airspace than a means of compensation for the costs of cleanup and damages under the Liability Convention.

[22] The Liability Conventions allows for the creation of a Claims Commission should the parties not be able to reach agreement on compensation for damages. See Liability Convention art. XIV-XX.

[23] See Protocol on Settlement of Canada’s Claim for Damages Caused by “Cosmos 954,” Apr. 2, 1981, Can.-U.S.S.R., 20 I.L.M. 689 (1981) and available at http://www.spacelaw.olemiss.edu/library/space/International_Agreements/Bilateral/1981%20Canada-%20USSR%20Cosmos%20954.pdf.

[24] Stewart Taggert, “The Day Skylab Fell”, Wired, March 22, 2001, available at https://www.wired.com/2001/03/the-day-the-skylab-fell/.

[25] See Id.

[26] China’s influence with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs appears to be considerable as evidenced notably by the Office removing China’s first notification to the Registry of Space Objects about..

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Clyde Space is set to merge with Swedish space company, AAC Microtec in a deal that is expected to be completed by the end of January. The coming together of the two companies will create a leading smallsat company that will dominate the smallsat market in the 1-500kg class.

Clyde Space will be purchased for a total of $35.3 million comprising 30.5 million in shares and $2.7 million in cash. It is hoped that the new company will catalyse the growth of the smallsat industry in both Scotland and Sweden and create opportunities in a market that is experiencing rapid growth.

Clyde Space has become synonymous with the New Space market due to its expertise in the design and manufacture of cubesats.  The company has achieved remarkable success in the past few years with the explosion in popularity of the small satellite market.

AAC Microtec brings strong management and business development capabilities, well-developed international sales channels as well as its high-reliability heritage, state-of-the-art technology, and a range of reliable and flight-proven products in the somewhat larger “small satellite” segment. AAC Microtec is also a listed company with direct access to capital markets.

Once merged, the company will have the capability to address the entire smallsat market and customers that range from commercial companies to governments and institutions that are looking for cost-effective and flexible products for their small satellite missions.

Clyde Space - Vimeo

The post Clyde Space to Merge with AAC Microtec Creating Leading Force in Small Satellite Manufacturing appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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Russian satellite manufacturer, RSC Energia, has confirmed via its website that contact has been lost with Angosat-1, Angola’s first communications satellite. The satellite was successfully launched on 26 December on a Zenit rocket from Baikonour and contact was initially established but then lost as it made its way to its final orbit at 13 degrees east.

Angosat-1’s launch had been postponed several times due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine where the Zenit rocket is manufactured. The satellite was designed specifically to be launched by the Zenit launch vehicle. There has been no explanation as to the cause of the loss of contact. According to the AFP News Agency, an industry source has been quoted as saying that “contact has temporarily been lost” and telemetry data was not being received. The source also confirmed that experts were looking into the situation and that this is a “rather common situation”, adding that it was hoped contact would be re-established soon.

The Angosat-1 project was initiated between Angola and Russia in 2009 and included the satellite itself, manufactured by RSC Energia with a payload from Airbus Defence and Space, the launch and associated ground infrastructure.

AngoSat-1 uses C- and Ku-bands on 44 transponders, and is expected to primarily broadcast satellite television. A mission control headquarters is located on the outskirts of Luanda, the capital of Angola.

Angola rolled out an ambitious space programme and policy agenda in May 2017, including the development of communications and Earth observation satellites, and the establishment of a national space agency.

Live: satellite Angosat-1 to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan - YouTube

The post RSC Energia Confirms Loss of Contact with Angosat-1 appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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Deimos-2 image of Busan Port, South Korea (CNW Group/UrtheCast Corp.)

UrtheCast Corp. and its subsidiary, the Earth Observation company Deimos Imaging, have announced the signing of an agreement with SI Imaging Services (“SIIS”), a leading provider of remote sensing satellite data and exclusive worldwide marketing and sales representative of the KOMPSAT series, for the mutual global distribution of their respective product portfolios.

The space assets of Deimos Imaging and SIIS include Deimos-1, Deimos-2 and the KOMPSAT series KOMPSAT-2, KOMPSAT-3, KOMPSAT-3A and KOMPSAT-5, resulting in a wide portfolio of X-band SAR and optical data in a wide range of resolutions, from 22 m to 0.4 m per pixel.

The combination of radar with very high-resolution optical imagery will allow observation of the Earth day and night, regardless of weather conditions, and is intended to provide a constant asset monitoring service. This is key for a wide range of applications, especially those requiring frequent monitoring over the same area of interest and real-time response, such as emergency services, border and maritime surveillance and defence and security.

Additionally, this collaboration is expected to provide customers with an exceptional level of decision making data, and to create a unique and crucial benefit for users in various sectors while strengthening the positions of both companies in their respective markets.

“We are delighted to be an authorized distributor for Deimos Imaging,” said Mr. Wookhyun Choi, Vice President at SIIS. “This is a great opportunity to broaden our reach and widen our geospatial data distribution options, as we are introducing Deimos Imaging’s imagery to our resellers while presenting KOMPSAT to their networks. This will allow us to provide our customers with more precise answers to their needs.”

“We are very pleased to be partnering with SIIS as this collaboration supports and strengthens our data strategy to meet a growing range of customer needs by providing them with fast, customized and ready-to-use solutions”, said Fabrizio Pirondini, CEO at Deimos Imaging. “This agreement confirms the importance of partnerships and alliances with other stakeholders to significantly accelerate decision making in a great variety of fields. In addition, this joint service increases our portfolio of sensors and our market reach with new geo-intelligence products thanks to the combination of SAR and very high resolution optical data.”

The assets of SIIS now combine with the recent strategic partners aligned with Deimos Imaging, resulting in a multi satellite, multi resolution virtual constellation, to deliver imagery services and geo-analytic applications to customers globally.  These strong partnerships are designed as ‘win-win’ to secure the success and sustainability of all the partners involved in the ever developing and growing Earth Observation industry.

SI Imaging Services (SIIS) is the exclusive worldwide marketing and sales representative of KOMPSAT series KOMPSAT-2, KOMPSAT-3, KOMPSAT-3A and KOMPSAT-5.

The KOMPSAT (Korean Multi-Purpose Satellite) program is a part of Korean government’s space development program, which aims at providing very high-resolution satellite imagery to national and international remote sensing society.

SIIS contributes Remote Sensing and Earth observation industries societies by providing very high resolution optical and SAR images through over 90 sales partners worldwide.
Customers from industries as well as government and international agencies are using KOMPSAT imagery for their missions and researches and achieve good results in several remote sensing applications such as mapping, agriculture, disaster management, and so on. SIIS started its business as a satellite image and service provider and extended its business to KOMPSAT operation.

Original published at: https://spacewatch.global/2017/12/urthecast-siis-sign-agreement-global-distribution-respective-portfolios/

The post UrtheCast And SIIS Sign Agreement For The Global Distribution Of Their Respective Portfolios appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, sits with young researchers at the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Future Research.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Future Research.

The centre will openly publish its research and outcomes to global academic and research communities and will adopt a new concept based on open and participatory international research among scientists. Its first series of research initiatives will include the financing of a research community of 3,000 scientists, to conduct new studies on space science and technology.

“Our future plans require a solid foundation of scientific research, which comply with our aspirations. Our goal is to create the means of communication between our young scientists and scientists from around the world, to exchange knowledge, transfer experiences and build our national research capacities,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid stated.

During the Centre’s launch, in the presence of Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Sarah bin Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State, and Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said, “We are seeking to make the UAE an efficient and influential part of the international academic and research community.”

He also highlighted the vital role of the UAE’s scientific community and added that the Dubai Future Foundation, the scientific community and the ministers of advanced sciences and artificial intelligence are part of the nation’s future scientific endeavours, and the country has faith in their abilities.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Future Research will present a new approach to scientific cooperation, by adopting participatory research studies among international scientists, and motivating and attracting scientists to perform leading and innovative studies and research in over 50 areas. It also aims to develop a system of communication between international scientific communities, to exchange expertise and benefit from the outcomes of their studies and experiments.

The Centre aims to support the UAE’s scientific research sector in a variety of areas, as well to raise the country’s position in scientific performance indicators. It also aims to support the efforts to link Emirati research projects to international academic institutions, as part of the UAE’s goal to become an incubator for scientific inventions, which will serve the strategy of the UAE Centennial 2071, based on prioritising space sciences and the advanced science sector.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Future Research has taken on a range of challenges that include specialised research on space science, by involving scientists and researchers from a variety of scientific and academic institutions in the UAE and around the world, to nominate their research projects on space science, space colonisation, and the exploration of various aspects of human life. Those interested in participating can apply through the centre’s website.

The Centre will assess the nomination requests and proposed projects through a specialist scientific committee and will provide the necessary support for the chosen projects.

Original published at: https://spacewatch.global/2017/12/uae-vice-president-launches-mohammed-bin-rashid-centre-future-research/

The post UAE Vice President Launches ‘Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Future Research’ appeared first on SpaceWatch.Global.

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