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German startups will receive DLR funds; Comtech unsure of the merger with Gilat; ClearSpace developing a debris removal space vehicle

The German space agency DLR has given out $571000 to three German firms to encourage the development of small launch vehicles. OHB’s Rocket Factory Augsburg, Isar Aerospace, and Hylmpulse Technologies will utilize this financial support to design their launch vehicles to compete in 2021.

Other support partners are the European Space Agency and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for Germany. The firms have agreed to dish out 25 million euros for these German startups to create commercial launch vehicles ahead of the competition between 2022 and 2023. 

Comtech Telecommunications wants to dissociate from the merger with Gilat citing the impudent pressure coming from the latter’s connection to the in-flight market. The firm indicates that there has been a reduction in its value after merging with Gilat. Gilat is experiencing heavy losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gilat, on the other hand, expresses that Comtech’s downgrading performance is its undoing explaining that they will sue them for damages.

Swiss’ ClearSpace is on the verge of completing its debris removal spacecraft. The firm is partnering with 20 firms to carry out the European Space Agency program. This program entails the deployment of the spacecraft in 2025 to phase out the Vegas rocket structure.

The ClearSpace team of engineers has a grace period of eight months, after which they must have completed the spacecraft. The firm has been increasing its workforce, and they are currently 20 in addition to its partners in eight European countries. Microsoft said that it would boost ClearSpace via the Global Social Entrepreneurship program through which they can offer grants and technical support.

Elsewhere, Spaceflight intends to launch Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This vehicle will host 16 customer spacecraft and other satellites. This Sherpa-FX vehicle is a modification of the initial model known for deploying 64 small satellites via Falcon 9. This new modification can launch multiple vehicles and host telemetry payloads to observe satellite navigation through the orbit. Currently, this vehicle will be working with Astrocast, iQPS, HawkEye 360, Loft Orbital, and other institutes.

FCC’s chairman Ajit Pai retorts that they are eager to approve the Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite constellation. He reveals that he has discussed with other commissioners concerning the approval of the Kuiper project. The FCC will be meeting come Thursday though Kuiper is not part of the discussion. 

Finally, Inmarsat and the Airline Passenger Experience Association think that the coronavirus pandemic is crippling the aviation industry. They speculate that the recovery process will take three years. 

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