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InfoBeam Part III
Iridium • Dawn Aerospace • Gilat • New IOSC Director General

Iridium Invests In DDK Positioning

Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) has made a strategic investment in DDK Positioning (DDK), an Aberdeen, Scotland based provider of enhanced Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) accuracy solutions.

DDK uses the Iridium® network to provide global precision positioning services that can augment GNSS constellations, including GPS and Galileo, to significantly enhance their accuracy for critical industrial applications. DDK is also developing similar services for other GNSS constellations, such as GLONASS and Beidou.  Terms of the investment are not being disclosed.

Standard positioning accuracy through a system like GPS is typically within 10 meters; however, by using the Iridium network, DDK’s enhanced GPS accuracy service brings incredibly precise positioning of five centimeters or less. This advanced level of accuracy is ideal for autonomous vehicles like UAVs, precision

agriculture applications, offshore infrastructure projects such as windfarm construction, automotive applications like driverless cars, as well as a host of construction, mining, surveying and IoT use cases. Historically, there have been limited geostationary satellite provider options for this type of service, but they suffer from line-of-sight blockage issues and coverage limitations in and around Arctic and Antarctic regions.

According to a report published by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, augmentation services like those offered by DDK will account for $76.5 billion (65 billion euros) in global GNSS market revenue by 2029, while the global GNSS downstream market, including services delivered and hardware devices, is estimated to reach $382 billion (325 billion euros).

We are impressed with the team that DDK has put together and see great potential for this technology and how it takes advantage of the Iridium network,” said Iridium CEO, Matt Desch. DDK’s enhanced positioning is a unique capability that adds a high- value solution on top of our existing portfolio of custom network services. Solutions from Iridium and DDK partners that are focused on precision agriculture, autonomous systems, maritime and infrastructure projects can now experience incredibly precise GNSS accuracy from anywhere on the planet.

Dawn Aerospace Secures Funding

Dawn Aerospace, a New Zealand/Dutch aerospace company, has announced significant backing from New Zealand’s largest tech investment firm, Movac.

Dawn is creating next-generation space transportation technologies. This investment will be used to scale the production of Dawn’s in-space propulsion products and to progress Dawn’s Mk-II, a suborbital plane that uses rocket engines, to a fully-fledged commercial service.

Dawn Aerospace’s B20 smallsat thruster.
Photo is courtesy of the company.

Movac has invested in a number of successful New Zealand tech companies including Vend, Unleashed Software, Aroa Biosurgery, PowerbyProxi, Greenbutton  and Trade Me. Global From Day One (GD1) and Dawn’s existing investors, Icehouse Ventures and Erik Swan — have also contributed.

Since 2019, Dawn has provided in-space propulsion products to customers across the globe. These propulsion units have launched on SpaceX, Soyuz and Vega launchers, and the B20 thruster has since been validated in hundreds of on-orbit firings. Customers for the products include an IoT constellation, a space tug provider and Earth Observation (EO) companies.

Dawn’s Mk-II suborbital spaceplane has been certified for flight in New Zealand and is currently undergoing pre-commercial testing. Customers for the Mk-II service will include weather agencies, government entities and start-ups.

The vehicle is capable of capturing atmospheric data and will be used as a test bed for technology demonstrations. Much of the technology in this platform will also be use in Dawn’s Mk-III, an orbital satellite launch vehicle.

Dawn recently relocated their New Zealand-based operations to a larger facility in Christchurch, an 1,800 sqm workshop and office space. The new premises will support increased production and scaled R&D.

This funding will help us scale production to meet customer demand, and continue developing products and services for the future of sustainable space transportation,” said Stefan Powell, Dawn CTO and Co-founder. “We’re thrilled to have the support of the talented team at Movac, and the continued support of our existing investors.”

Movac partner Mark Stuart commented, “We’re delighted to be able to work alongside Stefan and the Dawn team. Dawn’s technology and level of ambition is really compelling, and given our experience in working alongside some of the New Zealand’s most ambitious founders, we think it’s an excellent match.”

Gilat’s Extension Of Multi-Million$$$ Project in LATAM Expands Ag. IoT Network

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: GILT, TASE: GILT), provider of satellite networking technology, solutions and services, announce the extension of its multi-million dollar IoT project in Latin America. Tier- 1 MNO extends coverage of Gilat’s cellular backhaul solution as it expands its Agriculture IoT network.

The Agribusiness IoT market addresses a critical need to better provide communication between the field and the office.

Gilat provides the 4G network expansion to support the growing business with connectivity of machines that require real-time control and monitoring of harvesters and agricultural tractors.

This ensures cost-effective decisions, better crop management and greater speed, efficiency and productivity in the production flow.

Gilat’s leading 4G cellular backhaul solution supports applications  such as the exciting IoT market, said Michal Aharonov, Senior Vice President Global Broadband Networks at Gilat. “We are proud to further solidify our partner’s IoT Agribusiness network delivering increased productivity to the farming industry in rural Latin America.

New IOSC Director General Elected

The decision to name Ksenia Drozdova as the Director General was approved at the joint 49th session of the Board and 23rd session of the Operations  Committee of the  Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications (Intersputnik IOSC), held from April 5 to May 14, 2021, in a remote format.

The Ministry expressed confidence that Ksenia Drozdova would ensure stable operation and further development of the organization. Sixteen organizations, acting as the members of the Board of Intersputnik IOSC and on behalf of the

Members, and 19 organizations members of the Operations Committee took part in the voting for this leadership position.

From 2009 for more than 10 years, Ksenia Drozdova had held office as the Chair of the Operations Committee of Intersputnik IOSC. Under her leadership, the Operations Committee established effective interaction between Intersputnik member countries and significantly expanded the satellite capabilities that organization members offer to their customers.

As Director General of the international organization, she will head the Directorate — the permanent executive and administrative body of Intersputnik — and will be engaged in the further development of the organization. Intersputnik IOSC will continue the policy of strengthening ties and coordinating interaction both within the system of international organizations and with regional telecommunication organizations.

Intersputnik also plans to actively develop its own space fleet, including a virtual network operator (VNO) model.

“Our priority is to provide people of the Intersputnik member states with convenient access to all satellite- based services: from B2B solutions to end user communication options,” said Ksenia. “The members of our organization have satellite fleets in different orbits – low, medium, geostationary – and the service areas of their spacecraft cover the entire globe. I believe that Intersputnik will use all advanced capabilities of the constellations in any type of orbit to provide the most modern services and eliminate the digital divide around the world.” 

From 2008, Ksenia Drozdova had been in charge of business development at a leading Russian satellite operator RSCC. She had initiated and managed a number of projects to promote Russian satellite constellation-based communication services to foreign markets. She is the author of numerous articles on the development of satellite communications in Russia and a co-author of the development strategy of Russian Satellite Communications Company. 

She was awarded the Medal of the Order for Merit to the Fatherland of the II degree, the gratitude of the President of the Russian Federation for her great contribution to the implementation of the project for the Russian Federation’s transition to the digital TV broadcasting, the Certificate of Honor of the President of the Russian Federation, numerous departmental and enterprise awards. 

Ksenia was also an award winner of the 2020 Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology for the creationof a national satellite constellation to provide digital telecommunications services in the Russian Federation.