© Unsplash, Magnus Östberg

deIf you ping a server in Sydney from southern Germany, on bad days you have enough time for about four blueberry pies – scientifically determined with the help of a chronograph and the editor’s ability to pronounce the word “blueberry pie” as quickly as possible. Based on the assumption that the ping travels in a fiber optic cable during its entire route between Munich and Sydney, it reaches – purely mathematically – a speed of approx. 11,600 m/s (distance 35,000 kilometers divided by 3 seconds). In this admittedly rather simple calculation, which by far does not include all aspects of terrestrial data transmission, nonetheless one thing is becoming clear: Cable-based data transmission is limited, in some places still unrivalled, but fundamentally limited.

Bartolomeo, ISS © AIRBUS

de924 megabits per second. That is how fast you can transfer data with your personal computer in the tranquil small town of Carver, Massachusetts, with a population of just under 12,000. Carver is thereby at the very top of the top 100 list (source) regarding available internet bandwidth for private households in the US. Each of these 100 cities currently has a higher average bandwidth than the International Space Station, which – what has to be mentioned – has had its internet connection become updated in August 2019. Since humanity’s stronghold in space was by then connected to Earth’s surface with 10 Megabit per second, since the end of 2019 now 600 Mbit/s can be achieved. That corresponds roughly to the speed that is still the order of the day in the more rural regions of Germany, but that is an issue for another day.

Laser Communication QKD Security

deJust a few years ago, “information security” was a topic best known from dystopian Hollywood thrillers, in which dark-dressed hackers in even darker basements could gain access to almost any network in just a few simple steps. At that time, the gap between fiction and reality was still dramatically big, but today, in the middle of the fifth industrial revolution, it became nearly a daily routine. But despite any’s better judgement and knowing, the current top passwords still are "12345678", "password", "111111" and "Abc123".

Iceberg A-68

deFor more than 20 years, the European Sentinels of the Copernicus program have been watching over our planet. The core tasks thereby are in the area of ​​high-quality Earth observation data in order to better understand our planet and the effects of climate change and above to contribute to civil security. In addition, one of the vital advantages of the Copernicus program is that all data collected, whether from orbit, on ground, on water or in the air, is freely accessible and free of charge for everyone.

Optical Ground Stations for PIXL-1 © TESAT

Meanwhile, PIXL-1 has seen the light of day and has safely arrived at its designated position in a low Earth orbit. No later than now the question should arise where to send all the data and high resolution images PIXL-1 takes from our precious world. Luckily, this question is answered pretty easily: To a growing network of optical ground stations.

PIXL-1 successfully launched

Our PIXL-1 small satellite was successfully launched into orbit on January 24, 2021 at 16:00 CET. The launch took place from the US spaceport at Cape Canaveral with a Falcon 9 launcher from SpaceX.

Sentinel-6 during Falcon9 fairing release pillars © ESA - P.Carril

On 21st November, Sentinel-6 showed us a picture-perfect launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from US Air Force Base Vandenberg. Now, further positive messages can be shared: All in-orbit-tests, including the functionality of the X-Band downlink subsystem from TESAT as part of the Data Handling Transmission Payload (PDHT) were successful and went even smoother than in any previous simulation, as one of the responsible System Engineers states about the latest status.

Sen­tinel-6 satel­lite in orbit (artist impression)

Tomorrow evening at around 18:17 CET, a Falcon 9 launcher from SpaceX will bring Sentinel-6 into space. The ‘climate guardian’ as it is called beside its official name 'Michael Freilich”, has the mission to monitor the sea level as well as recording sea state and ocean currents.

OSIRIS-REx

Tonight at 5:10h CEST, NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx successfully TAGged (touch-and-go) the asteroid “Bennu” at a distance of around 330 million kilometres and – hopefully – collected enough dust and small stones. It have to be at least 60 grams (up to 2 kilograms can be transported). If it was enough will be clarified in the next few days and a decision will be made as to whether OSIRIS-REx has to go down again or can head on its way home to Earth.

cyber essentials certified

The Cyber Essentials program is a UK government certification program that shall help companies to gain understanding for the principles of cyber security. It includes, beneath several other measurement mechanics, an independent rating of the company-internal security controls to protect against internet threats. The main goal of the Cyber Essentials program lays in Great Britain’s National Cyber Security Strategy that aims on making the country to a dynamic, resilient and secure Cyberspace for online trade.

© Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG, 2020
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