Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Two Launches in One Day!

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Both Atlas V and Ariane 5 rockets went up recently. Both were equipped with rocketcams, but the weather was better at The Cape than in Kourou, so the Atlas launch’s lookback was really cool.

Black Eye for Satcom at Black Hat?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

This week, at Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, Ruben Santamarta is to present his findings of how he was able to hack satcom terminals, at least in theory.

At first glance, especially with lots of alarming details from DailyTech, you’d think the party for in-flight WiFi via satcom was over. Their piece was based on a Reuters story, which wasn’t as frightening.

The theoretical hack involves low-bandwidth services using Inmarsat and Thuraya. In-flight broadband uses more bandwidth and wasn’t really included in the study. Managing unmanned terminals is common in this industry segment.

Take a look at the white paper (PDF) published by IOActive and see for yourself. You can be sure all those mentioned in the 25-page report are asking their engineers if this is indeed possible.

I wouldn’t worry about it much.

SpaceX Falcon-9 Feeds The Reefer

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Congrats to ORBCOMM, providers of ReeferTrak and other fine services, on their launch this morning…

Thanks to SpaceX for bolting a rocketcam to the fuselage!

Better Internet for Cooks

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

What a gorgeous place to visit: the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. It’s not cheap to fly there and it’ll take more than a day from the Eastern U.S.

How’s the Internet connection out there? It’s getting better, thanks to Telecom Cook Islands and O3b Networks. They began installing and testing back in December and they should be up and running with more by now.

What do their customers think? They’re happy…

O3b Networks is well-funded, yet it may soon face competition from one of its backers, namely Google.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 02/07/2014

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Ariane 5 launches Athena-Fidus and ABS’s first built-to-order satellite. [Space News – 02/07/2014]

Experimental microsatellite launched three years ago for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office has operated nearly flawlessly according to manufacturer Millennium Space Systems’ press release also revealing some details about the classified launch. [Space News – 02/07/2014]

Proton M – © RIA Novosti. Oleg Urusov

Two Russian telecommunications satellites have been delivered to Baikonur in preparation for mid-March launch. [Ria Novosti – 02/07/2014]

U.S. satellite export regs remain a frustration for European industry. [Space News – 02/07/2014]

Credit: Exelis artist’s concept – Space News

Continuing problems with an Exelis-built payload will delay the delivery of the first of the GPS 3 next-generation navigation satellites. [Space News – 02/07/2014]

Canadian policy outlines broad national goals for space program. [Space News – 02/07/2014]

TCS gets $6.8m contract with U.S. Army for maritime-stabilized VSAT satellite systems and associated engineering systems. [Via Satellite – 02/07/2014]

SKY Perfect JSAT selects Kratos for command and control system for JCSAT-14 satellite. [Market Watch – 02/07/2014]

Globecomm founder and CEO David Hershberg to retire. [Satellite Markets & Research – 02/07/2014]

Credit: Astrium artist’s concept – Space News

Satellite builders likeliest to benefit from French satellite broadband funding. [Space News – 02/06/2014]

ST Electronics selects Antrix corporation to launch its first commercial satellite, TeLEOS-1 earth observation satellite, into a Near Equatorial Orbit. [Satellite Evolution Group – 02/06/2014]

ST Electronics to distribute its TeLEOS-1 satellite images globally, partnering with Satrec Initiative Co Ltd and SPOT Asia Pte Ltd. [Satellite Evolution Group – 02/06/2014]

The first Singapore-made commercial satellite will be put into orbit in the fourth quarter of next year. [Channel NewsAsia – 02/06/2014]

Airbus Defence and Space, formerly Astrium, has expands its Ku-band satellite services portfolio with new Terralink Companion Quick Deploy solution ideally suited for field communication in operations such as mining. [Mining Weekly – 02/06/2014]

Measat highlights satellite capabilities and announces launch of Measat 3b in May. [Via Satellite – 02/06/2014]

ViewSat to use Intelsat capacity to facilitate and enhance distribution service to the North American DTH market. [Via Satellite – 02/06/2014]

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to look into wholesale satellite service to local telecom providers across far north. [IT World Canada – 02/06/2014]

KVH ships 4,000th TracPhone system for mini-VSAT broadband network. [Satellite Evolution Group – 02/06/2014]

Colombian state telco ETB acquires local satellite communications firm to improve nationwide offer for corporate and government clients. [BNamericas – 02/06/2014]

Credit – SpaceX photo – Space News

Next SpaceX station cargo run slips into March. [Space News – 02/05/2014]

ITC Global expands reach in U.K. and European energy industry with new operations in Aberdeen, Scotland. [IT Business Net – 02/05/2014]

Globalstar Sat-Fi MSS solution enables users to use any Wi-Fi capable device through an app and a Sat-Fi hot spot – targets two billion-people market.. [Via Satellite – 02/05/2014]

Using a repurposed commercial satellite, Air Force crews flew MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during multiple missions in November and December. [U.S. Air Force – 02/05/2014]

Photo: SES – Via Satellite

SES’ Astra 2E satellite enters commercial service at 28.2/28.5 degrees east. [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

Inmarsat’s SF1 ready for launch – Photo: Inmarsat – Via Satellite

First of three Inmarsat Global Xpress satellites completes orbital deployment stages on scheduile. [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

Euroconsult to organise Latin American satellite summit [RAPIDTVNews – 02/04/2014]

Iridium introduces Wi-Fi hotspot, a high power broadcast service, and a maritime communications solution, and prepares for Iridium Next satellite replacement program [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

Globecomm Systems extends contract with Avanti Communications to deploy satellite broadband services in Cape Town and Johannesburg Africa. [Business Day – 02/04/2014]

AST works with SRI International to provide Iridium communications throughout the Arctic for safety of life purposes and tracking. [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

Hughes is providing broadband satellite Internet access to Yukon Quest dog sled crews. [Yahoo Finance – 02/04/2014]

SES-8 now fully operational, co-positioned with NSS-6 at 95 degrees East, to serve Asia Pacific region. [Yahoo Finance – 02/03/2014]

NSR’s take on Thuraya’s Satsleeve for Android – how it positions Thuraya in the addressable market, and how partnering with a competitor to enter the U.S. market could be of benefit. [NSR – 02/04/2014]

Hills Limited is partnering with BAE Systems to develop a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) terminal crucial to the satellite communication systems of Australian-USA and allied defence forces. [WhaTec – 02/04/2014]

Demand for Occasional Use (OU) and Satellite Newsgathering (SNG) is leveling out to a more regular year-over-year pace from the familiar even-odd year oscillation of demand in the past. [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

THAICOM launches fast Internet connectivity service, powered by Gilat satellite equipment. [Yahoo Finance – 02/03/2014]

After tests last year, “fifteen of fifteen company commanders found the” Soldier Network Extension (SNE) portion of the Army’s Warfighter Information Network “distracting and indicated they would not take the SNE to war.” [Nextgov – 02/03/2014]

Newtec and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), sign a multimillion-euro contract to deploy Newtec’s satellite broadcast solutions as part of the EBU’s major pan-European news exchange network. [SatNews – 02/03/2014]

RigNet completes acquisition of Inmarsat’s energy broadband business. [IT Business Net – 02/03/2014]

Transaero Airlines is expanding its in-flight Internet and mobile connectivity communication services. [Via Satellite – 02/04/2014]

Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) signs contract with Sudanese TV to broadcast the Sudanese TV channels bouquet exclusively on Arabsat satellites. [Korea IT News – 02/03/2014]

Australian telecommunications company Optus wins five-year satellite and broadband contract with NBN. [International Business Times – 02/03/2014]

Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) has enhanced its technology and infrastructure to deliver VSAT mobility services, currently active on trains across Europe and Africa. [Via Satellite – 02/03/2014]

Satcom Direct becomes an Inmarsat BGAN distribution partner. [Contact Center Solutions – 02/03/2014]

Iran unveils two domestically-made communication satellites, one to bolster its wireless connections and the other capable of taking high-resolution pictures, media reported. [ynet news – 02/03/2014]

“Satellite Manufacturing and Launching: The Dawn of a New Era” [NSR webinar February 12, 2014]

“High Utilization AND High Throughput Efficiency? Solving the TDMA vs. SCPC Dilemma” [Via Satellite webinar March 5, 2014]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Iridium’s Hot Spot

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Nice job by the marketing folks at Iridium! No, I’m not talking about their cheesy video production. I’m talking about getting their story picked up by the traffic-mongers at Gizmodo.

Iridium GO! is a small Wi-Fi device that connects to the LEO system for connectivity anywhere in the world.

That’s hot.

Their write-up is practical and spot-on:

Satellite data speeds typically max out around 2.4 to 2.8Kbps (that’s KILObits). We’re talking early ’90s dial-up speeds here. So, you can send a picture, but it had better be very compressed, and you may require the patience of a zen master. SMS speeds, though, should be comparable to what you’re used to here in your bustling metropolis, and it should be fine for text-based emails, too.

The Iridium GO! will be rolling out sometime in the first half of 2014. The price will depend on retailers, but Iridium expects it to be under $800. Yeah, that’s steep, and don’t forget you’re going to need a plan in order to connect. Again, plan pricing will be set by retailers but Iridium estimates that they will begin around $35/month on the low end, and about $130/month on the high end for unlimited data.


1st Commercial Launch for Falcon-9

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Today’s launch of SES-8 into GTO made many rocket scientists very happy. Obviously, those who’ve worked at SpaceX for years are ecstatic. The entire launch vehicle community is happy for their success, as are those living on Florida’s Space Coast, who are expecting economic growth again.

The engineers who work on commercial satcom missions are happy to be back at the The Cape for launches. Let’s face it: compared to Kazakhstan or French Guiana, Florida is a better place for launches.

From a business perspective, satcom operators now have more options when it comes to launch vehicles. And with the SpaceX manifest of 50 launches, it seems this “crazy space business” is about to start making money.

We wish SpaceX and their commercial customers continuous success!

Here’s the full launch video…

Satcom Erosion: 4G LTE

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Companies such as Hughes and Spacenet probably don’t have to worry about, as their future in transaction processing with VSAT technology isn’t going away. It may not be growing much, but the business is there.

Until an alternative process for secure transactions comes around. Well, here comes Verizon Private IP Wireless LTE.

A report in Computerworld puts it into the proper perspective for the satcom set:

With the new service, customers with LTE smartphones and tablets and LTE modems for their laptops can access the nearest cell tower and will then be routed to an enterprise gateway in one of many Verizon switching centers, Konings said. Data routed to and through the enterprise gateway is encoded, but not encrypted, and kept totally separate from the public Internet. Encryption of the data can be added, if desired.

At a Verizon switching center, the data then also joins Verizon’s global MPLS network, Konings said.

Verizon demonstrated ATM cash machines that are connected to its LTE network at CES in January, but the company didn’t describe its Private IP connection, which can be used to keep transactions secure and will allow a bank to move an ATM more easily to a new location.

LTE speeds, generally described by Verizon as 10 times faster than EV-DO, will also be useful for quickly activating remote digital signs and can even be used for transmitting video wirelessly, he said.

A news report with video can be transmitted over the Private IP LTE network instead of a more expensive satellite connection, he said. Also, wireless over LTE could be used as a backup network or for routing data to storage.

“With faster speeds, companies can provide many more apps [wirelessly] than before,” he said. Verizon describes its LTE speeds for consumers as averaging 10 Mbps on downlinks, with up to 2 Mbps on uplinks.

In addition to wireless data costs, the only cost to a business for Private IP over LTE is a $500 one-time charge to create a mobile private network, which can serve up to 1,000 sites, Konings said.

SNG? 1,000 data site? That’s satcom territory! This will be interesting to watch — especially when you add the satellite bandwidth used for video contribution feeds. Big business (read: satellite operators) ought to take notice.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/17/2012

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

14 month epic saga by Lockheed and USAF experts to save the first $1.7 billion Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite after it failed to reach proper orbit following launch may have been necessitated by a piece of cloth left in a fuel line.
[Washington Post – 03/17/2012]

North Korean plans to launch satellite meet with widespread criticism.
[The Telegraph – 03/17/2012]

Azerbaijan minister of Communications and Information Technologies expects the country’s needs for satellite communications to increase four-fold, given the mountainous terrain of much of the country.
[Trend – 03/17/2012]

LightSquared files opposition to FCC’s proposal to terminate the company’s authority to launch a nationwide network using the same frequencies as its mobile satellite service, claiming that 7 years of support for the plan over two administrations led the company to invest over $4 billion in the project, and termination leads to regulatory uncertainty that discourages needed investment in the nation’s wireless infrastructure.
[Market Watch – 03/16/2012]

New Boeing contracts with Asia Broadcast Satellite and Satellites Mexicanos feature the first all-electric commercial satellites that use light-weight xenon-fueled ion thrusters to cut satellite weight and launch costs.
[Aviation week – 03/16/2012]

Russian government to intentionally guide the large Express-AM4 telecommunications satellite, which was launched into useless orbit last August, into controlled atmospheric descent beginning March 20.
[Space – 03/16/2012]

Sprint terminates contract with LightSquared.
[CNN Money – 03/16/2012]

Head of National Broadband Plan talks about team’s successes, and the difficulty with finding spectrum for broadband illustrated by difficulties of LightSquared.
[Telecompetitor – 03/16/2012]

Globalstar VP says spectrum issues for national broadband capacity will be solved by engineers, not lawyers.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

Originally intended as “gap-filler” until now defunct TSAT became operational, WGS satellite program has become model of efficient satellite procurement as USAF orders continue, with 10 satellites now on order.
[Aviation Week – 03/16/2012]

Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, chooses Eutelsat’s KA-SAT for its unique approach to ensure that all homes in the Irish Republic will benefit from free reception of the RTE public service television and radio channels.
[SatNews – 03/16/2012]

Glowlink wins contract to provide spectrum-monitoring equipment for the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration satellites.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

NovelSat modems, using technology aiming to increase satellite bandwidth capacity by 20 percent to 55 percent more than current DVB-S2 technology, are approved by Intelsat for use on its transponders.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

Astrium Services signs new multi-year contract with the French MoD’s Joint Logistices and Supply Agency to continue providing private satellite communications services to French forces deployed overseas.
[SatNews – 03/15/2012]

KVH is selected as preferred satellite communications solution provider for independent ship manager V Ships and will deliver mini-VSAT enhanced data applications to its fleet of more than 1,000 vessels.
[Satellite Today – 03/15/2012]

First global high-resolution map of boundary between Earth’s crust and mantle is produced based on data from ESA’s GOCE gravity satellite.
[SatNews – 03/15/2012]

Turnkey Satellite Uplink facility in North Platte, Nebraska constructed within four weeks of permit approval for major satellite internet provider by Oldcastle Precast using modular pre-cast building.
[ – 03/15/2012]

DISA nears end of FCSA commercial satellite services build-out.
[Defense Systems – 03/15/2012]

Space Systems/Loral provides on time delivery of NASA propulsion system for moon exploration mission.
[Space Ref – 03/15/2012]

New DARPA Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements program seeks to employ quickly deployable, disposable small and inexpensive satellites to meet need for military hotspots speedily.
[PC Magazine – 03/15/2012]

Ka-band’s surprising revenue leader is DirecTV.
[Space News – 03/15/2012]

Norsat’s 2011 full-year sales spike 90 percent despite satellite slump.
[Satellite Today – 03/15/2012]

Dish Network’s Hopper whole-home DVR system, introduced at CES earlier this year, is now available to its customers
[CED Magazine – 03/15/2012]

U.S. Army anticipates purchasing all of its satellite communications systems and support services through CTS, a single, Multiple-Award Task-Order Contract with up to ten awardees.
[Gov Win – 03/14/2012]

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission experiment aboard International Space Station demonstrates that remotely controlled robots and specialized tools can perform precise satellite-servicing tasks in space.
[SatNews – 03/14/2012]

Eutelsat reorganizes names of its Satellites, unifying them under the company brand name.
[Satellite Today – 03/14/2012]

Globalstar, reporting positive quarterly adjusted EBITDA for the first time in four years, is expected to become world’s first LEO-based MSS provider with a second-generation constellation.
[SatNews – 03/141/2012]

Elwing Company, through its European affiliate Elwing Europe, announces agreement with Swedish satellite manufacturer OHB Sweden to partner in development of advanced platform technologies for satellites.
[SatNews – 03/14/2012]

Satellite contracts won by Boeing and SpaceX provide boost to California’s South Bay economy.
[Los Angeles Times – 03/13/2012]

Kratos is selected by Intelsat to extend its EPOCH Integrated Product Suite-based Fleet Control System to operate the Intelsat 27 satellite, currently under construction.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

Australian Satellite Communications deploys iDirect hub to support new partnership with Daltron, bringing satellite capabilities to Papua New Guinea-based ISP.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

A new, dedicated VSAT Maritime Broadband Solutions Centre will be opened May 1, 2012 in Singapore by AST to specifically serve the Asia Pacific region.
[Satnews – 03/13/2012]

Verizon Mobile Satellite Services offers backup services and enhanced disaster recovery, using 20X20 ft. air shelters that can be set up in less than 20 minutes and provide protection from extreme weather for up to 12 people.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

SES Government Services to be featured in Business Update on Aerospace and Defense on the Discovery Channel on March 21.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

SES and ITC Global renew capacity deal to provide connectivity to rigs and vessels throughout the Gulf of Mexico region.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

SpaceX signs contracts with Asia Broadcast Satellite and Satelites Mexicanos for two launches aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

Eutelsat and Es’hailSat select Arianespace to launch their EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 satellite in 2nd quarter of 2013 aboard Ariane 5 launcher.
[SatNews – 03/12/2012]

Diversified Communications Inc. selects TCS to provide mixed C- and Ku-band access to its TCS OS-IRIS offering hosted on Intelsat 14. [Market Watch – 03/12/2012]

Dish Network closes on purchases of DBSD North America and TerreStar, important to its broadband plans.
[Market Watch – 03/12/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Et tu, Hesse?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

“Beware the Ides of March,” they told Caesar. Lightsquared is facing a milestone date on 15 March 2012 in their agreement with Sprint. According to Bloomberg, the part of Brutus will be played by Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint

Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to end a network-sharing agreement with billionaire Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. wireless venture as early as next week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Sprint is preparing to take the step as LightSquared approaches a March 15 deadline to meet certain conditions under the agreement, said the people, who wouldn’t be identified because the information isn’t public. Sprint and LightSquared struck an 11-year deal to share network expansion costs and equipment in June provided LightSquared secure regulatory approvals for its wireless service by December. Though Sprint pushed the deadline back, it doesn’t plan more extensions, the people said.

The loss of Sprint would fuel concerns about the viability of LightSquared and mark another setback for Falcone. The hedge fund manager has invested about $3 billion from his Harbinger Capital Partners in LightSquared in an effort to create a national wireless carrier to compete against AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Playing the part of Julius Ceasar will be Philip Falcone.