Archive for the ‘Observation’ Category

Archaeology From Space

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

A new program on BBC One, “Egypt’s Lost Cities,” features the work of Sarah Parcak, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama’s Laboratory for Global Health Observation.

She’s using infrared satellite imagery to locate entire cities, some buried for centuries, by studying remnants of mud brick buildings, for instance. They’ve found 3,000 ancient settlements, which includes 1,000 tombs and 17 pyramids. Good show!

Check out her book, Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology, so you too can become familiar with her ways.

Grímsvötn Eldfjall frá Geimnum

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

That’s right, rocket scientists, weather spacecraft have seen the erupting Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland and it’s pretty cool. This one’s from Meteosat-9:

The animation shows Meteosat-9 observations from the High Resolution Visible (HRV) channel, providing measurements with a resolution of 1 km at the sub-satellite point, representing roughly a 3-5 km resolution over Iceland. At around 19:15 UTC, a very rapid eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano occurred, which is visible from the animation below. The eruption is transporting a large amount of water vapour and ash significantly higher than the cloud deck heights over Iceland.

Meteosat-9 is located on the Greenwich Meridian, while the GOES-13 spacecraft, also a weather observation satellite, is located at 75º West. So here we have a different angle…

Cornell’s Cracker in Space

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

How small can a satellite get? The answer, my rocket scientist friend, in blowing in the solar wind. It’s not big or red, but it is from Cornell University

The thin, 1-inch-square chips, in development for three years in the lab of Mason Peck, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will be mounted to the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE-8) pallet, which will be attached to the space station, exposing them to the harsh conditions of space to see how they hold up and transmit data.

Although grapefruit-size satellites have been launched before, they have functioned much like larger satellites. The flight dynamics of a chip satellite are fundamentally different from these larger “CubeSats.”

“Their small size allows them to travel like space dust,” said Peck. “Blown by solar winds, they can ‘sail’ to distant locations without fuel. … We’re actually trying to create a new capability and build it from the ground up. … We want to learn what’s the bare minimum we can design for communication from space,” Peck said.

When the MISSE-8 panel is removed and returned to Earth in a few years, the survival of the prototypes will be assessed.

The trip to space is the result of a phone call about a year ago, when one of Peck’s colleagues called to ask if he had anything small that could be ready within a few weeks time to put on the MISSE-8 pallet, as a small patch of space had opened up.

“He didn’t know that we had been working on the satellite-on-a-chip program for a long time, and over the next week we put together these prototypes,” Peck said.

The three prototypes were built entirely by three Cornell students when they were undergraduates — Ryan Zhou ’10 and doctoral candidates Zac Manchester ’09 and Justin Atchison ’10.

The prototypes are physically identical, but each transmits differently. “They all emit at the same frequency … [but] they are different and distinct from each other in ways that we can recognize on the ground,” said Peck. “That’s very important because it’s a pathfinder for something we hope to do in the future. We want to launch a huge number of these things simultaneously but still sort out which is which.”

The current prototypes are mostly made of commercial parts, but Peck’s group has partnered with Draper Lab in Boston to work on making a more space-ready prototype.

“We’re seeing such an explosion in personal electronics … all these components are super high performance, and they have far outstripped what the aerospace industry has at its disposal,” said Peck, noting that these technologies were used on the small satellites.

Cornell, he added, plays a leading role in the field of chip satellites. “We are definitely the first to launch something, and we are the first to be looking at the flight dynamics as a way to enable new ways to explore space,” he said.

Watch the local news report on this “Sputnik on a chip” from Newschannel 9/WYSR-TV

CHIRP Baked, Ready to Shake

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP), set to piggy-back on the SES-2 spacecraft later this year, passed thermal vacuum chamber testing. According to DefPro, all is nominal and you can’t get any better than that in the space business…

SES-USG today announced that the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) and its host spacecraft, SES-2, have completed thermal vacuum (TVAC) testing.
The experimental wide field-of-view sensor was designed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. After integration onto the SES-2 spacecraft, built by Orbital Sciences Corp., the TVAC tests were conducted to demonstrate the sensor’s ability to withstand the space environment it will experience following the launch this August. A preliminary review of the test data indicates the CHIRP payload thermal performance was as expected.
Victoria Kennedy, CHIRP Program Manager at SES noted, “The TVAC was a key milestone for CHIRP, and puts the program well on track for the remaining environmental tests.”
The TVAC is one of a series of recent successful tests completed by the CHIRP program. In January, the payload was integrated onto the SES-2 spacecraft and passed what is known as the initial post-mate electrical checkout. Following this milestone, an integrated ground-to-payload test was completed where the sensor was commanded from SAIC’s Mission Analysis Center in Seal Beach, CA through Orbital’s Mission Operations Center in Dulles, VA. Through this process, payload data, including images and state-of-health data were successfully transmitted. This demonstration was a key risk reduction activity in the development and testing of the CHIRP Ground Segment.
Brent Armand, CHIRP Program Manager at Orbital Sciences Corporation remarked, “The team is very pleased with the payload performance during TVAC. We are all systems go as we look forward to the upcoming vibration test campaign and the near-term completion and delivery of the SES-2 spacecraft.”

To simulate the hot and cold extremes possible in space, the thermal vacuum chamber can reach temperatures in a 600-degree F range from 302° F all the way down to minus 310° F. Wow, the best we can do as humans on earth is the 300-degree Club in Antarctica.

What’s next? Vibration testing, which includes random vibration, base-drive modal and quasi-static load tests – all conducted while the spacecraft is mounted on a shaker.

This NASA video does an excellent job of explaining these critical tests…

No TV? No Internet? Try Satcom.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

First thought upon hearing the news of Usama bin Laden’s demise was “that’s an interesting name for a Pakistani city.” No, Abbottabad wasn’t named after Bud Abbott, originally from Asbury Park, NJ. “Hey, Abbott! I’m a bad boy,” is the signature one-liner from another Jersey guy, Lou Costello of Paterson. The city was actually named after Major John Abbott, an Indian Army Officer.

So U.S. intelligence found no telephone or Internet connection for this “fortress” in Pakistan, which they thought was remarkable in a neighborhood such as this. Judging from the widely published architectural rendering, I’d conclude they had a satellite antenna capable of two-way communications. Not impossible to intercept, but that depends on encryption and which spacecraft is being used.

Wouldn’t it be funny if they were using the SES satellites at 57° East? Both NSS-12 and NSS-703 provide plenty of two-way satcom services, and the look angle is favorable. However, the rendering shows the antenna pointed toward the southwestern horizon, suggesting perhaps one of the Arabsat birds. We’ll follow up on that.

Amazing how close it was to Pakistan’s “West Point.”


Sendai Satellite Photos

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Fantastic presentation of before and after satellite photos — with interactive slider — of the catastrophic tsunami in Japan, only on the Web site of The New York Times,

WBMSAT News Bits March 4, 2011

Friday, March 4th, 2011

ATTENDING SATELLITE 2011?  Send me an email if you’d like to meet.  Bill

NASA climate satellite fails to reach orbit as nose cone fails to separate on time, dooming the $424m Glory mission.
[Space on msnbc – 03/04/2011]

Air Force’s second launch of secret X-37B space plane set for today; likely to test spy satellite technology.
[Fox News – 03/04/2011]

EGNOS Safety-of-Life signal formally declared available to aviation; for first time space-based navigation signals officially usable for critical task of vertically guiding aircraft during landing approaches.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

EADS signs Memorandum of Understanding with Skolkovo Foundation on research collaboration, formalizing EADS intention to establish research center in Skolkovo Innovation Centre in Moscow.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

General Dynamics C4 Systems gets NASA contract to implement additional flexibility, replace aging equipment, and bring new capabilities to the ground segment of the TDRS Satcom system.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

ViaSat restructures YahSat deal to extend its Ku-band international mobility coverage to include Ka-band.
[Satellite Today – 03/04/2011]

Shuttle booster-mounted camera provides never before seen view of shuttle launch – NASA video.
[R&D Magazine – 03/04/2011]

NewCom Unveils Internet-Based Rural Education Package via Satellite for Latin America, Africa.
[PR Web – 03/04/2011]

Yahsat schedules launch of its first satellite, Y1A, for March 30.
[Trade Arabia – 03/04/2011]




Russia’s upper house of parliament ratifies new agreement with Ukraine for protection of rocket and space technology.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

AsiaSat launches DVB-S2 DTH platform on AsiaSat 4 for Australian and New Zealand audiences; SES WORLD SKIES renews service of three NSS-11 transponders to provide pay TV services in Hong Kong.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

Iridium provides satellite communications for 2011 Iditarod sled dog race safety.
[Globe Newswire – 03/04/2011]

SST Online provides new apps for iPad and iPhone allowing users including fishermen to interact with navigational charts and GPS positioning.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

Vroon selects KVH TracPhone V7 and Mini-VSAT broadband service for 125+ vessels.
[Globe Newswire – 03/04/2011]

Latitude announces two new control and displahy units to support their SkyNode line of satellite data and telephone systems.
[SatNews – 03/04/2011]

India’s space program becoming increasingly militarized, with interest in developing anti-satellite weapons.
[SatNews – 03/03/2011]

China to develop GPS system by 2020.
[Satellite Today – 03/03/2011]

WTA to announce Teleport Awards for Excellence March 15 at Satellite 2011.
[SatNews – 03/03/2011]

Former commercial DC-8 in service for NASA for over 25 years deployed as airborne science laboratory to observe launch of Glory satellite from Vandenberg.
[Washington DC Examiner – 03/03/2011]

Spaceflight activity in New Mexico gains momentum as the governor appoints retired Air Force official to head up the Spaceport Authority and Virgin Galactic’s first customer signs on.
[SatNews – 03/03/2011]

Harris Corp is awarded contract from Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems to build antennas for three Inmarsat-5 satellites.
[Biz Journals – 03/03/2011]

Telesat announces agreement with Loral Space & Communications to acquire the Canadian payload of the ViaSat-1 satellite.
[SatNews – 03/03/2011]

France’s International Space University will hold 25th annual Space Studies Program in Florida, USA from June through August 2011.
[SatNews – 03/03/2011]

DirecTV professes that, while it has begun to resell broadband service from its partners AT&T and Verizon, it has no plans to acquire additional spectrum like Echostar and compete with Telcos.
[Connected Planet – 03/03/2011]

Harbinger Capital Partners, backer of LightSquared, bids on bankrupt satellite company DBSD together with Solus Alternative Asset Management.
[Wireless Week – 03/03/2011]

Hughes, which recently agreed to be acquired by Echostar, sees profits for latest quarter rise.
[Washington Business Journal – 03/03/2011]

Viasat builds on success of global mobile satellite networking business at Ku-band by expanding into Ka band in key markets, including airborne.
[PR Newswire – 03/03/2011]

Starmax HD selects GlobeCast end-to-end services for Spanish distribution.
[Satellite Today – 03/02/2011]

AT&T claims to be America’s fastest-growing TV provider, beating growth of Satellite, Cable, and other providers.
[vision2mobile – 03/03/82011]

Thales Alenia creates separately owned German Subsidiary, Thales Alenia Space Deutschland GmbH in Stuttgart area in order to play a growing role in Germany.
[SatNews – 03/02/2011]

SES successfully places E650m 10-year Euro bond.
[Business Wire – 03/02/2011]

Loral Space & Communications gets $1.5m contract from US Air Force to study technology the military might use to communicate during future wars.
[Forbes – 03/02/2011]




US Army satellite control facilities move from Camp Roberts in California to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
[SatNews – 03/02/2011]

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to review rules governing fees that satellite and cable companies pay TV stations to retransmit their signals.
[Washington Post – 03/02/2011]

Plans for combining satellite and cellular Access in new mobile phones, like the LightSquared LTE network being built, worry those in the GPS industry.
[Kansas City The Star blog – 03/02/2011]

Libya accused of jamming satellite signals of Thuraya and Al Jazeera.
[Mother Nature Network – 03/02/2011]




American contractor jailed in Cuba on charges of brining in illegal satellite communications equipment and setting up internet access in violation of Cuban law.
[Reuters – 03/02/2011]

Dispute between LIN Media and Dish Network regarding retransmission fees may be added ammunition for reform advocates four days before FCC review of rules begins.
[Ad Week – 03/02/2011]

NAB asks Congress to investigate alleged spectrum hoarding by Dish Network and Time Warner Cable.
[Wireless Week – 03/01/2011]

LightSquared and the United States Global Positioning System Industry Council file joint report as required by FCC, outlining analyses they plan to conduct together.
[SatNews – 03/01/2011]

TSF deploys humanitarian calling operations at entrance to transit camp between Tunisia and Libya in collaboration with Tunisian Red Crescent and International Red Cross.
[SatNews – 03/01/2011]

Ericsson releases MPEG-4 Voyager 2 Satellite Newsgathering product.
[Satellite Today – 03/01/2011]

Retransmission fees fight in Canada heads to Supreme Court on appeal by Rogers Communications.
[Winnipeg Free Press – 03/01/2011]

Harbinger restructures LightSquared holding to make direct investments easier.
[Reuters – 03/01/2011]

Noteholders of DBSD North America file reorganization plan for bankrupt satellite communications company in case proposed acquisition by Echostar fails to
[Denver Post – 03/01/2011]

Segovia Executives to open and close panel sessions at Satellite 2011, speaking about new technologies, innovations in MSS, and satellite industry
challenges in the year ahead.
[PR Newswire – 03/01/2011]

MTN Executives to speak at Satellite 2011 on introduction of Ka-band to the Maritime industry and Disaster Relief Coordination.
[PR Newswire – 03/01/2011]

UniSat provides end-to-end managed VSAT network service to US Army in Afghanistan.
[Business Wire – 03/01/2011]

NSR Report projects oil & gas via satellite market will reach nearly $1B by 2020.
[NSR Press Release – 03/01/2011]

Vizada Networks implements iDirect-based VSAT infrastructure in Europe for large Civil Defense agency.
[PR Newswire – 02/28/2011]

Newtec signs deal with NPO SvyazProekt of Russia, certifying it as Newtec’s first authorised repair centre in Eastern Europe.
[realwire – 02/28/2011]

Libyan authorities jam RT’s Arabic channel Rusiya al-Yaum, broadcast in Libya via the Nilesat (AB4) satellite.
[PR Newswire – 02/28/2011]

Following approval of Belgium, all of member states of EUMETSAT are now firmly commited to Meteosat Third Generation program.
[SatNews – 02/28/2011]

GLONASS system begins operation on Vladivostok’s municipal transport system.
[ITAR-TASS – 02/28/2011]

ORBIT awarded IDIQ contract by US Army for Airborne voice altitude warning systems for combat deployed Blackhawk helicopters.
[The Street – 02/28/2011]

Sea Ray, manufacturer of pleasure boats and yachts, names KVH Industries (TracVision antennas and miniVSAT broadband) its exclusive satellite partner for the next three years.
[SatNews – 02/28/2011]

SkyTrac Systems to launch SkyWeb Mobile for iPho0ne, Blackberry, and Android which will display curent position and flight data for aircraft equipped with
SkyTrac’s hardware solutions.
[SatNews – 02/28/2011]

AT&T to launch "Geo-fencing" using Placecast technology and GPS data to target marketing to consumers based on their location.
[Satellite Spotlight – 02/28/2011]

Satellite operators pursue mobile backhaul market – besides current operators, Hylas 1 will also look at backhaul, O3b is planning launches, and Microsat Systems Canada intends to build a LEO constellation of 84 Ka-band satellites for commercial backhaul services.
[Satellite Markets – March 2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services

WBMSAT News Bits February 25, 2011

Friday, February 25th, 2011

ATTENDING SATELLITE 2011?  Send me an email if you’d like to meet.  Bill

Discovery chases International Space Station after lifting off on its final mission.
[R&D Magazine – 02/25/2011]

Astrium ATV-2 executes perfect automatic docking maneuver with International Space Station and is on target to accomplish ISS supply and orbit-raising mission.
[SatNews – 02/25/2011]

Libya blocks satellite phone signals.
[UK International Business Times – 02/25/2011]

Russia and Israel set up joint group to focus on development of communications satellites.
[TMCnet – 02/25/2011]

Worldwide communication networks growing exponentially on consumer demand and commercial requirements, relying on infrastructure including satellite communications.
[PR Newswire – 02/25/2011]

New Paradise Datacom 80W X-band high power amplifier delivers 56W of WGS linear power in small package with Gallium Nitride transistor technology.
[SatNews – 02/25/2011]

Canadian company Advantech Wireless receives significan orders for new 900 Watt and 1600 Watt Ku-band outdoor solid state amplifier systems.
[SatNews – 02/25/2011]

Miteq introduces ultra compact HPA designed for airborne operation in 6-18 GHz range with 100W out at flange.
[SatNews – 02/25/2010]

Dish Network chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen professes no current plans for wireless spectrum it has been trying to amass for past few months, though it has value as investment and strategic play.
[Multichannel News – 02/24/2011]

Hughes Communications to increase its satellite coverage in India.
[India Times / Economic Times – 02/24/2011]

NASA’s Glory satellite launch delayed for at least a week as crews still troubleshoot problem that caused launch to be scrubbed at last minute.
[Santa Maria Times – 02/24/2011]

Russian Glonass-K navigation satellite launch delayed.
[SatNews – 02/24/2011]

New Army Wideband Satellite Communications Operations Center at Wahiawa Annex of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii dedicated.
[Star Advertiser – 02/24/2011]

Dish Network’s fourth quarter earnings rise 41% in spite of losing subscribers for third straight quarter.
[Wall Street Journal – 02/24/2011]

4G LTE won’t destroy GPS; will LightSquared?  (No – both GPS and LTE have to work).
[PC Magazine – 02/24/2011]

Lou Altman, CEO of BWCS, specialist consultancy focused on TMT sector and GlobaFone, to Speak at Train Communications Systems 2011.
[Benzinga – 02/24/2011]

Vizada launches Pharostar, a proprietary VSAT fixed satellite communications service added to its maritime broadband portfolio.
[SatNews – 02/24/2011]

Inmarsat to launch new Dynamic Telemetry Service via FleetBroadband later this year.
[SatNews – 02/24/2011]

Yahsat partners with Boeing and Astrium to provide secure airborne satellite communications capability.
[Zawya – 02/23/2011]

New Mexico’s bet on space tourism hits snag; governor wants to privatize Spaceport America, saying taxpayers have payed their fair share.
[NY Times – 02/23/2011]

Hapag-Lloyd is first to deploy Stratos’ new FBBPlus Managed Broadband service.
[PR Newswire – 02/23/2011]

KTs signs alliance agreement with SpeedCast to deliver global maritime network services via SpeedCast’s global Ku-band network.
[SatNews – 02/23/2011]

Inmarsat subsidiary Segovia wins NATO’s Communications Information Services Consultant Support Services indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for professional and technical services to International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
[SatNews – 02/23/2011]

RRsat providing 3D delivery of Fashion TV programming on three satellites.
[Street Insider – 02/23/2011]

DirecTV swings to fourth-quarter profit on subscriber growth based on takeaways from cable rivals.
[Wall Street Journal – 02/23/2011]

Abu Dhabi to launch first satellite next month.
[Khaleej Times – 02/23/2011]

Newcom International’s Office Without Borders package provides turnkey mobile office for Oil & Gas sector.
[TechZone – 02/23/2011]

Satellite Spotlight award presented to iDirect’s SatManage network management.
[Satellite Spotlight – 02/23/2011]

Lightsquared closes $586 million in additional debt financing from USB and JP Morgan, bringing debt financing over last 7 months to more than $2 billion.
[Wireless Week – 02/22/2011]

Air Force concerned about Lightsquared interference – general suggests company’s licenses should be pulled.
[DSL Reports – 02/22/2011]

Boeing to begin selling commercial satellite capacity.
[Wall Street Journal – 02/22/2011]

Astrium wins contract to provide AirPatrol airborne satcom terminals to Canadian Department of National Defence.
[Defense World – 02/22/2011]

Yahsat signs contract with Astrium to manage operations, training, and maintenance for ground systems of UAE Armed Forces’ new military satellite communications system.
[AME Info – 02/22/2011]

DVB Steering Board approves DVB-3DTV specification which will be sent to European Telecommunications Standards Institute for formal standardization.
[SatNews – 02/22/2011]

USAF successfully demonstrates over-the-air, low-data-rate communication between orbiting Milstar satellite and the family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals.
[SatNews – 02/22/2011]

Space Florida and Bigelow Aerospace agree to work together to pursue and identify foreign and domestic companies that could use Bigelow’s expandable, orbital space complexes.
[SatNews – 02/22/2011]

Swedish students’ rocket takes off on 11 minute flight to 80.6 km altitude with four experiments from students all over Europe.
[SatNews – 02/22/2011]

R&M Energy selects Stratos Global for BGAN-based SCADA network.
[PR Newswire – 02/22/2011]

Yahsat’s first satellite Y1A, built by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, is shipped from Astrium facilities in Toulouse, France to Kourou, French Guiana launch site.
[SatNews – 02/21/2011]

European Commission urges member states to remove obstacles to introduction of satellite broadband as a matter of "urgency."
[eweek Europe – 02/21/2011]

White House requests $47m to convert politically grounded climate satellite into observatory to monitor space weather and warn of solar storms.
[SpaceFlight Now – 02/21/2011]

First four Globalstar Second Generation satellite have been successfully position, marking start of service for this new constellation.
[SatNews – 02/21/2011]

GeoDecisions picks Orbcomm for global satellite and cellular data communications for its Web-based portal GeoILS.
[Trading Markets – 02/21/2011]

Research and Markets adds report "Satellite Communications – an Essential Wholesale Infrastructure" to their offering.
[Business Wire – 02/21/2011]

NSR Webinar March 31 – The Earth Observation Market:  Good Business or Public Service?
[NSR webinar details]

WBMSAT News Bits February 18, 2011

Friday, February 18th, 2011

SatNews Publishers announces release of free online Satellite Industry Database, a digital tool designed for professionals that instantly and easily provides critical satellite company information.
[SatNews – 02/18/2011]

UK Satellite and Cable Broadcasters’ Group fights proposal by House of Lords Communications Committee to restrict advertisements on pay and free-to-air channels to seven ad-minutes per hour.
[Hollywood Reporter – 02/18/2011]

Eutelsat revenue growth across all businesses up 13.3% in first half of 2011, with group share of net income up 25%.
[PR Newswire – 02/18/2011]

SES to launch SES-4 and SES-5 satellites this year, to meet needs of the largest European Direct-to-Home (DTH) providers and fuel growth in Africa and the Middle East.
[Peace FM Online – 02/18/2011]

European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli gets photo of Arianespace 5 launch of ATV Johannes Kepler from International Space Station.
[SatNews – 02/18/2011]

Global Xpress deal a "win-win" for Inmarsat and iDirect.
[NSR – 02/18/2011]

Division of Ottawa company Calian Technologies signs US$15 million contract to provide antennas and rf systems to VT iDirect.
[Winnipeg Free Press – 02/18/2011]




Strongest solar flare in four years disrupts ground communications.
[ – Denver – 02/18/2011]

Echostar to take control of numerous Hughes satellite farms around the country as part of acquisition.
[Broadcast Engineering – 02/17/2011]

TerreStar Networks withdraws bankruptcy restructuring plan which would have given ownership to Echostar and other creditors.
[Denver Post – 02/17/2011]

Orbital awarded contract for SES-8 satellite by SES WORLD SKIES.
[Trading Markets – 02/17/2011]

Panasonic Avionics signs Letter of Intent with Scandinavian Airlines to deliver full broadband connectivity and mobile phone service on SAS’ domestic, pan-European, and intercontinental flights.
[SatNews – 02/17/2011]

Yahsat’s first satellite arrives successfully at launch site.
[zawya – 02/17/2011]

KVH unveils world’s smallest, most affordable maritime VSAT antenna, measuring just 14.5", providing download speeds as fast as 2Mbps on KVH’s proven mini-VSAT broadband network.
[SatNews – 02/17/2011]

SES Astra and Eutelsat both win long-term capacity deals in Italy and Germany, continuing to ramp up their capacity market rivalry.
[Satellite Today – 02/17/2011]

TeleCommunications Systems announces exclusive arrangement with Cisco to commercialize IT communication services on the World’s first space router.
[Marketwire – 02/17/2011]

EchoStar and Hughes combination expected to deliver substantial value to shareholders.
[Satellite Spotlight – 02/16/2011]

Ariane 5 launches second European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for servicing of the International Space Station, carrying aloft its heaviest payload ever (19,700 kg).
[SatNews – 02/16/2011]

Intelsat plans landmark African satellite launch, with New Dawn, the region’s first private sector communications satellite, to be launched from French Guiana March 29.
[Broadcasting Cable – 02/16/2011]

TeleCommunications Systems SwiftLink Tactical Transportable Tropo Solution receives 2010 Satellite Spotlight Product of the Year Award from TMC.
[SatNews – 02/16/2011]

Tennis enthusiasts across European Russia, Siberia, and Ukraine enjoyed coverage of Australian Open 2011 from leading Russian satellite broadcaster NTV-PLUS and Global Crossing.
[SatNews – 02/16/2011]

50 years ago NASA launched Explorer 9, a balloon satellite (satelloon), as U.S. raced to catch up to Soviet Union in space race.
[The Atlantic – 02/16/2011]

Globecomm Systems completes satellite uplink hub for Televisa at its Mexico City Broadcast Center.
[SatNews – 02/16/2011]

Boeing hands over first LightSquared satellite, SkyTerra 1, for service after post-launch testing is completed.
[Space Daily – 02/15/2011]

U.S. Air Force and Lockheed in talks over AEHF satellite, and financial fallout from engine failure preventing the satellite from reaching intended orbit.
Reuters – 02/15/2011]

NewCom international telemedicine project connects Haiti hospital with top doctors in U.S.
[MMD Newswire – 02/15/2011]

Blue Sky Network, which developed technology to pass packet-based data over Iridium satellites for tracking aircraft, finds other uses for its satellite technology.
[xconomy – 02/15/2011]

RRsat carries over 50 religious broadcast channels worldwide.
[PR Newswire – 02/15/2011]

Sky-Stream selects iDirect TDMA to power Apple TV platform in Dubai.
[Satellite Today – 02/15/2011]

Echostar to buy Hughes Communications for about $1.32B.
[Bloomberg – 02/14/2011]

$78 billion in additional Pentagon cuts:  diminishing demand for commercial SATCOM?  Maybe not.
[NSR – 02/14/2011]

Avanti Communications shares expected to soar as company is transformed by operations based on the new HYLAS 1 satellite, and its follow-on satellites to be launched.
[Sharecast – 02/14/2011]

New report by Global Industry Analysts projects world satellite transponders demand to exceed 7,150 36-MHz transponder equivalents by 2015.
[Benzinga – 02/14/2011]

Glonass-K replacement set for launch February 24.
[Satellite Today – 02/14/2011]

XipLink to provide bandwidth optimization technology to Middle Eastern Internet service provider Icces for Saudi Arabia-based network.
[Satellite Today – 02/15/2011]

Wireless advances could put end to new cell towers – small cubic antenna systems acting as outdoor femtocells could be backhauled by fiber or satellite.
[R&D Magazine – 02/11/2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services

Satcom Poker

Monday, February 14th, 2011



Sure, it was a good day at the office for Apollo Management LP in the deal announced today, where EchoStar is buying Hughes Communications…

Apollo’s SkyTerra affiliate first bought into Hughes back in 2004, when then-owner DirecTV — frustrated in efforts to sell Hughes outright — agreed to strike a 50-50 joint venture with Apollo to run the business.

As part of that deal, Hughes was valued at $360 million and Apollo plunked down just $50 million in cash for the stake in Hughes. Then in 2006, Apollo bought out DirecTV for $100 million.

Today, at the price EchoStar agreed to pay of $60.70 a share, or $1.35 billion excluding debt, Apollo stands to make roughly $753 million, based on its 57.4% disclosed stake in Hughes as of the end of 2009.

Pretty crafty deal, as Hughes does very well with using satellite capacity to make money. They’ve designed and manufactured their own modems, and they’ve even launched their own spacecraft in the all-Ka-band Spaceway 3. EchoStar has excess capacity, thanks in part to digital compression over the years — and they probably leased too much capacity from SES over the last 8 years or so.

With AMC-5 at 79° West not being replaced (running-on-empty AMC-2 is in the slot now), and AMC-1 being replaced by  SES-3, which will not have a 26° CCW offset on the Ku-band side. What does that mean? All the Ku-band traffic on 79° West and 103° West is "in play" and may need to move. Hughes is in a good position to grab some business. Where’s that traffic going?

I’m thinking EchoStar stands to gain some long-term contracts for their FSS birds. Add to that the solid experience Hughes has had with Ka-band over the last couple of years, and you’ve got a good business-enhancing transaction here.

By the way, SES-3 will have cross-strapping between payloads, which nobody gives a hoot about in North America.

Make satcom services American again. We love you, Charlie!