Archive for November, 2009

Buy European

Monday, November 30th, 2009


According the Space News, SES was set to announce a very large contract with Astrium to purchase several spacecraft:

Satellite fleet operator SES has selected Astrium Satellites to build four direct-broadcast television spacecraft in a contract valued at around 500 million euros ($753 million) and expected to be signed the week of Nov. 30, industry officials said.

It will be the biggest single satellite order ever made by Luxembourg-based SES, which is also negotiating with Astrium on the sale of SES’s ND Satcom unit, a satellite ground-hardware supplier whose recent financial performance has been disappointing.

One industry official said the satellite order and the ND Satcom negotiations are not related, and that the satellite deal does not depend on Astrium’s purchase of Friedrichshafen, Germany-based ND Satcom, which is the biggest company inside what SES calls its services division.

This ought to ensure the viability of Europe’s space business for at least another decade. And if the shake-up at ND Satcom continues, it will confirm SES is truly concerned with space segment, first and foremost.


Sure enough, they made the formal announcement today:

“This important investment in new satellite capacity will enhance the prominence of SES ASTRA’s 28.2 degrees East position, mainly for the UK and Irish markets, and improve coverage of Eastern Europe from 31.5 degrees East,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “It will also allow SES WORLD SKIES to extend its offer to the African and Middle Eastern markets. By adding significant flexibility and improved functionality, these new satellites will allow SES to further drive its DTH, DTT, enterprise and broadband businesses while consolidating space assets and strengthening the international reach of the group. Also, we are pleased to be working again with Astrium. SES has appreciated the quality of their products and their customer dedication in recent and ongoing contracts, and this is exactly what we are looking for in this multi-satellite contract.”

What they were not looking for was Orbital, Lockheed, Boeing or SS/Loral. SES stands for Société Européenne des Satellites, after all.


DIY Friday: Drink Beer on C-SPAN

Friday, November 27th, 2009


Great flashback on Make:Online and Barminski:

OK, you’re not really going to drink beer on C-SPAN or Larry King Live. But you can make it look like you did on video. I don’t know why you’d want to, but let’s just say you do. I know I did.

The method used to achieve this effect is called compositing. You will need a source video recorded from a television show, a replacement video you will shoot yourself, and a static matte — a shape cut out of the source video with Photoshop to hold the new video.


Analog-to-video capture device
Final Cut Pro and Photoshop
Video camera
Microphone to record belch
Business suit

 More from Barminski.


Maker Channel 103 – Smoke Rings, Theremin Orchestra, Pulse-Jet, Beer on CSPAN from make magazine on Vimeo.


WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for November 27, 2009

Friday, November 27th, 2009


John Malone says DirecTV is not for sale, though he says the company would at least listen to offers.

[Satellite Today – 11/26/2009]


Eutelsat’s W7 satellite is carried into orbit aboard a Proton Breeze M rocket, marking 4th successful satellite launch for Eutelsat in 2009.
[TransWorldNews – 11/25/2009]

U.S. Air Force plans to launch the third Wideband Global SATCOM satellite on December 2.
[Patrick Air Force Base news – 11/25/2009]


Gilat is chosen by Telefonica del Peru for broadband satellite communications project covering more than 3,500 sites.
[CNN Money – 11/25/2009]

Eutelsat announces that French telecoms operator SFR has selected Eutelsat’s Tooway satellite broadband service to meet demand from its customers beyond ADSL coverage.
[Trading Markets – 11/25/2009]

Spacecom wins Amos 5i contract in Africa worth estimated $6.3m from unnamed customer.
[Satellite Today – 11/25/2009]

NASA's QuikSAT satellite - artist's conception

Spinning wind sensor antenna on NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite fails after more than a decade of operations, leaving weather forecasters without a critical tool to measure winds inside distant hurricanes and fueling controversy about replacement.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/24/2009]

Preparations move forward at Baikonur Space Center for fourth Land Launch mission, a planned launch on November 29th of the Intelsat 15 satellite, the first Intelsat launch for Land Launch.
[SatNews – 11/24/2009]

MacDonald, Dettwiller and Associates sign $187m contract with Russian Radio Research and Development Institute to provide technology solutions for Russian Express AM5 and AM6 satellites.
[Satellite Today – 11/24/2009]

Serbia becomes EUMETSAT’s latest cooperating state following ratification process.
[SatNews – 11/24/2009]

iDirect announces that Belgium Satellite Services has installed iDirect Universal Satellite Hub to strengthen capabilities and reach of its IP satellite broadband offerings in Middle East and Africa.
[SatNews – 11/24/2009]

NASA’s Aqua satellite sees Nida explode into a category 5 super typhoon.
[PHYSORG – 11/25/2009]

Russia launches Cosmos-series military satellite aboard a Soyuz rocket.
[Space War – 11/23/2009]

Intelsat 14 is successfully carried into orbit aboard Atlas 5 rocket.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/23/2009]

AsiaSat 3S capacity will be used for live television coverage of the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games December 5-12.
[SatNews – 11/23/2009]

Chinese state inquiry determines that a burn-through of its Long March rocket engine’s upper-stage gas generator was the primary cause of failure to place Indonesia’s Palapa-D satellite into proper orbit.
[Satellite Today – 11/23/2009]

Newpoint Technologies and SAT Corporation partner with Clearbox Systems to provide satellite ground station and network management system to BAE Systems of Australia, to support forces accessing Wideband Global SATCOM system.
[CNN Money – 11/23/2009]

Inmarsat completes acquisition of Segovia Inc.
[Wall Street Journal – 11/23/2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services


Atlas V Launches Intelsat-14 & IRIS

Monday, November 23rd, 2009


We’ve been waiting for this one. It finally went up at 1:55 EST, while I slept…


Thanks to SpaceFlightNow for tweeting it, and for this nice photo by Ben Cooper:


One of the good things about living in Florida — besides the warm weather — is watching lots of launches. Here’s an amateur version of this particular launch…




WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for November 20, 2009

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Iran plans to launch its own satellite by 2011, since no one seems willing to help; Iran claims it is a communications satellite – Israel says it is a spy satellite.
[Fox News – 11/20/2009]

SMOS satellite with MIRAS instrument deployed

The MIRAS instrument on the European Space Agency’s SMOS satellite launched earlier this month, has been switched on and is operating normally – it will map soil moisture and ocean salinity.
[Space Mart – 11/20/2009]

Russia may delay maiden launch of the new Angara carrier rocket, designed to put heavy payloads into orbit, for at least one year due to shortage of funds from the Defense Ministry.
[Space Travel – 11/20/2009]

DirecTV announces completion of merger with Liberty Entertainment following Liberty Media stockholders’ OK for split of Liberty Entertainment; acquisition by AT&T or Verizon is a possibility.
[iStockAnalyst – 11/19/2009]   –   [Wall Street Journal blog – 11/20/2009]

NSR industry briefing sees the satellite-based earth observation market entering a phase of impressive growth, expected to generate $6.2B in satellite manufacturing, commercial data, and value added services in 2018.
[NSR – 11/19/2009]

Long March satellite with Shenzhou payload being prepared for launch

President Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao agree to expand and formalize U.S.-Chinese discussions on new cooperative space efforts at Beijing summit.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/18/2009]

Quick-thinking Chinese ground controllers able to maneuver high-value Chinese spacecraft out of path of space debris, marking first such save by China, and emphasizing the mounting orbital debris hazards faced by space-faring nations.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/18/2009]

DirecTV chooses Michael white, former vice chairman of PepsiCo, as new CEO; Echostar elevates Michael Dugan to CEO as Charley Ergen vacates the post.
[CED Magazine – 11/18/2009]

Iridium teams with three new partners to expand satellite services offering in Mexico.
[CNN Money – 11/18/2009]

Shuttle Atlantis successfully docks with International Space Station.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/18/2009]

ViaSat offers new Ethernet Service Expansion Module for its Enhance Bandwidth Efficient Modem that promotes Frequency Division Multiple Access across Department of Defense satellite networks.
[SatNews – 11/18/2009]

Sri Lanka signs agreement with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of the UK to obtain an Earth Observation satellite, representing Sri Lanka’s first communications satellite.
[Space Mart – 11/18/2009]

NASA chief is ready to work with China on space exploration, as Beijing aims to send a manned mission to the moon by around 2020.
[Space Daily – 11/17/2009]

SES invests $75M in O3b to become a key shareholder, aiming to support development of the O3b high-speed satellite internet network.
[Satellite Today – 11/17/2009]

Gilat reports third quarter revenue decline, and announces hiring of former Intelsat General president Susan Miller as SIGS CEO.
[Satellite Today – 11/17/2009]

Spot LLC responds to budget conscious holiday shoppers by offering a $50 Holiday Rebate for the SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker, the award-winning personal and portable satellite-based communications messenger.
[CNN Money – 11/17/2009]

SatMax completes installation of Iridium satellite communications repeater systems for ITT Corporation; the Defense Department plans to use SatMAX systems indoors to provide non-line-of-site access to Iridium satellites.
[CNN Money – 11/17/2009]

Stratos Global is recognized by the World Teleport Association as the world’s largest independent teleport operator again in 2009.
[PR Newswire – 11/17/2009]

SpaceX protests U.S. Air Force contract award to Orbital Sciences Corp. for missile hardware.
[Satellite Today – 11/17/2009]

KVH TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service will be deployed by the United States Coast Guard on its 110 ft. and 225 ft. cutters.
[SatNews – 11/17/2009]

Spot Image Corporation and the U.S. Geological Survey have begun to distribute, over the internet, SPOT satellite data collected over North America between 1986 and 1998.
[SatNews – 11/17/2009]

Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite strike strategic agreement for cooperation at 75 Degrees East position in satellite orbital arc.
[PR Newswire – 11/16/2009]

Stratos Global expands its line of Stratos MobileLink fixed-to-mobile calling services, enabling fast, affordable connectivity from fixed locations to Iridium and Inmarsat mobile satellite terminals, to help customer avoid high tariffs charged by local telephone companies.
[SatNews – 11/16/2009]

Newtec’s Sat3Play and ASTRA2Connect internet connection rated EXCELLENT by leading independent German consumer organization group.
[SatNews – 11/16/2009]

TCS acquires substantially all of the assets of Sidereal Solutions, Inc., a satellite communications technology engineering, operations, and maintenance support services company.
[SatNews – 11/16/2009]

Atlas rocket on launch pad at Cape Kennedy

Atlas launch of Intelsat 14 is halted due to power interruption to Ordnance Remote Control Assembly; launch will be rescheduled following the space shuttle Atlantis launch.
[Universe Today – 11/15/2009]

NSR report – Global Satellite-Base Earth Observation – the industry has taken rapid strides in the last decade, reinventing itself by expanding application base from military and weather to industries including infrastructure, energy, and insurance.
[NSR Report – November 2009]

NSR Report – Global Assessment of Satellite Supply & Demand, 6th Edition – was Intelat’s purchase of ProtoStar-1 for $210M a good deal or not?
[NSR Report – November 2009]

FCC claims that cable and satellite set-top-boxes may be impeding the growth of broadband internet connectivity into homes.
[Washington Post blog Post Tech – November 2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services


Leonid Love

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


Amman, Jordan




South Africa


Guffey, Colorado

The Leonid Meteor Shower was, by most accounts, a modest one this year as between 200 and 300 fell during the peak this week. Apparently, Mongolia was a good place to watch. In the Western U.S., a Bolide meteor caused a huge fireball lit up the sky around midnight. The account, via

 People from Southern Idaho to Cedar City reported seeing a bright light in the sky shortly after midnight Wednesday, according to an article on

The article says a meteor is the likely cause of the bright light that lit up Utah skies. The earth is currently passing through the Leonids, a spectacular annual meteor shower.

Some northern Utah residents also reported on Facebook that they heard a noise and felt shaking along with the bright light, including one former Washington City resident. There are also reports on Twitter of several “shooting stars” visible in the Hurricane area.

You can follow reactions to the meteor on Twitter by searching for the hash tag #strangelight.

Here’s the news report from Fox13 in Utah:


The security cameras at the University of Utah’s Milford Observatory‘s captured this video footage:


Which the AP is running with…


Space Elevator Games

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

From the Space Elevator Games


Keep up with developments via the Space Elevator Blog. Next month, a conference in Luxembourg.

Dude, My Lens!

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Nice effect by Red Huber of the Orlando Sentinel. Check it out and you’ll see why you shouldn’t stand so close to the pad…


WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for November 13, 2009

Friday, November 13th, 2009


Dutch Space signs contract with Orbital Sciences for development of solar arrays for NASA’s new cargo missions to the International Space Station to be carried out under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Service project.
[SatNews – 11/13/2009]

Iridium reports increased EBITDA of 28.4% for third quarter, and decrease of 11.2% in net income due to acquisition related expenses – net income would otherwise have increased 36%.
[SatNews – 11/13/2009]

GlobeCast opens fibre POP in Moscow, expanding its nexgen global fibre network.
[SatNews – 11/13/2009]

General Dynamics is awarded $22.2M contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to support the Naval Integrated Tactical Environmental System Next Generation program.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

GeoEye revenue surges 123%, while profits drop due to loss of tax break.
[Satellite Today – 11/12/2009]

Fastwave Communications receives contract from Chevron Australia Pty Ltd to supply water quality monitoring system for Gorgon offshore gas project using Iridium satellite data links.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

Intelsat signs multi-year agreement with Corporate Satellite Communications for Intelsat’s Network Broadband Global Maritime service.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

Stratos Global deploys the Inmarsat FleetBroadband mobile broadband satellite service for MPC Steamship, a fast-growing commercial shipping company.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

MYtv contracts with Intelsat for capacity it owns on Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s Thor 6 satellite to deliver DTH content to Ukrainian audiences.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

International Launch Services and SIRIUS XM contract for launch of XM-5 satellite on the ILS Proton in 2010.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

Sea Launch seeks financing following approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and plans for launch of Intelsat 15 from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan later this month.
[SatNews – 11/12/2009]

Lockheed readies Intelsat 14 for launch on Saturday, November 14.
[CNN Money – 11/11/2009]

Italian company Carlo Gavazzi Space denies Iranian government’s claim that it would use Italy to launch a satellite partially built by the company.
[Google Hosted Associated Press – 11/11/2009]

Gilat issues statement labeling lawsuit against it by Israeli shareholders over failure of March 2008 planned merger outlandish and without merit.
[CNN Money – 11/12/2009]

Broadband stimulus program to be streamlined by USDA’s Rural Utilities Service and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to allocate remaining funding of about $3.2B of loans and grants in just one round.
[CED Magazine – 11/11/2009]

Norway will invest $214M in Spanish satellite in plan to improve communications with Norwegian defense forces deployed in Afghanistan and Chad as well as naval units on international missions.
[Satellite Today – 11/11/2009]

Globecomm Systems is awarded $17.7M contract from U.S. Government Agency to provide global SATCOM On-The-Move communications program management and services, integrating Soldier Node Extension Prophet Satellite Terminals in a hub-spoke and mesh architecture.
[RFP Connect – 11/11/2009]

Iridium is awarded $9.7M contract from U.S. Department of Defense to supply tactical communications radio-only devices to U.S. military.
[Satellite Today – 11/11/2009]

Gilat Satcom signs multiple renewal, expansion agreements with Intelsat in Africa to increase and enhance domestic networks and broadband services there.
[Satellite Today – 11/11/2009]

Soyuz rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan with Poisk module, a docking port and astronaut airlock for International Space Station.
[Spaceflight Now – 11/10/2009]

Satellite operators Qualcomm and Skyterra lobby FCC for more spectrum to support mobile data services utilizing ancillary terrestrial component (ATC).
[Business Week – 11/10/2009]

Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications data showing that Verizon added 81,000 FIOS subscribers in that state last year demonstrates how it takes share from cable and satellite providers, according to a senior analyst at Bernstein Research.
[Telephony OnLine – 11/10/2009]

Asian government defense agency selects Gilat Satellite Networks  to deliver turnkey broadband communications solution.
[TMCnet  – 11/10/2009]

Comtech receives $1.2M order for satellite modems to support cellular backhaul in Africa.
[CNN Money – 11/10/2009]

Intelsat reports net loss of $94.3M for three months ended September 30, 2009.
[SatNews – 11/10/2009]

Loral Space & Communications announces third quarter Adjusted EBITDA more than double that of a year ago.
[SatNews – 11/10/2009]

NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Project offers real-time HDTV movies of the Atlantic and Pacific "hurricane alley" regions.
[Eurekalert – 11/09/2009]

Satlynx and Arabsat team up to deliver fully redundant satellite network for Central Bank of Iraq.
[SatNews – 11/09/2009]

Space War With China; Northrop to Sell TASC; Iran to Launch Spy Satellite.
[got geoint? – 11/09/2009]

Harris completes milestone review for GOES-R satellite ground segment contract in a NOAA program that will process 40 times more data than possible today, and serve 10,000 direct users.
[CNN Money – 11/09/2009]

Inmarsat 3Q net profit is up 34%.
[Wall Street Journal – 11/09/2009]

Vimicro International Corporation, a leading multimedia semiconductor and solution provider, announces strategic development partnership with China Satellite Mobile Broadcasting Corporation to develop new technology for mobile TV.
[CNN Money – 11/09/2009]

The US and European space agencies have signed the "letter of intent" that ties together their Mars programmes.
[BBC – 11/08/2009]

China will launch a French-made communications satellite, APSTAR-7, for the Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Holding Limited in the first half of 2012.
[China Daily – 11/08/2009]

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. sells its subsidiary Mabuhay Satellite Corp to Asia Broadcast Holdings Litd, a Bermuda company engaged in the satellite business.
[Business Mirror – 11/08/2009]

A pan-European student built mission to the Moon will be managed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. following its selection by the European Space Agency.
[Space Ref – 11/07/2009]

South Korea will launch its first weather-communications satellite in March 2010.
[The Korea Times – 11/07/2009]

German service provider atrexx offers solution to customers locked into long term capacity leases and customers who are unable to find satellite capacity.
[PRLog – 11/06/2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services


Cisco Space Router Launch Update

Thursday, November 12th, 2009


Yes, rocket scientists, the moment we’ve been waiting for is almost upon us. Cisco’s on-board router, a USAF payload hosted by the Intelsat 14 spacecraft, is scheduled to launch on Friday:

 A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, on behalf of Lockheed Martin Space Launch Services, will launch the commercial Intelsat-14 satellite from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Nov. 14 with a launch window of 12:48 – 2:18 a.m. EST. If the launch scrubs a day, the window for Nov. 15 will remain the same.

With the launch of Intelsat-14, nearly half of the Atlas V launches in program history will have been commercial missions, with nine commercial missions and 10 government missions. The Intelsat-14 spacecraft will provide high-powered video and data services through its 40 C-band and 22 Ku-band payload to customers throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. Additionally, Intelsat-14. Additionally, Intlesat-14 hosts a payload for the Internet Router in Space, or IRIS program, for the Department of Defense.

The launch will be broadcast live via Galaxy 16, after midnight from Cape Canaveral:

Satellite: Galaxy-16
Transponder: 08 C
Band: C-Band Analog
Orbital Location: 99° W;
Uplink Frequency: 6085 MHz Horizontal;
Downlink Frequency: 3860 MHz Vertical;
Bandwidth: 36 MHz
Audio Subcarrier: 6.2 and 6.8

Service start: 13 Nov 2009 14:00 ET / 13 Nov 2009 19:00 GMT
Service end: 13 Nov 2009 17:00 ET / 13 Nov 2009 22:00 GMT

Service start: 14 Nov 2009 00:01 ET / 14 Nov 2009 05:01 GMT
Service end: 14 Nov 2009 02:45 ET / 14 Nov 2009 07:45 GMT

The IRIS payload will get the attention, but the 40 C-band transponders will make some money for Intelsat, as IS-14 will replace the old PAS-1R at 45° West (315° East for you old-timers). Lots of full-time video customers located at 45° West.



 IRIS coverage is substantial and what we’ll learn will advance Internet communications via space assets. We hope.