Archive for December, 2009

Delta-IV Launches WGS-3

Monday, December 7th, 2009


United Launch Alliance really doesn’t care if their Web site is updated properly or not.

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket with the Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM-3 (WGS-3) satellite lifts off from its Space Launch Complex-37 launch pad at 8:47 p.m. EST today. The WGS-3 mission is the third installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. The WGS satellites are important elements of a new high-capacity satellite communications system providing enhanced communications capabilities to America’s troops in the field for the next decade and beyond.

Here’s the straight video…


…and one that’s "rocked up" with some rights-free music…



WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for December 4, 2009

Friday, December 4th, 2009

House passes updated version of the bill reauthorizing the satellite compulsory license for carriage of distant network affiliate TV station signals.
[TWICE – 12/04/2009]

Congressional testimony form Government Accountability Office director Gerald Dillingham blames lack of a comprehensive U.S. national space launch strategy and unified oversight council for obstructing the domestic commercial launch industry’s ability to grow and compete.
[Satellite Today – 12/04/2009]

SatMAX gains acceptance into corporate arena within its first year in the satellite ground equipment industry, providing Iridium satellite communications repeater systems to Fortune 500 companies like ITT corporation.
[CNN Money – 12/04/2009]

TeleCommunications Systems Inc. agrees to acquire Networks In Motion, Inc., a privately held provider of wireless navigation solution for GPS-enabled mobile phones.
[SatNews – 12/04/2009]

Thales Alenia Space completes platform integration testing on the European Space Agency’s Galileo satellites.
[Satellite Today – 12/04/2009]

Sea Launch receives final approval on motion to secure debtor-in-possession financing from Space Launch Services and outlines reorganization plan.
[Satellite Today – 12/04/2009]

Austrian public broadcaster ORF purchases HD capacity from SES Astra.
[Satellite Today – 12/04/2009]

Comcast agreement to acquire majority stake in NBC Universal from GE fundamentally changes how it works with rival telecommunications and satellite TV providers, raising concern that rising programming fees may accelerate further under Comcast.
[Wall Street Journal – 12/03/2009]

Air Force’s Delta 4 Wideband Global SATCOM 3 launch from Cape Canaveral is targeted for December 5, after delay due to a ground system glitch.
[Spaceflight Now – 12/03/2009]

Arianespace prepares for final Ariane 5 launch of 2009, which will carry France’s Helios 2B military observation satellite into orbit next week.
[Space Travel – 12/03/2009]

Comtech wins $1.6m order for high-power amplifiers for Ku band satellite terminals, underscoring increasing military demand for Ku-band flyaway terminals.
[CNN Money 12/03/2009]


SpaceX conducts its first Dragon spacecraft operations training for NASA astronauts and personnel, focusing on how the crew will interface with Dragon while approaching and docking with the International Space Station.
[SatNews – 12/03/2009]

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer ready for launch December 9 from Vandenberg AFB.
[Space Travel – 12/03/2009]

Globecomm Systems Inc. introduces operational commercial X band service offering to U.S. Military and Coalition Forces operating in Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
[SatNews – 12/03/2009]

TacSat-4 satellite construction completed; ready for launch which was moved to August 2010 because of changing DoD mission priorities.
[Space War – 12/03/2009]

Northrop Grumman is awarded $500K contract to help U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory design a spacecraft "bus" with plug-and-play capability to reduce cost and schedule in developing future space systems.
[SatNews – 12/03/2009]

USAF and Lockheed Martin announce successful completion of thermal vacuum testing of the first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite.
[Space War – 12/03/2009]

SkyWave Mobile Communications makes available GLONASS navigation capability in its DMR-800L satellite data communication terminal.
[SatNews – 12/03/2009]

As the United Arab Emirates pushes into new era of space development, highlighted by recent launch of Dubai-Sat 1 and YAHSAT’s capability of buying and servicing satellites, young Arabs can be the next generation of space engineers.
[Space Mart – 12/03/2009]

SES, Intelsat, and Inmarsat establish Space Data Association in the Isle of Man, dedicated to sharing critical operational data in support of satellite operations, improving flight safety, and preserving the space environment.
[Satellite Today – 12/02/2009]


New Zealand rocket Atea-1, after landing in ocean, loses connection with its tracking satellite when GPS battery dies, stymieing recovery efforts.
[SatNews – 12/02/2009]

NASA spends $570m of the $1b stimulus money authorized by Congress on the embattled Constellation Moon program.
[Space News – 12/02/2009]

Boeing ships High-Def broadcasting satellite DIRECTV 12 to Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility in Kazakhstan.
[Space Travel – 12/02/2009]

Hughes Network Systems ships over 2.1 million VSAT satellite terminals as of Q3 2009.
[SatNews – 12/02/2009]

The World Teleport Association launches a new "Green Teleport" campaign to help its members improve energy efficiency, slash energy costs, and make their energy-dependent businesses more sustainable.
[SatNews – 12/02/2009]

Iridium announces that ITT has received a contract from U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center to supply 1,450 Iridium-based handheld tactical satellite communication devices for use by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[SatNews – 12/02/2009]

NOAA deactivates the GOES-10 satellite after 12 years of service.
[SatNews – 12/02/2009]

Lockheed Martin gets $57.3m sole-source contract to provide operations and sustainment support for Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System for next5 8 months.
[Defense Industry Daily – 12/01/2009]

Intelsat 15 satellite is launched from Kazakhstan by Russia following 24 hour delay for unspecified technical reasons.
[Space Daily – 12/01/2009]

Spot LLC, wholly-owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc., announces availability of SPOT Assist Maritime, a boat towing service summoned via satellite using hand-held SPOT Satellite Messenger device.
[CNN Money – 12/01/2009]

India’s ISRO space agency has eight foreign satellites in its pipeline for launch over the next two-three years, and is looking for foreign satellites to purchase.
[Space Travel – 12/01/2009]

GOES-14 geostationary environmental satellite is placed in on-orbit storage awaiting call to duty, with tests showing all systems functioning well.
[Space Mart – 12/01/2009]

NASA says a piece of space debris being tracked will not threaten the International Space Station.
[CNN – 12/01/2009]

Iran continues to insist it will launch a new communications satellite on its own after Italy and Russia refused to launch what Israel claims is a surveillance craft designed to spy on the Jewish state and target ballistic missiles.
[Space Daily – 12/01/2009]

SPOT expands satellite messenger service coverage in Africa with new operating gateway in Nigeria.
[CNN Money – 11/30/2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services

Say It On Satellite Radio

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

 It’s true: you can say anything you want on satellite radio. Using profanities adds an authentic color to the conversation, but there are times it overused.

On the Sirius XM’s Opie & Anthony show yesterday, Jim Norton was a little too aggressive in his use of such language. They were interviewing Jesse Ventura, a former Navy Seal, about his new show on Tru TV, "Conspiracy Theories."


Jesse Ventura walked off the Opie & Anthony radio show after engaging in a heated argument with co-host Jim Norton while promoting his new reality show that debuts tonight on truTV.

After profanities were traded back-and-forth between Ventura and Norton related to the subjects of government cover-ups that Ventura will be discussing on his new show, Ventura walked off the set.

 What did they say? Let’s go to the video…


 Also the former governor of Minnesota, he deserve a little more respect than Mr. Norton afforded him.


Yo, That TomTom is Fly!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009


F’shizzle, sat-nav! Snoop Dogg‘s voice — and phrases — are now available for your TomTom GPS navigation unit via VoiceSkins.



The program formats the user’s GPS system so that it gives directions in Snoop’s unmistakable voice and using his trademark slang. It offers crucial driving tips like, "Turn around when possible and keep it ‘G’, ya d-i-g?" and "Thanks for the ride man, I had the time of my life. Oowee!" The application also offers a downloadable "Points of Interest" file, which uses GPS to inform the user of Snoop’s favorite local L.A. spots.


Great idea. Love the extras, too. Here he is, in the studio, explaining why…



He’s quite the entrepreneur, which is why he rang the bell at the NYSE to begin Global Entrepreneurship Week recently. The WSJ recorded this interview  



My Boat’s Got a Satellite

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


The mini-VSAT from KVH is now available in Africa, via Telstar 11N:

 KVH’s commitment to Telstar 11N is the latest step in its joint effort with ViaSat Inc., a supplier of innovative satellite networks and other wireless communications, to offer a seamless broadband network for vessels, aircraft, and other mobile markets on a global basis.  Telstar 11N’s high powered Ku-band capacity over Africa will form a key part of KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband service  that supports broadband Internet and voice channels for commercial and leisure boaters.  Telstar 11N will also provide African coverage for the ViaSat Yondersm mobile broadband network.

"The West African region with its offshore oil and gas fields has long been an important part of KVH’s plans for expanding our mini-VSAT Broadband network," said Brent C. Bruun, KVH’s vice president of sales and business development.  "However, KVH could not launch a service that met our quality standards until Telstar 11N became available.  Now with Telstar 11N’s African beam, KVH has live coverage, or is under contract to provide such coverage, to virtually every major maritime region on the globe."

"Telesat congratulates KVH on achieving another milestone in the completion of its mini-VSAT Broadband network with the African coverage of Telstar 11N," said Nigel Gibson, Vice President, International Sales for Telesat.  "There is growing demand for mobile broadband services from maritime, aero , and other mobile markets and Telesat is excited to be working with industry leaders like KVH and ViaSat to deliver high powered satellite capacity that makes mobile broadband possible."


Coverage is impressive. Call it "shrimp sat" instead; better for branding, bubba.

Happy Hughes

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


Yesterday, Hughes announced they’ve shipped more than 2 million VSAT terminals since the mid-80’s:

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, today announced that it has shipped an aggregate of over 2.1 million satellite terminals as of Q3 2009, continuing the company’s leadership of the global very small aperture terminal (VSAT) market which began in the mid-80s when Hughes shipped the first VSAT network to Wal-Mart.

For over 25 years since it first designed and developed VSATs, Hughes has consistently maintained the position of worldwide market leader in satellite networks and services. These networks provide rapid, reliable transmission of data, voice, video and multimedia to sites located virtually anywhere over continent-wide areas covered by geostationary satellites. Customers of Hughes satellite networks and HughesNet® broadband IP services include many of the world’s leading companies, spanning a wide range of vertical sectors from retail, to oil/gas, hospitality, lottery, automotive, banking and entertainment/media, as well as government and multi-national organizations.

"We are extremely proud of reaching this significant milestone," said Pradman Kaul, chairman and CEO of Hughes. "It marks a quarter of a century during which Hughes has built its successful business as an innovator of VSAT-based satellite networks and services, and has made major contributions in evolving this technology to become an integral part of the world’s broadband telecom infrastructure. From enterprises and governments to businesses and consumers, Hughes serves customers in all market sectors and in more than 100 countries, including providing high-speed Internet services by satellite to nearly 500,000 consumers in the U.S. in areas where terrestrial alternatives aren’t available."

Hey, that’s great: a half-million people use it. The rest have been built up over time by businesses. Are they all as happy as those featured in this TV spot?


According to the fine print, "speed and uninterrupted use of service are not guaranteed." Anecdotal, yes, but here’s a recent opinion via Broadband Reports

I have had this Satellite connection for about (or over) 5 years now. Yes, that means before Hughes came in, I was using DirecWay (bad because it was still satellite. Good because the download speeds were better, there was no limit on what you could download, and the tech support was ok back then). I don’t even know why I switched to Satellite, because I had Cable and DSL already here… Well I had the plan which was about $80/month (way too much for trash) and had a 24 hour limit of 375MB, and I have the HN7000S modem.

Let me say that if you really complain about your internet connection being slow or something, please, there is worse. At its very best, I get a 1.01Mbps Download/0.15Mbps Upload speed with a ping of almost 900. Takes about 12 seconds to fully load this site’s home page. Online gaming sucks, it’s horrible, you can even call it respulsive using Satellite. In shooter games like Halo, I would warp around the map, and if it wasn’t that, people would kick/ban me for ‘lagging’ the server. In the Xbox 360 game Halo 3, I can’t even do matchmaking; I’d be lucky to even be able to sign into Xbox Live.

Really, I sometimes find Dial-up more reliable than this. If I downloaded a file over 375MB in a whole day (not during their Happy Hour–2am to 7am) I would get throttled down for 24 hours with a top download speed of 1.75KB/sec. Now at it’s best download/upload speed with no limits, which is called Happy Hour, my very best download speed would be 121KB/sec which I find somewhat slow. During a rainstorm, I would not have a connection at all to the internet, but if I do, it would be very slow. If I had a little ice or snow on the Satellite dish, no connection at all.

Found Verizon DSL and I already purcahsed it. I have the 1.5Mbps Download/384Kbps Upload plan for $19.99/Month (way under 50% of what I was paying for, while getting better connection). They already sent me the Wireless Router Modem (Westell model 7500) which was free becuase I purchased online, and my service will be activated 12/1/09. On that day, as soon as I find a connection to the internet with the DSL, and all computers are connected to it; I am trashing HughesNet.

If you have no internet connection around your area except Dial-up (which I find more reliable at times, using Hughes, in my opinion), try satellite, but if you do have something else, stay with what you got or switch to something not satellite.

[I will most likely be writing a review of my plan of Verizon DSL after month or two of using it]

Goodbye Hughes.

P.S. Will not miss you, and I will probably celebrating when you are gone and replaced by Verizon DSL.

Sure, satcom companies are lining up for some broadband stimulus money, but this is not a sure thing. Look out for WiMAX, cable and DSL to get in there first. They’ll probably play up the "job creation" angle, too. Of the satcom players, I think Wildblue is in a better position to capitalize on this opportunity.

That’s A Ukrainian Rocket

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

A Ukrainian Zenit rocket launched Intelsat-15 yesterday, captured nicely on video by TV Roscosmos…


Intelsat, Ltd., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, announced today that a Zenit-3SLB vehicle successfully launched the Intelsat 15 satellite (IS-15) from the Land Launch facilities at the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan. Liftoff occurred at 4:00 p.m. ET, followed by signal acquisition and spacecraft separation about six and a half hours later at 10:28 p.m. ET.

The satellite, built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, will provide video and data services through its high power Ku-band payload. Once IS-15 is operational, it will replace Intelsat’s 709 satellite at 85º E, and is expected to have a useful life of at least 17 years.

Customers will use IS-15’s capacity to distribute in-demand services that include cellular backhaul, for wireless communications to remote locations; broadband networks for enterprise applications; IP trunking, for robust Internet connectivity; and video services, for DTH programming.

Nearly 23% of the payload is set aside for SKY Perfect JSAT’s broadband services in Asia.  The spacecraft was built by Orbital and will replace IS-709 at 85° East:

Launch Mass: 2,550 kg (5,622 lb.)
Solar Arrays: Four panels per array, UTJ Gallium Arsenide cells
Stabilization: 3-axis stabilized; zero momentum system
Propulsion: Liquid bi-propellant transfer orbit system; Monopropellant (hydrazine) on-orbit system
Batteries: Two >4840 W-Hr capacity Li-Ion batteries
Mission Life: 15 years (fueled for 16 years)
Orbit: 85 degrees East Longitude

Frequency: Ku-band
Repeater: 22 active transponders with 30-for-22 redundant TWTA’s
Antenna: Two 2.3 m deployable dual-grid reflectors; one 1.4 m deck-mounted antenna