Archive for March, 2011

Satcom’s Responsibility

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The scale of the disaster in Japan, who some have compared to “four Katrinas,” is as mind-boggling today as it was a week ago. The automatic reaction in the satcom community was one of “ready, set, go” — let’s get our satcom systems turned up to help with communications efforts. The ITU cobbled together a bunch of satellite phones and terminals, et. al. as quickly as it could…

Among material already deployed are 78 Thuraya satellite phones equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to facilitate search and rescue efforts, along with 13 Iridium satellite phones and 37 Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals. An additional 30 Inmarsat terminals are ready for dispatch. The equipment can be charged by car batteries and are supplied with solar panels to enable operations during power outages.

This may seem as if it’s not nearly enough to help, but you should also consider the response inside Japan. Only yesterday did the Ofunato City Hall get a much-needed satcom connection via the KIKU No. 8 (ETS-VIII) mobile satellite system…

On March 24, JAXA set up a ground antenna and the movable test communication terminal for the KIKU No. 8 at the Ofunato City Hall to connect the communication line of up to 768 Kbps between the City Hall and the Tsukuba Space Center via KIKU No. 8 in cooperation with the National Institution of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) based on a request from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which received a petition from Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture.

With this communication line installation, Ofunato City Hall workers began collecting information by PCs through the Internet. Apart from city hall, local fire departments and other offices can also now use the Internet and IP telephones to share information for strengthening their cooperative activities.

In addition, as one of the special features of the KIKU No. 8 is communications with a small movable test terminal, which was installed at Ofunato City, information dispatch from evacuation centers and other places through the Internet became possible, because it is easy to move around and install it. Therefore, the connection this time is expected to further contribute to a smooth recovery from the disaster.

Simply getting these terminals out to where they were needed took time — and to find power sources. Most can be powered by a car battery, but they weren’t easy to find. Having a handheld unit is wonderful, until you need to recharge. As many found during last winter’s storm and subsequent power outages in the U.S., you could maintain your Internet connection/communication with an iPhone — only you’d be charging it in your car. In Japan, you car may have been washed away or buried under tons of debris, miles away. So that’s not an option.

Nobody could have predicted this type of utter destruction of property and the communications and power-transmission systems failures. The challenge of preparing satcom systems to respond effectively is to make sure there’s capacity available to meet the demand. As with the REDiSat Network, developed by SES Americom in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2006, nobody wants to pay for capacity that’s not needed. Full-time customers are ready to today, so they fill up the spectrum for their businesses. You can’t simply bump them to make room for emergencies when they have hundreds of customers depending on it for their livelihood.

That’s when the government needs to step in and  help foot the bill. Help the satcom operators keep satcom inventory ready to deploy in case of emergency, only not at the target 80% EBITDA margins. A reluctance to part with capacity at a lower profit margin caused the  REDiSat Network to fade away. Designing, building, testing, launching and operating a satcom spacecraft is expensive and they do serve the public well.

Broadcasters’ reliance on — and willingness to pay for — satcom systems is a wonderful arrangement.  It’s magic: an infinite number of receivers for video and a good source of cash flow for the satellite operators. Keeps a lot of rocket scientists employed, too.  As good corporate citizens, shouldn’t some of the profits be set aside to provide satcom capacity when needed?

I’m sure the accountants can find a way to pay for it.

Anybody who has capacity available in the region is likely booking it for TV news. Only SKY Perfect JSAT has any meaningful response (opens in PDF) …

As a measure for supporting post-disaster recovery, we are allocating necessary transponders capacity to anti-disaster organs, etc. and preparing for aid measure one by one. At present, the number of applications for subscription is increasing steeply. We are dealing with it as follows: For recovery assistance, we will immediately conduct what we can do with our communication satellite. We hope that the devasted area will be restored soon.

About the use of satellite communication services

  • We will first distribute transponders to the institutions for post-disaster recovery, such as National Police Agency, the Ministry of Defense, related ministries, Telecommunication carriers and the U.S. military.
  • As for the use of bands by electric power companies, including TohokuElectric Power, we will assist them proactively and give priority to them to allocate the cacant bands of Superbird-B2 owned by SKY Perfect JSAT
  • As for the steep increase in the use by media organizations, we will deal with it thoroughly, and as for new subscriptions, we will allocate the band of JCSAT-5A, which has some room.

Where are the “we’re helping” press releases from the major satcom players?

Stock Nazi

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

No stock for you!

Howard Stern‘s production company, One Twelve Inc., and agent Don Buchwald are suing Sirius XM for not giving up stock they were promised, via AllThingsDigital

According to the suit, Sirius did give Stern his initial stock award after he signed on in January 2006, but it failed to pay him out on any others even though it “exceeded its own internal estimates by more than 2 million subscribers” each year for the remainder of the original contract.

“Stern enabled Sirius to surpass its internal subscriber targets by more than 2 million subscribers in 2006 and in 2007,” the suit alleges. “Because of this success and the revenue that it brought into the company, [Stern] was entitled to receive the performance-based stock awards Sirius promised [him].”

So Sirius is stiffing Stern. Not a particularly wise move given the latter’s irascibility and reach of his daily radio show. If there’s a PR battle to be fought here, Sirius will likely lose it first thing tomorrow morning when Stern’s back on the air again.

Reached for comment, Sirius claimed to have met its obligations to Stern. “SIRIUS XM just signed a contract through 2015 with Howard Stern, and he is a valued part of our company,” spokesman Patrick Reilly told me. “We were thus surprised and disappointed by the subsequent legal action initiated by his production company and agent. We have met all of our obligations under the terms of our 2004 agreement with Howard, his agent and production company.”

Here’s the suit (opens as PDF), which I think will be worked out.

Satellite TV Going Local

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


Is this what we’re about to see on our satellite TV systems? If the deal between DirecTV and NDS is any indication, you can count on it.

NDS will deliver key elements of its NDS Dynamic suite of advanced advertising solutions including local DVR video ad insertion and advertising audience measurement capabilities.

The NDS Dynamic components delivered to DIRECTV will be deployed on DIRECTV’s SD DVRs allowing seamless insertion of household addressable ads into both live and recorded video content from the DVR hard drive.

The implementation for DIRECTV will also see the extension of their existing audience measurement capabilities, already supported by NDS Dynamic. DIRECTV will now be able to collect data on local ad insertion events. This data will support the revenue-generating potential of addressable advertising on the DIRECTV platform with the ability to generate solid feedback on the ads that have been viewed.

DirecTV is after the local cable companies’ ad sales market, which had a pretty good year in 2010.



Give Me Fuel

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The most significant real news coming out of last week’s Satellite 2011 show in Washington was the contract between Intelsat and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Canada to re-fuel orbiting geosynchronous spacecraft. If successful, it has the potential of shifting the economics of satcom services. MDA has the experience and it takes away some of the thunder created by ViviSat earlier this year.

MDA has been pitching this business for years now, and the people managing the spacecraft could not find a way to (1) accept the engineering risk, and (2) see the financial benefits.  The scenario was adroitly summarized by Peter de Selding’s piece in Space News

  • Intelsat will select one of its satellites nearing retirement to be moved into a standard graveyard orbit some 200 to 300 kilometers above the geostationary arc 36,000 kilometers over the equator. It is the most used orbital highway for telecommunications satellites.
  • Richmond, British Columbia-based MDA will launch the SIS servicer, which will rendezvous and dock with the Intelsat satellite, attaching itself to the ring around the satellite’s apogee-boost motor.
  • With ground teams governing the movements, the SIS robotic arm will reach through the nozzle of the apogee motor to find and unscrew the satellite’s fuel cap.

The SIS vehicle will reclose the fuel cap after delivering the agreed amount of propellant and then head to its next mission.

MDA Chief Executive Daniel E. Friedmann said in a conference call with investors that MDA has identified more than 40 different types of fueling systems and that the SIS will carry a toolkit designed to open most of them.
Steve Oldham, president of MDA’s newly formed Space Infrastructure Services division, told reporters here March 15 that SIS will be carrying enough tools to open 75 percent of the fueling systems aboard satellites now in geostationary orbit.

Oldham said each mission will last two or three weeks.

So the potential is there for MDA — and you’ve got to give Intelsat credit for looking into the future potential like they’ve got a set. Other operators seem content to wait and see if it works — for now. With 52 orbiting spacecraft, Intelsat is in a good position to give it a go.

Andy Pasztor’s story in the Wall Street Journal latched on to the real financial potential for Intelsat: reselling the service to government customers who have their own spacecraft in need of refueling:

But the seven-year, $280 million contract announced Tuesday is the culmination of MacDonald Dettwiler’s efforts to take the lead in shifting from demonstrations and research to using the technologies in real-world applications.

“This takes it out of the realm of science fiction,” said Kay Sears, president of Intelsat’s government-services unit. “We don’t need to study it any more, we’re going to do it.” Intelsat, based in Luxembourg but with its main office in Washington, operates the largest global commercial-satellite fleet.

By pairing a sophisticated robotic service vehicle with what essentially amounts to an orbiting gas station for satellites, MacDonald Dettwiler intends to shuttle fuel to satellites reaching the end of their normal operational lives of between 10 and roughly 15 years.

Unlike concepts favored by rivals, the Canadian system is designed to have the mobile servicing vehicle disconnect from satellites after they are refueled, a process likely to take several weeks.

According to Ms. Sears, Intelsat chose that approach because it affords maximum flexibility to subsequently move rejuvenated satellites around as market conditions change.

In addition to using the venture to assist Intelsat’s own fleet of more than four dozen satellites, Ms. Sears said the company has the exclusive right to market the first-of-a-kind services to the Pentagon and other prospective U.S. government customers operating satellites, including spy agencies.

Once the venture gains momentum, she said, “it’s going to change the industry” and offer U.S. government officials “a nice opportunity to use a cost-effective” solution to avoid huge replacement costs for certain aging satellites.

This creates a new market in the space business, so I’d expect ViviSat’s simplified solution to gain some traction with other operators in the near future.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/18/2011

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Imagery from MDA Systems Information Group’s RADARSAT-2 satellite is being used to assess damage and direct relief efforts to the main stricken areas of Sendai, Japan, in the wake of the March 11 earthquake.
[SatNews – 03/18/2011]

Imagery from the Formosat-2 high resolution satellite, the only one capable of imaging the same point every day because of its atypical orbit, allow international community to follow evolution of Japanese earthquake disaster day by day.
[SatNews – 03/18/2011]

NAB sets off debate over “Spectrum Hoarding.”
[PC World – 03/18/2011]

Arqiva is expanding its U.S.-based government and domestic operations in Washington, D.C. by developing and refining its teleports for secure transmissions.
[Satellite Today – 03/18/2011]

The first experiment to investigate the effects of solar plasmasphere disturbances on satellite communications will be launched aboard the UK Space Agency’s maiden CubeSat mission.
[the engineer – 03/18/2011]

Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSB) signs five-year agreement with NewWave Broadband to provide iDirect’s Virtual Network Operator services for its maritime customer ShipEquip.
[Satellite Today – 03/18/2011]

Integrating SCPC Return Channel technology, iDX v3.0 software enables service providers to manage TDMA and SCPC networks over same platform.
[ThomasNet News – 03/18/2011]

Satellite broadband provider Wildblue moves to larger headquarters, with plans to hire 30 workers.
[Business Week – 03/18/2011]

NASA-affiliated scientists propose using low-powered, ground-based laser to nudge pieces of space debris off of collision courses with each other.
[SatNews – 03/17/2011]

SES selects International Launch Services (ILS) to launch the SES-6 satellite on a Proton rocket in 2013.
[Satellite Today – 03/17/2011]

Globalstar takes delivery of six next generation (2G) satellites at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
[SatNews – 03/17/2011]

LightSquared working group formed to test for possible interference to GPS has 34 members including Garmin and other GPS vendors as well as Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, NASA, FAA, and other government agencies.
[PC World – 03/17/2011]

ITU assists communications in Japan by sending 13 Iridium satellite phones, 37 Inmarsat BGAN terminals, and 78 Thuraya satellite phones with GPS to assist in search and rescue work.
[Computer World – 03/17/2011]

Lockheed Martin successfully tests next generation GPS integrated flight software and computer processors, demonstrating enhanced ability to communicate among the satellite, network communications and navigation elements.
[emoney daily – 03/17/2011]

Norsat International Inc. releases multi-band versions of its GLOBETrekker™ and Rover™ satellite systems, which will now be available in Ka-band.
[SatNews – 03/17/2011]

Intelsat renews contract with social media company dBase Media, who will provide social media strategy, implementation and reporting in preparation for New Dawn satellite launch.
[The Street – 03/17/2011]

Skylogic to market Eutelsat’s next generation Tooway product on the powerful KA-SAT high throughput Ka-band satellite.
[SatNews – 03/17/2011]

EMA Group (EMA) announces that the Albanian government has awarded the Company a contract to implement Iridium-based Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) for the country’s commercial fishing fleet.
[SatNews – 03/17/2011]

Intelian Technologies unveils its largest VSAT communications antenna, a 2.4m C-band antenna for marine applications.
[Satellite Spotlight – 03/17/2011]

Intelsat contracts Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to develop commercial satellite-refueling business that will include launch of a Proton-class servicing spacecraft and a test mission on a disused communications satellite.
[Aviation Week – 03/16/2011]

Launch providers in tough panel discussion at Satellite 2011, with some bullish about their futures, others not so bullish, and a bit of criticism of one another.
[Satellite Spotlight – 03/16/2011]

Integral Systems announces that the Company has been selected by Intelsat to provide its EPOCH Integrated Product Suite (IPS) satellite command and control software to manage Intelsat’s newest satellites – Intelsat 21 and 22.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Inmarsat and partner Skywave Mobile Communications make data service available on global handheld satellite phone, IsatPhone Pro.
[PR Newswire – 03/16/2011]

DISH Network receives approval from a U.S. bankruptcy court to acquire a 100% stake of DBSD North America Inc.
[Zacks – 03/16/2011]

iDirect announces that Bentley Walker Ltd., one of the largest VSAT network operators in Europe, has purchased iDirect’s SatManage network management system.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Thales Alenia Space selects EMS Defense & Space for L-band communications hardware for low-earth orbiting, cross-linked satellites produced by a third company.
[Government Video – 03/16/2011]

Gateway Communications selects Gilat as its primary VSAT provider, enhancing services to mobile and fixed line operators with connections in Africa and to the rest of the world.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Thuraya announces signing of key distribution agreement with Athens-based Tetra Communications, who will market Thuraya’s voice and broadband data services in Greece and surrounding NATO countries.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

INPE of Brazil selects Brüel & Kjær to be the supplier of their replacement data acquisition and vibration test system for satellite launch simulation and qualification testing.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

ViaSat and Asia Broadcast Satellite enter into a multi-year agreement to provide Ka-band satellite service in key areas of the Middle East using the ABS-7 satellite.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Integral Systems announces release of a new version of the satID® Geolocation System by its wholly-owned subsidiary, RT Logic.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

XTAR is awarded bandwidth contract by Intelsat for 79.5 MHz of X-band capacity from its XTAR-EUR satellite sitting over Europe and Middle East.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Globecomm Systems introduces auto-aligning VSAT antenna using band-specific feed cartridges with integrated RF electronics to enable quick switch in the field from X- to Ka- to Ku- satellite bands.
[SatNews – 03/16/2011]

Avanti’s Hylas 1 in-orbit testing complete; satellite ready to begin servicing broadband customers in Europe.
[ZDNet – 03/15/2011]

Yahsat selects Hughes Networks Systems to enable broadband services on Yahsat’s high performance Y1B Ka-band satellite.
[PR Newswire – 03/15/2011]

World Teleport Association announces recipients of 16th annual Teleport Awards of Excellence during luncheon ceremony at Satellite 2011.
[SatNews – 03/15/2011]

Globecomm introduces its FAST terminal for rapid deployment of enterprise-class communications solutions.
[Business Wire – 03/15/2011]

Tachyon is expands its broadband capacity over Southwest Asia with a capacity lease on Eutelsat’s SESAT 2 satellite.
[SatNews – 03/15/2011]

Satlink selects Zixi’s broadcast-quality HDTV over the cloud in place of satellite trunk lines and where satellite or fiber optic transmission services are not feasible.
[Business Wire – 03/15/2011]

SES WORLD SKIES has a new capacity deal with Axesat that’s aimed at meeting escalating corporate service demand across Latin America and the Caribbean.
[SatNews – 03/15/2011]

DigitalGlobe contracts with Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services for the launch of WorldView-3.
[SatNews – 03/15/2011]

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) will launch the SES-8 medium-sized communications satellite on a Falcon 9 vehicle in 2013, under the startup launch service provider’s first geostationary communications satellite launch contract.
[Aviation Week – 03/14/2011]

Iridium Communications wins $13.4 million follow-on task order from the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren to implement Phase 3 of the Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) program.
[TMCnet – 03/14/2011]

Stratos Government Services (SGSI) wins General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70 FCSA contract to provide commercial satellite communications products and services to the U.S. Government.
[Satellite Spotlight – 03/14/2011]

Dire state of communications in Japan following earthquake evident in NBC report where reporter provided satellite phone to American teacher so she could reach out to her family in the states.
[Computer World – 03/14/2011]

RRSat assists in launch of HIGHTV, reportedly the first international entirely 3D entertainment channel.
[TV Technology – 03/14/2011]

Top secret military payload NROL-27 lifts off from Cape Canaveral on Delta IV rocket.
[Universe Today – 03/12/2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services

Digital Signage Hack

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Very nice job, taking over these video screens in New York’s Times Square:

The way it works is pretty simple: plug in my transmitter into the iphone 4 and play back any video clip. you can play it through the ipod feature or through the camera roll. the transmitter instantly sends the video signal to the video repeater and the video repeater overrides any video screen that it’s being held next to. it doesn’t matter what shape or size the hacked screen is because the hack video will simply keep its correct dimensions and the rest of the hacked space will stay black.

I chose Times Square for my demo because it has lots of video screens to try it on. it is also one of the most monitored and secured areas in New York City and that made it that much more fun :). You can see in my video that the repeater is pretty powerful but the signal is not very stable yet. i’m working on that. I will post a new video later this week explaining how i made this prototype.

A lot of this advertising content is distributed by satellite, so naturally we think it’s wild.

Wait a minute. Was the quality too good? Seems it may have been. It’s a viral marketing pitch for the movie “Limitless,” which begins on 18 March 2011. Here’s the trailer…

Soyuz Wanna Get Out or What?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Looks pretty tight in there, comrade. I figure the thrill of orbiting Earth in the ISS is worth the cramped quarters while getting there — and back. Welcome home, Soyuz TMA-01M.

The details, via

Outgoing Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly, Soyuz TMA-01M commander Alexander Kaleri and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka undocked from the International Space Station Wednesday, plunged back into the atmosphere and descended to a snowy touchdown in Kazakhstan to close out 159-day mission. With Kaleri at the controls in the descent module’s center seat, flanked by Kelly on his right and flight engineer Skripochka to his left, the Soyuz TMA-01M undocked from the Poisk compartment atop the station’s Zvezda command module at 12:27 a.m. EDT (GMT-4).
After testing repairs to the Soyuz avionics system, Kaleri monitored a four-minute 17-second rocket firing starting at 3:03:17 a.m., slowing the ship by 258 mph to begin the fall to Earth.
The three modules making up the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft separated as planned just before atmospheric entry, and the central crew module carrying Kaleri, Skripochka and Kelly lined up for a fiery descent to a parachute- and rocket-assisted touchdown at 3:54 a.m. near Arkalyk in north central Kazakhstan.
Braving blowing snow, brisk winds and temperatures in the 20s, Russian recovery crews and flight surgeons, along with a NASA support team, were standing by to help the astronauts out of the cramped Soyuz descent module.

“The search and recovery forces still working to extract the crew from the Soyuz capsule, which landed safely and on its side, dragging its parachute for what I would consider to be about 25 years or so before it came to rest on its side,” said NASA spokesman Rob Navias, on the scene with recovery crews in Kazakhstan. “The crew reported to be in good shape.”
A few minutes later, Kaleri, Kelly and Skripochka had been pulled from the capsule and carried to reclining chairs. Grainy video from the landing site showed support crews bundling the crew members in blankets as they began their re-adaptation to gravity.

Because of the brutal winter conditions, the recovery team planned to fly the trio to nearby Kustanai for initial medical checks and a traditional Kazakh welcoming ceremony.

Here’s the video…

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,

Angry Satellites

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Who would dare compete for the attention of hip techies with SXSW in Austin? Quite a few, actually, and none of them are hip.

There’s the Indiana Flower & Patio Show and the NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education annual conference in Philadelphia. There’s also the PITTCON Conference & Expo (laboratory science),  International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction and one in Seattle: the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.  Wait, there’s one more: Satellite 2011.

That’s right: satcom has yet to come across as being “hip.” OK, so investors may want to stick with traditional, risk-minimizing returns from the major player. That good for now. What about the future? Who will be making the decisions whether to use satellite technology in the future?

Ed Horowitz was alluding to the coming change in the marketplace in his pre-conference luncheon speech yesterday…

There is an impending conflict between media distributors and media providers. New media is growing faster than traditional media. It is about carrying your content around with you. New media consumers want to do more than just consume available information. They want to create it. Five out of the 10 fastest growing websites have user-generated content. Very soon, 50 percent of the workforce will be Generation X and Generation Y. 2011 marks a new rubicon for our business. Traditional media connections are changing. The new model is an open model with a direct connection between the consumer and media.

The concept of prime time is gone. Prime time is all the time. You have Google, Apple, Netflix, etc. TVs are becoming Web browsers. The revolution is global. The convergence of the TV and the PC is happening. Lastly, this generation that has grown up with this empowerment. If you don’t serve them what they want, you die (AOL and MySpace). Satellite must be ready to serve customers on the move. It has to be at the network’s core. This will require the industry to team up with new players.

TV Everywhere. Who’s on it? TimeWarner’s CNN, according to a piece by Staci Kramer in

The launches are still months away but CNN Digital has a pair of announcements from SXSW tonight that mark significant advancements for the network’s online and mobile video offerings. In early summer, CNN plans to flip the switch on its version of Time (NYSE: TWX) Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes’ TV Everywhere, making it possible for subscribers of Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) Xfinity, Dish, Cox and Verizon FiOS to watch CNN live across platforms and devices. Other Turner Broadcasting networks, including TNT and TBS are likely to offer authenticated live streaming of linear channels at the same time.

CNN also will launch a new video player taking full advantage of the native HD being used for nearly all its footage now, the first major update for CNN’s online video experience in three years. KC Estenson, SVP and GM of, showed me the new player on multiple bank of screens during a practice session before I left Austin; the quality of the video being streamed over WiFi in 19:9 format to the large screen array doing double duty as a computer monitor was stunning. Equally important, the player is designed to work across platforms, including Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV. Eventually Estenson, who calls the new player a “quantum leap,”  expects it be to be available through any internet-connected TV.

In addition to various technical improvements, the player features a playlist that moves with the user from device to device. Start watching on a computer, switch to an iPhone or iPad, pick it up later on a connected TV and the player will know where the user left off and what is in the queue. One hitch: at launch, it will only work with internet access. Eventually, CNN hopes to make offline viewing possible. Estenson is striving for the quality of Vimeo, the serendipity of YouTube, the experience of Hulu and the portability of Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX).

Meanwhile, back at satcom ranch, the most exciting news is SES signing with SpaceX for a Falcon-9 launch. That’s a good one, compared to other news surrounding Satellite 2011.

The SPPI Gala is going hip? Yeah, no more black-tie attire.  Let me make a bold prediction: nobody will dress like the partygoers at the Angry Birds event at SXSW…

How about on-site promotion? Have you ever seen anything resembling this at the satellite show? A Nokia N8 promotion in Austin. Why? Because they’re competing for relevancy and satcom should do likewise.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/11/2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

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

Russia’s Raduga-1 geostationary military communication satellite has likely lost communications with the flight control center and may have run out of fuel.
[CRI English – 03/11/2011]

Naval Research Laboratory positions unique elliptic-orbit TacSat-4 for launch in May 2011.
[Business Wire – 03/11/2011]

Group of 17 major stakeholders in GPS industry want FCC and NTIA to make LightSquared guarantee its planned network won’t interfere with GPS systems.
[Wireless Week – 03/11/2011]

Yahsat’s Y1A satellite, Abu Dhabi’s first, ready for March 30 launch by Arianespace from French Guiana.
[Gulf News – 03/11/2011]

Hughes Network Systems high-performance commercial satellite router receives National Institute of Standards and Technology security certification.
[SatNews – 03/11/2011]

New technology from SES ASTRA base on ASTRA2Connect allows telecommunications operators and Internet service providers to offer satellite-base broadband via existing last-mile infrastructure.
[SatNews – 03/11/2011]

Germany’s Fairplay Towage selects FleetBroadband from Stratos for deep-sea tugboats.
[PR Newswire – 03/11/2011]

UK Royal Academy of Engineering report claims that growing dependence on satellite navigation systems poses serious economic and safety risks to society.
[The Register – 03/10/2011]

Euroconsult reports that revenue in global aeronautical satellite communications market grew by almost 25% in 2010; growth expected to continue at slower pace over next decade.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight to be held in New Mexico in October to focus on how technical advances are driving success of companies in commercial space industry.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

South African Maritime Safety Authority installs sophisticated navigation satellite systems to protect the country’s waters from piracy and other threats.
[The New Age – 03/10/2011]

NASA soon to unveil its new rocket integration facility at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia; first customer to be Orbital Sciences Corp with its Taurus II launch vehicle.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

FCC to determine whether to extend rate caps on SiriusXM satellite radio beyond July 28 – final comments due March 11.
[Twice Mobile – 03/10/2011]

SpeedCast signs multi-year agreement with SES WORLD SKIES for additional capacity on NSS-6, NSS-7, and NSS-12 to serving growing demand of maritime customers in Middle East, Africa, and South America.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

First Space Based Infrared Systems satellite delivered by Air Force to Florida base for May launch.
[U.S. Air Force web site – 03/10/2011]

New Zealand satellite communications provider Farmside and IPStar provide free of charge wireless communications via satellite in support of post-earthquake rescue efforts.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

Satellite communications provider NSSLGlobal assists Associated Press communicate with world during Eqyptian uprising.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

French capital development fund acquires Thomson Video Networks, promising revamped satellite product line.
[Satellite Today – 03/10/2011]

Blue Sky Network debuts new SkyRouter 2, allowing customers to more easily track and communicate with all their mobile assets.
[SatNews – 03/10/2011]

Satcom Direct partners with AirCare Solutions Group to offer in-flight tele-medicine service to FDF customers.
[Satellite Today –

The Satellite Users Interference Reduction Group changes its name to Satellite IRG, and re-aligns its management structure.
[Satellite Today – 03/10/2011]

Vizada and Telemar win 85-ship maritime broadband contract in Germany.
[Satellite Today – 03/10/2011]

Boeing announces completion of Preliminary Design Review for three Ka-band satellites with hosted payloads to be built for Inmarsat as Inmarsat-5 spacecraft.
[SatNews – 03/09/2011]

UltiSat wins contract from AT&T Government Solutions to provide satellite-based Internet services to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.
[Satellite Today – 03/09/2011]

Inmarsat selects Cobham as intital launch partner for maritime satellite terminals for its forthcoming Global Xpress service.
[Trade Arabia – 03/09/2011]

Hiding in plain site at Satellite 2011 – a Norsat 1.8 meter transportable terminal concealed in a ConcealFab Corp PVC barn.
[SatNews – 03/09/2011]

Aircell announces plans to migrate its Gogo airborne Wi-Fi service to international flights as well as increase performance of its domestic services.
[PC Magazine – 03/09/2011]

Globecomm Systems launches Globecomm Maritime, bringing together its four business units Telaurus, Mach6, Evosat, and Carrier2CVarrier to provide a comprehensive suite of maritime communication solutions.
[SatNews – 03/09/2011]

Hughes executive to address military forum at Satellite 2011 on commercial satellite capabilities for government/defense communications-on-the-move (COTM).
[PR Newswire – 03/09/2011]

NSR report – Earth Observation value-added services may not offer the easy cruise anticipated, but could become a bumpy ride.
[NSR – 03/09/2011]

Turkey signs $571M deal with Mitsubishi Electric of Japan for two satellites.
[Satellite Today – 03/08/2011]

Iridium is making a push into lower-cost satellite services.
[Space News – 03/08/2011]

CapRock selected as one of 46 prime vendors to be awarded basic ordering agreement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; continues string of successful GSA Schedule 70 awards.
[Globe Newswire – 03/08/2011]

C-Com set to unveil two mobile satellite antenna systems at Satellite 2011, including its iNetVu Airline Checkable antenna.
[marketwire – 03/08/2011]

Air Force awards contract to study Ka-band architectures and acquisition strategies to Hughes Network Systems.
Defense Systems – 03/07/2011]

Spacenet receives 2010 Satellite Spotlight Product of the Year Award.
[Business Wire – 03/07/2011]

Thuraya announces launch of new Seagull 5000i maritime terminal in partnership with Addvalue Communications.
[AMEinfo – 03/07/2011]

Matys Satcom Ltd. introduces new LP-90 low profile phased array Ku-band satellite antenna system intended for high-performance broadband connectivity to defense, homeland security and commercial land vehicles on the move as well as maritime.
[Government Video – 03/07/2011]

SES enters framework understanding with Sea Launch regarding possible cooperation on future launch of SES satellites on Sea Launch launch vehicles.
[SatNews – 03/07/2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services