Archive for June, 2011

One Night in Wallops

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Excellent launch video of the ORS-1 spacecraft from Wallops Island in Virginia. The news, via the USAF:

An Air Force team successfully launched the first Operationally Responsive Space prototype satellite aboard a Minotaur I launch vehicle at 11:09 p.m. EDT June 29 from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. ORS-1 deployed 12 minutes after launch.

This marks a great achievement by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Development and Test Directorate, the Operationally Responsive Space Office and their contractor teams, according to Col. Carol Welsch, the directorate’s acting director and the ORS-1 mission director. ORS-1 is the Operationally Responsive Space Office’s first operational prototype satellite and represents the potential of low-cost, tactically focused satellites designed to provide critical battlespace awareness capabilities to the joint warfighter.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of the entire ORS-1 team,” she said. “The men and women of the Space Development and Test Directorate, the Operationally Responsive Space Office, and our industry partners of Goodrich, ATK, and Orbital have all worked tirelessly to move forward on the concept of a responsive space capability designed to support the warfighter. Their teamwork and dedication is simply inspiring.”

Rapidly developing and fielding ORS-1 is an important step to demonstrating the possibilities to meet emerging and persistent warfighter needs in operationally relevant timelines, Colonel Welsch said.

“Our team was able to develop, integrate, test and launch this system in just over 30 months which is a remarkable achievement,” she said.

ORS-1 was initiated as a result of a requirement to the ORS office from the commander of U.S. Strategic Command to support U.S. Central Command.

Built by ATK in 16 months! In Maryland, no less.

Another Star Joins EchoStar

Monday, June 27th, 2011

After the bloodbath at SES this spring, followed by a new management scheme announced at the beginning of May, it was inevitable they’d lose some of their star performers. Anders Johnson was one of them and he just joined EchoStar Satellite Services

EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), the premier global provider of satellite operations and digital TV solutions, announced today that Anders Johnson has joined EchoStar as President of EchoStar Satellite Services, reporting directly to Michael Dugan, Chief Executive Officer and President of EchoStar.

“Anders brings us a wealth of experience in global satellite spectrum development, international markets, satellite financing and investment, which will help us in continuing to develop our satellite services business as well as working with myself and Hughes management to develop and implement our international expansion strategy,” said Mr. Dugan.

Mr. Johnson was most recently at SES World Skies where he served as Senior Vice-President, Strategic Satellite Development since 2005. Prior to SES, Anders worked at GE from 1985 in a variety of executive level roles including Satellite Services, Aviation Services and Transportation & Industrial Financing.

He also graduated from New York Tech and worked for Manny Hanny.

It’s Alive!

Monday, June 27th, 2011


Thank you, doctor. Nice piece by Jeremey Hsu at Space.com, calling the new Mars exploration spacecraft “Frankenstein” for all the money-saving shortcuts on the build side…

Take the DNA of the deceased NASA Phoenix Mars Lander, add bits and pieces from several lost Mars missions and you have a “Frankenstein” mission competing for a spot on NASA’s space exploration lineup for the next decade.

The mission, once called the Geophysical Monitoring Station, is nameless for now. It would carry a seismometer that flew aboard a doomed Mars Surveyor 98 spacecraft, and a burrowing “mole” device based on an instrument lost during the British Beagle 2 mission’s hard landing in 2003.

But the probe’s goal is clear: to learn the early evolution of terrestrial planets such as Earth by tapping a Martian geological record more than 4 billion years old.

“Mars is not an easy place to land on, but we’ve done it a number of times,” said Bruce Banerdt, a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “We’re going to try and do it exactly like how we did it with Phoenix a few years ago.”

The mission planners’ willingness to cannibalize technologies from other missions has allowed them to put together the Mars mission for relatively low cost. About 77 percent of the spacecraft is lifted from the Phoenix Mars Lander, and another 20 percent has just minor modifications. Only 3 percent of the spacecraft would need to be built from scratch or completely replaced.

Not specific enough for you? Here’s the abstract (PDF) by Bruce Banerdt and Zainab Nagin Cox…

The GEophysical Monitoring Station (GEMS) is a Phase A Discovery mission designed to fill a longstanding gap in the scientific exploration of the solar system by performing, for the first time, an in-situ investigation of the interior of Mars. This mission would provide unique and critical information about the fundamental processes governing the initial accretion of the planet, the formation and differentiation of its core and crust, and the subsequent evolution of the interior.

The scientific goals of GEMS are to understand the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets through investigation of the interior structure and processes of Mars and to determine its present level of tectonic activity and impact flux. A straightforward set of scientific objectives address these goals: 1) Determine the size, composition and physical state of the core; 2) Determine the thickness and structure of the crust; 3) Determine the composition and structure of the mantle; 4) Determine the thermal state of the interior; 5) Measure the rate and distribution of internal seismic activity; and 6) Measure the rate of impacts on the surface.

To accomplish these objectives, GEMS would carry a tightly-focused payload consisting of 3 investigations: 1) SEIS, a 6-component, very-broad-band seismometer, with careful thermal compensation/control and a sensitivity comparable to the best terrestrial instruments across a frequency range of 1 mHz to 50 Hz; 2) HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package), an instrumented self-penetrating mole system that trails a string of temperature sensors to measure the planetary heat flux; and 3) RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment), which would use the spacecraft X-band communication system to provide precision tracking for planetary dynamical studies. The two instruments would be moved from the lander deck to the martian surface by an Instrument Deployment Arm, with an appropriate location identified using an Instrument Deployment Camera.

In order to ensure low risk within the tight Discovery cost limits, GEMS reuses the successful Lockheed Martin Phoenix spacecraft design, with a cruise and EDL system that has demonstrated capability for safe landing on Mars with well-understood costs. To take full advantage of this approach, all science requirements (such as instrument mass and power, landing site, and downlinked data volume) strictly conform to existing, demonstrated capabilities of the spacecraft and mission system.

It is widely believed that multiple landers making simultaneous measurements (a network) are required to address the objectives for understanding terrestrial planet interiors. Nonetheless, comprehensive measurements from a single geophysical station are extremely valuable, because observations constraining the structure and processes of the deep interior of Mars are virtually nonexistent. GEMS will utilize sophisticated analysis techniques specific to single-station measurements to determine crustal thickness, mantle structure, core state and size, and heat flow, providing our first real look deep beneath the surface of Mars.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 06/24/11

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

TeleCommunication Systems is awarded additional incremental funding of $2.4 million to provide U.S. Marine Corps with field services support for its Wireless Point-To-Point Link-Delta Solutions.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/24/2011]

Hughes Network Systems introduces new business-grade satellite Internet service plans for small- and mid-sized business offering download speeds up to 5 Mbps.
[Small Business Trends - 06/24/2011]

Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet, pre-sells capacity on the AMOS-5′s Ku- and C-band beams to existing leading Southern African Internet technology provider.
[SatNews - 06/24/2011]

NASA’s plans to demonstrate on-orbit satellite refueling and encourage U.S. companies to enter that business causes great concern at Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, which plans to build its own spacecraft servicing vehicle.
[Space News - 06/23/2011]

Astrium continues to prepare Europe’s future propulsion technology by signing a 60 million euros rider with the European Space Agency (ESA) and its partners of the joint propulsion team consortium: Avio SpA (Italy) and SNECMA (SAFRAN Group) (France).
[SatNews - 06/23/2011]

Kazakhstan signs deal with the Russian Information Satellite System Reshetnev (ISS-Reshetev) Company to build KazSat3, a communications satellite for the country; Thales Alenia Space will build the communications payload.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/23/2011]

Y1A satellite in-orbit testing is completed and satellite is handed over to Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (YAHSAT) by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.
[WEBWIRE - 06/23/2011]

KVH announces that coverage for the last remaining region in its original plan – South America – is now under contract and scheduled to go live in July 2011 using the IS-14 satellite, making its seamless global network the largest Ku-band marine network.
[Market Watch - 06/23/2011]

Inmarsat launches IsatPhone Link, new global fixed satellite phone service offering same capabilities as IsatPhone Pro in a fixed rather than mobile installation.
[SatNews - 06/23/2011]

TeleCommunications Systems receives $12.8 M in funding from U.S. Army for equipment and field services in support of Secret Internet Protocol Router and Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point VSAT satellite systems.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/23/2011]

Alphabus, world’s largest communication satellite platform, meets all technical requirements and is ready to offer satellite operators worldwide unrivalled payload capacity and high power for new services.
[Space Ref - 06/22/2011]

Is NASA repeating European Space Agency mistakes resulting in high costs for Arianespace, with respect to SpaceX?
[NSR - 06/22/2011]

Dish Network wins approval of bankruptcy court to be opening ‘stalking horse’ bidder at auction of assets of TerreStar Networks.
[RTT News - 06/22/2011]

Globalstar, Inc. announces that the second launch of six new Globalstar satellites is scheduled for July 11, 2011, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
[SatNews - 06/22/2011]


Department of Defense military surveillance satellite is set to launch from Wallops Island aboard a 70-foot tall U.S. Air Force Minotaur I rocket June 28.
[delmarvanow - 06/22/2011]

Astrium is selected by the European Space Agency and the European Union as prime contractor for the Galileo Full Operational Capability Ground Control Segment.
[SatNews - 06/22/2011]

Integral Systems’ wholly owned subsidiary SAT Corporation successfully completes installation of a fully integrated carrier monitoring, satellite interference detection and spectrum scheduling system for MEASAT Satellite Systems.
[Market Watch - 06/22/2011]


DeLorme has just announces the Fall 2011 release of the DeLorme inReach, the first Iridium-based personal communicator to deliver truly global two-way satellite text messaging; delivery confirmations; SOS capabilities; remote tracking, and an Android smartphone interface.
[SatNews - 06/22/2011]

Intelsat allows MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to extend the requirements phase of its service initiative to extend the life of Intelsat’s on-orbit satellites via a space-based service vehicle.
[Satellite Today - 06/21/2011]

SES continues trend by selecting Arianespace to launch its new Astra 5B satellite in mid-year 2013.
[SatNews - 06/21/2011]

University of South Pacific, owned by governments of 12 countries, switches VSAT service to iDirect’s Evolution platform.
[PR Newswire - 06/21/2011]

Affiliates of the bankrupt telecommunications firm TerreStar Networks are disputing a $104 million bill from Sprint Nextel, claiming that the invoice is based on a flawed interpretation of an earlier Federal Communications Commission ruling.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/21/2011]

Space Systems/Loral named Top Performing Company in Space Systems category by Aviation Week.
[Market Watch - 06/21/2011]

Integral Systems’ wholly-owned subsidiary Newpoint Technologies introduces Mercury G3 Remote Site Manager with high redundancy and complete visibility into all remote site equipment.
[Market Watch - 06/21/2011]

Tuaropaki Communications Limited (Tuaropaki), a satellite service provider based in New Zealand, launches a broadband network built on iDirect’s Evolution DVB-S2 with Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) product line.
[PR Newswire - 06/21/2011]

Space Systems Loral contracted by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting to build multi-mission THOR 7, with Ka-band payload for maritime broadband, and Ku-band for expanded broadcast capacity in Central and Eastern Europe.
[SatNews - 06/20/2011]

Chinasat 10 communications satellite delivered to orbit aboard Long March rocket to replace aging 12-year old satellite serving Asia.
[Spaceflight Now - 06/20/2011]

Sky Perfect JSAT to Launch JCSAT-13 Two Years Early .
[Satellite Today Insider - 06/20/2011]

Goodrich and sub-contractor ATK Space Systems successfully complete all programs and deliver ORS-1 satellite to NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility.
[Satellite Today - 06/20/2011]

European Commission signs agreement transferring 104 million euros to the European Space Agency for the initial operations of the space component for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program.
[SatNews - 06/20/2011]

Iridium signs a contract with International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras as a supplemental provider of launch services for its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
[Market Watch - 06/20/2011]

LightSquared plans to use spectrum leased from Inmarsat instead of its own L-band spectrum until it can figure out how to avoid interfering with GPS..
[Wireless Week - 06/20/2011]

Raytheon gets $51.6M contract to provide logistics support for communication terminals of the Navy’s Extremely High Frequency Satellite Program.
[Space Daily - 06/20/2011]

Researchers use data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory to study “magnetic rope” phenomenon, which could trigger solar storms; might be first step toward mitigating adverse affects the storms can have on earth’s communication satellites.
[msnbc - 06/20/2011

Surrey Satellite Technology moves its technical operations into The Kepler Building, providing assembly, testing and integration of satellite platforms and payloads in a single location.
[SatNews - 06/2011]

Ico Global Communications changes name to Pendrell Corp.
[Satellite Today - 06/20/2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services

 

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 06/17/2011

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Navy selects Raytheon for satellite communications terminals under $51.6m contract for Navy’s Extremely High Frequency Satellite Program.
[Military Aerospace Electronics - 06/18/2011]


Top secret Menwith Hill project in Yorkshire, UK, defence shield inspired by Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ program, ready to open with 33 satellite dishes receiving data from SBIRS’s four satellites, after almost two decades of construction.
[The Observer - 06/18/2011]

Globecomm Systems is awarded GSA FCSA Schedule-70 Transponded and Subscription service awards covering five-year period with two five-year renewal options and total IDIQ value of approximately $3 billion.
[SatNews - 06/17/2011]

Honeywell acquisition of rugged mobile vendor EMS Technologies gives is a foothold in rugged products for satellite communications.
[eweek - 06/17/2011]

LightSquared sees setbacks on two fronts – attempt by primary investor Harbinger to gain access to S-band frequencies is foiled by Dish Network’s acquisition of Terrestar; then public safety group testing affects of use of L-band reach verdict that “interference to public safety operations (using GPS) will occur” if LightSquared deploys its network as planned.
[Space News - 06/17/2011]

Rural Cellular Association and Cellular South join other tech companies in urging FCC to come up with a “win-win” solution for LightSquared and the GPS industry in the controversy over possible interference to GPS by LightSquared.
[Wireless Week - 06/17/2011]

Euroconsult expects global mobile satellite revenue to grow 7% per year over next 10 years in new report.
[Space News - 06/17/2011]

U.S. House of Representatives attempts to kill DISA plan for long-term lease of commercial satellite in favor of additional WGS satellite – questions emerge regarding long-term viability of defense-related commercial satellite capacity.
[NSR briefing - 06/16/2011]

Key House lawmaker asks FCC to kill LightSquared network, but FCC gives company extra two weeks to report on potential GPS interference issue.
[nextgov - 06/16/2011]


Cablevision executive John Bickham feels “Satellite penetration (of cable market) at 30% is unnatural and unsustainable.  It’s a one-way network.  It has no tricks I know of that we can’t do twice as well.”
[Multichannel News - 06/16/2011]

Intelsat confirms upcoming launch schedule for four satellites, part of $1.3b fleet investment program in the Asia-Pacific region.
[SatNews - 06/16/2011]

Is DISH Network transforming itself by acquiring valuable wireless frequency spectrum which could allow it to grow a viable pay-TV distribution network or become a wireless service provider?
[Zacks - 06/16/2011]

ATCi to provide uplink disaster recovery services for the Outdoor Channel from its Southwest operations center, located in a storm free/earthquake free/hurricane free zone.
[SatNews - 06/16/2011]

Integral Systems announces plans to combine development for its RT Logic TElemetrix-500 series and the Avtec Programmable Telemetry Processors into the Satellite Ground Systems division of its subsidiary RT Logic.
[Benzinga - 06/16/2011]

Advantech Wireless launches new series of VSAT hubs and terminals.
[SatNews - 06/16/2011]

Cont-Trak offers reliable container tracking worldwide via satellite.
[Web Wire - 06/16/2011]

KNS and H2OSatellite announce 100th successful installation of SuperTrack A-Series VSAT on H2O Lightspeed Service, a high speed broadband VSAT solution specifically developed for the maritime market.
[SatNews - 06/16/2011]

Iran launches second domestically built satellite.
[SatNews - 06/15/2011]

USAF 50th Space Wing successfully completes two-phase GPS constellation expansion known as “Expandable 24,” providing civil, military, and commercial GPS users with more robust signal and higher signal acquisition probability.
[SatNews - 06/15/2011]

Vizada Networks ramps up capacity on Eutelsat W7 satellite.
[PR Newswire - 06/15/2011]


SES ASTRA announces that N24 will be first German news channel broadcasting in HD on the ASTRA HD+ platform.
[SatNews - 06/15/2011]

WildBlue launches low-cost rural broadband plan funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
[socaltech - 06/15/2011]

Satellite manufacturers around the world prepare to compete for contract to build Nigeria’s second satellite.
[Vanguard - 06/15/2011]

Scientists say magnitude of decrease in solar activity may indicate that the current solar maximum might be the last we’ll see for a few decades, as sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.
[Bloomberg - 06/15/2011]

The Satellite Interference Reduction Group teams up with the Global VSAT Forum to develop initiatives to combat satellite interference.
[Satellite Today - 06/15/2011]

Vizada and Thrane & Thrane sign partnership agreement to launch new broadband offering to the maritime market.
[Satellite Today - 06/15/2011]

Satellite and cellular phone provider Mobal expands Website with comprehensive buyer’s guide to prepaid and postpaid phones and rental options.
[MailWire - 06/15/2011]

Air Force recoups costs to save AEHF satellite that failed to reach orbit, as Lockheed Martin will offset up to $25m of those costs.
[SpaceFlight Now - 06/14/2011

U.S. climate experts stress importance of new weather satellites in era of tight federal budgets, as current earth observation satellites have served past their lifetimes.
[R&D Magazine - 06/14/2011]

U.S. Air Force’s newest Space Based Infrared Systems GEO-1 satellite successfully achieves orbital slot postion.
[SatNews - 06/14/2011]

Burma to launch first state-owned satellite, expand communications.
[Mizzima - 06/14/2011]

MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat initiate pan-African student competition called “DStv Eutelsat Star Awards” to inspire innovative thinking among secondary and high-school students, create awareness how science and technology can be applied in everyday life, and show impact of satellites on African continent development.
[PR Newswire - 06/14/2011]

ARY Digital leases C-band capacity on AsiaSat 3S.
[Satellite Today - 06/14/2011]

SpaceX is chosen to launch new Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite into geosynchronous orbit.
[SatNews - 06/13/2011]

House appropriators slam USAF satellite block buy proposal, stating that detailed information on the strategy is “woefully lacking,” and denying request for advance appropriations.
[Space News - 06/13/2011]

Orbital Sciences wins contract to build Thailand communications satellite.
[Examiner - 06/13/2011]

Norsat granted $3.5 million satellite-based communications network and services contract by First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia.
[Satellite Today - 06/13/2011]

San Marino RTV signs three-year contract with Eutelsat to broadcast SMtv channel on Eurobird 9A satellite.
[Satellite Today - 06/13/2011]

Inmarsat and Thrane complete IPv6 trials over BGAN.
[Satellite Today - 06/13/2011][

Expanding use of remotely piloted aircraft by Defense Department consumes large amounts of satellite bandwidth - currently over 80% is commercial capacity - commercial operators are expected to upgrade geosynchronous fleets over next few years to meet increasing demand.
[National Defense Magazine July Report]

Air Force embraces small satellites as budget outlook grows dim.
[National Defense Magazine July Report]


The Price Is Right

Thursday, June 16th, 2011


There are a lot of very smart people in the satcom business. Rocket scientists, engineers and business-heads find ways to make money. Good money. We’re talking 80% EBITDAs. You don’t have margins like that without knowing what you’re doing.

You’ve got to plan ahead years in advance, making sure your space assets are fully utilized. The radio spectrum you own is the most prized “asset” you’ve got. You can always build more spacecraft, but you can’t make more spectrum. Unless you find ways to either make better use of what you got or go out and get spectrum that’s not being used effectively.

Great. Now go out and sell it, baby!

Pricing is the real challenge. New satcom services priced to assure an 80% EBITDA are destined to fail, as they’re based on costs incurred many years before service launch. And what do we know of today’s data communications pricing schemes? They move fast. Very fast. Extremely competitive, too, so prices move lower and lower. Iridium? Financial disaster: pricing was based on mobile costs-per-minute in the 1990′s. When they launched, people were paying a fraction of that. As Iridium was about to go belly-up, the U.S. DoD steps in and says “we’ll carry you after bankruptcy.” Why? Iridium covered the globe with a diverse path for communications, and that’s very valuable. But not at that old price.

Diversity is for when other communications fail or are unavailable. We always thought a combination iPhone that uses the S-band for connectivity when regular signal or WiFi are not available would be oh so cool. So maybe now our vision might be realized.

With Dish Network as the “stalking horse bidder” in the TerreStar Networks bankruptcy auction, they see something not readily apparent to others. It’s the spectrum, stupid. Yes, TerreStar has S-band spectrum for CONUS service, but they also have authority for a combined satellite and ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) service. The FCC granted authority in January, 2010. This is really good and it comes without the GPS interference crap that LightSquared has to contend with.

Good move. Dish has a chance to sell mobile data plans with their current TV service packages — or perhaps future packages for on-demand (Blockbuster) or à la carte services to appeal to the growing number of cord-cutters.

Two scenarios emerge: (1) Dish Network adds reasonably-priced mobile data plans to satellite TV services, and (2) an alternate mobile telecom infrastructure emerges to augment today’s overloaded terrestrial networks.

Dean Olmstead was a fan of TerreStar, so he probably had much to do with laying plans to make this kind of move before he passed on.


Space Neighborhood

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011


This is a map of the 50,000 galaxies nearest to our own Milky Way. Yeah, there’s billions more. That’s right: billions. The map was featured in NASA’s APOD yesterday.

The Milky Way galaxy has between 200 and 400 billion stars. And estimates on the number of galaxies in the universe go as high as 500 billion.

So this is like a map of downtown Sheboygan.

Go big with the image here.

Moon Over Madagascar

Monday, June 13th, 2011

A total lunar eclipse is expected on 15 June 2011, with Madagascar being an ideal place to view it.

Lunar Eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon. A Total Lunar Eclipse occurs at night and can be seen from the entire night side of the Earth and looks the same to everyone. A Total Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in perfect or near perfect aligment. The Moon passes behind the Earth and goes into Earth’s umbra shadow – the Earth is now between the Sun and Moon and blocks sunlight directly reaching the Moons suface. A Total Lunar Eclipse can only occur when there is a Full Moon.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 06/10/2011

Friday, June 10th, 2011


International satellite Aquarius/SAC-D built in Argentina and carrying NASA instruments is carried into orbit by Delta 2 rocket in launch from Vandenberg AFB.
[SatNews - 06/10/2011]

SES-3 satellite arrives safely at Baikonour Launch Base aboard Anatov cargo plane, scheduled for July 10, 2011 liftoff.
[4-traders - 06/10/2011]

Northrop Grumman completes systems requirement review for new spacecraft bus to reduce costs to space operations, under NASA contract in support of DoD.
[SatNews - 06/10/2011]

exactEarth books multiple orders for its global vessel tracking and monitoring system.
[SatNews - 06/10/2011]

MDA receives $8.1M contract for multi-satellite ground station for an unnamed customer.
[Satellite Today - 06/10/2011]

Boeing receives Thales Alenia Space contract to provide system integration and testing support for Iridium NEXT.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Taiwanese operator Chunghwa Telecom informs New Tang Dynasty TF that it will not renew contract because new ST-2 satellite does not have enough broadband to carry NTDTV signals.
[Satellite Today - 06/09/2011]

Romantis, international group of companies specializing in space trading and VSAT network solutions, forms Romantis Inc. in Montreal offering satellite capacity, ground infrastructure, VSAT hardware, and IP and video solutions.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Advantech Wireless to deliver VSAT equipment, including new DVB-RCS VSAT hubs and hardware to one of China’s largest satellite communications providers, as it renews supplier contract.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Northrop Grumman provides power system for first spacecraft to orbit Mercury that works to its maximum even in searing heat surrounding closest planet to sun.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

NewCom International of Miami adds worldwide satellite phone coverage and mobile global broadband services to its bundled communications portfolio.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Gilat selected by one of Russia’s largest telecom operators to expand network reach of data and telephony services with SkyEdge II broadband satellite network.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Gateway Communications and Altobridges’ combined remote community satellite solution, African Cell Direct/Altobridge lite-site, is named best ‘Wholesale Service Innovation’ at Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards.
[SatNews - 06/09/2011]

Echostar closes $2B deal for Hughes Communications.
[Denver Business Journal - 06/08/2011]

Astrium will build Measat-3b satellite.
[Satellite Today - 06/08/2011]

Clear Channel Radio announces that five of its stations started simulcasting on XM satellite radio.
[Wall Street Journal - 06/08/2011]

Raytheon completes upgrade of Antarctic satellite communications system at McMurdo Sound, increasing the off-continent communications bandwidth from 20 Mbps to 60 Mbps and integrating alternate downlink station in Australia.
[UPI - 06/08/2011]

Second set of six satellites for Globalstar G2 constellation being prepped for July launch.
[SatNews - 06/08/2011]

Latest solar flare, generating greatest amount of radiation since 2006, could threaten satellite communications.
[mystateline - 06/08/2011]

VT iDirect survey indicates that up to 30% of maritime non-users of VSAT may conduct trials of VSAT within the next 24 months.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/08/2011]

AT&T Government Solutions gets task order to support U.S. Marine Corps’ MoraleSat Program.
[TechZone360 - 06/08/2011]

Soyuz and NASA astronauts travel as a team aboard Russian spacecraft to the International Space Station.
[SatNews - 06/07/2011]

Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency announces that it will launch two new satellites by the end of June.
[Satellite Today - 06/07/2011]

Data from GPS testing in Las Vegas area indicates LightSquared transmitters interfere with high-precision GPS receivers within 1,800 meters and medium precision receivers within 1,200 meters of tower.
[GPS World - 06/07/2011]

KVH mini-VSAT, integrated with KVH’s CommBox Ship/Shore Network Manager, being selected by many competitive fleet operators to meet new ECDIS regulations from the International Maritime Organization.
[SatNews - 06/07/2011]

NSR predicts over $250B in satellite hardware to be orbited by 2025, with over 1,600 satellites to be launched for replacement satellites, growth of Ka-band satellites, and government, science and navigations applications.
[NSR - 06/07/2011]

Trailblazers in digital voice and data communication Irwin Mark Jacobs and Jack Keil Wolf wing prestigious 2011 Marconi Prize.
[benzinga - 06/07/2011]

Telepresence and HD videoconferencing over satellite made possible from anywhere on the planet by Emerging Markets Communications.
[Telepresence Options - 06/07/2011]

Missouri Hospital Association relies on rapid satellite deployments by Spacenet to meet emergency communications needs.
[infoTECH - 06/07/2011]

Departing Nigerian Science and Technology Minister urges the National Space Research and Development Agency and Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited to close ranks and maintain peace over launch of NigeriaSat2.
[SatNews - 06/07/2011]

Members of Software Practitioners of Nigeria confident that satellite projects of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited capable of improving Nigeria’s economy and taking it to the next level of advanced technology.
[Afrique en ligne - 06/07/2011]

International mission aims to measure saltiness of the sea, with instruments from the United States and other nations aboard an Argentine-built spacecraft to be launched this week from Vandenburg.
[R&D Magazine - 06/06/2011]

Boeing set to lay off 510 employees in its Space Exploration division as the Space Shuttle program comes to an end.
[SatNews - 06/06/2011]

Metacom develops low-cost satellite communications solution ideal for low usage industrial and commercial applications in remote areas of Southern Africa.
[SatNews - 06/06/2011]

Mitsubishi Electric plans to double satellite production capability.
[Satellite Spotlight - 06/06/2011]

UK Government Cabinet Office’s Civil Contingencies Secretariat to discuss its High Integrity Telecommunications System project with Paradigm at CNI 2011 in London.
[info4 Security - 06/06/2011]

Indian former communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran takes control of granting spectrum to satellite channels and telecom firms, in direct conflict of interest with his family’s satellite TV business.
[Hindustan Times - 06/06/2011]

Philippine lawmaker expresses grave concern over China’s access to only Philippine satellite Agila 2, in light of China’s continued military aggression in disputed Spratly group of islands.
[Journal Online - 06/06/2011]

Thomas Choi of Asia Broadcast Satellite states that Africa and the Middle-East lose at least $1.4B in annual local market share of satellite communications because of spectrum assignments to Europe and American markets.
[SatNews - 06/06/2011]

STMicroelectronics introduces first member of family of power transistors fully qualified for use in electronic subsystems on board satellites and launchers.
[EETimes - 06/06/2011]

Broadband to be hot topic and CommuncAsia tradeshow according to organizer Singapore Exhibition Services.
[ZDNet Asia - 06/06/2011]

Indra to supply rapid deployment satellite communications systems to Brazil’s armed forces.
[defpro - 06/06/2011]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services


The PNT Took My L-band Baby Away

Friday, June 10th, 2011


Seems LightSquared has a problem on its hands, after a report (PDF) from the National PNT Systems Engineering Forum

Key Findings:

  • All GPS receiver applications impacted by proposed LightSquared Network
  • Simulation of fully deployed LightSquared network of ~40,000 base stations would:
    1. Degrade or result in loss of GPS function (ranging, position) at standoff distances ranging from few kilometers and extending to space operations
    2. Out of band emissions due to close proximity to GPS Band
    3. Appear to be satisfactory
  • No universal mitigation approach identified

Seriously, it’s not a good situation, according to Fierce Wireless

Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel at Trimble Navigation which has opposed LightSquared’s operations as currently designed, said the tests showed that LightSquared’s network clearly cause interference with GPS.

“There is not a solution here,” he said. “In our view, it’s time to stop squandering resources on this and look for alternative spectrum for this operation. What LightSquared is trying to do is a great thing. It’s very important that we have more competition in broadband and more spectrum in broadband wireless. However, there is one place in the satellite band where this does not work,” and that is the spectrum next to GPS, he said.

It gets worse. According to the WSJ blog post by Amy Schatz, the DoD, aviation and a swarm from Congress are signaling a rough go ahead…

A bipartisan group of 66 House members asked the FCC Tuesday to protect global positioning systems from interference from wireless broadband start-up LightSquared, which is trying to launch a new network.

LightSquared’s airwaves have been knocking out some GPS systems during recent tests in New Mexico, according to unofficial reports from GPS users.

The company has acknowledged the problem but says technological fixes are available. LightSquared and GPS makers are scheduled to file a joint report to the FCC on June 15 about any interference issues.

The aviation industry, Defense Department and other government agencies are worried that the new mobile broadband network’s planned 40,000 cell towers could interfere with highly precise GPS systems used in military, aviation and homeland security equipment. Federal officials and GPS industry advocates have been lobbying Congress heavily to pressure the FCC to resolve any interference issues before letting LightSquared turn on its service.

“We request that the Commission only approve LightSquared’s waiver (to offer service) if it can be indisputably proven that there will be no GPS interference,” the lawmakers wrote Tuesday. A bipartisan group of 34 Senators wrote a similar letter to the FCC last month.

By our count, the House letter was signed by 17 Democrats and 49 Republicans, including four committee chairman: House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, Science Space and Technology Chairman Ralph Hall of Texas, Small Business Chairman Sam Graves of Missouri and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Like a challenge, rocket scientists? They’re hiring!