Archive for October, 2011

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 10/28/2011

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Making what could be its final flight, Delta II rocket deploys new  weather and environmental research satellite for NASA and NOAA.
[NASA Space Flight - 10/28/2011]

China will launch Long March-2F/H rocket early next month, carrying unmanned  spacecraft Shenzhou-8 which will conduct the country’s first space docking with  Tiiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, a space lab module.
[Space Daily - 10/28/2011]

Secure World Foundation to discuss evolution in China’s role in space, as the  country has developed and deployed space-based intelligence, surveillance, and  reconnaissance capabilities to support military and national security and  enhance their regional power.
[SatNews -  10/28/2011]

Miami-based NewCom International donates year’s worth of Internet  connectivity to aid Germany-based NGO Welthungerhlife’s humanitarian work in  Liberian refugee camps.
[PR Web -  10/28/2011]

Coalition to Save Our GPS challenges LightSquared’s forecasts that FCC will  be able to resolve controversy over company’s planned LTE network, using  conference call to slam LightSquared’s business plan and technical claims.
[PC World - 10/28/2011]

Mitec Telecom employees plan to buy all its VSAT satellite communications  division.
[Montreal Gazette - 10/28/2011]

Marine Data Solutions of Cape Town begins implementing Automatic  Identification System coastal network at lighthouses along South African coast.
[SatNews -  10/28/2011]

LightSquared enters into collaborative partnership with antenna solutions  provider PCTEL to develop technology to resolve concerns regarding interference  with GPS.
[PR Newswire - 10/27/2011]

Astrium hands over Arabsat-5C to ARABSAT after successful completion of  in-orbit testing.
[SatNews -  10/27/2011]

Suspected Chinese hackers interfered with Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1 satellites  in 2007 and 2008 according to Bloomberg Businessweek story citing upcoming  congressional commission report.
[Computer World - 10/27/2011]

Arianespace’s full launcher family in place as flight-ready versions of  Ariane 5, Soyuz, and Vega are together at the Spaceport for the first time.
[SatNews -  10/27/2011]

TV and radio stations, and satellite, cable, and wireline video systems  required to participate in first national test of Emergency Alert System  Wednesday, November 9.
[Examiner - 10/27/2011]

TeleCommunications Systems’ Commercial Mobile Alert System receives FEMA  certification as emergency alert system for delivery to mobile phones.
[SatNews -  10/27/2011]

Canadian government plans to invest as much as $477M in U.S.-led Wideband  Global Satellite system.
Vancouver Sun – 10/27/2011]

Newtec hosted free webinars December 14 and 15 to explore expected growth in  government demand for satellite bandwidth for data, video, and voice  communication.
[SatNews -  10/27/2011]

RRsat launches second DVB-S2 platform on MEASAT-3a.
[PR Newswire - 10/27/2011]

Vizada and Mexican service provider MultiSAT deliver satcom services and  solutions for Mexican mining industry.
[Marketwatch - 10/27/2011]

Astrium Services launches portal to provide satellite imagery of forests in  Congo Basin to organizations working to conserve the regions forests.
[Satellite  Evolution - 10/27/2011]

Fourteen months after launch, the Air Force’s first Advance Extremely High  Frequency military communications satellite is finally on station following  arduous maneuvers precipitated by premature engine shutdown.
[Florida Today - 10/26/2011]

After disappointing results in marketing to U.S. Government’s National  GeoSpatial Intelligence Agency, EADS Astrium shifts attention to Asia where  demand for EO satellites and imagery is growing across the board.
[NSR Report - 10/26/2011]

Intelsat partners with du of United Arab Emirates to jointly offer MCPC  television program distribution solutions on Intelsat 10.
[Market Watch - 10/26/2011]

DigitalGlobe and NTT GEOSPACE launch new online geospatial intelligence  service powered by DigitalGlobe featuring on-demand access to imagery of  Japanese landmass.
[SatNews -  10/26/2011]

Iridium announces complete suite of AxcessPoint products and services that  allow laptop connected to Iridium phone to become wireless hotspot connecting  smart phones, laptops and other devices to the Internet over the Iridium  network.
[TMCnet - 10/26/2011]

Stratos Government Services is awarded five-year Indefinite Delivery  Indefinite Quantity contract by United States Coast Guard to provide large  cutter connectivity.
[SatNews -  10/26/2011]

Spirent positioning & navigation test solution now supports China’s  Compass/Beidou-2 satellite navigation system.
[Market Watch - 10/26/2011]

SES Astra 1N enters commercial service over Europe.
[Satellite Today - 10/25/2011]

United Arab Emirates reopens negotiations with France for a military  surveillance satellite.
[UPI - 10/25/2011]

UK regulator Ofcom writes to International Telecommunications Union asking it  to rescind the satellite spectrum granted to ICO Satellite after its failure for  32 months to establish viable business using the spectrum.
[The Register -  10/25/2011]

U.S. space entrepreneur warns that China could own the moon by 2026.
[SatNews -  10/25/2011]

UltiSat Europe gets sole-source contract from Danish National Procurement  agency allowing Danish federal and local government agencies to buy satellite  services more easily.
[Market Watch - 10/25/2011]

NSSLGlobal opens up new spot beam for maritime use in southeast Asia on SES’  NSS6 satellite.
[SatNews -  10/25/2011]

Spacenet selected to provide upgraded network performance capabilities at  Cumberland Farms’ 600-plus convenience and gasoline retail stores in 11 states.
[TMCnet - 10/25/2011]

Hughes Network Systems provisions GTECH Columbia with advance HN satellite  networking solution, connecting more than 1,100 lottery sites in Colombia.
[SatNews -  10/25/2011]

ARINC successfully launches GLOBALink/Iridium Data Link communications  service for Asiana Airlines of South Korea.
[SatNews -  10/25/2011]

U.S. Strategic Command commander Gen. Kehler warns satellite industry service  providers that rising amount of data collected by U.S. satellites is starting to  exceed Pentagon’s ability to process it.
[Satellite Today -  10/24/2011]

EUTELSAT announces full entry into commercial service of its high capacity  ATLANTIC BIRD 7 satellite, with enhance footprint providing coverage in North  Africa and Gulf states.
[SatNews -  10/24/2011]

AsiaSat 7, built for AsiaSat by Space Systems/Loral, arrives at Baikonur  Space Center.
[SatNews -  10/24/2011]

Polar satellite project under consideration by Canadian government might be  required to fix inability of F-35 Joint Strike fighter plane to communicate in  Canadian North.
[CTV News - 10/24/2011]

Harris receives $20M in orders to provide manpack radios to U.S. Army and  Marine Corps that include ability to upgrade to Mobile User Objective Systems  satellite communications.
[Market Watch - 10/24/2011]

Globecomm Systems sees growth in satellite communications in the areas of  Media, Wireless, Government, Enterprise, and Maritime, with increasing trend  toward use of multiple devices.
[Satellite Spotlight - 10/24/2011]

Recently published standard ETSI TC SES specification TS 102 856 Parts 1 and  2 describes how to support transport of Multi-Protocol Label Switching data and  signalling flows over a Broadband Satellite Multimedia network.
[SatNews -  10/24/2011]

European Space Agency’s Galileo constellation will use Passive Hydrogen Maser  atomic clock stable to 1 second every 3 million years, developed by SELEX  Galileo, an Finmeccanica company.
[SatNews -  10/24/2011]

German satellite ROSAT re-entered atmosphere over Bay of Bengal.
[Space Daily - 10/23/2011]

Since Craig Cooning took over Boeing’s struggling space and intelligence  systems in 2008 it has doubled its backlog from five years ago.
[LA Times - 10/23/2011]

WBMSAT satellite communications systems consulting services


DIY Friday: Jack-O-Lantern Flamethrower

Friday, October 28th, 2011

So this may not be exactly rocket science, but you’ve got to admit THIS IS SO COOL!!

Flamethrowing Jack-O’-Lantern from Randy Sarafan on Vimeo.

Via Instructables, naturally…

A flamethrowing jack-o’-lantern keeps the trick-or-treaters a safe distance from your house and is a fine addition to any anti-Halloween arsenal. At the first sign of any sugar-obsessed imp, simply press the trigger button and wirelessly shoot a one-second burst of flames out of the jack-o’-lantern’s mouth. This plume of hellfire will make even the most bold of people think twice about approaching your door. Very few people are willing to risk life and limb for the chance of a tiny box of milk duds.

WARNING!: This pumpkin is extremely dangerous and you definitely should not make one of these. The instructions were posted here are for entertainment purposes only. I do not condone the manufacture or use of flamethrowing jack-o’-lanterns. Seriously, nothing good will come of making one of these. Don’t do it.

For entertainment only.


Chinese Hacking Space

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Spitsbergen! Somebody in China decided to hack a couple of observation spacecraft via the Svalbard Earth Station in Norway. The scoop, via Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Computer hackers, possibly from the Chinese military, interfered with two U.S. government satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway, according to a congressional commission.
The intrusions on the satellites, used for earth climate and terrain observation, underscore the potential danger posed by hackers, according to excerpts from the final draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report is scheduled to be released next month.
“Such interference poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions,” according to the draft. “Access to a satellite‘s controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite. An attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite’s transmission.”
A Landsat-7 earth observation satellite system experienced 12 or more minutes of interference in October 2007 and July 2008, according to the report.
Hackers interfered with a Terra AM-1 earth observation satellite twice, for two minutes in June 2008 and nine minutes in October that year, the draft says, citing a closed-door U.S. Air Force briefing.
The draft report doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the hackers’ interference with the satellites.


Highway to Hughes

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I love a good customer service “moment of truth” situation. Something that’ll either keep or boot a customer. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, this is a moment when you should delight the customer — or else.

HughesNet just blew it in Texas. The report, via the Austin American-Statesman

When a police officer in their driveway screamed for Ken and Linda Schutt to evacuate their home as a wildfire closed in, they grabbed two dogs, three framed photos and clothes in a suitcase. Two days later, they surveyed what was left of their double-wide mobile home and started taking care of business: call the insurance company, the utilities and HughesNet, their satellite Internet provider. That’s when the headaches began.

Linda Schutt said she called the Maryland-based HughesNet to cancel service and couldn’t believe how the customer representative handled the call.

“She wanted me to send back the equipment — the dish, the cable and modem. When I asked her what part of me saying that our house burned to the ground that she didn’t understand, she insisted I return their equipment. If we didn’t, she said we owed $100,” Linda Schutt said.

The Schutts temporarily put aside dealing with HughesNet. They’d lost everything in the Sept. 5 fire, including the American flag that was used on the casket of Linda Schutt’s brother after he was killed in the Vietnam War.

The week after the fire, she wrote HughesNet a letter complaining about the service and saying she’d never use the company again.

“I included the burned satellite dish because that’s all that we found. It wasn’t any good, but since they insisted they wanted their equipment, we sent what we could find,” she said.

On Saturday, Linda Schutt got a call from someone who she thought was a HughesNet representative. “I thought he was calling about my letter, but I later found out it was a bill-collecting agency,” she said.

That call also didn’t end well. “He also told me we owed $100 for the equipment,” she said.

On Tuesday, Schutt said she noticed Hughes withdrew $106.25 from her bank account, presumably the cost to replace the equipment.

Statesman Watch contacted HughesNet on the Schutts’ behalf. Spokeswoman Judy Blake said the complaint was referred to the company’s executive customer service team. Within minutes, HughesNet called Linda Schutt to tell her the $106.25 would be credited back to her bank account.

“I’m sorry that she went through that,” Blake said, referring to the customer service representative who first spoke with Schutt. “I don’t know what went wrong, but perhaps the customer rep didn’t have the authority to give her credit or thought about asking a higher-up.”

Schutt is happy to get the refund. “But that wasn’t the point. We could afford the $100. It’s just that after all we’d been through, they could have been a little understanding. It’s the principle. If Statesman Watch hadn’t called on our behalf, we’d still be fighting this,” she said.

The good people at Hughes should be reminded of the Two Rules of Business:

  1. The customer is always right.
  2. If the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule #1.


Big Bang Monday: “Protoplanet” LkCa 15 b

Monday, October 24th, 2011


Great work by astronomers Adam Kraus (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy) and Michael Ireland (Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory) in finding the youngest planet ever.

“LkCa 15 b is the youngest planet ever found, about 5 times younger than the previous record holder,” said Kraus. “This young gas giant is being built out of the dust and gas. In the past, you couldn’t measure this kind of phenomenon because it’s happening so close to the star. But, for the first time, we’ve been able to directly measure the planet itself as well as the dusty matter around it.”

Kraus will be presenting the discovery at an Oct. 19 meeting at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The meeting follows the acceptance of a research paper on the discovery by Kraus and Ireland by The Astrophysical Journal.

The optical sleight of hand used by the astronomers is to combine the power of Keck’s Adaptive Optics with a technique called aperture mask interferometry. The former is the use of a deformable mirror to rapidly correct for atmospheric distortions of starlight. The latter involves placing a small mask with several holes in the path of the light collected and concentrated by a giant telescope. With that, the scientists can manipulate the light waves.

“It’s like we have an array of small mirrors,” said Kraus. “We can manipulate the light and cancel out distortions.” The technique allows the astronomers to cancel out the bright light of stars. They can then resolve disks of dust around stars and see gaps in the dusty layers where protoplanets may be hiding.

“Interferometry has actually been around since the 1800s, but through the use of adaptive optics has only been able to reach nearby young suns for about the last 7 years.” said Dr. Ireland. “Since then we’ve been trying to push the technique to its limits using the biggest telescopes in the world, especially Keck.”

The discovery of LkCa 15 b began as a survey of 150 young dusty stars in star-forming regions. That led to the more concentrated study of a dozen stars.

“LkCa 15 was only our second target, and we immediately knew we were seeing something new,” said Kraus. “We could see a faint point source near the star, so thinking it might be a Jupiter-like planet we went back a year later to get more data.”

In further investigations at varying wavelengths, the astronomers were intrigued to discover that the phenomenon was more complex than a single companion object.

“We realized we had uncovered a super Jupiter-sized gas planet, but that we could also measure the dust and gas surrounding it. We’d found a planet at its very beginning” said Kraus.

Drs. Kraus and Ireland plan to continue their observations of LkCa 15 and other nearby young stars in their efforts to construct a clearer picture of how planets and solar systems form.

Mirrors. Go figure.

Want to know how this was done? Get the details.


Hydrazine Vampires?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Well, not exactly vampires. In keeping with the spirit of the season, Jamie Zawinski chose to call DARPA’s Phoenix Program “space vampires,” which was picked up by Boing Boing and spun up as “vampire satellite,” a la zombie satellite.

Communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), approximately 22,000 miles above the earth, provide vital communication capabilities to warfighters. Today, when a communication satellite fails, it usually means the expensive prospect of having to launch a brand new replacement communication satellite. Many of the satellites which are obsolete or have failed still have usable antennas, solar arrays and other components which are expected to last much longer than the life of the satellite, but currently there is no way to re-use them.

The goal of the Phoenix program is to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components from retired, nonworking satellites in GEO and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost. Phoenix seeks to demonstrate around-the-clock, globally persistent communication capability for warfighters more economically, by robotically removing and re-using GEO-based space apertures and antennas from de-commissioned satellites in the graveyard or disposal orbit.

I suspect we’ll get a response from the good people at ViviSat and MDA in Canada. Although they’re talking about on-orbit refueling, not scavenging for parts.


WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 10/21/2011

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Satellite Broadband on Airplanes: A New Era Set To Begin (Part Two).
[A Satellite Today Webinar October 25, 2011]

Arieanespace detects ground-based Soyuz fuel leak; postpones Galileo Launch.
[Satellite Today - 10/21/2011]

DARPA seeks innovators for its satellite servicing technology programs, with  goal of cooperatively harvesting and re-using valuable components from  nonworking retired satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
[SatNews -  10/21/2011]

SES will invest $4.1B in Latin America and Asia expansion efforts.
[Satellite Today - 10/21/2011]

China expects to launch its first Mars probe between November 8th and  November 20th, following a two-year delay.
[SatNews -  10/21/2011]

Boeing delivers 50,000th Combat Survivor Evader Locater combat search and  rescue communications system to U.S. joint services.
[SatNews -  10/21/2011]

Democratic Voice of Burma web site says Burmese government is preparing to  allow licenses for satellite television receivers again following a six-year  ban.
[Advanced Television - 10/21/2011]

TSF (Telecoms Sans Frontieres) faces conflict and insecurity and can only be  on site in daytime as it works to establish communications for humanitarian  organizations in Sirte Libya, Gaddafi’s home town and where he was killed.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

ViaSat-1, touted as DSL competitor, is in orbit following International  Launch Services Proton rocket launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
[Space News  - 10/20/2011]

Space Systems/Loral announces that ViaSat-1 is performing post-launch  maneuvers according to plan.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

Telesat, owner of nine Canadian beams on ViaSat-1, is delighted with the  successful launch of the satellite; has 15-year agreement with Xplornet  Communications for use of the capacity.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

ViaSat-1, launched Wednesday afternoon aboard Proton rocket in Kazakhstan,  will allow Xplornet of Canada to provide broadband service to 1.5 million North  American customers, and download speeds up to 25 Mbps.
[CBC News - 10/20/2011]

NASA pushes back NPOESS weather satellite launch by one day to October 28.
[Satellite Today - 10/20/2011]

Russia’s space program – presently the only way that the United States can  access the International Space Station, also seeks to match or even surpass the  United States in overall space capabilities.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

Hermes Datacomms announces that offshore and onshore VSAT services are back  in full operation in Libya.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

EUMETSAT’s Metop-A achieves 15 years of service, providing weather and  climate monitoring for Europe.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

Euroconsult consulting firm says governments will continue to drive Earth  observation industry over the coming decade through new satellites and growing  demand for data.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

KVH opens Asia-Pacific headquarters featuring state-of-the-art demo and  training lab to serve partners and customers.
[MarketWatch - 10/20/2011]

German scientific satellite Rosat may fall to earth this weekend.
[Washington Post - 10/20/2011]

Selex Elsag of Italy to upgrade NATO’s satellite communication systems and  associated infrastructure.
[UPI - 10/20/2011]

Indian media criticizes government for constant delays in the Indian military  satellite program.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

NSD reaches 20 million homes (100 million viewers) for its Indian pay-TV  service.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

Bently Walker selected by Wayuyu Taya Foundation to provide satellite  Internet to Los Lechosos school in remote area of Venezuela.
[SatNews -  10/20/2011]

Government and Defence markets prepare for significant growth in satellite  data rates, according to leading international satellite market research and  consulting firm NSR.
[SAT PR - 10/19/2011]

Newtec expects significant growth based on the NSR report on Government and  Defence markets, posturing its FlexACM as a solution for maximizing bandwidth  efficiencies.
[SatNews -  10/19/2011]

SkyBlue receives third extension to its Iridium frequency bandwidth approval  for aviation satellite communications in China.
[Satellite Today - 10/19/2011]

Caribbean’s newest low fare airline REDjet chooses Blue Sky Network for new  tracking and communication systems.
[MarketWatch - 10/19/2011]

Farm groups anxious for resolution of issue of interference by proposed  LightSquared wireless network with GPS.
[AgAlert - 10/19/2011]

European Space Agency picks Thales Alenia Space to lead nine-month study on  satellite communications for unmanned aerial systems.
[UPI - 10/18/2011]

Globe Wireless is granted Blanket Wireless Radio Station License by Japanese  Ministry of Information and Communications, allowing it to offer Inmarsat  FleetBroadband mobile satellite services in Japan and on Japanese registered  vessels.
[Marine Link - 10/18/2011]

Sir Richard Branson, children Sam and Holly, and troupe of dancer/acrobats,  scale down, dancing, on walls of new Virgin Galactic Spaceport in New Mexico  during dedication.
[SatNews - 10/18/2011]

NASA books flight on Virgin Galactic, with options for two more, to allow  engineers, technologists, and scientific researchers to conduct experiments in  suborbital space.
[SatNews -  10/17/2011]

Newtec gives support for standardization and adoption of industry-wide  counter-measures to combat interference, with the DVB accepted work topic  Carrier ID as a first step.
[SatNews -  10/17/2011]

NASA and Japan release the most complete digital topographic map of Earth  produced to date.
[SatNews -  101/17/2011]

Small satellites from less-than-500-kilograms to less than 100 grams prompt  big ideas for next 25 years.
[Space.com - 10/17/2011]

Astrium accepts financial backing from European Space Agency to build new  high-speed data relay service for Europe while simultaneously creating a market  for it.
[Aviation Week - 10/17/2011]

Harris Corporation receives $51.5M delivery order for advanced satellite  terminals under U.S. Army’s Modernization of Enterprise Terminals program.
[Business Wire - 10/17/2011]

ViaSat wins U.S. DoD study contract to assess bandwidth cost reduction  methods for commercial communication satellite systems.
[Market Watch - 10/17/2011]

Locus Traxx to use GSM service from Vodafone, and ORBCOMM’s satellite  network, to support dual-mode SmartTraxx shipment monitoring, reporting, and  alerts solution.
[TMCnet - 10/17/2011]

WBMSAT satellite communications systems consulting services

“The Black Hole” Whirlpool

Friday, October 21st, 2011

P5220028 from michael yates on Vimeo.

What’s all this? The Black Hole is an elevated whirlpool built by Michael Yates.

Thank you, Make.


Premier Ensemble de Lancement Soyuz depuis la Guyane française

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Soyuz lifts off for the first time from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites.

Watch the full video here.


Soybeans and Satellites

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Don’t mess with farmers — especially soybean farmers. They farmed $38.9 billion last year and now they’re getting together with 12 other national farmer groups to pick a fight with LightSquared.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) and a coalition of 12 other national producer groups that represent American farmers and all major crop commodities are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct additional targeted testing to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) operations utilized by farmers to facilitate the production of an abundant and dependable food supply. In the agricultural sector, GPS-based technologies are responsible for an estimated $19 billion in higher annual farm revenue, in addition to considerable safety and environmental benefits. Thus, much is at stake for precision agriculture and this is why comprehensive testing is so important.

It would be totally unacceptable to expect the GPS community including government users, farmers, and other taxpayers to bear any cost for replacing equipment that ceases to function properly if solutions are found enabling LightSquared to move forward. Any costs associated with retrofitting or replacing GPS receivers must be borne by LightSquared.

“As users of GPS precision equipment in agricultural applications, we believe this additional testing is imperative,” said ASA First Vice President Steve Wellman, a farmer from Syracuse, Neb. “We need to know with certainty that any modifications and proposed solutions will work for new and existing precision agriculture equipment.”

Get in line, soy boys!

Interesting how LightSquared gave it a completely different spin

This week, we received a strong endorsement of our view that LightSquared and GPS can co-exist from several of the country’s leading agricultural organizations: the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sugar Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, National Potato Council and the Western Growers Association. These groups signed a joint letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees calling for them to work to ensure that the agricultural sector receives the benefits of LightSquared’s network alongside GPS. “We believe that both of these technologies have great potential to drive economic development in rural America and a reasonable agreement should be reached to allow for their future success,” the organizations wrote.

The soy boys aren’t endorsing you, so don’t interfere with GPS.