Archive for March, 2012

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/30/2012

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Intelsat 22, successfully launched on a Russian Proton rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 24, carries hosted payloads that will serve Australian and U.S. Forces in the Mideast.
[ – 03/30/2012]

Telesat closes $2.5 billion debt refinancing agreement.
[Satellite Today – 03/30/2012]

LightSquared makes FCC filing claiming that a proposed ruling by the FCC staff that would effectively revoke LightSquared’s license to operate its network is entirely unsupported by the law, science, and FCC policy and precedent.
[VirtualPressOffice – 03/30/2012]

NASA starts new phase in effort to modernize the terrestrial segment of a decades-old space communications network.
[Information Week – 03/30/2012]

Russia selects Astrium to build two communications satellites, Express AM4R, and Express AM7.
[Space Daily – 03/30/2012]

Government of Bangladesh awards three-year, $10 million contract to U.S. consultancy Space Partnership International of Bethesda, MD, to manage its acquisition of a telecom satellite.
[Space News – 03/30/2012]

Russia launches missile detection satellite from Kazakhstan steppe on the last flight of a version of the Proton rocket that is to be retired after 45 years of service.
[Space Flight Now – 03/30/2012]

Defense Department has long-standing problem synchronizing development of terminals and ground control stations to satellite launch dates, resulting in satellites that are operating under capacity.
[National Defense Magazine – 03/30/2012]

Nigerian purchase Earth imagery resources from British observation satellites after finding images from its own recently launched satellite were irrelevant.
[Satellite Today – 03/29/2012]

KVH opens new mobile satellite antenna testing facility employing one-of-a-kind motion simulator and rigorous testing procedures.
[Market Watch – 03/29/2012]

Panasonic will ramp up satellite network coverage for its broadband connectivity service, striking new agreements with Intelsat and Australian Satellite Communications for additional capacity.
[Electronics Weekly Magazine – 03/29/2012]

Industry panel member advocates “Telehouse” in Africa to interconnect all cable and satellite operators so intra-Africa traffic can be switched and peered within the African continent, as part of a solution to barriers to cross-border communications between land-locked countries in Africa.
[SatNews – 03/29/2012]

Russia begins testing the use of nuclear fuel in space rocket boosters.
{SatNews – 03/29/2012]

International Space Station crew takes shelter in escape pods in case debris from satellite collision three years ago, detected as approaching by radar, should impact the Space Station.
[Strategy Page – 03/29/2012]

Increasing bandwidth requirements of Oil & Gas satcom market, coupled with increasing requirements of emerging Oil & Gas markets, keep the market lucrative.
[Market Watch – 03/29/2012]

Zeonbud of the Ukraine will launch its national DVB-T2 broadcast network using Harris Corporation’s Selenio media convergence platform.
[SatNews – 03/29/2012]

SpaceX announces the formation of a team of outside experts to help it create the world’s safest human spaceflight system.
[SatNews – 03/29/2012]

Telecoms Sans Frontieres provides Sat Phone connections and logistical support to facilitate repatriation of wounded Syrian civilians and supply of medicines to Syria’s besieged towns.
[SatNews – 03/28/2012]

Russian spacecraft controllers intentionally plunge Express-AM4 communications satellite that failed to reach orbit into the ocean, prompting a company interested in salvaging the satellite to call it “needless destruction.”
[MSNBC – 03/28/2012]

Orbital Sciences congratulates NASA on successful launch of five sounding rockets in less than seven minutes for the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment.
[SatNews – 03/28/2012]

TeleComnmunication Systems to host SwiftLink User Forum April 10-12 in Tampa, FL, bringing together thought leaders to share knowledge and best practices related to highly secure managed satellite and deployable communication initiatives.
[Market Watch – 03/28/2012]

Thai Airways will implement WiFi on their Airbus fleet.
[SatNews – 03/28/2012]

Thrane & Thrane’s AVIATOR 200 SwiftBroadband solution receives Supplemental Type Certificate for installation with in-flight Wi-Fi aboard Pilatus PC-12/45, PC-12/47, and PC-12/47E aircraft.
[SatNews – 03/28/2012]

Researchers create pictures showing how solar storms compress the Earth’s magnetic field; findings could help improve communications satellite design.
[CNET – 03/28/2012]

With Hughes Europe expanding availability of satellite broadband solutions through network of service provider partnerships, Hanover-based ABmann Technology GmbH takes advantage of this tailored approach.
[Channel EMEA – 03/28/2012]

Arab Spring has another consequence, as satellite jamming becomes serious enough to threaten the satellite operators’ business, typifying an increasing problem in the Middle East and North Africa.
[ars technica – 03/28/2012]

Communications via the ESA’s Artemis communications satellite helps ensure safe arrival of Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle at the International Space Station with vital supplies.
[SatNews – 03/27/2012]

Next-generation DOD space systems alone will not satisfy projected bandwidth needs – commercial satcom remains vital to military.
[Defense Systems – 03/27/2012]

SES and satellite continue growth path in Europe, with satellite becoming the leading TV infrastructure, and ASTRA serving 142 million TV homes.
[Web Wire – 03/27/2012]

Africell brings Thuraya satellite services to Sierra Leone.
[Awareness Times – 03/27/2012]

Taiwan’s Department of Industrial Technology kicks off “2012 Prototyping Topic of Galileo Pro” competition, focusing on development of satellite & vehicle-carried IT and Communications.
[Market Watch – 03/26/2012]

United Launch Alliance to launch classified satellite from Vandenberg AFB for NRO.
[Satellite Today – 03/26/2012]

International Security Expert argues that U.S. pursuit of a unilateral space policy instead of internationally co-operating is dangerous, and that there is a need for international rules.
[Huffington Post – 03/26/2012]

SES enters collaborative agreement with Samsung to make available TV-free satellite television sets in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
[Satellite Today – 03/26/2012]

Avanti Communications signs with Onyx Group Limited to provide Business Internet Continuity services within the U.K from its HYLAS 1 satellite.
[SatNews – 03/26/2012]

Skyband of Saudi Arabia expands with Hughes HX broadband satellite technology.
[Market Watch – 03/26/2012]

iDirect Government Technologies introduces airborne Evolution rack-mount router.
[Market Watch – 03/26/2012]

U.S. Navy’s recently launched MUOS satellite successfully reaches its orbital position. [Spaceflight Now – 03/26/2012]

Obama warns North Korea on its planned satellite launch.
[Sydney Morning Herald – 03/25/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Big Bang Monday: Space Photos’ Black Dots

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Fabulous explanation as to why we have black dots across many of our space images from the 1970s — by Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society.

Some folks have carefully removed these dots (or other registration marks), one by one.

DIY Friday: Airsoft Uzi

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

We’re not really into paintball, yet we’re fascinated by the simplicity of this little project. It uses an air compressor, which isn’t exactly mobile — although there’s a backpack option.

Watch the demo: it’s exciting. Via

High Tech Finds The Old Tech

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

None of us have on this planet long enough to remember a house or dwelling being reduced to a dirt mound. You rely on your forebears to pass along knowledge of what used to be where, and you might find it. What happens once it’s forgotten? Could be lost forever.

Satellites to the rescue!

Enter Bjoern H. Menzea of Harvard and Jason A. Ura of MIT, an anthropologist and computer scientist, respectively, who have collaborated on “Mapping patterns of long-term settlement in Northern Mesopotamia at a large scale,” published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Using satellite images, they’ve uncovered thousands of previously-unknown settlements. Here’s the abstract:

The landscapes of the Near East show both the first settlements and the longest trajectories of settlement systems. Mounding is a characteristic property of these settlement sites, resulting from millennia of continuing settlement activity at distinguished places. So far, however, this defining feature of ancient settlements has not received much attention, or even been the subject of systematic evaluation. We propose a remote sensing approach for comprehensively mapping the pattern of human settlement at large scale and establish the largest archaeological record for a landscape in Mesopotamia, mapping about 14,000 settlement sites—spanning eight millennia—at 15-m resolution in a 23,000-km2 area in northeastern Syria. To map both low- and high-mounded places—the latter of which are often referred to as “tells”—we develop a strategy for detecting anthrosols in time series of multispectral satellite images and measure the volume of settlement sites in a digital elevation model. Using this volume as a proxy to continued occupation, we find a dependency of the long-term attractiveness of a site on local water availability, but also a strong relation to the relevance within a basin-wide exchange network that we can infer from our record and third millennium B.C. intersite routes visible on the ground until recent times. We believe it is possible to establish a nearly comprehensive map of human settlements in the fluvial plains of northern Mesopotamia and beyond, and site volume may be a key quantity to uncover long-term trends in human settlement activity from such a record.

That’s pretty awesome work. New science is magic!

Big Bang Monday: L.B.T.O.

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The images captured by the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona may not seem like much to us common folk, but to serious astronomers this is hot stuff. And with language such as “previously impossible discoveries” used in their press release, this is no casual piece of news.

And this is the best ever taken of four young stars in the Orion Trapezium cluster?

A view of four young stars in the Orion Trapezium cluster 1,350 light-years away, as seen through the LBT’s Adaptive Optics (AO). This is the best image ever taken of these stars, which are all tightly located within 1 arcsecond of each other. By comparing this 2.16 micron infrared image to past images of this group over the last 15 years, astronomers can now see the motion of each star with respect to the others. The movements show that the mini-cluster of young stars were born together, but will likely fall apart as the stars age and interact with each other.

These may not be the kind of gorgeous images (suitable for framing) we’re usually getting excited about. For the astronomers associated with this observatory — and all those who’ll benefit from this technology in the future — these images are amazing and show break-through scientific advances at their best.

No relation to the Canadian rock band BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive), although their music could make the LBTO videos more exciting to watch.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/17/2012

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

14 month epic saga by Lockheed and USAF experts to save the first $1.7 billion Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite after it failed to reach proper orbit following launch may have been necessitated by a piece of cloth left in a fuel line.
[Washington Post – 03/17/2012]

North Korean plans to launch satellite meet with widespread criticism.
[The Telegraph – 03/17/2012]

Azerbaijan minister of Communications and Information Technologies expects the country’s needs for satellite communications to increase four-fold, given the mountainous terrain of much of the country.
[Trend – 03/17/2012]

LightSquared files opposition to FCC’s proposal to terminate the company’s authority to launch a nationwide network using the same frequencies as its mobile satellite service, claiming that 7 years of support for the plan over two administrations led the company to invest over $4 billion in the project, and termination leads to regulatory uncertainty that discourages needed investment in the nation’s wireless infrastructure.
[Market Watch – 03/16/2012]

New Boeing contracts with Asia Broadcast Satellite and Satellites Mexicanos feature the first all-electric commercial satellites that use light-weight xenon-fueled ion thrusters to cut satellite weight and launch costs.
[Aviation week – 03/16/2012]

Russian government to intentionally guide the large Express-AM4 telecommunications satellite, which was launched into useless orbit last August, into controlled atmospheric descent beginning March 20.
[Space – 03/16/2012]

Sprint terminates contract with LightSquared.
[CNN Money – 03/16/2012]

Head of National Broadband Plan talks about team’s successes, and the difficulty with finding spectrum for broadband illustrated by difficulties of LightSquared.
[Telecompetitor – 03/16/2012]

Globalstar VP says spectrum issues for national broadband capacity will be solved by engineers, not lawyers.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

Originally intended as “gap-filler” until now defunct TSAT became operational, WGS satellite program has become model of efficient satellite procurement as USAF orders continue, with 10 satellites now on order.
[Aviation Week – 03/16/2012]

Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, chooses Eutelsat’s KA-SAT for its unique approach to ensure that all homes in the Irish Republic will benefit from free reception of the RTE public service television and radio channels.
[SatNews – 03/16/2012]

Glowlink wins contract to provide spectrum-monitoring equipment for the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration satellites.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

NovelSat modems, using technology aiming to increase satellite bandwidth capacity by 20 percent to 55 percent more than current DVB-S2 technology, are approved by Intelsat for use on its transponders.
[Satellite Today – 03/16/2012]

Astrium Services signs new multi-year contract with the French MoD’s Joint Logistices and Supply Agency to continue providing private satellite communications services to French forces deployed overseas.
[SatNews – 03/15/2012]

KVH is selected as preferred satellite communications solution provider for independent ship manager V Ships and will deliver mini-VSAT enhanced data applications to its fleet of more than 1,000 vessels.
[Satellite Today – 03/15/2012]

First global high-resolution map of boundary between Earth’s crust and mantle is produced based on data from ESA’s GOCE gravity satellite.
[SatNews – 03/15/2012]

Turnkey Satellite Uplink facility in North Platte, Nebraska constructed within four weeks of permit approval for major satellite internet provider by Oldcastle Precast using modular pre-cast building.
[ – 03/15/2012]

DISA nears end of FCSA commercial satellite services build-out.
[Defense Systems – 03/15/2012]

Space Systems/Loral provides on time delivery of NASA propulsion system for moon exploration mission.
[Space Ref – 03/15/2012]

New DARPA Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements program seeks to employ quickly deployable, disposable small and inexpensive satellites to meet need for military hotspots speedily.
[PC Magazine – 03/15/2012]

Ka-band’s surprising revenue leader is DirecTV.
[Space News – 03/15/2012]

Norsat’s 2011 full-year sales spike 90 percent despite satellite slump.
[Satellite Today – 03/15/2012]

Dish Network’s Hopper whole-home DVR system, introduced at CES earlier this year, is now available to its customers
[CED Magazine – 03/15/2012]

U.S. Army anticipates purchasing all of its satellite communications systems and support services through CTS, a single, Multiple-Award Task-Order Contract with up to ten awardees.
[Gov Win – 03/14/2012]

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission experiment aboard International Space Station demonstrates that remotely controlled robots and specialized tools can perform precise satellite-servicing tasks in space.
[SatNews – 03/14/2012]

Eutelsat reorganizes names of its Satellites, unifying them under the company brand name.
[Satellite Today – 03/14/2012]

Globalstar, reporting positive quarterly adjusted EBITDA for the first time in four years, is expected to become world’s first LEO-based MSS provider with a second-generation constellation.
[SatNews – 03/141/2012]

Elwing Company, through its European affiliate Elwing Europe, announces agreement with Swedish satellite manufacturer OHB Sweden to partner in development of advanced platform technologies for satellites.
[SatNews – 03/14/2012]

Satellite contracts won by Boeing and SpaceX provide boost to California’s South Bay economy.
[Los Angeles Times – 03/13/2012]

Kratos is selected by Intelsat to extend its EPOCH Integrated Product Suite-based Fleet Control System to operate the Intelsat 27 satellite, currently under construction.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

Australian Satellite Communications deploys iDirect hub to support new partnership with Daltron, bringing satellite capabilities to Papua New Guinea-based ISP.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

A new, dedicated VSAT Maritime Broadband Solutions Centre will be opened May 1, 2012 in Singapore by AST to specifically serve the Asia Pacific region.
[Satnews – 03/13/2012]

Verizon Mobile Satellite Services offers backup services and enhanced disaster recovery, using 20X20 ft. air shelters that can be set up in less than 20 minutes and provide protection from extreme weather for up to 12 people.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

SES Government Services to be featured in Business Update on Aerospace and Defense on the Discovery Channel on March 21.
[Market Watch – 03/13/2012]

SES and ITC Global renew capacity deal to provide connectivity to rigs and vessels throughout the Gulf of Mexico region.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

SpaceX signs contracts with Asia Broadcast Satellite and Satelites Mexicanos for two launches aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
[SatNews – 03/13/2012]

Eutelsat and Es’hailSat select Arianespace to launch their EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 satellite in 2nd quarter of 2013 aboard Ariane 5 launcher.
[SatNews – 03/12/2012]

Diversified Communications Inc. selects TCS to provide mixed C- and Ku-band access to its TCS OS-IRIS offering hosted on Intelsat 14. [Market Watch – 03/12/2012]

Dish Network closes on purchases of DBSD North America and TerreStar, important to its broadband plans.
[Market Watch – 03/12/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

FightSquared Drama

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This is probably as close as you’ll get to real drama at the Satellite 2012 show in Washington, DC. The annual show, dominated by geosynchronous communications satellite operators and their respective technical ecosystems, has a full conference schedule over several days. The conferences are pretty tame and not much is said beyond what’s on their PowerPoint pitches.

Enter the LightSquared and GPS interference fiasco. The event: a session entitled “LightSquared and GPS: Status Update and Lesson Learned.” The cast: an editor of Via Satellite as the moderator (Jeff Hill) and four combatants: Dr. Javad Ashjaee, President & CEO, JAVAD GNSS; Brock Butler, Director, Location Technology, Spirent; Jeff Carlisle, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, LightSquared; Jason Rademacher, Senior Counsel, Dow Lohnes PLLC; Bronson Hokuf, Principal Engineer, GPS Systems, Garmin Intl.

So who gets the prize? Nobody, as chronicled by Debra Baker of sister publication Communications Technology:

Despite the wrangling between the GPS industry and nationwide satellite broadband wannabe LightSquared being on the front burner inside the Beltway, it was not a standing-room-only group at this morning’s “LightSquared and GPS: Status Update and Lesson Learned” panel at Satellite 2012.

And it wasn’t much of a status update or a lessons-learned commentary. Rather, it was more of a marketing ploy by one panelist, a reiteration of test results from two others, and some pointed looks between LightSquared’s regulatory guy and a senior lawyer from Dow Lohnes who speaks FCC.

According to Javad Ashjaee, president & CEO of JAVAD GNSS, which last fall was tapped by LightSquared to develop a system that would eliminate interference issues for high-precision GPS devices related to the deployment of LightSquared’s proposed nationwide LTE network and, thus, heal its headache at the FCC, that job has been completed. In fact, any problems that had been caused by interference to such devices were the fault of the GPS industry itself and not by LightSquared’s business plan.

Ashjaee proclaimed that high-precision GPS device makers have known for several years that their gear was susceptible to interference but have chosen to do nothing to modify their filters. He said his company performed four tests with its new filter on 14 different GPS receivers, and no technical flaws were found. As such, he now wants at least his 2 mm by 2 mm filter to be included in all GPS devices.

He also categorized as “scare tactics” any aviation-industry talk of planes and helicopters going down due to interference from LightSquared’s proposed service. “LightSquared is tilted down 60 degrees and will have no effect on plans,” Ashjaee said. “It’s all over. There is no effort (by the aviation industry) to find a solution. They have grouped together to stop LightSquared. $14 billion in investment will be lost.”

Speaking for neutral-party tester Spirent, Brock Butler, director/Location Technology, said he’s tested LightSquared signals against GPS signals, and he believes today’s standards for receivers and for testing need to be better.

Spirent’s test results showed that most smartphones with GPS apps weren’t affected adversely by LightStream’s signals but, on the high-precision GPS receiver side, there’s a big problem.

Adds Bronson Hokuf, principal engineer/GPS Systems at Garmin, standards for consumer GPS gear are much less stringent than those for aviation, “but that makes sense.” He cited a National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) report released a month ago that found 75 percent of the receivers it tested experienced interference from LightSquared, “and it would take years to make any changes.”

Hokuf also mentioned a January FAA report that said LightSquared is not compatible with FAA specs for low-altitude planes and helicopters.

Only Mildly Ruffled Feathers

It was during the Q&A session that things got moderately contentious. There appears to be some disconnect regarding if and when LightSquared ever was required by the FCC to develop an integrated satellite/terrestrial handset (which one attendee said would be a boon to disaster-relief efforts). LightSquared’ Jeff Carlisle, president for regulatory affairs and public policy, said his company never was asked, but Garmin’s Hokuf said there was a change to the company’s FCC paperwork that does require one.

And then there is the idea of moving LightSquared’s operation from the upper 10 megahertz of its spectrum to the lower 10 megahertz to avoid interference issues. Carlisle said that issue should have been raised earlier, and that LightSquared now may have to shell out an additional $1 billion “to accommodate GPS.”

On the other hand, Jason Rademacher, a senior attorney at Dow Lohnes, said it would be no simple task to retrofit the entire aviation fleet to accommodate interference from one service provider.

And the battle between the filter manufacturer and the GPS maker? JAVAD’s Ashjaee refused to let go of the idea that because 75 percent of filters are bad, technology can cure this without hampering the future. He challenged Garmin’s Hokuf to test the JAVAD filter with Garmin’s gear, but Hokuf said his company is under no obligation to do this.

“This filter is the only one JAVAD makes that is LightSquared-compatible; the rest of its products are not,” Hokuf said. “You don’t take one product and demand that the rest of the industry use it. And Garmin already builds to FAA standards.”

And aiming at Ashjaee, he pointedly concluded, “Since you think it is so easy, we will be happy to compete with you on the open market.”

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/09/2012

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Replacement for solar storm early-warning satellite which is on its last legs is at least two years away.
[Discovery – 03/09/2012]

ILS announces new contract for ILS Proton launch of the MEXSAT-1 satellite.
[Market Watch – 03/09/2012]

Iridium Core 9523, smallest voice and data transceiver ever, reduces size and cost of building devices around Iridium’s global satellite communications system.
[Marine Link – 03/09/2012]

Thales Alenia Space receives order from German company OHB System to supply eight electronic modules for the last eight satellites in the Galileo constellation.
[SatNews – 03/09/2012]

NewSat enters agreement with AP Kypros Satellite Limited for an additional orbital slot and expanded frequencies in existing slots.
[SatNews – 03/09/2012]

Satellite phones installed by provider Aciv8me in remote islands of the Wellesley Island Group off Australia under Australian government’s Indigenous Communication Program offer free communications – lives are expected to be saved in the future.
[Market Watch – 03/09/2012]

Leading Mexican operator and integrator of satellite networks RED52 launches new services powered by UHP technology from Romantis Group, to provide advanced data and multimedia services to thousands of remote terminals across Mexico and Latin America.
[SatNews – 03/09/2012]

NSR free webinar March 28 to offer industry’s first in-depth discussion on key financial metrics within the FSS sector.
[SatNews – 03/09/2012]

Euroconsult report forecasts that number of satellite communications terminals in the global maritime market will likely double over the next decade.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Boeing to showcase 50 years of innovation in satellite design and manufacturing at Satellite 2012.
[SatNews – 03/09/2012]

During Newtec test on Intelsat 72 MHz Ku-band transponder using Wideband, Clean Channel Technology, Equalink, and Newtec’s 2nd generation Bandwidth Canceller, a staggering 372 Mbps of throughput was reached.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Prototype of new radar system developed by Lockheed Martin is now tracking orbiting space objects, bringing the U.S. Air Force’s Space Fence program closer to revolutionizing our nation’s space situational awareness.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Newtec successfully tests new high speed Ka-band technology for SES Broadband, featuring download speeds above 10Mbps, which is to enable SES to rollout SES Broadband Ka-band services later this year.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Spacecom announces that its AMOS-3 satellite at 4 degrees West now has “one-hop” Ku-band capacity to served needs between the U.S. East Coast and the Middle East.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Glowlink releases new Model 1020 with 200 MHz instantaneous bandwidth spectrum monitoring while offering the same range performance as other products, increasing monitoring speed of satellite spectrum by as much as 15X.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

NASA monitoring solar flares; massive eruption on the sun may impact GPS and satellite communications.
[CBS local – Baltimore – 03/08/2012]

Winegard to show new airline checkable 1.2m auto-acquire flyaway antennas weighing less than 88 lbs. each at Satellite 2012.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

One Horizon Group signs agreement with IEC Telecom Group to provide IP-optimization solution to IEC Telecom Group and subsidiaries in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore,, and Congo, increasing satellite bandwidth efficiencies.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Maritime satellite communications market exceeds 5.5% in terminal growth, $1.4 billion in revenues.
[Sat PR News – 03/08/2012]

Comtech Xicom debuts new high efficiency, 750 Watt peak power, Ku-band traveling wave tube amplifier (TWTA).
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

ViviSat, the only U.S.-based provider of in-orbit servicing, to show satellite companies at Satellite 2012 that it is ready to build its mission extension vehicles.
[SatNews – 03/08/2012]

Isle of Man reported to be fifth nation most likely to return to the moon; bustling space and satellite industry on the island hosts four of the world’s top 10 satellite companies.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

France decides against privatizing military satellite communications system.
[Space News – 03/07/2012]

LinkScape and KNS partnership Maritime Ku-band and C-band solutions feature antennas from 60cm to 320cm, fully integrated antenna/modem technology, a single 1 unit below-deck unit, and fastest internet on the market.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

Thuraya launches latest generation of dual-mode satellite and GSM phone “XT-DUAL.”
[Market Watch – 03/07/2012]

NASA and government of Bermuda sign agreement to establish temporary mobile tracking station on Cooper’s Island to support launches from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

DARPA’s InSPIRE program is sponsoring Zero Robotics Autonomous Space Capture Challenge, seeking to develop computer algorithms that allow satellite to capture space object that is tumbling and spinning.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

Hughes Network Systems makes available Hugh High QoS Service baed on the advanced HX platform to Virtual Network Operators, allopwing them to offer high-bandwidth Internet and private network access to customers without a high upfront investment.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

NASA’s twin GRAIL satellites begin mission of mapping moon’s gravitational field.
[SatNews – 03/07/2012]

Avanti Communications Group signs contract with CommCarrier Satellite Services of Kenya for satellite bandwidth over East Africa on the HYLAS 2 satellite for five years.
[4-traders – 03/06/2012]

New Zealand marine electronics specialist Electronic Navigation and SatComms Australia enter joint venture to provide new satellite options for New Zealand mariners.
[Fish News EU – 03/06/2012]

LightSquared announces extension of emulation on its SkyTerra-1 satellite network for existing customers.
[Market Watch – 03/06/2012]

Dish stock moves up sharply as investors bet Charlie Ergen’s stated plan to build a wireless-internet network from the ground up with spectrum he has acquired is a bluff, and he will end up selling the spectrum.
[Bloomberg – 03/07/2012]

Boeing teams up with telecommunications company Artel to sell satellite bandwidth to U.S. government agencies.
[Press-Telegram – 03/06/2012]

V.Ships, World’s largest independent ship manager serving fleet of over 1,000 vessels, selects KVH mini-VSAT Broadband as its preferred satellite communications service.
[Market Watch – 03/05/2012]

Iran aims to place satellites in geostationary orbits.
[ABNA – 03/05/2012]

FCC denial of Dish Networks’ request for a needed waiver for its new wireless network, opting instead to take public comments before making a rule change later this year, sets back Dish’s network plans.
[Wall Street Journal – 03/02/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Et tu, Hesse?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

“Beware the Ides of March,” they told Caesar. Lightsquared is facing a milestone date on 15 March 2012 in their agreement with Sprint. According to Bloomberg, the part of Brutus will be played by Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint

Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to end a network-sharing agreement with billionaire Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. wireless venture as early as next week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Sprint is preparing to take the step as LightSquared approaches a March 15 deadline to meet certain conditions under the agreement, said the people, who wouldn’t be identified because the information isn’t public. Sprint and LightSquared struck an 11-year deal to share network expansion costs and equipment in June provided LightSquared secure regulatory approvals for its wireless service by December. Though Sprint pushed the deadline back, it doesn’t plan more extensions, the people said.

The loss of Sprint would fuel concerns about the viability of LightSquared and mark another setback for Falcone. The hedge fund manager has invested about $3 billion from his Harbinger Capital Partners in LightSquared in an effort to create a national wireless carrier to compete against AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Playing the part of Julius Ceasar will be Philip Falcone.

Dinosaurs in Space

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Great quote from Sir Arthur in 2001…

The danger of asteroid or comet impact is one of the best reasons for getting into space … I’m very fond
of quoting my friend Larry Niven: “The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program.
And if we become extinct because we don’t have a space program, it’ll serve us right!”

It’s from “Meeting of the Minds: Buzz Aldrin Visits Arthur C. Clarke, Andrew Chaikin, 2001” — one of many great quotes.