Archive for April, 2012

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 04/27/2012

Friday, April 27th, 2012

SES, with leading industry partners, introduces SAT-IP, an IP-based satellite reception technology that converts satellite TV signals to IP for distribution throughout user’s homes for display on any IP-enabled device.
[Market Watch – 04/27/2012]

Telesat profit drops by 14% due to reduced prices charge a DTH customer on one of its satellites.
[Winnipeg Free Press – 04/27/2012]

Astrium activates full in-orbit operations on the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites launched in October 2011.
[Satellite Today – 04/27/2012]

Russian Proton rocket successfully launches Yahsat 1B Ka-band civil/military communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
[ – 04/26/2012]

Indian rocket successfully launches microwave Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) from spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, joining a select group of nations having this technology.
[NY Daily News – 04/26/2012]

UK industry to build Solar Orbiter satellite.
[BBC News – 04/26/2012]

CASBAA members rally to resist India’s proposed retroactive satellite tax laws. [SatNews – 04/26/2012]

U.S.A.F. terminates Defense Weather Satellite System contractual activities with Northrop Grumman in accordance with 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and FY12 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
[SatNews – 04/26/2012]

Space-based technology that serves GPS-equipped motorists will undergo major test of ability to rapidly pinpoint the location and magnitude of strong earthquakes across the western United States.
[SatNews – 04/26/2012]

Research firm Media Partners Asia expects DTH growth to explode in Asia, growing exponentially from 11% market share today to about 30% in the next decade.
[Satellite Today – 04/26/2012]

GMV is awarded a contract with THAICOM Plc to provide satellite control center for Thaicom 6 satellite.
[Space Ref – 04/26/2012]

NASA seeks proposals to develop solar array systems to enable space electric propulsion systems of the future.
[SolarNovus – 04/26/2012]

SpaceX COTS 2 mission set for May 7th, when the comp-any’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle will propel the Dragon toward the International Space Station.
[SatNews – 04/25/2012]

ViaSat is selected to enable Ka-band broadband satellite services for kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
[Market Watch – 04/25/2012]

SES adds two new local German channels on ASTRA.
[Market Watch – 04/25/2012]

Canadian Department of National Defence General wants satellite coverage over far north to aid communications in Canadian Arctic.
[The Globe and Mail – 04/25/2012]

Astrium Services and Spanish government satellite service operator Hisdesat sign agreement to establish constellation approach for radar satellites TerraSAR-X and PAZ for additional flexibility.
[SatNews – 04/24/2012]

Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association announces that WorkMark has joined the association as Industry Partner Member; they will work together to expand certification and qualifications needed in the consumer satellite industry.
[SatNews – 04/24/2012]

Boatracs and KVH announce strategic partnership to provide end-to-end global broadband solution to maritime market.
[chron – 04/24/2012]

EUMETSAT opens high-tech facility in Germany.
[Satellite Today – 04/24/2012]

New $1 billion + anti-jam communications satellite to provide the president and military leaders a secure and survivable communications link in wartime is mounted atop its Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral.
[Spaceflight Now – 04/23/2012]

DARPA project advocates replacing conventional spacecraft with free-floating orbit clusters that interact wirelessly, promoting easy re-configuration for changing military needs.
[Nextgov – 04/23/2012]

iDirect’s iDX software earns 2011 Satellite Spotlight Product of the Year award for bringing TDMA and SCPC together on a single platform for the first time ever.
[Market Watch – 04/23/2012]

U.S. military may spend $1 billion during next decade to piggyback its communications equipment onto commercial satellites.
[Washington Post – 04/22/2012]

Medical Robotics Experts Help Advance NASA’s Satellite Surgery Project.
[Tech Briefs – 04/01/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

DIY Friday: MakerPlace in San Diego

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Great idea: convert an old warehouse into a members-only facility for inventors, tinkerers, craftspeople and DIYers. Offer classes and workshops, too. It’s called MakerPlace and it’s pretty cool.

Looking at their equipment list — and the number of rocket scientists living in and around “America’s Finest City” — it should prove to be a successful endeavor. You can get it done here:

4 axis CNC mill
manual mill
metal lathe
pipe notcher
brake (16 gauge)
planishing hammer
English wheel
TIG welder
gas welder
MIG welder
shear (16 gauge)
metal belt sander
horizontal band saw
metal and wood bandsaw
permitted paint booth
wood belt sander
3D printer (abs plastic)
Corner Notcher
Shrinker/ Stretcher
35 Ton Press Brake
Grinder/ Polisher
metal and wood drill presses
Saw Stop table saw
15″ planer
miter saw
panel saw
cnc router with vacuum table
assorted hand tools
integral sawdust management
VIC Engrave
Corel Software Suite
EagleCAD, Rhino
Fritzing, Alibre
Mach3, V CArve Pro
Cut 3D, SketchUp
Buzz 2 Stitches
Arduino, PCB 123
large format laser cutters
laser engravers
function generator
variable power supplies
soldering irons
large format vinyl cutter
industrial sewing machine
6 needle embroidery machine
large format inkjet printer
CNC router
sand blasting cabinet
free wireless internet service
conference room w/projector
4 color silk screen and dryer

Check out their photos.

Stay classy, San Diego!

National Astronomy Day

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This Saturday, 28 April 2012, is National Astronomy Day. Get out there and look up!

Depending on where you are, you’ll need to get away from all the “light pollution” that interferes with stargazing. Try the Dark Sky Finder for guidance. And if you want to dig deeper, take a look at the work being done by our paisanos over at Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell’Inquinamento Luminoso (Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute).

Need a telescope? Check out the promotion Celestron is doing with Astronomy magazine

Astronomy magazine and Celestron are coming to a location near you! Here’s where you can go to win a Celestron telescope and Astronomy magazine prizes…check back regularly for updates (unless otherwise noted, events will be held April 28):

Location: Prestonsburg, Kentucky
Venue: East Kentucky Science Center & Planetarium

Location: Schenectady, New York
Venue: Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Venue: Fernbank Science Center

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Venue: Sommers-Bausch Observatory & Fiske Planetarium
Event date: May 20, 2012
Website: and

Location: Cartersville, Georgia
Venue: Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum 

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Venue: The Adler Planetarium

Location: Dayton, Ohio
Venue: Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

Location: Milford, Michigan
Venue: Kensington Metropark

Location: El Paso, Texas
Venue: Gene Roddenberry Planetarium

Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Venue: Lowell Observatory

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Venue: AstroDay at Prince Kuhlo Plaza
Event Date: May 5, 2012

Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Venue: Science City at Union Station
Event Date: May 4, 2012

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Venue: Mueller Planetarium at University of Nebraska State Museum

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Venue: Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center
Event date: June 2, 2012

Location: Oakland, California
Venue: Chabot Space & Science Center

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Venue: Arizona Science Center
Event Date: May 5, 2012

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Venue: Carnegie Science Center
Event date: March 31, 2012

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Venue: St. Louis Science Center

Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Venue: Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium
Event Date: June 6, 2012

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Venue: Franklin Institute Science Museum

Location: Seattle, Washington
Venue: Pacific Science Center

Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Venue: Retzer Nature Center

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Venue: Clark Planetarium

Location: Portland, Oregon
Venue: Kendall Planetarium

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 04/20/2012

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

NASA awards $3 million contract to Space System/Loral to begin process of hosting a space laser communications relay demonstration terminal payload aboard a commercial satellite.
[SatNews – 04/20/2012]

ISRO plans to launch its biggest spacecraft ever, the 5,000-kg GSAT-11, by 2014.
[The Hindu Businessline – 04/20/2012]

New nanosat designed by European Satellite Agency promises new opportunities to test ground-breaking satellite software on an actual mission in space.
[Product Design & Development – 04/20/2012]

Upon receipt of an overdue payment of $56.25 million from LightSquared, Inmarsat agrees to suspend further payments until 2014, giving LightSquared some breathing room.
[Reuters – 04/20/2012]

Next-generation DVB-S2 satellite service offered out of Perth, Australia by SpeedCast in partnership with SatComms Australia, finds its first major customer in Saxon Energy Services.
[SatNews – 04/20/2012]

SES-4, launched on February 15th, the 50th and largest satellite in the fleet, is now fully operational and ready for service at orbital location of 338 degrees East.
[SatNews – 04/19/2012]

Second Advanced Extremely High Frequency communication satellite ready for launch May 3, poised to give war fighters a 10 fold increase in capacity after years of delay in the program and a glitch that almost scuttled the first AEHF satellite.
[National Defense Magazine – 04/19/2012]

Europe’s latest second-generation meteorological spacecraft, MSG-3, arrives in French Guiana to be readied for June 19 dual-payload launch on Ariane 5.
[SatNews – 04/19/2012]

The second satellite of the United Arab Emirates’ space communications program, Y1B, is ready to be launched on a Proton launcher from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on April 23.
[Defense Professionals – 04/19/2012]
Satellite Today Webcast April 23

Space Systems/Loral completes construction of Intelsat 19 ahead of schedule, and the satellite is now at the Sea Launch home port in Long Beach.
[Market Watch – 04/19/2012]

Asia Broadcast Satellite seeks $215 million loan from Export-Import Bank of the U.S. for construction of new satellites.
[Bloomberg – 04/19/2012]

Honeywell agrees to work with satellite communications company Inmarsat on providing in-flight internet connection for airline passengers.
[CBS News – 04/19/2012]

SES and Encompass Media sign capacity deal making NASA TV channels available to satellite TV providers and cable outlets throughout the U.S.
[SatNews – 04/19/2012]

Report from U.S. State and Defense Departments states that China is stealing U.S. military and civilian space technology in effort to disrupt U.S. access to intelligence, navigation and communication satellites.
[Business Week – 04/18/2012]

U.S. Defense and State Departments jointly recommend that Congress ease export controls on satellites that have become less militarily sensitive to allow American companies to better compete in the world market.
[NextGov – 04/18/2012]

FCC sets deadlines for comments on plan for flexible use of 2 GHz satellite band, moving closer to proposal that could allow Dish to launch its LTE network.
[Wireless Week – 04/18/2012]

Telesat’s Nimiq 6 satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, arrives at Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, where it will be launched on a Proton Breeze M vehicle.
[Market Watch – 04/18/2012]

Australia’s NBN process of moving ahead with satellite construction and launch plans ahead of actual approval of the satellite slots meets with ITU requirements since the application for the slots is underway.
[PC Advisor – 04/18/2012]

Communications on four Eutelsat satellites will be used to cover the French Presidential elections.
[Market Watch – 04/18/2012]

Raytheon successfully downloads and delivers Defense Weather Satellite data via Antarctica with 50% reduction in latency.
[Market Watch – 04/18/2012]

Hughes announces the addition of Ka-band mobile satellite equipment and other communications products to its GSA schedule 70 contract.
[Market Watch – 04/18/2012]

RRSAT and THAICOM extend contract for global distribution of Vietnam Television.
[Market Watch – 04/18/2012]

Unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors aboard DoD’s recently launched MUOS satellite are successfully tested in space.
[Market Watch – 04/17/2012]

University of Navarre’s doctorate thesis describes satellite antenna array designed as a cone such that “radiation is uniformly incident on all parts of the Earth, thus avoiding some zones receiving more energy than others”.
[Basque Research – 04/17/2012]

ITT Exelis, Britain’s BAE Systems and L-3 Communications Holdings have created a joint venture to bid for a huge contract to manage and maintain the U.S. Air Force’s satellite launch and test ranges.
[Reuters – 04/17/2012]

Kratos Integral Systems International selected by Boeing to provide turnkey ground segment solution to support entire constellation of Boeing 702 and Orbital STAR2 satellites for MEXSAT.
[Market Watch – 04/17/2012]

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions subsidiary RT Logic releases CyberC4(TM), a family of cyber security products designed specifically for the satellite industry.
[Market Watch – 04/17/2012]

Military takes control of fourth WGS satellite following completion of on-orbit tests by Boeing.
[UPI – 04/16/2012]

European Space Agency struggles to restore contact with its massive 10 year old satellite Envisat, after it lost touch with Earth.
[Space – 04/16/2012]

Intelsat and PCCW Global of Hong Kong agree to interconnect their MPLS networks to expand the IntelsatONE terrestrial network.
[Market Watch – 04/16/2012]

Undisputed evidence showing ICO waived its claim for breach of a satellite contract by Boeing leads to three-judge appellate court’s reversal of a 2008 jury award to ICO against Boeing for over $600 million.
[Gulf News – 04/15/2012]

Sailors who have grown up used to instant access to friends and family by broadband and the Internet are finding themselves and their families stressed out when they go to sea and have these lines of communications restricted or severed.
[Navy Times – 04/15/2012]

Some scientists believe that a solar storm on April 5, 2010, observed by NASA satellites TWINS and IBIX, was responsible for the loss of control of Galaxy 15, which drifted out of control for almost a year before operators regained control and returned it to its assigned orbit.
[NASA – article]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Satcom Erosion: 4G LTE

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Companies such as Hughes and Spacenet probably don’t have to worry about, as their future in transaction processing with VSAT technology isn’t going away. It may not be growing much, but the business is there.

Until an alternative process for secure transactions comes around. Well, here comes Verizon Private IP Wireless LTE.

A report in Computerworld puts it into the proper perspective for the satcom set:

With the new service, customers with LTE smartphones and tablets and LTE modems for their laptops can access the nearest cell tower and will then be routed to an enterprise gateway in one of many Verizon switching centers, Konings said. Data routed to and through the enterprise gateway is encoded, but not encrypted, and kept totally separate from the public Internet. Encryption of the data can be added, if desired.

At a Verizon switching center, the data then also joins Verizon’s global MPLS network, Konings said.

Verizon demonstrated ATM cash machines that are connected to its LTE network at CES in January, but the company didn’t describe its Private IP connection, which can be used to keep transactions secure and will allow a bank to move an ATM more easily to a new location.

LTE speeds, generally described by Verizon as 10 times faster than EV-DO, will also be useful for quickly activating remote digital signs and can even be used for transmitting video wirelessly, he said.

A news report with video can be transmitted over the Private IP LTE network instead of a more expensive satellite connection, he said. Also, wireless over LTE could be used as a backup network or for routing data to storage.

“With faster speeds, companies can provide many more apps [wirelessly] than before,” he said. Verizon describes its LTE speeds for consumers as averaging 10 Mbps on downlinks, with up to 2 Mbps on uplinks.

In addition to wireless data costs, the only cost to a business for Private IP over LTE is a $500 one-time charge to create a mobile private network, which can serve up to 1,000 sites, Konings said.

SNG? 1,000 data site? That’s satcom territory! This will be interesting to watch — especially when you add the satellite bandwidth used for video contribution feeds. Big business (read: satellite operators) ought to take notice.

Discovery D.C. Fly-by

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Nice promotion by Smithsonian’s NASM: Spot the Shuttle.

Of course, there’s the official photo & video gallery.

And here’s the landing…

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 04/13/2012

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Lockheed Martin delivers 100th and 101st commercial geostationary communications satellites, JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2, to French Guiana for upcoming dual launch.
[Space Ref – 04/13/2012]

Multispectral Scanner on Landsat 5 which was turned off in late 1990′s is turned on by United States Geological Service to determine the state of the sensor, and downlinked data for several successful passes.
[SatNews – 04/13/2012]

Inmarsat’s second generation Inmarsat-2 F4 satellite switched off just days short of its 20th birthday.
[SatNews – 04/13/2012]

After 10 years of service, Envisat stops sending data to Earth.
[SatNews – 04/12/2012]

North Korea rocket breaks up 90 seconds after launch.
[MSNBC – 04/12/2012]

NOAA retires GOES-7 after 25 years as weather and communications satellite.
[Environmental Protection – 04/12/2012]

Space Systems/Loral to partner with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to host laser communications relay demonstration on a commercial satellite to be launched in 2016. [Photonics – 04/12/2012]

Azerbaijan delays launch of its first national Azerspace satellite to 2013 to accommodate expanded ground system.
[Satellite Today – 04/12/2012]

Senators ask Federal Communications Commission to find alternative spectrum for LightSquared since its recent ruling effectively killed LightSquared’s plans for a national broadband network using frequencies that interfered with GPS.
[VB/Mobile – 04/11/2012]

Satellite industry predictions vary for post-budget cut in the military market.
[Via Satellite – 04/11/2012]

Surrey Satellite seeks ancillary payloads for its upcoming OTB mission in Q1 2015, offering government and commercial organizations a low-risk, cost effective opportunity for flight and operation of payloads in low Earth orbit.
[SatNews – 04/11/2012]

Boeing successfully parachute drop tests space capsule that may eventually carry passengers to International Space Station.
[Design News – 04/11/2012]

Fregat M upper stage for Starsem’s Soyuz launch of the MetOp-B weather satellite, capable of 20 restarts in flight, undergoes checkout in preparation for May 23 launch from Kazakhstan.
[SatNews – 04/11/2012]

Afghanistan seeks partner for satellite launch.
[Rapid TV News – 04/11/2012]

U.K. Government to grant nearly 7 million pounds to co-fund major new British research to develop commercial products and services using space technology and data from space-based systems.
[SatNews – 04/11/2012]

Gilat delivers satellite-based connectivity during Russian national presidential elections.
[Market Watch – 04/11/2012]

FRANSAT, SAMSUNG, and NEOTION unveil satellite receiver and DTT module that facilitate satellite reception of free Digital Terrestrial Television channels in France.
[SatNews – 04/11/2012]

RigNet deploys universal satellite hub for offshore use in Doha, Qatar, to enhance VST services for Middle East oil & gas sectors.
[Marine Link – 04/11/2012]

C-Com gets $1 million iNetVu order from un-named customer in Russia.
[Satellite Today – 04/11/2012]

Clear Channel Satellite’s XtremeSat Media receiver allows independent syndicators maintaining their own satellite links to seamslessly transition from SCPC to MCPC as their network expands.
[SatNews – 04/11/2012]

Dead Russian military satellite falls into Pacific Ocean after circling Earth for 15 years.
[Live Science – 04/10/2012]

Cobham renews bid to acquire Thrane & Thrane after purchasing 25% of the company from investors.
[Reuters – 04/10/2012]

Newtec and Yahsat demonstrate 310 Mbps transport over a 36 Mhz transponder on Yahsat’s Y1A satellite.
[SatNews – 04/10/2012]

AeroMechanical Services signs contract with unnamed Canadian charter airline to provide AFIRS system using  Iridium satellite system.
[Satellite Today – 04/10/2012]

SES announces SUPER RTL HD joins the HD+ platform in Germany as of May 1.
[SatNews – 04/10/2012]

SES negotiates with Ethiopian Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to provide satellite services to back-up the infrastructure of Ethiopia’s telecommunications provider, Ethio Telecom.
[Satellite Today – 04/10/2012]

Cisco introduces IP multiplexing technology for its Mobile Ready Net package that aims to dramatically improve the number of IP-based voice calls on a satellite link.
[Satellite Today – 04/10/2012]

Exede Newsgathering from ViaSat revolutionizes the way news is delivered and the way journalists work in the field, using high-capacity Ka-band service offering ample bandwidth for live HD video uplinks plus 2-way broadband work flow. [SatNews – 04/09/2012]

SpaceX plans to build private launch facility in Texas.
[Satellite Today – 04/09/2012]

Skyline Communications to showcase at NAB release 7 of its DataMiner multi-vendor network management platform guaranteed to interface with any product from any vendor.
[SatNews – 04/09/2012]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Elon Musk on The Daily Show

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Arthur C. Clarke Awards for 2012

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Confers Honors for Lifetime Achievement, Innovation, and Imagination to Vint Cerf, Pradman Kaul and Sir Ken Robinson.

The Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes “an individual, a group or an entity that exemplifies the values and accomplishments of Sir Arthur’s life. The award honors substantial and enduring contributions that relate the sciences and arts in meeting the challenges of contemporary life and the needs of tomorrow.”

The 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Vinton G. Cerf, widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” Cerf is the co-inventor of the architecture and the basic protocols of the Internet.

This year’s Innovator Award honoree is Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes Network Systems, LLC. Kaul is being recognized for his sustained leadership in advancing satellite communications.
Since heading up the engineering team in a Maryland garage start-up that invented satellite networking using VSATs (very small aperture terminals) in the mid-1980s, and then growing it as chief executive of Hughes Network Systems into a billion dollar company, Pradman Kaul has been a leading force in the worldwide satellite industry. He has spearheaded the development of satellite networks for commercial applications globally, and is widely recognized for contributions in both business and technology spheres

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, was selected by the Foundation as its first-ever Imagination honoree. An internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia, and the United States, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province.

Live webcast of the Awards presentation at 18:00 EDT on Thursday, 12 April 2012. Or watch it right here:

Sir Arthur’s Future (1964)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Remarkable and fantastic predictions from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, via the BBC programme “Horizon” from 1964.

Part 1

Part 2