Archive for October, 2009

WBMSAT News Bits for October 30, 2009

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Hughes Network Systems sell 10% of Jupiter satellite capacity to Canadian broadband provider Barrett Xplore for $100m.
[Satellite Today -10/30/2009]


Arianespace successfully launches NSS-12 ad THOR 6 satellites aboard single Ariane 5 ECA  rocket from Spaceport in French Guiana.
[SatNews – 10/29/2009]

Kazakhtelecom JSC of Kazakhstan adds Gilat’s cellular backhaul solution to its satellite communications network.
[Reuters – 10/29/2009]

SkyTrac obtains supplemental type certificate for installation of its automated flight following and satellite communications equipment on several helicopters; will exhibit at Aerial Firefighting Conference in Italy.
[SatNews – 10/29/2009]

 Eutelsat’s Tooway satellite broadband service to help deliver Ireland’s national broadband scheme.
[Reuter’s – 10/29/2009]

KVH introduces TracVision HD7 using 24 inch diameter antenna and patent pending technology to simultaneously receive two Ka and one Ku-band satellites, delivering HDTV to boaters exactly as they receive it at home.
[SatNews – 10/29/2007]

On-demand intelligent asset management company Axeda Corporation enters into Alliance Partner Agreement with ORBCOM to integrate ORBCOMM’s satellite network with Axeda’s global two-way M2M data communications capabilities.
[Reuters – 10/29/2009]

Frost &Sullivan’s report "European First Responders C3I Market Assessment" concludes that greater focus on Civil security makes the European C3I market lucrative.
[Reuters- 10/29/2009]

Raymarine introduces 33STV, a 13" satellite dish inside a 14" radome weighing less than 10 pounds, to bring satellite TV reception to powerboats and sailboats under 25 feet in length.
[Reuters  10/29/2009]

AGIS LifeRing, operating simultaneously on cellular, mesh networks, satellite, Military and First Responder radios, successfully passes U.S. Joint Forces Command limited operational assessment of PDA broadband communications.
[Reuters – 10/29/2009]

Stratos provides Government of Canada with first-ever BGAN lease service.
[IT News Online – 10/28/2009]

Lockheed Martin completes preliminary design review for U.S. Navy’s Communications at Speed and Depth program using Iridium satellite and UHF to communicate to underway submarines from surface ships, aircraft, and land-based assets.
[Satellite Today – 10/27/2009]

Attendance results for SATCON 2009 indicate continuing high demand for media and communications technology solutions in spite of economic impact of recession.
[Reuters – 10/27/2009]

KVH mini-SAT marks 2-year anniversary for Maritime service with over 500 TracPhone V7 systems shipped, providing broadband service on the move to maritime, aeronautical, and other mobile customers.
[Reuters – 10/26/2009]

NSR report – Ku-Band in-flight satellite connectivity: are we there yet? – discusses state of commercial airline broadband access market utilizing Ku-band satellite capacity.
[NSR Report October 2009]

NSR Report – Government and Military Satellite Communications, 6th Edition, discusses state of the government and Military satellite communications market.
[NSR Report – November 2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services


The Conquest of 1° West

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009


The 1° West orbital location (359° East for you Intelsat old-timers) is about to get hot in the European market. Astra and Eutelsat are the incumbents — primarily using 19.2° East and 13° East, respectively. In Eastern Europe, the growing satellite TV markets have their antennae pointed at 1° West, where Intelsat and Telenor are betting they came fill their capacity quickly. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts over the next year or so.

Thor-6 launches tomorrow, along with NSS-12, via an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (watch it live here).


Nice App, NASA

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Great work by NASA in getting a useful iPhone App out last week:

 The NASA App collects, customizes and delivers an extensive selection of dynamically updated information, images and videos from various online NASA sources. Users can access NASA countdown clocks, the NASA Image of the Day, Astronomy Image of the Day, online videos, NASA’s many Twitter feeds and other information in a convenient mobile package. It delivers NASA content in a clear and intuitive way by making full use of the iPhone and iPod touch features, including the Multi-Touch user interface. The New Media Team at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., developed the application.

The NASA App also allows users to track the current positions of the International Space Station and other spacecraft currently orbiting Earth in three views: a map with borders and labels, visible satellite imagery, or satellite overlaid with country borders and labels.

Yeah, it’s free and very good.

Even better: Akamai is letting us watch NASA TV — LIVE — on your iPhone. That’s cool.

WBMSAT News Bits for October 23, 2009

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Ariane 5 with NSS-12 and THOR 6 satellites installed. 

Ariane 5 prepared for double-duty launch October 29 with installation of second payload NSS-12 satellite for SES WORLD SKIES now complete, following earlier installation of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s THOR 6 relay platform.
[SatNews – 10/22/2009]

Rockwell Collins is selected to provide Extended Data Rate International Partners Variant Single Channel Anti-jam Manportable terminals to the Canadian Department of National Defense for use with the U.S. Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites.
[SatNews – 10/22/2009

Iridium Communications subsidiary Iridium Communicaciones de Mexico SAPI de CV receives all authorizations and licenses to offer services in Mexico.
[Reuters – 10/21/2009]

The Indian Navy will get a dedicated communications satellite next year, built by ISRO,  to boost its network-centric operations and connectivity at sea.
[domain-b – 10/22/2009]

Newtec announces that InSat GmbH will use Newtec’s Elevation modulators and demodulators, using 32 APSK modulation, for IP trunking for a new project in the Middle East and Central Asia.

SAT Corporation partners with ViaSat to provide signal monitoring and interference detection; Monics system will support eight gateway earth stations planned throughout Europe for Tooway consumer broadband.
[Reuters – 10/21/2009]

U.S. Army Communications-electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center at Fort Monmouth will host briefing to industry on innovative military satellite communications technologies on November 17 – 18.
[Military & Aerospace Electronics – 10/21/2009]

Newtec will sign a major Memorandum of Agreement with Arabsat October 25th for jointly developing new markets and satellite technologies throughout the Middle East.
[SatNews – 10/20/2009]

Comtech receives $1.6M of orders for high power amplifiers from a leading provider of aviation electronics and communications systems to be used in airborne-to-satellite-to-ground communications systems.
[Reuters – 10/20/2009]

Viasat and Innotech Aviation successfully completed the first installation of ViaSat’s high-speed broadband terminal on a Bombardier Global Express XRS aircraft; Satcom Direct then commissioned the terminal into the Viasat Yonder satellite airborne broadband network.
[SatNews – 10/20/2009]

Harris Corporation researchers will present eight technical papers discussing methods to improve communications networking and security including improving utilization of satellite resources at MILCOM 2009.
[Reuters – 10/19/2009]

Lockheed Martin team demonstrates interface compatibility of firs Mobile User Objective System satellite’s dual legacy and UHF communications payloads with ground terminals; design to provide improved and assured communications,  delivering simultaneous voice, data and video services for U.S. mobile warfighters.
[Reuters – 10/19/2009]

The Indian Space Research Organisation plans to launch two dedicated satellites to study climate change in 2021 and 2011.
[SatNews – 10/19/2009]

AeroMechanical Services announces completion of flight testing of technology to stream data from aircraft to ground anywhere, anytime, using Iridium satellite network and ground-based server; streaming can be triggered by flight crew or ground staff; voice communications also supported.
[Reuters – 10/19/2009]

YahClick online services based on Microsoft Live may be offered in Middle East, Africa, and South-West Asia by Yahsat following signing of Memorandum of Understanding.
[SatNews – 10/19/2009]

U.S. Coast Guard approves Collecte Localisation Satellites Thorium terminal for Long-Range Identification and Tracking using Iridium satellite network.
[SatNews – 10/19/2009]

GeoEye contracts with Gibraltar Associates to serve as its public relations agency of record.
[SatNews – 10/19/2009]

The U.S.A.F.’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F-18 Block 5D-3 satellite built by Lockheed Martin is launched from Vandenberg AFB.
[Reuters – 10/18/2009]

Mars missions boosted by communication breakthrough – engineers find way to communicate continuously with Mars taking advantage of Lagrange points, five points in space where satellite can stay fixed in same location relative to Earth and Sun, and a spacecraft with a continuous thrusting propulsion system.
[Telegraph – 10/17/209]

NSR free webinar to discuss absence of effect on commercial satellite supply and demand by the current recession and High Throughput Satellite technology and applications.
[NSR webinar scheduled November 10 2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services

Halley’s Tail

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


The Orionids meteor showers peaked this morning as we’re passing through the tail of Halley’s Comet, via

The Orionids were frequently observed during the latter years of the 19th century and became the focus of debate during the first quarter of the 20th century. The British amateur astronomer W. F. Denning and the American astronomer C. P. Olivier began using the pages of two astronomical periodicals to debate whether the Orionid radiant, the point from which the meteors seemed to radiate in the sky, moved from one day to the next: Denning argued that it did not, while Olivier argued that it did. Each astronomer had supporters that chimed in, but the argument remained essentially theirs. The problem was that the Orionid radiant was more diffuse than the other well-observed annual meteor showers. Thanks to the use of photography and the very precise plotting of meteors by several amateur and professional astronomers, Oliver was eventually proven correct.

One very unusual feature the Orionids tend to display is an unpredictable maximum. In 1981, observers reported very low rates of less than 10 meteors per hour during the period of October 18 to 21 (maximum predicted for October 21), but high rates of near 20 per hour were noted on the morning of October 23. Interestingly, a study published in Czechoslovakia during 1982, revealed the Orionids generally exhibited a double maximum. The finding was based on observations made during the period spanning 1944 to 1950. Shortly thereafter, several visual studies indicated the presence of a "plateau effect" or a long period of maximum devoid of any sharp decline of activity, instead of a double peak. Most notably, the 1984 observations of the Western Australia Meteor Section, show a nearly flat maximum lasting from October 21 to 24, while N. W. McLeod, III (Florida, USA), has frequently noted it to stretch up to 6 days.

The Leonids, due next month, are more frightening to satellite operators. Especially this year.


NanoFET Propulsion

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


NanoFET is an electric rocket thruster being developed at the University of Michigan. Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, it’s now fundamentally feasible…

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research is funding Professor Alec D. Gallimore’s research because particle electric propulsion, with its half-inch thruster, increases velocity by several hundred or thousand miles an hour and is expected to have a dramatic impact on nanosatellites and larger spacecraft. These electric fields help to create thrust when the particles are charged, accelerated and propelled into space.

"Particles used in this technology are initially 10 to 50 nanometers in size (approximately a thousand times smaller than a human hair in diameter), and we scale them up to between one and ten microns (1/20th to about half the size of a human hair) because at that size, we can see and use them for advanced propulsion research," said Gallimore.

Even with the modifications there are still challenges in doing NanoFET research. 

"There are material science aspects of designing the right materials that can withstand high voltages and close proximity to each other," Gallimore said. "There’s also a challenge of making certain that all materials are in a form that fits on a satellite that’s not much larger than a baseball." Currently the materials are more functional than form-fitting.

"We’re hoping that we can actually resolve a lot of these issues in the next three to four years," said Gallimore.

In the meantime, the researchers have tested the nanoparticle, electric-based propulsion in air and in a vacuum chamber on an aircraft that replicates conditions of limited gravity.

"It has the potential to be a revolutionary propulsion concept, especially regarding nanosatellites and larger satellites, but there’s also a possibility of applying the technology to non-space vehicle applications as well," he said.

AFOSR Program Manager, Dr. Mitat Birkan who oversees the research, agrees. "Electrostatic acceleration of charged nanoparticles has many potential applications besides space propulsion, including manufacturing and biomedical technologies." 


This scientific presentation is worth reading, if you’re into that kind of stuff, concluding…

The advantages offered by nanoFET’s potential for high efficiencies, lower thruster specific mass, and longer operational lifetimes are both mission enhancing and enabling.

Very cool rocket science, but still a few years off.


Gimme Broadband

Monday, October 19th, 2009



Forget the news out of Washington on distant locals. The real news is using satellite for rural broadband.

Charlie wants some satcom stimulus. Via Aviation Week:

Last month, EchoStar submitted a bid for U.S. rural broadband stimulus funding in partnership with WildBlue, with which it already has a distribution agreement (AW&ST Sept. 14, p. 33). The teaming arrangement, dubbed EchoBlue Rural Broadband, is seeking $130 million in grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and $400 million in loans from the Agriculture Dept.’s Rural Utility Service to help cover the estimated $500 million needed to build and launch a high-data-rate Ka-band satellite.

In addition, EchoStar requested $100 million in stimulus funding to launch broadband service with its existing satellites and another $30 million or so to fund customer hardware.

The company is also rolling out an IPTV service, known as VIP-TV, at its 85 deg. W. Long. orbital location that it sees as a possible new “killer application” for the telecom satellite sector. The service offers an MPEG-4 encoded IP stream of about 275 standard and high-definition TV channels, and is aimed at second- and third-tier U.S. cable and telecom operators.

EchoStar CEO Dean Olmstead admits it will be a challenge to make the VIP-TV business case work. SES Americom (now part of SES World Skies) abandoned a similar offering, IP-Prime, citing high costs and insufficient revenues. However, Olmstead, a former Americom chief executive, thinks EchoStar can avoid the pitfalls of the SES service, which was burdened by heavy technical support for the many small users that dominated its customer base. VIP-TV, he says, will be able to take advantage of EchoStar’s experience with set-top boxes to minimize risk. In March, EchoStar began offering a conversion service to lure IP-Prime customers.

 Go Dean O! Remember Americom2Home? That idea was proposed on his watch in 2002. Since EchoStar’s Ka-band payload was launched, it wasn’t actually used for broadband connectivity — at least not on the same scale. Federal agencies (read: DoD) were consistently asking for capacity, and WildBlue turned to EchoStar to augment their inventory (some spot beams were sold-out quickly).

If satellite is "quick to deploy" for Internet service, why have we waited years for satellite broadband to come around? Answer: profits. 80% EBITDA margins.

WBMSAT News Bits for October 16, 2009

Friday, October 16th, 2009


Lufthansa to offer passengers satellite connection to wireless broadband internet in 2010, in partnership with Panasonic Avionics, using antenna systems built by Israeli company Starling Advanced Communications.
[Haaretz – 10/16/2009]

House committee approves satellite reauthorization bill, granting satellite operators a compulsory license to carry distant TV network station signals – Dish network is allowed back into the distant network signal business in exchange for reaching all 210 markets.
[Broadcasting & Cable – 10/15/2009]

Eutelsat announces extencion of multi-year agreement with Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat, with the pay-TV operator taking three transponders on HOT BIRD.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

BAE Systems equipment governs command and control functions and provides electric power aboard DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satellite.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Numerex Corp joins QinetiQ North America team that has been awarded multi-year contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for full program management of FEMA’s Total Asset Visibility assed tracking program.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Globe Wireless signs distribution agreement to sell Addvalue FleetBroadband equipment to its maritime customers, offering turnkey solution with installation, service, and repair in addition to airtime and applications.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Harris showcases latest digital technology solutions at HD World 2009 including upgraded Harris NewsForce HD/SD production platform featuring proxy file support and integration.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Globecomm Systems announces U.S. Army has exercised $2.3m contract option for continued production of the Joint IP Modem.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium selects Harris Corporation to deliver end-to-end HD broadcast solution during coverage of 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
[SatNews – 10/15/2009]

Telesat’s Nimiq 5 satellite is placed into commercial service on October 10, fully leased to EchoStar for the life of the satellite.
[SatNews – 10/14/2009]

World’s fastest satellite internet connection, up to 155 Mbps with 1.2m antenna, is studied by Nanyan Technological University team working with Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, looking for solutions to improve satellite links during heavy rainfall.
[Science Daily – 10/14/2009]

Atlas V is scheduled to launch the Air Force’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F18 satellite from Vandenberg on October 18 – the 600th launch of an Atlas vehicle.
[SatNews – 10/14/2009]

Globecomm Systems will introduce a new portable TomCatTM X-band satellite terminal at SATCON.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

Boeing ships third Wideband Global SATCOM satellite to Cape Canaveral for November launch for the Air Force.
[SatNews – 10/14/2009]

Intelsat signs multi-year contract with Altitude Sports & Entertainment to distribute its regional sports programming across the U.S. in HD and SD on Galaxy 17.
[SatNews – 10/14/2009]

TeleCuba will build a U.S.-Cuba cable after U.S. government announced in April that it would allow service providers to build out optical cable and satellite facilities linking the U.S. and Cuba.
[Fierce Telecom – 10/14/2009]

Orbit Technologies announces record orders for its satellite communications products – in excess of $5m for its marine VSAT systems in the second quarter.
[SatNews – 10/14/2009]

NASA to retire TDRS-1 tracking and data relay satellite on October 28 after 26-year stellar performance following a rocky start.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

ATCi low cost GSM satellite backhaul services offered throughout Asia.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

Iridium and H2OSatellite provide critical satellite communications for Beluga Shipping’s successful pioneering transit of the Northeast Passage.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

Expand Networks demonstrates advancements in satellite link optimization for WANs at SatCon 2009.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

Comtech wins $1.8M high-power amplifier orders for satellite terminals to provide satellite connectivity for soldiers.
[Reuters – 10/14/2009]

50,000 GlobalWave customers are successfully migrated to Inmarsat’s latest satellites by SkyWave.
[PRLog – 10/14/2009]

RapidEye delivers 2009 Canadian growing season images of agricultural areas to GeoFarm Solutions, in conjunction with the Agri-Trend Network.
[SatNews – 10/13/2009]

Enterprise Satellite Solutions of California enters distribution agreement with U.K.-base Applied Satellite Technology, allowing Enterprise to expand its sales and distribution with providers such as Inmarsat, Thuraya, and Iridium.
[Satellite Today – 10/13/2009]

Saudi Arabian Airlines will install full SwiftBroadband Mobile OnAir and WiFi Internet OnAir inflight passenger communications services on their fleet of Airbus A330 planes flying international routes.
[SatNews – 10/13/2009]

Comtech subsidiary Comtech AeroAstro is awarded Air Force Research Laboratory contract for development of Advanced Plug and Play Technologies for space missions.
[SatNews – 10/13/2009]

Viasat signs IPTV distribution deal with the largest IPTV service provider in Estonia, Elion.
[Satellite Today – 10/12/2009]

Hungary’s public broadcaster Magyar Televizio selects Eutelsat’s EUROBIRD 9A satellite for broadcasting across Europe.
[Reuters – 10/12/2009]

As European video market becomes more complex, new opportunities emerge for satellite operators to sell Ku-band capacity.
[NSR Report – Global Assessment of Satellite Supply & Demand – October 2009]

WBMSAT PS – Satellite Communications Consulting Services

Forget the Satellite Truck

Friday, October 16th, 2009


Using satellite trucks in many urban areas can be a challenge. Using microwave or other wireless methods helps, but there’s no quality substitute. Or is there? Hey, can we do without the truck?

I think you can. Livestream’s Livepack is about to change the game…


DIY Friday: Digital Memory Wall

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Maybe it’s over the top, but nevertheless a very cool project, via How 2.0 and Instructables:

There’s nothing wrong with a good old photo album. Except that it’s dusty, prone to wear and tear and stuck in the past. So we built a digital memory wall that plays a live stream of photos, past and present, across multiple LCD monitors, right before your eyes. In this memory wall, each monitor displays a separate feed, which is networked via FiOS to other family members. So you can set up friends and relatives to add to your wall instantly, with their latest pics.


  • Customized computer
  • Windows XP or Vista
  • Bluetooth mouse and keyboard
  • 2 Fire MV ATI PCI-e graphics cards
  • 1 Dual output ATI graphics card
  • Google photo screensaver software
  • Photo sharing software (like Picasa or Flickr)
  • LCD monitors (VGA or DVI inputs)
  • Internet connection (FiOS recommended)

Here’s the video…


How 2.0: Digital Memory Wall from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo.