Archive for July, 2013

Just Sling It Into Space

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

We blogged about the Slingatron years ago, so it’s nice to see it’s back. This time, via Kickstarter

We firmly believe this may be the most important Kickstarter project you will ever have the opportunity to back and to be involved with. The Slingatron is a mechanical hypervelocity mass accelerator that has the potential to dramatically increase flight opportunities and reduce the cost of launching payloads into earth orbit, thus helping to make humanity a truly spacefaring species. The Slingatron technology can be incrementally grown in performance and size to ultimately launch payloads into orbit. Our Kickstarter project goal is to build and demonstrate a modular Slingatron 5 times larger in diameter than the previous existing Mark 2 prototype. It will be used to launch in our laboratory a 1/4 pound payload to 1 kilometer/sec. That is about 2,237 mph! If launched straight up at that speed, a payload would reach an altitude of about 51 km, neglecting air resistance. This Kickstarter project is an important next step in the development of the Slingatron because it will provide vital technical information, practical experience, and cost data on what will be required to build a full-scale Slingatron orbital launch system in the future.

Let’s hope this time they have the foresight to make sure their domain name doesn’t expire.

Check out the test…

Big Bang Monday: Hello IRIS!

Monday, July 29th, 2013

First Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) movie, 21 hours after opening the telescope door. This video has been slowed forty percent and looped four times to show greater detail. Credit: NASA/IRIS

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 07/26/2013

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Ariane 5 successfully launches Europe’s largest-ever telecommunications satellite, Inmarsat’s I-4A using the Alphasat bus, and a meteorological spacecraft for India.
[Space News – 07/26/2013]

Initial batch of O3b satellite ready for handoff to operator.
[Space News – 07/26/2013]

Panasonic Avionics and China Telecom Satellite Communications to jointly develop and support in-flight connectivity solutions for the Chinese market.
[Market Watch – 07/25/2013]

Embraer selects Orbit Communication Systems to provide IP-based communication management solution for its aircraft.
[Hispanic Business – 07/25/2013]

Eutelsat unveils ‘smart LNB’ for Direct-to-Home connected TV.
[Hispanic Business – 07/25/2013]

Successful partnership between Thuraya, China Mobile Satellite Communications Group, and China Telecommunications Corporation leads to rapidly increasing airtime usage and requirement for additional E1 line.
[40-traders – 07/25/2013]

Global Warranty Group to be exclusive provider of extended service plans to Delta Wave Communications for their mobile satellite equipment.
[PR Web – 07/25/2013]

Intelsat-sponsored GVF training program passes 1000 participant mark.
[Satellite Today – 07/25/2013]

HISPASAT sponsors Ultra High Definition documentary on the Prado Museum.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 07/25/2013]

Globecomm receives contract from U.S. Government prime contractor for its Auto ExplorerTM products valued at $1.2 million.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 07/25/2013]

C-COM announces partnership with South Africa’s largest independent telecommunications firm Vox Telecom to provide iNetVu Mobile antennas.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 07/25/2013]

Australia-funded WGS-6 seen as model for future U.S. military satellite constellations.
[Space News – 07/24/2013]

Astrium signs contract with Korean Aerospace Research Institute to jointly design and manufacture the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager II for the future Korean mission GEO Kompsat 2B.
[Satellite Today – 07/24/2013]

Aerojet withholds 25% of payment to United Technologies Corp for purchase of Rocketdyne pending Russian government approval of transfer to Aerojet of UTC/Rocketdyne’s 50% stake in company providing first-stage engine for U.S. Atlas 5 rocket.
[Space News – 07/24/2013]

Telenor renews multiple agreements with Harris CapRock for satellite capacity services from its 1° West orbital location.
[MarineLink – 07/24/2013]

Second MUOS satellite responds to commands after a successful launch.
[Space Daily – 07/23/2013]

Navy considers inviting international partners to join MUOS communications network.
[Defense News – 07/23/2013]

Astrium and Thales Alenia wins contract with United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defense for design, construction and managing next-generation military surveillance satellites.
[Satellite Today – 07/23/2013]

Space Systems/Loral is selected to provide communications satellite to Intelsat. [Wall Street Journal – 07/23/2013]

Singapore plans a push into space technology that will initially focus on satellites, a plan lined with risks given history of domination by Western firms and high entry barriers.
[Fox Business – 07/23/2013]

NASA boosts satellite communications with lasers.
[Engineering On The Edge – 07/23/2013]

Canada plans to solicit proposals to build up to three ground stations for the WGS satellites.
[Space News – 07/23/2013]

STM Group expands operations in Brazil.
[IT Business Net – 07/23/2013]

Sub-Saharan Africa expected to provide tremendous opportunities for DTH platforms over coming years.
[NSR – 07/23/2013]

East Africa’s ZUKU TV fully migrates to SES 5.
[Satellite Today – 07/23/2013]

Legal action by governor of Sicily and protests impede Navy MUOS broadband ground station construction in Sicily.
[NextGov – 07/22/2013]

Telespazio wins contract to deploy one of largest VSAT networks in Europe for Les Mousquetaires group.
[Satellite Today – 07/22/2013]

Thuraya and GlobalStar hope to capitalize on increasing demand for satellite cellular service.
[Satellite Today – 07/22/2013]

Global Eagle and China Telecom to offer in-flight Wi-Fi in Chinese airspace.
[Satellite Today – 07/22/2013]

National Association of Broadcasters joins Society of Broadcast Engineers to present NAB/SBE Satellite Uplink Operators Training Workshop.
[Radio World – 07/22/2013]

Globalstar’s second-generation satellite technology boosts productivity, efficiency and worker safety in Canada’s Oil and Gas industry.
[Market Watch – 07/22/2013]

Fashion TV selects SatLink Communications to playout, uplink and stream its HD channel onto AsiaSat 5.
[Telecom Lead – 07/22/2013]

NSR’s Global Assessment of Satellite Supply & Demand Study, in its 109th year, to provide in-depth and detailed analysis of fundamental questions facing commercial satellite market.
[NSR Report – August 2013]

NSR’s 7th edition of the Wireless Backhaul via Satellite report analyzes upcoming programs and game changing elements in the market.
[NSR Report – August 2013]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

DIY Friday: Old Dish Fire Pit

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Not exactly a genius project, but it’s another good use of an old reflector. Use the old dish as a backyard fire pit.

All because he tripped over it in the garage. Via Instructables

We had a large dinner party / BBQ in our back yard a couple of years ago at the beginning of the summer. As the sun sat the girls at the party started getting cold. All I had on hand was a few #10 cans that we punched holes in, filled with charcoal and lit. Imagine 5-10 girls trying to crowd a small can of coals for heat. So I went in search of a Fire-pit / Brazier for my next party. I couldn’t find one anywhere. I looked for one of the round kettle style charcoal BBQ grills to convert but couldn’t find one of those either. When I returned home discouraged I tripped over an old Satellite dish laying around my garage. It gave me an idea. With no more than $10 spent this is what you get. Cheap and effective and kind of cool. IF you wish you could add a lid or use tighter mesh to reduce sparks and up your cool factor.

Most folks who live in wide open space probably have real fire pits. If you have a smaller backyard or live in the suburbs, you’ll want to use a fire pit like this so you could put a lid on it and crash for the night and not worry about getting a FAIL tag for burning down the neighborhood. Please: never use gasoline to get the fire going.

African Space Research Program

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The African Space Research Program deserves your support! What they write about themselves:

Welcome to the African Space Research Program This is an association located in Uganda with a core representation in Dallas/Ft which handles all international matters outside Africa. Our association has over seventy thousand members; it is a non profit association dedicated towards conducting space science basing on African soils. In this association we can manufacture high flying aircrafts, satellites, and space craft to enable the African Space Research Program (ASRP) one day we will conduct research at the furthest points of our solar system & galaxy to say!

As of now we’re manufacturing two projects, one an aircraft that we will use to scan meteoroids and asteroids closest to earth’s orbit, so will the same aircraft help us collect data to prepare our next project known as the Dynacraft. the second is a Space Craft heading to the skies with a life, a mice on board to test the competence of ASRP deploying a human in orbit

At the same time, in our association we’re training pilots & astronauts, our association is not certified to license pilots, so after our training they will have to go to a certified pilot school, test & acquire a flying license. For our astronauts, we will certify them our selves, since we’re the first association to manufacture space crafts in Africa, within our students we can tell who is ready to thrust beyond the skies!

Our main objective is finding life in our solar system, & neighboring solar systems.
This isn’t about money, it is about human-kind life & dignity, this is about Africa joining the struggle of finding Earth-like planets, this is about setting a core base foundation for our future generations to come.
We will deploy projects in our solar neighborhood, projects we don’t expect to return back to Earth in our generation, however our descendants will benefit from such projects because they will return back in their time, and this is the best gift folks we can give our future generations.

May God Bless Africa; May God Bless Uganda

Came across this story in VOA, which I found very interesting…

Lawrence Okello could tell that something unusual was going on. But when he first ventured over to his neighbor’s backyard in Kampala, Uganda, he could hardly believe his eyes.

“I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe that in Uganda, we can have a kind of achievement so impressive,” he said.

Okello’s neighbor, Chris Nsamba, is head of the African Space Research Program, an organization he founded in 2009 after studying astronomy in the United States. But armed with nothing more than a team of student volunteers, and working from his mother’s backyard, the 28-year-old Nsamba has set out to build and launch Uganda’s first space observer.

Chris Nsamba and his team work on their projects in his mother’s backyard. (Photo: African Space Research Program)
Chris Nsamba and his team work on their projects in his mother’s backyard. (Photo: African Space Research Program)
Neighbors like Okello have been eagerly watching the probe take shape.

“There is a small project I saw him making. He called it a space observer,” he said. “I heard him saying it’s going to capture a picture of Uganda from space. He showed me that it’s going to work. I saw it responding to the GPS. They are just preparing to launch it, but I know it will fly. It will fly.”

About the size and shape of a beach ball, the probe is equipped with solar panels and a camera. On its maiden voyage, Nsamba plans to send it up with a passenger as well – a live rat.

“The reason why we called it observer is because it has a camera on it, so it can take pictures and videos, and it can send live data back to our control center. So it can observe space,” he said. “Two, we are using it to check out our skills of keeping something alive in space.”

We hope we can count on you for your support! PayPay them.


For those in Uganda, Mtn Mobile Money Number
0783292978 for donations

This Is Not The Battle Reenactment You’re Looking For

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The commemoration of the Battle of Hastings is something I am not entirely familiar with, although I’m certain of one detail: an Imperial Stormtrooper seems out of place here — the same goes for the Iron Patriot.

According to METRO, all are welcome…

Attendees at an English Heritage re-enactment event celebrating several famous battles from the past were left scratching their heads after a Stormtropper turned up looking to take part.

More than 2,000 people showed up to the History Live event in Northamptonshire.

They were dressed in costumes worn throughout English military history, including the Battle of Hastings, Wars of the Roses and the D-Day landings.

But for some reason at least one of the participants thought it would be a good idea to wear a Star Wars costume, apparently deciding the event needed a little science fiction to spice things up.

The Stormtropper could be seen mixing with the crowd and acting like nothing was out of place.

We can only imagine the Star Wars fan had made a mistake and thought films were included in the event, otherwise we dread to think what type of history he was taught at school.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 07/19/2013

Friday, July 19th, 2013

FCC proposes Ku-band for mobile air-to-ground services; is seeking comment on whether to license the band on one nationwide 500 MHz band or two nationwide 250 MHz blocks.
[Satellite Today – ?08/01/2013]

Sky Perfect JSAT enters into agreement with Space Systems/Loral for construction of its new JCSAT 14 satellite.
[Satellite Today – ?08/01/2013]

U.S. Air Force considers turning over Florida spaceport to a commercial operator that would be overseen the the FAA.
[Space News – 07/19/2013]

U.S. Navy’s second MUOS satellite launched aboard United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Cape Canaveral.
[NASA – 07/19/2013]

Orders for three satellites end nine-month dry spell for Orbital Sciences.
[Space News – 07/19/2013]

Canadian government’s Earth observation satellite Radarsat-1 served for 17 years – 2 more than the design life.
[SatNews – 07/19/2013]

Two satellites to be launched in coming weeks, one by NASA and one by the ESA, will allow data to be transferred over massive distances using lasers.
[The Telegrapvh – 07/18/2013]

Astrium prepares most sophisticated commercial communications satellite ever built, Alphasat, for July 25 launch aboard Ariane 5 launcher.
[SatNews – 07/18/2013]

NASA will try to fix planet-hunting Kepler space telescope after it loses its second of four momentum wheels.
[R&D Magazine – 07/18/2013]

Space Systems/Loral announces it has contracted with undisclosed customer to provide a multi-mission satellite to be used for telecommunications, television broadcast and other services such as distance learning.
[Herald online – 07/18/2013]

Final payload integration underway for Arianespace’s next heavy-lift flight, with the INSAT-3D weather satellite now integrated atop the Ariane 5 launcher.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 07/18/2013]

Roscomsos blames botched sensor installation for July 2 failure of Russia’s Proton rocket seconds after liftoff.
[Space News – 07/18/2013]

One of European Space Agency’s smallest satellites, Proba-2, captured image of Typhoon Soulik as it approached Taiwan July 12.
[SatNews – 07/18/2013]

Navy’s plans to launch second MUOS satellite proceed despite lack of terminals to use it.
[Nextgov – 07/17/2013]

Satmex enters into agreement with Boeing Satellite Systems International for design, construction and delivery of Satmex 9.
[UPI – 07/17/2013]

According to Roscosmos, wayward Russian military satellite completely burned up in the atmosphere and did not crash in northwestern China.
[Space News – 07/17/2013]

Spidersat to supply custom built satellite network to BIA in Africa.
[Satellite Spotlight – 07/17/2013]

iDirect moves Canadian office to the nation’s capital, strengthening its commitment to the Canadian satellite communications market.
[SatNews – 07/17/2013]

Experts: No amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch the “Five Eyes” spying alliance.
[PHYS.ORG – 07/16/2013]

Azerspace satellite launches its full commercial operation.
[AZERNEWS – 07/16/2013]

RRSat has lowest price to book ration in the cable and satellite industry.
[FNN Online – 07/16/2013]

Universal Satellite Communications of Los Angeles selects French company ATME’s award-winning CM5000 encoders to upgrade SNG vehicles with latest encoding technology, including MPEG-4 4:2:2 10 bit features.
[Yahoo Finance – 07/16/2013]

Lockheed Martin completes antenna assemblies for first of eight GPS III satellites that will replace aging craft currently in orbit.
[UPI – 07/15/2013]

Newtec is shaping the future of satellite communications with state-of-the-art products and scalable, integrated solutions for broadcast, broadband access, and backbone and trunking applications.
[SatNews – 07/15/2013]

New Iraqi satellite broadcast platform launched on ARABSAT Hot Spot satellite.
[SatNews – 07/15/2013]

Forecast International projects $58 billion commercial communications satellite market over next 10 years.
[Market Watch – 07/15/2013]

Growing RF market opportunities from defense sector expected to grow at a CAGR of 9 percent through 2017.
[Sacramento Bee – 07/15/2013]

Globecomm Systems gets combined infrastructure and services contract worth approximately $12.4 million from major U.S. Broadcaster.
[Fort Mill Times – 07/15/2013]

Despite cost and lack of infrastructure, RCS-Communications expands in South Sudan, contracting with O3b Networks for high-speed, low-latency capacity for the more than 300,000 people in the capital of Juba.
[CFO world – 07/15/2013]

You Can’t Stop The Dish

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

When I visited Ukraine a few years ago, I was amazed at how the satellite reception infrastructure operated.

I knew it was different in Europe than in the U.S., where you could walk in to an electronics shop, buy a box and antenna, then install it yourself. You’d have 70+ advertising-supported channels to choose from with no monthly fee. In the U.S., the satellite TV market is based on the cable TV model: you pay a monthly fee regardless. If you try unscrambling the signal, your cable box may get a “silver bullet” sent to it and fry it. Better encryption technology (e.g. NDS) helps keep content secure.

So how is that people in Eastern Europe can buy a “special box” for $200-$300 and be able to receive everything — standard, pay-tv, premium, porn, sports, etc. — without paying a montly fee? It’s not system-specific, so with a motorized antenna mount you can go from Eutelsat to Astra birds and watch whatever you want. And the “special box” could also record movies, sportsinmodica. That’s a pretty good deal.

One of the world’s most beneficial technological marvels, satellite TV signals get upload only once — using a specific amount of RF bandwidth — and downloaded an infinite number of times within the satellite’s coverage footprint. Infinite.

With this technology, how can oppressive governments pretend to ban or limit satellite TV reception? Iran’s learning this now, as reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran:

The Iranian regime has failed in its bid to ban people from watching satellite TV channels, a regime official has admitted.

Despite a 1994 law making satellite dishes illegal, up to 70 per cent of families have them and their use is increasing, state-run TV network official Fardin Ali-Khah said.

He told the state-run Rasanews on July 4: “At first only upper-class people used satellite dishes. However this has now become common across all sectors of society.

With 120 or so channels of Persian/Farsi TV coming in from the diaspora, they don’t stand a chance.

Drone Carrier Landing

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Satcom-equipped drone landed on the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush

The U.S. Navy’s X-47B drone on Wednesday completed its first-ever landing aboard an aircraft carrier in what officials heralded as the future of naval aviation.

The bat winged-shaped jet built by Northrop Grumman Corp. made a smooth approach, touched down on the flight deck and came to a sudden halt after catching an arresting cable aboard the USS George H.W. Bush at about 1:40 p.m. The ship — the Navy’s newest nuclear-powered carrier — was sailing about 70 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., in the Atlantic Ocean.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus drew comparisons of the event to pilot Eugene Ely’s first-ever landing of a biplane on a ship in 1911.

“It is not often that you get a chance to see the future, but that’s what we got to do today,” he said during a news conference with reporters afterward. “This is an amazing day for aviation in general and for naval aviation in particular.”

The service’s top officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, called it a “miraculous technological feat.”

Big Bang Monday: Intergalactic Radio Bursts

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Crackerjack job, mates!

A team of scientist have found radio burst from billions of light years away — beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Billions.

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation had this to say:

CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope in eastern Australia has detected mysterious ‘flashes’ of radio energy from the distant Universe that may open up a whole new area of astrophysics. The surprising finding, made by a team of scientists from ten institutions in Australia, the USA, UK, Germany and Italy, is published in today’s issue of the journal Science.

“Staggeringly, we estimate there could be one of these flashes going off every ten seconds somewhere in the sky,” said research team member Dr Simon Johnston, Head of Astrophysics at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science.

Four flashes were detected, each from a different direction and each lasting for only a millisecond (a thousandth of a second).

The characteristics of the radio signal — how it is ‘smeared out’ in frequency from travelling through space — indicate that the flashes came from up to 11 billion light-years away.

The Parkes Observatory’s 64-meter radio telescope did the job.

Interested? Here’s the abstract from Science:

Searches for transient astrophysical sources often reveal unexpected classes of objects that are useful physical laboratories. In a recent survey for pulsars and fast transients, we have uncovered four millisecond-duration radio transients all more than 40° from the Galactic plane. The bursts’ properties indicate that they are of celestial rather than terrestrial origin. Host galaxy and intergalactic medium models suggest that they have cosmological redshifts of 0.5 to 1 and distances of up to 3 gigaparsecs. No temporally coincident x- or gamma-ray signature was identified in association with the bursts. Characterization of the source population and identification of host galaxies offers an opportunity to determine the baryonic content of the universe.

Far out, man.