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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (19 Dec – 26 Dec 2014)


US Agencies Prepare for Resurrected Space Weather Satellite Launch

NASA, the United States Air Force and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have joined forces to revive the Triana satellite, renamed the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), for a five year space weather mission. First planned in the late 1990s, the mission was cancelled and put into storage in 2001. Seven years later, NASA took the satellite back out of storage and after live-ness testing, confirmed that it was still capable of meeting the mission requirements of NOAA and the U.S. Air Force.

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SES’ Astra 2G Set for December 28 ILS Proton Launch

The 6-ton Astra 2G satellite is scheduled to launch on Dec. 28, 2014 at 3:37 Baikonur Time aboard a Proton rocket through International Launch Services (ILS). Built for SES by Airbus Defence and Space, the Astra 2G satellite carries 62 Ku-band transponders and four Ka-band transponders for broadcast and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.The satellite is to be deployed in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) at the 28.2/28.5 degrees east neighborhood.

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Airbus-built Inmarsat 2 F2 Satellite Breaks World Record for Mission Lifespan

The Inmarsat 2 F2 satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space was decommissioned this week after 23.5 years of performance in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). Lasting more than two decades, the satellite took the world record for longevity from a previous Airbus Defence and Space satellite, Inmarsat 2 F1, which operated in orbit for 22.5 years. Both spacecraft were based on the early Eurostar satellite bus and had expected lifespans of 10 years.

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Globalstar Selects Level 3 Communications for MPLS Network Upgrade

To upgrade its ground stations around the world, Globalstar has selected Level 3 Communications to supply a fully meshed Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network. Globalstar is upgrading its backbone infrastructure, and chose Level 3 Communications for global connectivity and continuity.

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Laser Light, Pacnet Services Asia Pacific Partner on SpaceCable

Laser Light, designer of an all-Optical Satellite System (OSS), and Pacnet Services Asia Pacific, a prominent independent regional communications service provider, have partnered on commercial opportunities for SpaceCable. Laser Light is planning a constellation of eight to 12 Medium Earth Orbiting (MEO) satellites for a global, optical SpaceCable service with a completed operating system capacity of 6.2 Tbps.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (12 Dec – 19 Dec 2014)


Arianespace Launches Four More Satellites in the O3b Constellation

In its 11th launch of the year, Arianespace successfully took four more satellites in the O3b Networks constellation to orbit. Using the Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center, the flight follows the successful launches of the first eight O3b satellites in two batches in June 2013 and July 2014.

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Salvaged Galileo Performs its First Navigation Fix

Galileo’s fifth satellite, which was recently salvaged from the wrong orbit to begin navigation testing, has been combined with three of its predecessors to provide its very first position fix. This achievement is particularly significant because the fifth satellite is the first of a new design of 22 Galileos set to launch over the next few years.

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Airbus Develops New Storable Fuel Upper-State Propulsion System

As commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA), Airbus Defence and Space engineers have developed a new upper-stage engine demonstrator. Although engines that run on storable fuel are a core competency of German-European aerospace engineering, none are currently being produced in the three to eight kilonewton thrust class. Results of the recently completed test campaign show the engine meets all the requirements to replace other models currently in service, such as on the Vega rocket.

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Raytheon GaN Technology Ready for Satellites

Satellites may soon carry Raytheon’s Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology into orbit. The company has successfully validated its GaN Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) technology for use in space-bound equipment.

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ESA Makes Rosetta Tank Test Available to all European Space Missions

The European Space Agency (ESA) has made a test — originally created for its Rosetta comet-chaser mission — readily available to all European space missions. The test helps ensure propellant tanks will not crack up when subject to aggressive chemical corrosion.

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NASA Selects SpaceX to Launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, with liftoff targeted for August 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The total cost for NASA to launch TESS is approximately $87 million, which includes the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.

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UK Space Agency Allocates More Than $315 Million for European Space Programs

Based on negotiations at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Ministerial Council in Luxembourg on Dec. 2, the U.K. Space Agency has decided on an extra investment worth more than $315 million into European space programs. Approximately $205 million is dedicated to satellite telecommunications programs. A large chunk, roughly $90 million, is for the quantum-class communications satellite.

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Eutelsat Receives Contract Renewal from nc+ for Nine Transponders

Eutelsat Communications has received a contract renewal from Poland’s nc+ for nine transponders at the Hot Bird video neighborhood. Through this renewal, nc+ plans to expand the digital services it broadcasts Direct to Home (DTH) for 2.2 million subscribers.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (5 Dec – 12 Dec 2014)

Orbital Sciences Buys Atlas 5 Launch from United Launch Alliance

Orbital Sciences has contracted United Launch Alliance (ULA) to conduct the next commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) using an Atlas 5 rocket. The mission is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2015 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
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Thuraya Sponsors SatSleeve, Airtime for International News Safety Institute

Thuraya has partnered with the International News Safety Institute (INSI) to use Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) for the protection of journalists working in dangerous environments. The company is sponsoring a Thuraya SatSleeve and airtime as part of the partnership. INSI intends to use these resources for safety preparation workshops.

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Airbus Defence and Space Awarded Falcon Eye Contract by UAE Military

The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces has selected Airbus Defence and Space to manufacture and launch two Earth observation satellites as part of the Falcon Eye contract. The company will also provide a ground system to receive and process images, and a training program for UAE engineers.

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Arianespace Launch Boosts DirecTV on 4K, ISRO on Domestic Capacity

DirecTV’s Ultra-HD ambitions and the India Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) domestic capacity plans moved closer to realization following the dual launch of new satellites aboard an Ariane 5 this past weekend. The Arianespace launch conducted Dec. 7 carried the DirecTV 14 and Geostationary Satellite 16 (GSAT 16) spacecraft into orbit. SSL, manufacturer of DirecTV 14, reported the satellite has begun post-launch maneuvers, as did ISRO about GSAT 16. With these new spacecraft, both operators have embarked on new plans in their respective markets.
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China Launches CBERS 4 Satellite, Plans Future Launch Vehicles

China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reports the 200th launch of a Long March rocket occurred Sunday Dec. 7, carrying the Chinese-Brazilian Earth Resource Satellite (CBERS) on a Long March 4B. CBERS 4 is the fifth satellite in the Earth observation program. The satellite’s development was accelerated following a Long March 4B failure in December last year in which the satellite did not enter orbit. The next satellite in the series, CBERS 5, is scheduled to launch in 2017.
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Hispasat Orders Amazonas 5 From SSL to Take on Amazonas 4A Capacity

Spanish satellite operator Hispasat has selected Space Systems Loral (SSL) to build its next satellite: Amazonas 5. Based on the SSL 1300 platform, Amazonas 5 is a multi-mission satellite to supply the full capacity of the Amazonas 4A, and redefine the Amazonas 4B mission originally contracted to Orbital Sciences in 2012. The Orbital-built Amazonas 4A satellite experienced an anomaly in April 2014 related to its power subsystem. Redefining the 4B mission was one of the measures taken by Hispasat in attempt to minimize any impact the anomaly might have, the company said in a statement.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (28 Nov – 5 Dec 2014)


SpinSat Experimental Satellite Deployed from ISS

The Special Purpose Inexpensive Satellite (SpinSat) has been deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) through the Japanese Experiment Module Airlock (JEMAL). The 50-kg, 22-inch diameter spacecraft is dotted with a series of thrusters that will test an Electrically-controlled Solid Propellant (ESP) system from Digital Solid State Propulsion (DSSP).

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Bristow Helicopters Using Iridium, Thales for Satellite Broadband

Bristow Helicopters has selected Iridium’s OpenPort service to provide satellite broadband through Thales’ LiveAero product for its Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. The rotorcraft, which are purposed for search and rescue missions, will now allow emergency responders on board to send real-time transmissions of patient vitals to land-based medical staff. Broadband through Iridium and Thales will also be used for accessing automated electronic patient information to improve in-flight medical care.

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NHK to Broadcast 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has been at the forefront of advances in video technology with its ambitious plan to deliver content in 8K, or “Super Hi-Vision” (SHV). Previously NHK had planned to begin testing 8K broadcasts in 2020, but once the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, that year shifted from a trial date to an actualization date.

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Airbus, ESA Conduct Gigabit Laser Connection Between Satellites

Airbus Defence and Space and the European Space Agency (ESA) have completed a test linking the Thales Alenia Space-built Sentinel 1A satellite with the Airbus-built Alphasat satellite using Laser Communication Terminals (LCTs). The data transfer between Sentinel 1A, orbiting at 700 km in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and Alphasat at 36,000km in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) reached 0.6 Gbps out of a possible 1.8 Gbps over 45,000 km.

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Inmarsat Approves Hughes 9211-HDR Portable BGAN Terminal

Hughes Network Systems’ new Hughes 9211-High Data Rate (HDR) Portable BGAN Terminal has received Inmarsat-type approval. The Hughes 9211-HDR is designed to provide high performance mobile satellite connectivity in challenging environments. The device supports an average speed of 650 kbps and can reach up to 800 kbps over Inmarsat’s BGAN HDR service.

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Friday, November 28, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (21 Nov – 28 Nov 2014)


Orbital Sciences to Launch NASA’s ICON Satellite

Orbital Sciences has received a launch contract from NASA for the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) scientific satellite. Orbital will use the air-launched Pegasus rocket to deliver the satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

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Airbus Defence and Space to Upgrade and Maintain Eagle Vision Ground Stations for US Air Force

The United States Air Force has awarded Airbus Defence and Space with a system evolution and maintenance contract for its five Eagle Vision ground stations. Eagle Vision is a lightweight deployable, commercial satellite imagery downlink ground system.

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US Government Agencies Desirous of More Space Weather Data

Several agencies of the United States government are interested in greater amounts of data on solar activity. Flares and dramatic high energy bursts called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) can and do bombard Earth’s atmosphere with highly energized particles.

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Lockheed Martin Receives $41 Million Cost-Plus Award Fee Modification

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a cost-plus-award-fee modification worth nearly $41 million to Lockheed Martin Space Systems for a previously awarded contract. The modification provides additional funding for logistics and sustainment support of the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Milstar Military Satellite Communications Systems.

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Roscosmos Prepares Meteor M2 Satellite to Replace Meteor M1

Russia’s Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure (TsENKI) reports that the Meteor M2 remote sensing satellite has nearly completed in-orbit testing following its July 8 launch. Once completed, Meteor M2 will succeed Meteor M1, which, after launching in September 2009, has reached its warranty lifetime of five years.


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Friday, November 21, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (14 Nov – 21 Nov 2014)


Aerospace Corporation Tests Electric Satellite Thrusters from Busek

November 18, 2014. The Aerospace Corporation has tested Busek Co.’s BHT-1500 Hall Effect Thruster, used for electric propulsion of satellites. The nonprofit found the thruster to be largely unaffected by test facility pressure. According to Busek, the BHT-1500’s design enables it to operate with higher efficiency in the high-vacuum conditions of space.

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UKSA Dedicates $50 Million to International Partnership Space Program

November 18, 2014. The United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) has allocated approximately $50 million to build relationships with foreign companies through the International Partnership Space Program (IPSP). During the two-year program, British companies will receive grants to collaborate with international partners on satellite technologies that address challenges such as deforestation, flooding and disaster relief in emerging economies.

Science Minister's visit to Airbus

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DubaiSat-2's Dubai Imagery Released By EIAST On Satellite's First Anniversary

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) celebrates on Friday, November 21st, 2014, the one year anniversary of  the launch of DubaiSat- 2 from the Yasny Launch Base in Russia, using the Russian Dnepr rocket launcher in cooperation with the Russian International Space Company (Kozmotras).

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LH2 Engine Tests By XCOR Aerospace For United Launch Alliance Successful

XCOR Aerospace has completed the latest test series for the liquid hydrogen engine it is developing for United Launch Alliance (ULA). This is an important milestone in the long-running LH2 (liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen) program and is also a step toward running the engine in a fully closed cycle mode. In its most recent milestone, XCOR successfully performed hot fire testing of the XR-5H25 engine's re-generatively cooled thrust chamber, with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants supplied in pump-fed mode, using XCOR's proprietary piston pump technology.

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Raytheon to Build Hyperspectral Sensor Payloads for HySpecIQ

HySpecIQ, a commercial remote sensing startup, has selected Raytheon to build hyperspectral payloads for the company’s two upcoming satellites. Raytheon will develop the payloads in El Segundo, Calif. and expects to finish them in 2017. Once manufacturing is complete, the payloads will be integrated into the satellites, which are the first to use Boeing’s 502 Phoenix small satellite platform.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (7 Nov – 14 Nov 2014)


O3b Networks Offers Offshore Service for Energy Sector

O3b Networks has created a new offshore communications service O3bEnergy 20 for energy sector customers in the Gulf of Mexico. The service provides an aggregate of 20 Mbps throughput to a single site with latency of less that 150 milliseconds round trip using 1.2-meter O3bEnergy antennas.

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Cobham Releases VSAT Antenna That Switches Between C and Ku Band

Cobham Satcom unveiled the Sea Tel 9711 Integrated Maritime Antenna (IMA), which is capable of operating on C-Band circular or linear or Ku-band X-pol or Co-pol. The system features a 2.4-meter radical offset antenna for both C-band and Ku-band operation.

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Thuraya Execs Set Out Company Roadmap in Dubai

Thuraya Telecommunications Company, the Middle East based MSS operator, is targeting growth from many verticals going forward including maritime and new markets such as the “connected car,” where it believes satellite technology can play a strong role. At its Thuraya Product Development Forum last week in Dubai, key execs from the company outlined the roadmap going forward and even teased a new product launch, expected before the end of the year, as it looks to increase its portfolio of products to different market segments.

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Boeing Mates Two All-Electric Satellites for Early 2015 Launch

Boeing Network and Space Systems (N&SS) has successfully mated Asia Broadcast Satellite’s ABS 3A satellite and Eutelsat’s Eutelsat 115 West B satellite in a stacked configuration for a conjoined satellite launch. The two all-electric satellites are based on Boeing’s 702 Small Platform (SP).

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Friday, November 7, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (31 Oct – 7 Nov 2014)


Boeing Completes Testing on New Anti-Jamming Technology

November 5, 2014. Boeing has completed testing on its new anti-jamming communications technology, proving it is capable of operating as either a ground-based user terminal or satellite-based networking hub, enabling the military to send and receive secure communications at a lower cost by using existing terminals and satellites. The anti-jam technology uses a protected tactical waveform, which shields signals from interference by adversaries or cyber-terrorists.

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Hughes to Build Lightweight X-band Terminal for Airbus Defence and Space

November 6, 2014. Airbus Defence and Space has selected Hughes Network Systems to develop a new ultra-compact, lightweight terminal for a service named XeBRA. The new terminal measures 8 x 25.8 x 23 centimeters, and will weigh less than 5.4 kg.

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Spaceflight Partners with JAMSS to Launch US CubeSats on JAXA Astro-H Mission

November 5, 2014. Spaceflight Inc. and Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation (JAMSS) have announced a cooperative launch service agreement to integrate and deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astro-H mission. Under this cooperative agreement, Spaceflight and JAMSS will launch and deploy eight 3U CubeSats for U.S. commercial customers.

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Iridium Beats Analysts Expectations Despite Losing Two Satellites

November 4, 2014. Iridium reported total revenue of $107.5 million for the third-quarter of 2014, surpassing the expectations of most analysts. The company also replaced two satellites with in-orbit spares during the quarter, leaving one spare between now and the launch of Iridium NEXT. Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, said the current network is performing very well, and that the company has averaged roughly one replacement per year for the last five years. Having one spare remaining is where he expected to be heading into 2015, he said.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (24 Oct – 31 Oct 2014)


MDA to Build Ground Station in China

October 27, 2014 MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) is providing a ground station in China to expand the availability of Radarsat 2 data. EarthView Image subsidiary EarthSTAR has signed a contract worth more than $10 million with MDA for a multi-year extension of Radarsat 2 distribution rights. Launched in 2007, Radarsat 2 provides high-resolution surveillance

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O3b Networks’ Next Launch Accelerated to December

October 28, 2014 O3b Networks’ next four satellites have been fast tracked from a 2015 launch date to Dec. 18, 2014. The earlier launch date follows the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) decision to delay the launch of the next two Galileo navigation satellites. In September O3b launched its second batch of four satellites on an Arianespace Soyuz vehicle, bringing the total constellation up to eight spacecraft. The December launch will increase the constellation to 12, from which point it could continue to grow to more than 100 satellites.

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Orbital Sciences Initiates Investigation into Antares Explosion

October 29, 2014 An Orbital Sciences Antares rocket suffered a launch failure at 6:22 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Oct. 28. The mission, the third of eight in the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply (CRS) contract with NASA, was carrying 2215 kg of cargo, including 26 satellites for Planet Labs, the Arkyd 3 satellite for Planetary Resources, and the Radiometer Atmospheric CubeSat Experiment (RACE) for the University of Texas and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

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First Aireon Flight Payload Delivered for Global Air Traffic Surveillance System

October 31, 2014 Harris Corporation has delivered Aireon’s first flight payload for integration into Iridium NEXT satellites. This is the first of 81 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver payloads that will be launched and deployed on Iridium NEXT to provide Aireon’s real-time aircraft monitoring system, which aims to optimize global Air Traffic Management.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (17 Oct – 24Oct 2014)


Electron to Launch at Least Once Per Week, Says Rocket Lab CEO

October 23, 2014. Rocket Lab, manufacturer of the Electron small satellite launch vehicle, has set its sights on launching no less than once per week when commercial operations begin. The company grabbed headlines after announcing that it had already signed 30 customers for the as-of-yet proven launch vehicle.

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M2M technology: aiding a smart approach to climate change

Posted by Chloe Green on 24 October 2014
Ten years ago, expensive ground-based climate change equipment was unconnected. In one case a forty mile hike into the Siberian wilderness was required to recalibrate a device and take readings. Aside from manually operated equipment, very expensive NASA satellites were the primary means of data acquisition, but this was not helped in 2009 when NASA’s $273 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashed into the ocean three minutes after launch.

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Different Industries Debate the Potential of UAVs and the Need for Satellite

By Mark Holmes, October 24, 2014
[Via Satellite 10-24-2014] Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are growing in popularity with a number of industries looking into the potential and benefits of using UAVs for their businesses. From train operators and energy companies, to farming and environmental organizations, the interest grows by the minute.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (10 Oct – 17 Oct 2014)


BGAN HDR’s quality helps film scoop major prize

13 October 2014: A documentary recreating an historic record-breaking biplane flight from Cape Town to London which was made using Inmarsat’s BGAN HDR service has scooped an inaugural film award. The Aviatrix, directed by Annette Porter of London’s Nylon Films, was chosen as Best Film by the judges of the Explorers Film Festival who praised its quality and high production values.

Embedded image permalink
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Hughes Begins Marketing Rotary-Specialized Waveform

14 October 2014 Hughes has progressed on the development and implementation of a new waveform specialized for rotary wing Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) satellite communications (satcom). First introduced last year, the company is working with several prime contractors for helicopter mainframes on a satcom system where the antenna sits under the fuselage. Helicopters present a challenge for [...]

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ISRO Launches IRNSS C Navigation Satellite

On Oct. 15 2014 the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PLSV). The 1425kg IRNSS C satellite launch marks the sixth time the PSLV has flown in the XL configuration, and the 27th successful consecutive [...]

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Friday, October 10, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (03 Oct – 10 Oct 2014)


Inmarsat signs MOA with TECOM for Global Xpress government aviation terminals

Washington, D.C., October 6, 2014 – Inmarsat and TECOM, a part of Smiths Microwave and a leader in innovative design and manufacturing of high-performance antenna systems, have established a Memorandum of Arrangement (MOA) to manufacture Global Xpress aviation terminals for the government market.

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Inmarsat’s L-TAC Delivers ‘Line-of-Sight’ through satellite to U.S. Government customers

Washington, D.C., October 6, 2014 – Inmarsat is expanding the availability of mobile tactical Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) communications to actively deployed U.S. and coalition forces through the skills of its partners and the capabilities of its powerful Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation.

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Global Xpress Delivers to the U.S. Government

Washington D.C., October 6, 2014 – Inmarsat, in partnership with its Value Added Resellers, has begun providing wideband communications capability to U.S. government customers through its Global Xpress service carried over the first Inmarsat-5 satellite.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

This Week in Satellite News! (27 Sep – 03 Oct 2014)

SES Enabled Awarded the VSAT 2014 “Changing Lives Award”

October 01, 2014 11:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time
LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SES TechCom, a fully owned subsidiary of SES S.A. (NYSE Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG) announces that it has been attributed the prestigious “Changing Lives Award” at the VSAT 2014 conference in London. The “Changing Lives Award” highlights and recognises an inspiring initiative that has significantly impacted telecommunications in a community, assisting in alleviating hardship and contributing to subsequent economic and social development.

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O3b Signs First LATAM Customer

By Caleb Henry, October 2, 2014
O3b Networks has signed its first customer in Latin America for its High Throughput Satellite (HTS) “Fiber in the Sky” service. E-Networks, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) based in Guyana, signed a multi-year agreement with the company, becoming the first Latin American client since O3b launched its full service in September.
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Spanish Goverment Approves Globalstar Satphones

By Veronica Magan, October 3, 2014
The Spanish Ministry of Defense has approved the Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone for use by its personnel and also has extended its use of Spot Gen3 GPS tracking and safety devices with an order for a further 300 units. The Spanish government will use the devices to communicate with troops and to control deployment, logistics and safety of its personnel.
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