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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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