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Friday, November 20, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Nov 16 – Nov 23 2015)

Ericsson gives shipping a boost with Inmarsat connectivity

Mobile communications technology and services supplier Ericsson is to offer Inmarsat’s combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network communications service, XpressLink, to customers operating in the maritime shipping sector.
The two companies have signed an agreement to facilitate the sharing of cargo, logistics and vessel operational data to develop new services that establish and drive standards for satellite communications and application integration among shipping companies.
Providing XpressLink to users at sea will be the first step in this relationship, the two companies said, and also opens up an upgrade path to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service, which will become available in the next few months.

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SpaceX Gets First Commercial Crew Order
SpaceX, Hawthorne, California, will launch astronauts to the International Space Station in late 2017 under a Commercial Crew order NASA announced Nov. 20.
SpaceX netted its first order some six months after Boeing, NASA’s other provider of astronaut transportation services under Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded in September 2014. SpaceX’s umbrella contract is worth $2.6 billion, while Boeing’s deal is worth $4.2 billion.
Under the CCtCap contracts, NASA pledged to order at least two missions from each company. Assuming Congress funds the program at the levels the White House has requested — which Congress never has — both companies would start launching in late 2017.

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Foxcom Opens Defense, Security and Aeronautics Division

Foxcom, a Global Invacom company, has launched a new division called Foxcom DSA to focus on the Defense, Security and Aeronautics (DSA) markets. The division’s offerings include Iridium and GPS repeaters, military radio links, and timing and reference distribution.
Foxcom’s capabilities cover 1KHz to 18GHz, and have been deployed around the world for a variety of military platforms, including fixed applications, mobile, land-based, airborne or maritime. The company has more than 20 years of RF-over-fiber experience and is a supplier to satellite operators, broadcasters and integrators.

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New Space Mining Legislation Is 'History in the Making'

Space mining just got a big boost.
The U.S. Congress' passage of a bill that allows American companies to own and sell materials they extract from the moon, asteroids or other celestial bodies should help spur the development of off-Earth mining, representatives of the nascent industry say.
"It sets up a firm foundation for the next phase of our business," said Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources, which plans to mine water and metals from near-Earth asteroids.

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Inflight internet on Australian airlines in near future: Inmarsat

Australian airline passengers can expect inflight internet in the near future as new satellite systems provide greatly improved data streaming at reduced costs, predicts a senior executive with satellite company Inmarsat.
Inmarsat vice-president, aviation, Asia-Pacific Bill Peltola said Australian carriers were very interested in the British company’s Global Xpress inflight connectivity service, which now had global coverage after the successful launch in August of its third satellite.
GX uses the higher-frequency Ka band to provide connection speeds of up to 50 megabits per second to aircraft, compared with the 426 kilobits per second provided by Inmarsat’s older L-band.

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Space Companies Seek Closer Ties with Other Industries
HOUSTON — As NASA plans to increasingly rely on commercial space companies, those companies are, in turn, looking to build partnerships with other industries to access new markets and technologies.
The inaugural Space Commerce Conference and Exposition, or SpaceCom, here sought to bring together representatives of the space industry with those from several others, including medicine, energy, and maritime. Conference organizers said about a fifth of the more than 1,700 attendees came from non-aerospace industries.
NASA, a conference partner, used the event to provide another reminder of the importance of commercial space activities to the agency’s long-term plans to send humans to Mars. Commercial cargo and crew “has freed up NASA to focus on the farther horizons,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a keynote address at the conference Nov. 17.

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ViaSat Planning Global Ka-band Constellation

Communication services provider ViaSat Inc. is still a year away from the launch of its Ka-band high-throughput ViaSat-2 satellite. But the Carlsbad, California-based company is not waiting for that before starting work on ViaSat-3, another behemoth spacecraft that will almost triple the broadband capacity of its successor. Delivering a staggering 1 terabits per second of throughput, ViaSat-3 will also be the first spacecraft in a three-satellite constellation designed to provide global ...

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ULA to Launch Academic CubeSats for Free

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is kicking off a new program providing free launches to academia for CubeSat missions on the Atlas 5 rocket. The program signals a major commitment to ensuring academic CubeSats, which have ceded space to commercial ventures in recent years, are not crowded out of the launch market.
President and CEO of ULA Tory Bruno said Nov. 19 during a press conference that the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture would start placing a standard CubeSat carrier on the Atlas 5 starting a year and a half from now with the ability to deploy as many as 24 individual CubeSats. This, he said, would relieve the fast but still stunted progress of CubeSat missions in getting to orbit.
“My vision is that we will transition to a point where nearly every Atlas rocket is carrying this standard carrier with these CubeSats. We fly Atlas 10 times a year or more. We are going to more than double the entire worldwide capacity for a CubeSat to get to space. It will completely transform that environment,” said Bruno.

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