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Friday, June 10, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Jun 6 – Jun 13 2016)

Proton successfully launches Intelsat-31 satellite despite lower-stage hiccup
PARIS — An International Launch Services Proton rocket, in the first flight of its latest and potentially final series of upgrades, on June 10 placed the Intelsat 31 commercial telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
Despite a problem with the rocket’s second or third stage, one of which apparently underperformed, the Proton’s Breeze-M upper stage was able to compensate with a longer burn sequence to insert the 6,450-kilogram satellite into the correct orbit.
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat said the satellite, built by SSL of Palo Alto, California, was healthy in orbit and sending signals after its release, some 15 hours and 31 minutes after liftoff, by the Breeze-M stage.

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Iridium Certus to Start Commercial Service in Mid-2017

MCLEAN, Va., June 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) announced today that the Iridium CertusSM service will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2017.  This next-generation, satellite broadband communications service will serve users and enterprises across all industry verticals delivering a portfolio of global voice and data services.
"We are very excited to see this service come to fruition," said Matt Desch, chief executive officer at Iridium. "Iridium Certus is a game-changing new service for users in the maritime, land mobile, aeronautical and government markets in that it will provide unparalleled quality, coverage and performance in a single, multi-service terminal, and at a great value. Iridium Certus is in response to industry demands for alternative broadband solutions that have persisted for several years, and we are looking forward to redefining the mobile satellite market landscape with this launch."

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NASA exploring additional cooperation with SpaceX’s Red Dragon mission
WASHINGTON — NASA’s science and space technology mission directorates are considering ways to cooperate with SpaceX on its Red Dragon mission, including flying payloads on that Mars lander.
In a June 2 interview during the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, Steve Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator for space technology, said his office has a “wish list” of technology demonstration payloads they would like to fly on Red Dragon or a future SpaceX Mars mission.
“We’ve had very preliminary talks on payloads for the 2018 mission,” he said. However, he added that, with less than 24 months before the launch window for that mission opens, it was unlikely NASA would have such a payload ready to fly in time.

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PressReader Teams with Inmarsat to Bring News to Remote Locations

Inmarsat andPressReader have partnered to enable people working and living in remote locations to have access to an unlimited newspaper and magazine service. The partnership brings together PressReader, a premium publication solution, and Inmarsat’s global Inmarsat 4 satellite network for readers to access, share and talk about news.
“Partnering with PressReader and bringing the app alongside our flat-rate airtime packages will encourage our partners to offer a digital newsstand solution to their customers. Wherever personnel are based, from an oilrig in the sea to a mining camp in a desert, customers can deploy an employee welfare solution in 60 languages by choosing Inmarsat and PressReader. Organizations can also distribute their operational documents to remote sites using PressReader, keeping their employees up-to-date and in-line with regulations,” said Nadeem Khan, head of applications enablement at Inmarsat Enterprise.

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Dish Network battles OneWeb and SpaceX for Ku-band spectrum rights
PARIS — A coalition of 5G terrestrial mobile broadband companies led by Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network on June 8 asked U.S. regulators to strip future low-orbiting satellite Internet constellations of their priority access to 500 megahertz of Ku-band spectrum – spectrum coveted by prospective constellation operators including OneWeb LLC and SpaceX.
SpaceX and satellite fleet operator Intelsat, a OneWeb investor and partner, immediately filed separate opposition papers to the FCC, arguing that nongeostationary-orbit (NGSO) constellations are very much alive.

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NASA Funds Aerospace Corporation for Superlight Debris Removing MiniSats

NASA has awarded The Aerospace Corporation a grant to investigate the possibility of developing an extremely thin spacecraft that would wrap around debris and remove it from Earth’s orbit. The concept, called Brane Craft, is a 1-square meter spacecraft that is less than half the thickness of a human hair. The Brane Craft would only weigh about 50 grams, significantly less than even a standard CubeSat weight of about 1 kg. The 30-micron-thick spacecraft would have a very high thrust-to-weight ratio, and would be capable of travelling long distances, which opens up other possibilities beyond just the removal of space debris.

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Speedcast, Inmarsat integrate to offer new satellite service

Satellite communications and network service provider SpeedCast has integrated with Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service to offer a new service worldwide through the Speedcast global sales network.
The integration provides SpeedCast’s customers with an alternative solution for their global communication needs.
According to Athina Vezyri, vice-president maritime sales and MSS services at SpeedCast, combining SpeedCast’s existing Ku-band, C-band and L-band global services and applications and value added services, represents a “uniquely extensive service portfolio” to cater for the needs of the company’s diverse customer base, including offshore vessels to merchant shipping, yachts, cruiseliners and ferries.
Vezyri says there is a clear demand for evolved global maritime networks delivering greater bandwidth and reliable data connectivity driven by crew welfare, regulatory and operational drivers.

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Launch delayed for the Ariane 5 mission with EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat

The liftoff of Flight VA230 has been postponed following an anomaly that occurred prior to the Ariane 5’s roll-out to the launch zone in French Guiana.
During preparations for the transfer from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, the anomaly involved a fluid connector between the cryogenic upper stage and the launch table.
As a result, Arianespace has postponed Flight VA230’s liftoff, initially scheduled for June 8, to replace this component and perform the subsequent verifications. A new targeted launch date will be announced very soon.
The launch vehicle and its EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat satellite payloads are being maintained in fully safe conditions and in stand-by mode.

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