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Thursday, July 14, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Jul 11 – Jul 18 2016)

Iridium satellites rolling off assembly line in Arizona

Construction is complete on the first batch of 81 new satellites to overhaul Iridium’s mobile communications network, and the data relay stations will soon head from their factory near Phoenix to California’s hilly Central Coast for launch in September on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The satellites will be shipped in pairs on a truck to Vandenberg Air Force Base, where they will be fueled and mated with the Falcon 9 launcher for liftoff at 10:33 p.m. PDT on Sept. 11 (0533 GMT; 1:33 a.m. EDT on Sept. 12) from Space Launch Complex 4-East.
The flight will mark the third Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg, and the first launch from there of an upgraded “full-thrust” version of the booster with higher-power Merlin engines and super-chilled propellants. SpaceX is finishing up modifications to the launch pad this summer to support the latest Falcon 9 configuration.

The first two fully-complete Iridium Next satellites. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
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Inmarsat and VT iDirect form joint R&D partnership to develop next generation services

Inmarsat and VT iDirect today announced an extension of their long-term strategic partnership with the formation of a joint research & development (R&D) team – i2 – to support the development of the next generation satellite communications (satcom) technologies. This venture is a logical next step in the Inmarsat and VT iDirect relationship, having worked successfully together over the past four years to develop the GX programme.
The R&D project team, which will be based at Inmarsat’s headquarters in London, will focus on the proof-of-concept and prototype phases for new satcom technologies. Inmarsat and VT iDirect will jointly assess the commercial potential of each new technology before the decision is taken to deploy it in the form of a new product or service. Both companies’ partners and end-users will enjoy privileged access to the new technologies.

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Hughes Does Testing of HM300 Portable X-band Terminal

The Defense and Intelligence Systems Division (DISD) of Hughes Network Systems has completed successful operational demonstrations of its HM300 terminal. Designed for military applications, the HM300 is a portable X-Band communications system developed in conjunction with partners Airbus Defence and Space of United Kingdom and Tampa Microwave.
During tests in December between a satellite Earth station located in the U.K. and Fort Bragg, North Carolina operating over Airbus’ Xebra service, the HM300 demonstrated Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) capabilities with data rates up to 512kbps symmetrically, transmitting video, voice and data. A second mission scenario demonstrated autonomous operation transmitting to and from a 4-meter Gatr antenna located at Fort Bragg, providing Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and live video using an encoder. In January the HM300 terminal saw use during a combat airborne training operation when a paratrooper jumped the HM300 terminal while another jumped baseband equipment, demonstrating the terminal’s Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) benefits and earning it a “jumpable” designation.
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Moon Express takes over Cape Canaveral Delta 2 launch site

WASHINGTON — Moon Express, a Florida company developing commercial lunar landers, announced July 12 an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to take over a former Delta 2 launch site at Cape Canaveral.
The company said it reached an agreement with the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which operates Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, to use Launch Complex 17 as a research and development facility, including tests of the company’s lunar landers. The agreement also covers adjacent Launch Complex 18, used for Vanguard launches in the late 1950s but inactive for the last several decades.
Moon Express also announced an agreement with Space Florida, the state’s space development agency, to renovate building at Launch Complex 17 for use by the company. Space Florida will contribute up to $1.85 million for that work, an amount Moon Express will match.

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Airbus, Boeing Outlooks See Strong Market for Satellite-Connected Aircraft

Airbus and Boeing both released their 20-year global market forecasts on the first day of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow. Airbus was less optimistic in it’s long term view of global demand for passenger jets, predicting airlines will require 33,000 new aircraft worth $5.2 trillion in the next two decades, while Boeing increased it’s 2016 outlook by 4.1 percent compared to 2015 predictions, projecting a global demand for 39,620 aircraft worth $5.9 trillion. While the two airframers’ expectations over the next 20 years differ, both forecasts — combined with recent moves by Airbus and Boeing as well as activity on the first day of Farnborough — shows that a significant number of the aircraft delivered between now and 2035 will feature advanced forms of cockpit and cabin-based satellite-powered broadband connectivity.
The average between the figures released by the two Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) is equal to a 20-year demand for 36,310 aircraft worth $5.5 trillion. Both companies also expect the global in-service fleet to double from today’s nearly 20,000 to 40,000 new aircraft or more by 2035.

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Longliner first Bering Sea user of Inmarsat Fleet Xpress

Freezer-longliner fishing vessel operator Alaskan Leader Fisheries, Lynden, WA, has chosen Inmarsat's new high-speed broadband maritime communications service Fleet Xpress to support its daily business operations.
Inmarsat partner Network Innovations (NI), together with Fusion Marine Technology, have signed a contract with Alaskan Leader that marks the first commissioning of Fleet Xpress in the remote and hostile waters of the Bering Sea.
Inmarsat says that Fleet Xpress delivers high levels of reliable high speed broadband connectivity and performance across all of the world's oceans and facilitates innovative Connected Ship applications.

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FCC adopts new rules for the foundation of 5G networks

We knew it was coming, and now the FCC has made it official. The commission voted today to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks in the US. More specifically, the guidelines relate to wireless spectrum above 24 GHz and makes the United States the first country in the world to make the spectrum available for so-called next-gen networks.
The FCC said in a press release that it's taking a similar approach that it did when 4G (LTE) networks were developed, a strategy that will "set a strong foundation for the rapid advancement to next-generation 5G."

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Inmarsat Secures Chinese Government Approval For Launch Of IsatPhone 2

Satellite communications provider Inmarsat PLC on Thursday said it has secured approval in China for its IsatPhone 2 technology.
The approval from the government of China will make Inmarsat the only international operator legally allowed to sell handheld satellite phones in the country.
Inmarsat said it is working alongside partners MCN Beijing and China Telecom Satellite on the launch of the phone.

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