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Monday, August 29, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Aug 22 – Aug 29 2016)

Mock Mars Explorers Emerge from Habitat to End Year of Isolation in Hawaii

MAUNA LOA, Hawaii ─ A crew of six "astronauts" returned to Earth Sunday (Aug. 28), after a yearlong mock mission to Mars.
At about 9 a.m. HDT, on the barren slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, the six crewmembers emerged from the domed white habitat they've called home for the last 12 months. The crew had no physical contact with anyone but each other, and had limited communication with friends, family and the outside world.
How did the crew feel upon their release? Christiane Heinicke, chief scientific officer and crew physicist, summed it up in one word: "Happyyyyy!". This is the fourth and longest isolation mission by the HI-SEAS program(which stands for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and funded by NASA.

Image result for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation
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SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth from Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft has safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean off of Baja California, Mexico. The vessel returned to Earth with more than 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kilograms) of cargo and science experiments, including 12 mice.
The crewless spacecraft was released from the International Space Stationearlier this morning by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi using the station's robotic arm. The spacecraft returned to Earth at 11:47 a.m. EDT (1547 GMT) today (Aug. 26), NASA officials said in a statement
"Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed, carrying thousands of pounds of @NASA science and research cargo back from the @Space_Station,"SpaceX officials tweeted

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Mexico, Boeing Complete Mexsat System Testing

Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation has formally accepted the Mexsat satellite system from prime contractor Boeing following the completion of final field-testing, the company announced today. Mexsat provides 3G+ voice and data services to mobile terminals on land, air and sea for the enhancement of the country’s national security, civil and humanitarian programs. Telecomunicaciones de Mexico (Telecomm) operates the system on behalf of the government.
Boeing designed, integrated and delivered the system, which includes two satellites, two network and satellite control stations, associated network operations procedures, and prototype user terminals. The network was originally to consist of three satellites, however the second failed to reach orbit due to a Proton launch anomaly in May 2015.

Boeing Mexsat-5a Morelos
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Atlas V to Launch Mars 2020 Rover

SANTA FE, N.M. — NASA's next Mars rover will fly on the same version of the launch vehicle that launched its predecessor, NASA announced Aug. 25.
NASA awarded a contract to United Launch Alliance for the July 2020 launch of the Mars 2020 rover on an Atlas V 541. The total value of the contract, including payload processing and related services, is $243 million.
Mars 2020 is based on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars in August 2012. That mission also launched on an Atlas V 541 under a contract awarded to Lockheed Martin, one of the parent companies of ULA, in June 2006 for $195 million, or approximately $232 million in current-year dollars.

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ISRO Launches Scramjet Engine Demonstration Mission

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) completed an experimental mission using a scramjet engine on Aug. 28. The test used ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a two stage spin stabilized sounding rocket with identical solid motors, as the booster to carry the engines. ISRO mounted the twin scramjet engines on the back of the second stage. The engines functioned for about 5 seconds as planned for the short duration test, with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6.
The experimental mission is a step toward the agency’s goal of realizing an air breathing propulsion system for a future space transportation system. The ISRO-designed scramjet engine uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere as the oxidizer. Some of the technological challenges handled during the development include hypersonic engine air intake, the supersonic combustor, development of materials withstanding very high temperatures, computational tools to simulate hypersonic flow, ensuring performance and operability of the engine across a wide range of flight speeds, proper thermal management, and ground testing of the engines.

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Arianespace Mission Launches Two Intelsat Satellites on Ariane 5

Arianespace completed its heaviest mission ever with the Ariane 5 rocket Aug. 24, delivering two Intelsat satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The 41-minute mission delivered Intelsat 33e, the second of Intelsat’s EpicNG High Throughput Satellite (HTS) fleet, and Intelsat 36, a traditional satellite supporting media neighborhoods in Africa and the Indian Ocean regions. Together the satellites required a payload lift performance of 10,735 kg, topping the Ariane 5’s record of 10,730 kg set during the rocket’s previous flight in June.
Intelsat 33e deployed first, expanding Intelsat’s HTS footprint to cover Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia from 60 degrees east. The satellite joins Intelsat 29e, launched in January this year, stitching together more C- and Ku-band capacity. Boeing built the satellite on the 702MP platform, which boasts what Intelsat refers to as the “most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft.” A derivation of the system used in the U.S. military’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellites, the digital payload boosts security and flexibility, according to Intelsat, bringing the ability to seamlessly shift capacity based on customer usage needs in a particular region or timeframe.

Image result for Arianespace Mission Launches Two Intelsat Satellites on Ariane 5
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Appareo and Iridium Partner to Provide Global Connectivity to Farm Equipment

Appareo Systems, LLC, and Iridium Communications Inc. ( NASDAQ : IRDM ) announce the release of technology that can equip motorized farm vehicles with terrestrial and satellite communication capabilities, enabled by the global Iridium® satellite network.
Appareo, a global leader in the development of innovative electronic and software solutions for advanced machine control systems and sensing equipment, has been working with Iridium to deliver wireless satellite connectivity for the products and systems it develops. Iridium operates the largest commercial satellite network, spanning the entire globe including polar regions. As part of a long-term development and supply agreement with Iridium, Appareo integrates the Iridium 9603 chipset -- the world's smallest commercial two-way satellite transceiver -- into a range of products. The company recently received certification from Iridium on a new device containing the Iridium 9603 chipset: a machine gateway designed in partnership with AGCO Corporation

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Honeywell’s JetWave receives final certification from Inmarsat

Honeywell’s JetWave hardware has received final certification from Inmarsat, meaning the GX Aviation solution can be brought to the aerospace market.
The JetWave hardware is a key enabler in allowing passengers and crew members to connect to the GX Aviation network, which promises a fast, reliable home-like broadband service that performs consistently throughout the flight.
The hardware had previously received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency for its environmental, safety and installation standards. This latest approval from Inmarsat confirms that JetWave operates as planned throughout different environmental conditions with the Global Xpress satellite network.

Image result for Honeywell’s JetWave hardware
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Friday, August 19, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Aug 15 – Aug 22 2016)

NASA test fires former shuttle engine for 420 seconds

The latest static fire test of the development RS-25 engine (E0528) has taken place at the Stennis Space Center. The test is part of a series aimed at validating hardware and software elements, such as the improved engine controller, as the former Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) prepare to launch the opening Space Launch System (SLS) missions.
That engine was E2059, which flew on five Space Shuttle missions; it first flew three times on Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis (STS-117, STS-122, and STS-125) and then on Orbiter Endeavour’s last two flights (STS-130and STS-134). It is currently assigned to fly installed in the second Core Stage on Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2), which is planned to be the first crewed SLS/Orion flight.
The tests are designed to validate a new engine controller and how the RS-25 engine design functions in the SLS operating environment, which has functional and environmental differences from the Space Shuttle.

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Delta 4 lifts off carrying two Air Force space surveillance satellites

WASHINGTON —A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket carrying twin space surveillance satellites for the U.S. Air Force lifted off early this morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The mission, known as AFSPC-6, short for Air Force Space Command-6, launched around 12:52 a.m. local time and included the third and fourth satellites in the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, also known as GSSAP. The Air Force has said those satellites provide a kind of “neighborhood watch” for the geosynchronous belt, home to some of the Defense Department’s most exquisite and expensive satellites.
The launch went into a news blackout several minutes after liftoff.

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Inmarsat extends Fleet Xpress service in Northern Europe

Inmarsat announces at Nor-Fishing 2016 that Fleet Xpress is being extended in Northern Europe, demonstrating a new market-specific commitment for the high-speed broadband service, powered by Global Xpress, that is revolutionising maritime connectivity.
Launched at the end of March 2016, Inmarsat Maritime’s Fleet Xpress service sets a new standard in broadband maritime communications. It achieves the highest levels of reliable high speed connectivity and exceptional performance across the world’s oceans, as well as facilitating innovative applications to enhance safety, crew welfare and operational efficiency. The extension of Fleet Xpress will reach across the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea and Baltic Sea.

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Industry remains optimistic about continued growth of cubesats

LOGAN, Utah — Despite concerns about reliability and access to launch vehicles, the small satellite industry expects the number of cubesats to continue to grow as they find new commercial and government applications.
In a presentation at the Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University here Aug. 8, Bill Doncaster of SpaceWorks Engineering said his company was maintaining a forecast issued earlier this year that predicted about 200 satellites weighing between 1 and 50 kilograms would launch this year, a number that would break the record of 158 set in 2014. That vast majority of those satellites would be versions of cubesats weighing 10 kilograms or less.
SpaceWorks, in a similar forecast last year, forecast 163 such satellites would launch in 2015, but only 131 actually flew. “That was an anomaly based on available launch slots,” he said. He noted that both Antares and Falcon 9 rockets, which have launched many such spacecraft on cargo missions to the International Space Station, were recovering from launch failures. “The number of opportunities was somewhat limited.”

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Iridium-Based Portable Tracker Tested on Scandinavian AirAmbulance

A Swedish air ambulance helicopter, along with a fixed-wing aircraft, recently took part in trials testing Marlink and IDG Europe’s portable tracking system operated on the Iridium satellite network. An Airbus Helicopters AS365 Dauphin N2 operated by Sweden’s Scandinavian AirAmbulance (or MediCopter) was outfitted with Smalltrack, a mobile device that can be used anywhere wirelessly. Testing was performed daily for three weeks.
Marlink’s Smalltrack can operate on a single charge for one week and provides tracking to support flight safety and logistics, and manual and automatic emergency alerts. The system is also designed to start up using the built-in accelerometer, which Marlink Enterprise President Danny Cote said makes it ideal for small aircraft such as helicopters, without adding an additional pre-flight check requirement.

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Globosat, Tektronix Support Live IP Media Production for Rio Olympics

Globosat, one of the largest pay TV providers in Latin America, has partnered with Tektronix, a video quality monitoring solutions provider, to support live IP media production of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This represents the first use of IP for live production on this scale in Latin America, according to Tektronix.
Globosat, which produced the worldwide content for the 2016 Olympics, deployed 16 linear channels by satellite, and more than 56 by internet amounting to 16 produced channels and 40 channels of audio ambience, for the Games. At the center of this network infrastructure are two Tektronix SPG8000A master sync and PTP grandmaster clock generators that offer support for both traditional SDI-based and IP-based media infrastructures. Alongside these instruments are two Prism IP/SDI media analyzers that offer the ability to diagnose and correlate both SDI and IP signal types.

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Globalstar Supports Communications Needs During Catastrophic Louisiana Flooding

COVINGTON, La., Aug. 18, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Globalstar, Inc. (NYSE MKT:GSAT) announced today the deployment of its satellite communications solutions to the Louisiana regions most affected by flooding in conjunction with its partner Disaster Tech Lab, a first responder communications specialist.
Coordinating with local Globalstar team members, Disaster Tech Lab has set up base operations in Prairieville, LA and will deliver much needed communication support to Southeast Louisiana by troubleshooting and fixing network issues as well as providing the use of satellite phones and satellite hot-spot units where traditional forms of communication have failed. Having traveled from all over the world, the team will be monitored via SPOT tracking as they carry out relief efforts.
Disaster Tech Lab is meeting with Incident Commanders and representatives of the affected communities, the Department of Homeland Security, First Responder organizations and Law Enforcement to assess needs for internet access and communication services.

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Europa mission planning for possible budget cuts in 2017

While NASA says its support for a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa is now aligned with Congress, project officials are preparing for a possible “squeeze” on mission funding in the next fiscal year.
In presentations at an Aug. 11 meeting of NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) in Flagstaff, Arizona, officials involved with what’s widely known as the Europa Clipper mission said they are looking for ways to cut costs in 2017 while keeping the mission on track for a 2022 launch.
“There is this squeeze in FY17 that we have,” said Bob Pappalardo, the mission’s project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said. “We’re asking the instrument teams and various other aspects of the project, given that squeeze, what will it take in the out years to maintain that ’22 launch. We’re actively pursuing that question as we speak.”

Europa Clipper
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Satcom Global partners with Intellian on strategic hardware deal

Satcom Global, a leading maritime satellite communications provider, and Intellian, a global leader in satellite antenna development and manufacture, have signed a strategic partnership agreement covering the global supply and distribution of maritime satellite equipment.
Under the partnership, Satcom Global will have access to Intellian’s full range of Ku-Band, Ka-Band and FleetBroadband hardware, supporting the delivery of its portfolio of VSAT and L-Band services to maritime customers across the globe.
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NASA moves ahead with Asteroid Redirect Mission despite cost increase

WASHINGTON — The robotic element of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) has cleared a major review despite a $150 million cost increase that the agency blames on a delayed mission schedule.
NASA announced Aug. 15 that it had approved a review of ARM’s robotic segment known as Key Decision Point B (KDP-B), which allows the mission to move into Phase B of its design and development. That KDP-B review took place last month.
NASA said that, as a part of the review, it increased the mission’s cost cap from $1.25 billion to $1.4 billion, an increase the agency said was based on a decision earlier this year to delay the launch of the robotic mission by one year, to 2021. The new estimate, like the earlier one, does not include launch or operations costs.

ARM boulder return
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Friday, August 12, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Aug 8 – Aug 15 2016)

SpaceX successfully launches JCSat-16 satellite, Lands Booster at Sea

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Aug. 14 successfully placed the JCSat-16 commercial telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit and landed the rocket’s first stage on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Satellite builder Space Systems Loral reported the satellite was healthy in orbit and sending signals after separation from the Falcon 9 some 33 minutes after launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The launch appeared as a repeat of SpaceX’s May 4 liftoff of the JCSat-14 satellite, also owned by Sky Perfect JSat of Japan, which successfully landed the first stage. That stage has since been test-fired three times at SpaceX’s Texas facility as the company accumulates data on how its first stages perform after reentry and landing.

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NanoRacks to Launch SpaceVR’s First Virtual Reality Camera Satellite

SpaceVR, a platform for creating cinematic, live, virtual space tourism, has signed a launch agreement with NanoRacks to send Overview 1, a virtual reality camera satellite, into space. Overview 1 will travel to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX CRS-12 mission. The satellite will then be deployed into Low Earth Orbit from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD).
Overview 1, will use 4K sensors to capture extremely high resolution, fully immersive, 360-degree video of our planet. The content will be viewable on any virtual reality device, ranging from smartphones to Oculus Rift to extreme resolution devices such as the StarVR.

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Deep Space Industries unveils first asteroid prospecting spacecraft

LOGAN, Utah — Deep Space Industries plans to launch a small satellite by the end of the decade to survey a near Earth asteroid, the next major step in the company’s long-term ambitions to mine asteroids for resources.
The company, based in Mountain View, California, announced its Prospector-1 mission Aug. 9. The 50-kilogram satellite is designed to visit an asteroid and look for deposits of water ice that could, in the future, be mined and used as propellant by other spacecraft.
“This is intended to be a very low cost first commercial mission to an asteroid,” said Grant Bonin, chief engineer of Deep Space Industries, in a presentation about Prospector-1 Aug. 9 during the 30th Annual Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University here.

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Spectacular New Video of SpaceX’s Nighttime Rocket Launch and Landing

An amazing new video from the private company SpaceX captures incredibly detailed views of fired-up rocket engines as they blast into space and drop back down to Earth for a landing.
The new video shows high-speed footage of some of SpaceX's nighttime Falcon 9 rocket launches, and makes it possible for viewers to see details that are typically washed out in low-res footage. For example, while the column of fire spewed by a rocket engine typically appears as a bright white blur, the high-res video shows some of the texture and structure inside that fiery pillar.

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NASA adds companies to program to develop deep space habitats

LOGAN, Utah — NASA is casting a wider net in its search for designs of a habitat module that could support deep space missions, awarding contracts Aug. 9 to six companies for a new round of studies.
NASA awarded the contracts, with a combined value of $65 million, as part of its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) 2 program to develop concepts for habitats that could be used on missions in cislunar space and eventually to Mars. Each company is expected to contribute at least 30 percent of the total cost of the selected project.
In 2015, NASA awarded contracts to four companies in the original NextSTEP solicitation for habitat concepts: Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK. Each of those companies won a NextSTEP-2 award as well, which will focus on refining those concepts and building module prototypes for ground testing.

Ixion concept
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Blue Origin's Sweet Spot: An Untapped Suborbital Market for Private Spaceflight

With multiple flights of its New Shepard vehicle under its belt, Blue Origin is appraising the research market for scientific and technological experiments that can be lofted to suborbital space.
Blue Origin is run by billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, who has adopted the motto "Gradatim Ferociter" — Latin for "step by step, ferociously" — for the Washington-based company. And those words are proving to be apt: Blue Origin's reusable New Shepard rocket system has flown to suborbital space five times to date, with the first liftoff coming in April 2015 and the latest occurring this past June.
The rocket is topped by a crew capsule that slips into suborbital space before both craft return to Earth in separate landings. The New Shepard booster lands vertically, using the same BE-3 engine that launched it; the six-passenger capsule returns to Earth under parachutes.

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SpaceX offers large rockets for small satellites

LOGAN, Utah — SpaceX, which retired its Falcon 1 small launch vehicle several years ago, believes it can more effectively serve the growing small satellite market through rideshare accommodations on its larger vehicles, the company’s president said Aug. 9.
In a keynote speech at the 30th Annual Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University here, Gwynne Shotwell said the company was working with companies that aggregate secondary payloads, such as Seattle-based Spaceflight, to fly on the Falcon 9 and future Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.
“We really love and appreciate working with aggregators of small satellite missions,” she said. “We’ve got a brand-new agreement with Spaceflight for four additional flights over the next four or five years.”

Falcon 1 Flight 5
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New Certification Program for Maritime Satellite Communications Operators

The Global VSAT Forum (GVF) and Intellian have launched an Intellian Specialist Certification program, including an initial course in terminal operation, GVF 562N, specifically for seafarers, in response to strong demand for satellite-based maritime connectivity. Follow-on courses, intended for field technicians, will cover stabilized platform installation and maintenance.
For maximum service availability, crew operators can now receive Intellian online certification training, enabling them to perform critical operational tasks after the installation technician has departed. In this way, Intellian will use the new course to support its partners throughout the world.

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U.S. Air Force turns to industry to plug weather satellite gaps

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force is asking industry how it could head off  looming  gaps in the collection of high-priority weather data.
In a broad agency announcement released Aug. 3, the Air Force said it was looking for solutions to provide cloud characterization  and theater weather imagery by 2019.
In 2014, the Air Force examined potential gaps in space-based weather data. That study ranked cloud characterization, used for long-range strike operations, and theater weather imagery, used in forecasting and battlespace awareness, as the Pentagon’s top priorities. The Air Force foresees a gap in coverage in both areas around 2020.
Marines Afghanistan
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Friday, August 5, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Aug 1 – Aug 8 2016)

First two Iridium Next satellites shipped to Vandenberg

The first two next-generation Iridium satellites, designed to connect global subscribers with data and voice traffic, arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday, where they will join eight more message relay craft for launch in September on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
This week’s shipment via truck from an Orbital ATK satellite manufacturing plant near Phoenix to Vandenberg on California’s Central Coast will be followed by the arrival of eight more spacecraft at the launch site.
Like the first two craft, subsequent satellites will be transported two-and-a-time inside self-stabilizing, climate-controlled containers on a truck to SpaceX’s clean room at Vandenberg, where Orbital ATK engineers will prepare the satellites for launch.

Technicians load the first two Iridium Next satellites into their shipping containers at Orbital ATK's manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Credit: Iridium
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Marlink and Telemar to join forces to create the world’s leading maritime communications, digital solutions and servicing group

Apax Partners has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Telemar Group from its current shareholders, the company said in its press release.
The combined activities of Telemar and Marlink will create the world’s leading maritime communication, digital solutions and servicing specialist for all customer segments at sea including: Shipping, Offshore, Cruise & Ferry, Yachting and Fishing. Marlink and Telemar customers will benefit from an unmatched integrated servicing offering, covering all existing maritime technologies. The newly combined group will generate US $450 Million in revenues with more than 800 employees worldwide serving at least 1 in 3 vessels operating globally.

 Marlink and Tampnet deliver North Sea 4G network
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China Eastern to upgrade 737 fleet with Rockwell Collins Iridium SATCOM Boeing-approved aftermarket solution

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, 4 Aug. 2016. China Eastern Airlines engineers have selected Rockwell Collins’ Iridium satellite communications (SATCOM) aftermarket solution with which to upgrade the airline’s fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 commercial passenger jet aircraft. Installations are currently underway.
The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable, long-range global voice communications, flight tracking, and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

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Dish Prepares 4K, Versatile Viewing Features for 2016 Rio Olympics

Dish Network has announced multiple features for customers watching NBCUniversal‘s multi-platform coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, including the upcoming availability of a new, dedicated linear 4K channel. Dish subscribers will also have access to NBCUniversal’s 6,755 hours of Olympic programming, including coverage of all competition sessions, on-demand.
Dish’s Hopper 3 and 4K Joey customers can watch NBC’s coverage in 4K on a linear channel as well as in the video-on-demand catalog.The coverage will be made available on one-day delay. One event from the previous day’s competition will be provided daily and looped in three-hour intervals from August 7 through August 22, the day after the games conclude. Dish will also make the same 4K video assets available as part of its on-demand catalog.

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U.S. Navy narrows MUOS-5 problem to orbit raising propulsion system

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy said its newest communications satellite was about halfway to geosynchronous orbit when its orbit raising propulsion system failed during a transfer maneuver June 29.
Following a June 24 launch, the fifth satellite in the Navy’s next-generation narrowband communications constellation, known as the Mobile User Objective System, had expected to reach geosynchronous orbit and a test location about 35,400 kilometers above Hawaii by July 3.
But in an Aug. 2 statement, the Navy said the satellite “experienced a failure of the orbit raising propulsion system,” five days into a 10-day climb, halting the transfer maneuver that would push the satellite from its initial elliptical launch orbit to geosynchronous orbit.

An Atlas 5 rocket carrying the MUOS-5 satellite lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida June 24. Credit: ULA/Ben Cooper.
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Inmarsat, citing SpaceX delays, to miss European deadline for aeronautical broadband service

PARIS – Mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat is all but certain to miss a European regulatory deadline for its satellite-terrestrial aeronautical broadband service, raising the possibility that one or more governments could revoke Inmarsat’s rights to the radio spectrum, industry officials said.
Inmarsat said the Europasat/HellasSat-3 satellite, co-owned by Inmarsat and fleet operator Arabsat of Saudi Arabia and built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, has met its construction milestones but is facing delays at launch-service provider SpaceX of Hawthorne, California.
It remains unclear when the satellite will be launched, but it will be well after the Dec. 1 deadline imposed by its license and may not occur before mid-2017.

Inmarsat Thales EAN sat- TAS photo
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Moon Express wins U.S. government approval for lunar lander mission

WASHINGTON — Moon Express said Aug. 3 that it has won a first-of-its-kind regulatory approval from the U.S. government for a commercial lunar lander the company is developing.
The approval, dated July 20, comes in the form of a payload review of the Moon Express MX-1E spacecraft by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, part of the launch licensing process run by that office. That payload review involved discussions among several government agencies, including the State Department and NASA.
“The FAA has determined that the launch of the payload does not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States,” the FAA said in an Aug. 3 fact sheet about the payload review.

Moon Express's MX-1 lander. Credit: Moon Express artist's concept
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ILS wins contract for Angara launch of South Korea’s Kompsat-6

International Launch Services (ILS) announces the first commercial Angara 1.2 launch contract was signed recently with Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) for the launch of the Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite (Arirang) 6 also known as the KOMPSAT-6 satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northwestern Russia around 2020.
The Angara 1.2 vehicle is the newest Russian launch vehicle, designed and built by Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center (Khrunichev), serving the small to medium range satellite market, with the capability to launch up to 3.5 Metric Tons to Low Earth Orbit or Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The KOMPSAT-6 mission will be launched by Angara 1.2 into an SSO orbit.

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