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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Sep 5 – Sep 12 2016)

Iridium remains fully behind SpaceX as Musk hints at difficult investigation

PARIS — The commercial company with arguably the most at stake in a quick and successful return to flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 8 gave a ringing endorsement of the launch-service provider even as SpaceX founder Elon Musk issued statements saying the investigation will be complicated.
The comments from Iridium Chief Financial Officer Thomas J. Fitzpatrick at an investor conference came just hours before SpaceX founder Elon Musk, in a series of statements on Twitter, suggested the company does not yet know what happened.
“Still working on the Falcon fireball investigation,” Musk said in the first of three tweets whose time stamp implied that he was burning the midnight oil. “Turning out to be the most difficult and complex we have ever had in 14 years.”

Artist view of an IRIDIUM NEXT satellite. The IRIDIUM NEXT operation is a modernisation programme of Iridium satellites. Iridium is a provider of mobile satellite communications services.
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Inmarsat successfully demonstrates Global Xpress ‘SATCOM as a Service’ capability for U.S. government aero connectivity

Inmarsat the leading provider of global mobile satellite communication services, today announced that its Global Xpress ‘SATCOM as a Service’ capability is ready for U.S. Government aero applications worldwide. Supported by the only commercial worldwide Ka-band constellation built for mobility, Global Xpress represents the first and only globally available high-throughput communication solution for aero connectivity.
The service was successfully demonstrated in multiple user scenarios with U.S. government end users and in close cooperation with Inmarsat’s Value Added Reseller (VAR) and Value Added Manufacturer (VAM) partners. During CONUS and OCONUS world tour airborne and ground demonstrations, the Honeywell JetWave™ SATCOM terminals in the Fuselage Mount Antenna (FMA) and Tail Mount Antenna (TMA) configurations seamlessly connected with the Global Xpress network.

Image result for Inmarsat  Global Xpress
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Atlas 5 launches NASA asteroid sample return mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — An Atlas 5 successfully launched a NASA mission to visit a near Earth asteroid and return samples of it to Earth Sept. 8.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 411 lifted off at 7:05 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. No significant problems were reported during the countdown, and weather remained favorable throughout the day leading up to launch.
The Atlas 5 launched NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft. The spacecraft separated from the Atlas nearly one hour after liftoff.

Image result for atlas 5 launch
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Thuraya Announces Plans for L-Band Network Evolution, New Constellation

Thuraya Telecommunications Company has finalized its next generation constellation plans to extend its geographical reach, move into new market sectors and launch new services and devices. The company announced its L-band network will undergo extensive evolution. While continuity is assured with both existing satellites Thuraya 2 and Thuraya 3 continuing to operate as planned, the current satellite footprint will be enhanced significantly with the planned launch of next generation satellites from 2020.
The next generation system will focus on delivering high mobility services in core and new markets. These will be complemented with High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services for bandwidth-hungry applications in land, maritime and aeronautical markets. The constellation will be supported by highly advanced platforms for the provision of “new wave” Internet of Things (IoT) and content services, with multicasting and broadcasting capabilities.

Image result for Thuraya L-Band Network
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After SpaceX-Amos 6 Loss, Arianespace Sees Demand Surge

Following the explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with Spacecom’s Amos 6 satellite, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel said satellite operators have reached out to the company to inquire about launch services. However, the European launch services provider has only one launch slot for a large satellite available between now and the end of 2018. Speaking Sept. 12 at a press conference, Israel said the Arianespace manifest is the fullest it’s ever been, and the company is trying to create room for more launches to accommodate near-term demand.
“We are almost full up to 2018 with one opportunity for a big satellite in 2018,” he said, adding that Arianespace is endeavoring to offer additional launch slots “with Soyuz as a backup for small satellites, and by introducing one more Ariane next year and the year after.”

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Iridium Leads Maritime Market with High-Performing Numbers

Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that over the last 12 months, ending June 30, 2016, the company shipped over 2,200 Iridium Pilot® units, concluding with one of the best quarters in company history. Iridium Pilot, which is powered by Iridium OpenPort®, Iridium’s current global broadband service, is one of the fastest growing maritime products in the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) industry today. Over the same 12-month period, Iridium OpenPort subscriber base increased by 9 percent across the company’s vast partner network and customer base.
“We equip our customers’ fleets with the most reliable solutions, not only to ensure business continuity, but also so personnel feel safe and connected to life on land,” said Tore Morten Olsen, president maritime, Marlink.“We are pleased to work with Iridium to provide truly global back up coverage which we pair with our best-in-class Marlink Sealink VSAT. By combining VSAT and MSS we are able to offer a broader range of connectivity solutions for ship owners to choose from. Therefore, Iridium is an important partner for Marlink to provide the highest levels of flexibility for ship owners across all maritime segments and vessel sizes.”

Image result for Iridium Maritime Market
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Blue Origin Introduces New Glenn, its Reusable, Vertical-Landing Booster

Blue Origin has introduced New Glenn, its new reusable, vertical-landing booster. Named in honor of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, New Glenn is 23 feet in diameter and lifts off with 3.85 million pounds of thrust from seven BE-4 engines. Burning liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen, these are the same BE-4 engines that will power United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) new Vulcan rocket.
The 2-stage New Glenn is 270 feet tall, and a single vacuum-optimized BE-4 engine powers its second stage. The 3-stage New Glenn is 313 feet tall, powered by a single vacuum-optimized BE-3 engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The booster and the second stage are identical in both variants.

Comparison of Blue Origin's New Glenn rockets with other launch vehicles in the market.
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Army Weighs Ring of CubeSats in Next Satellite Demonstration

The United States Army is considering a demonstration constellation comprised of a ring of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for telecommunications services. The potential constellation, known as the Army Global on the Move Satcom (ARGOS) system, would prove out an Army science and technology experiment, determining if such a system would be practical for filling telecommunications infrastructure gaps for U.S. ground forces.
The Army has conducted two other satellite demonstrations in the recent past. In 2010, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) flew the SMDC Operational Nanosatellite Effect (SMDC-ONE) — the Army’s first satellite in 50 years — which demonstrated the viability of using CubeSats to relay and exfiltrate data from isolated ground sensors. SMDC flew five satellites as part of SMDC-ONE, showcasing over-the-horizon communications including voice, text message and data. The organization followed this with the SMDC Nanosatellite Program (SNaP-3), a trio of CubeSats that are still functioning today as a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) led by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

MDC-ONE rendition. Photo: U.S. Army illustration
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