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Monday, August 14, 2017

This Week in Satellite News! (Aug 07 – Aug 14 2017)

RigNet, Inmarsat disputing cancelled $65 million Global Xpress contract

RigNet, a supplier of telecommunications services to the oil and gas industry, has pulled out of a $65 million capacity lease on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation, triggering a legal dispute between the two companies.
In an Aug. 8 filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, RigNet said it gave Inmarsat a “notice of termination” for the contract, “pursuant to its contractual rights under the agreement.”

Inmarsat 5 F1 and F2 Global Xpress satellites at Boeing's El Segundo, California-facility. Credit: Inmarsat
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Falcon 9 launches Dragon with heavy science payload

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft Aug. 14 with a diverse payload of science experiments for the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:31 p.m. Eastern, and deployed the Dragon spacecraft into low Earth orbit 10 minutes later. Neither NASA nor SpaceX reported any issues during the countdown or liftoff. The Dragon, flying a mission designated SpX-12, will arrive at the ISS early Aug. 16.

Falcon 9 CRS-12 launch
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Addvalue, Inmarsat Jointly Launch Inter-satellite Data Relay Service

As a follow-through of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) announced in February, Addvalue Technologies has formalized an agreement with Inmarsat to jointly offer a commercial on-demand communications service specifically designed to address the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite market. According to the companies, the service, termed Inter-Satellite Data Relay Service (IDRS), will enhance and improve the operational efficiency of LEO satellite operations globally and could be of particular interest to operators of scientific, weather forecasting, Earth observation and imaging missions.

Addvalue produced the terminal for Inmarsat's Inter-Satellite Data Relay System, which was tested in orbit on the Velox-11 satellite built by Nanyang Technological University's Satellite Research Center in Singapore. Credit: AVI
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Researchers Send Quantum “Hack-Proof” Message Via Satellite

Chinese researchers have been experimenting with laser technology in hopes of unlocking a new way to securely transmit data via satellite using quantum technology. Now, researchers have announced some progress using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) to communicate with the Micius satellite, which beamed messages to two mountain-top receiving stations.

Rendition of satellite laser communications. Photo: NASA.
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U.S. Army prepares to launch Kestrel Eye satellite atop Falcon 9

The U.S. Army is set to launch its Kestrel Eye electro-optical microsatellite Aug. 14 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, service officials said last week at the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
The Kestrel Eye satellite, built by Adcole Maryland Aerospace, is due to launch from Cape Canaveral as part of a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, said during the symposium.

Kestrel Eye
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Smallsat industry seen as robust enough to survive any bubble

Is the smallsat industry in the midst of a bubble? Yes and no, according to one group of experts.
A panel discussion about smallsat business and finance issues during the 31st Annual Conference on Small Satellites here Aug. 8 argued that while the recent surge of investment in small satellite ventures will likely lead to future consolidation, the underlying industry itself is not in danger of collapse.
“I think the trend is absolutely to smallsats,” said Randy Segal, senior partner at law firm Hogan and Lovells. “I think the existence of smallsats, going from big sats to smallsats, is not a bubble. It’s going to stay.”

Tyvak cubesat
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Smallsat market forecast to exceed $30 billion in coming decade

French consultancy Euroconsult forecasts that significant expansion in terms of capabilities and demand is underway in the smallsat market.
More than 6,200 smallsats are to be launched in the next 10 years, with the market value expected to reach up to $30.1 billion, compared with $8.9 billion in the previous decade, according to a report Euroconsult released last month.

Walter Ballheimer, the CEO of German Orbital Systems, said the company considers Euroconsult’s estimates realistic, but space “is a risky and expensive business.”

The forecast is “based on estimations of a successful deployment of OneWeb and SpaceX megaconstellations which technically are also small satellites,” he said. Credit: German Orbital Systems
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Inmarsat says business largely immune to current capacity oversupply

British satellite operator Inmarsat says the mobility markets where it does the most business are largely unaffected by today’s oversupply of capacity, and in some cases might need even more.
London-based Inmarsat placed one of the only three geostationary satellite orders awarded industry-wide this year as other operators continue to hold on new investments.
Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s CEO, told investors Aug. 3 that it’s arguably not a surprise that operators who do worry about oversupply “are beginning to sit on their hands and let the supply play out” rather than worsen their predicament, but that burden is not Inmarsat’s.

Inmarsat EAN satellite
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