Regional Roundup: June 2015

Top satellite industry news from around the world

Inmarsat Signs Four Value Added Reseller Agreements in China for Global Xpress

Inmarsat has signed four Value Added Reseller (VAR) agreements with long-term partner Beijing Marine Communication Navigation Company (MCN), a division of China Transport Telecommunication & Information Center (CTTIC), to bring Global Xpress (GX) High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services to China. The agreement covers maritime, aviation, enterprise and Chinese government markets. According to Inmarsat, both companies are working together to deliver the first GX services in China as soon as possible.

Inmarsat provides satellite services in China exclusively through retail partners. MCN and Inmarsat have worked together since 1979, and is one of the companies that has delivered Inmarsat communications services to customers such as Air China, China National Petroleum Corporation, and China Central Television.

ISRO Launch Marks Halfway Point for IRNSS Constellation

The PSLV-C27 launch of IRNSS 1D.Photo: ISRO.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the fourth of seven satellites in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The March 28 launch of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, the 28th successful mission and seventh in the XL configuration, delivered the satellite into an elliptical orbit close to its intended location. According to ISRO, a sequence of four orbit maneuvers will move IRNSS 1D to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).

The first IRNSS satellite launched in July 2013, followed by two more in 2014. ISRO plans the next launch to occur within the coming months, with the final launches completed by 2016.

O3b Networks Signs UNITECH as First Education Customer

O3b Network’s inked a contract with the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) for trunking services, making it the company’s first education customer. The university will use O3b’s Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) system located in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) for Internet access, replacing terrestrial fiber and lower throughput satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).

UNITECH serves around 3,000 students, which come mainly from Papua New Guinea and nearby Pacific countries.

Intelsat, BT and ITC Global Donate Emergency Satellite Solutions for Vanuatu

Aftermath of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.Photo: UNICEF Pacific.

As communities in the South Pacific Islands of Vanuatu grapple with major devastation and severe power and communications outages left in the wake of Cyclone Pam, Intelsat, BT Group, and ITC Global have donated satellite capacity, equipment and manpower to help restore critical communication networks across Vanuatu.

Providing vital broadband connectivity to humanitarian and disaster relief organizations working on-site, including NetHope, BT is using capacity on Intelsat 18 located at 180 degrees east, linking via the IntelsatOne terrestrial network at Intelsat’s Riverside, Calif. teleport. Satellite service provider ITC Global delivered technical and engineering support to help restore connectivity at designated sites in Vanuatu.

Optus Satellite Partners with Laser Light on HALO Network

Australia-based Optus Satellite has teamed up with the U.K.’s Laser Light Global to incorporate the operator’s satellite facilities and terrestrial fiber into Laser Light’s All Optical Hybrid Global Network, known as “Halo.” Optus will be a preferred supplier and local distributor of Laser Light’s SpaceCable space-based laser communications service.

Laser Light is building a satellite network that operates completely via optical spectrum instead of radio frequency. The company plans a constellation of eight to 12 satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).

RigNet Signs Three-Year Contract with International Midwater Drilling Contractor

RigNet has signed a three-year contract with a Norwegian international midwater drilling contractor to deliver managed network communications solutions on a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in the North Sea. Through this contract, RigNet is delivering a fully-managed end-to-end IP network solution using VSAT technology for last-mile connectivity.

The solution includes crew Wi-Fi, Voice over IP (VoIP), enterprise data, and Internet access services supported by 24/7 network monitoring and support from RigNet’s Network Operations Center (NOC). If required, the customer will also receive local field technician support, with backhaul to the company’s offices via a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connection. The end user experience is improved through a Wide-Area Network (WAN) optimization service powered by Riverbed Steelhead appliances.

Sevis, Eutelsat Partner to Deliver 3G/LTE Backhaul over Ka-Sat

Eutelsat’s Ka-Sat HTS.Photo: Airbus.

Sevis Systems, a developer of backhaul optimization technology, has successfully validated its platform for backhaul services on Eutelsat’s Ka-Sat satellite. The new solution offers a more affordable and optimized satellite backhaul service to specialized satellite service providers delivering end-to-end backhaul bandwidth to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Sevis and Eutelsat are now offering the solution across Ka-Sat’s entire footprint of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

These new services can deliver 3G and LTE to remote or rural locations without access to terrestrial backhaul. Ka-Sat’s ability to provide backhaul connectivity between a core network and the access infrastructure at a remote site is suitable for mobile operators and Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) for emergency services and civil defense.

Data Path Wins Contract to Equip Denmark with WGS Terminals

Data Path has received a $6.8-million, firm, fixed-price contract through a sole source acquisition to provide Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) supplies to Denmark. Under the contract, the company is to provide five WGS satellite communications (satcom) terminals to the Danish Air Force and 29 WGS satcom terminals for the Danish Army. Data Path will also train and provide related equipment for both military branches.

Sierra Nevada Corporation, DLR Extend Dream Chaser Agreement

Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser.Photo: NASA.

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have signed a new agreement to work together on the Dream Chaser space vehicle. The company and the space agency will extend a previous one-year Dream Chaser technical agreement signed in 2013 out to 2017.

The partnership continues developmental work and the identification of new technologies to advance the vehicle’s use in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for both crewed and uncrewed missions.

The DLR co-funded the Dream Chaser for European Utilization (DC4EU) study performed with SNC and OHB Systems AG (OHB).

RSCC Equips Russian Center for Large Hadron Collider Experiments

Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has supplied equipment to Russia’s first Tier-1 center for experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The company worked with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) to support the research project. The recently inaugurated center enables processing and storage of large quantities of data from the LHC.

RSCC has been working together with the JINR on broadband data services and high-tech projects for over ten years.

Arianespace Inks Agreement to Launch Peru’s First Satellite

Arianespace has signed a launch service contract with Airbus Defense & Space to launch the PeruSat 1 satellite for the government of Peru.

Built by Airbus Defence & Space in Toulouse, France, PeruSat 1 is a high-resolution Earth Observation (EO) satellite. The first satellite of this type to be operated by Peru, it will be placed in Sun-synchronous orbit using a Vega launch vehicle. The satellite will weigh about 450 kg at launch, which is scheduled for 2016 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

Brastrading Building Regional In-Flight Connectivity Service for Latin America

Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil.Photo: Andre Manoel.

Brastrading, an infrastructure-engineering firm with roots in Brazil, is building out an In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service that could one day cover the entire continent of South America. The company took the lease on a Ka-band package on the Eutelsat 3B satellite, which launched in May 2014, gaining access to an uplink beam and four fully steerable downlink beams. According to Brastrading CEO Wagner Moura, IFC conversations with potential customers have already started, and a number of Brazilian and Latin American airlines are negotiating service agreements.

“Almost immediately one of the applications that jumped out with people asking us if we were interested in providing the bandwidth was aviation,” Moura told Via Satellite.

Brastrading started as a trading company in Brazil, leveraging expertise in navigating the country’s regulations for customers that desired to import goods. Over time, the company started working with telecommunications equipment such as microwave, cellular and VSAT. Now, having access to satellite capacity, the company hopes to become a regional provider for IFC.

“Our focus has been on delivering high volumes of bandwidth at low cost to the airlines and, by extension, low cost to the passengers in the Brazilian market initially. Then [we are] planning on expanding to the rest of Latin America in 2017-2018 with new Ka-band capacity that would cover effectively South America from the far south all the way through to being able to handover to Ka-band aviation service in the United States with ViaSat,” said Moura.

Brastrading plans to invest significantly in Ka-band capacity to cover Latin America. Moura said the company ruled out Ku- band due to underwhelming bandwidth efficiency with small antennas. Moura is also not in favor of ATG, arguing that backhaul requirements on the ground would severely inhibit the quality of such a service in Brazil. Building an ATG network would also be a challenge given the country’s topography.

“The real blocking-issue over time in all this is global availability of Ka-band. It is regionally distributed so we are waiting for more capacity. That is one of the reasons we are going to invest in satellites to provide Ka capacity in Latin America, not just selected areas but everywhere where it is germane,” he said.

Televisa Renews and Expands Capacity on Eutelsat Satellites

Televisa has renewed and increased capacity on three Eutelsat Communications satellites with coverage of the Americas. The multi-year, multi-transponder contract strengthening the longstanding relationship between Televisa and Eutelsat was announced at the NAB show in Las Vegas, Nev.

The capacity will also serve Televisa Networks’ requirements for capacity for contribution and occasional use.

Advantech Wireless Demos Cellular Backhaul LTE Solution in Bolivia

View of the Plaza Pedro Di Murillo in downtown La Paz, Bolivia.Photo: Guillaume Audureau.

Advantech Wireless has successfully completed a live demonstration of its cellular backhaul LTE Solution in Bolivia with its next generation VSAT modems and hub. The company conducted the demonstration to homologate its satellite platform with the LTE eNodeB from one of the major vendors of cellular equipment, paving the way for rural broadband coverage implementation in the country.

The test and deployment were made in C-band and working with the Bolivian Satellite Tupac Katari. This demonstration was completed one week after the first satellite LTE connection was successfully installed.

Gilat Satcom Creates Low Cost Solution for Nano-ISPs

Gilat Satcom has released a portfolio of connectivity solutions for remote communities in Africa to access a satellite network for prices starting at $1 a month. The company’s “Village Island” offerings provide satellite solutions for low Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) customers in rural areas.

The Village Islands portfolio has three components that customers can use individually or together: Basic Island, Wi-Fi Island, and Cellular Island; each offer different degrees of connectivity. The network solutions provide broadband, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and Video over IP.

According to Gilat Satcom, a private village nano Internet Service Provider (nano-ISP) will be responsible for selling the services direct in the village, billing users and paying the monthly service charge to the provider. The nano-ISP can be a government or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), private companies, schools, religious institutions or a village chief. Gilat Satcom supplies detailed business plans to nano-ISPs to help establish profitable and commercially sustainable services.

Euroconsult Report Sees Robust Prospects for Satellite in Sub-Saharan Africa

A VSAT in Tanzania.Photo: Chris Gansen.

The transition to digital television, increasing growth of mobile services, and the burgeoning connectivity needs of sectors such as energy, banking and mining, are fueling demand for satellite services in Sub-Saharan Africa, which Euroconsult expects will remain healthy for many years to come. The research firm’s newest report, “Prospects for Satellite Communications & Broadcasting in Africa” predicts a Calculated Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11 percent for capacity leased over the next decade.

Euroconsult found that Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall satellite capacity use increased 11 percent CAGR from 2009 to 2014, overcoming the challenge of terrestrial fiber network build-out in many areas, as well as the decrease in international trunking demand.

Thuraya Certifies GRC Arion Solution to Provide Commercial TacSat

Thuraya Telecommunications Company and Global RadioData Communications (GRC) announced the successful certification of GRC’s Arion solution. End-users can now use limitless Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) broadcast range for their tactical multi-band, encrypted radios over Thuraya’s broadband service.

The Arion solution is certified for use on the Thuraya network using the Thuraya IP and IP+ broadband terminals.

RR Media Boasts End-to-End 4K Capabilities

Photo: RR Media.

RR Media has expanded its 4K capabilities to cover the complete content lifecycle from creation all the way to consumption. The company will cover the full gamut of services including preparation, creation of content and optimizing delivery.

RR Media currently distributes 4K channels for France TV and the Explorer Network using its smart global network, which distributes content DTH by satellite and fiber to millions of viewers in Europe. The company uses content management facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom. and the Middle East to manage complex projects from end-to-end at higher resolutions.

Arabsat Upgrades Earth Station to Boost Interference Detection

Arabsat has signed a contract with Siemens Convergence Creators to provide a new Communication System Monitoring (CSM) for the Dirab Earth station. The system includes SIECAMS, which bolsters the operator’s satellite monitoring and interference detection capabilities.

Siemens Convergence Creators’ CSM will monitor all the traffic from Arabsat’s satellite fleet, providing continuous awareness of RF and Quality of Service (QoS) measurements, the characterization, decoding and analysis of all carriers within the payload.

SES GS to Host NASA Payload on SES 14

The University of Colorado has awarded a five-year contract to SES Government Solutions (SES GS) to host a NASA-funded payload on board the SES 14 satellite. The primary purpose of the Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is to modernize the understanding of the space environment by filling the critical gap in knowledge of Sun-Earth connections. The contract includes satellite construction, launch and two years of on-orbit operations, with options to extend on an annual basis. The satellite has a life expectancy of 15 years. Launching in 2017, SES 14 will replace SES’s NSS 806 satellite at 47.5/48 degrees west.

The hosted payload will transmit data of the Sun’s impact on the Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere from Geostationary (GEO) orbit. Both of these layers of the Earth’s upper atmosphere are very sensitive to space weather events and space climate, with potential societal impacts. Uncertainties in the thermosphere are a primary source of uncertainty for operating satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Fluctuations in the ionosphere interfere with signals from communications and global positioning satellites.

Intelsat Bolsters Media Services with IntelsatOne Prism

Intelsat’s Atlanta Ga. teleport where the Prism hub is operated.Photo: Intelsat.

Intelsat has released a new fully automated, converged IP-based platform for media customers called IntelsatOne Prism that enables multiple content transmissions from one platform. Customers can continue to use legacy assets while implementing digital media networking to increase bandwidth efficiency while streamlining delivery and operational networks.

IntelsatOne Prism is fully integrated with Intelsat’s satellite fleet and its terrestrial IntelsatOne network. Services leverage the Newtec Dialog multiservice broadcast solution with Intelsat’s infrastructure and include 24/7 monitoring.

Intelsat will begin the rollout of IntelsatOne in North America, with a formal reveal conducted by means of a 4K Ultra-HD television demonstration at NAB with partners Newtec, iStreamPlanet and PSSI.

SolAero Technologies to Acquire Alliance Spacesystems

SolAero Technologies, a provider of space solar power solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Alliance Spacesystems, a provider of high-performance composite structures for spacecraft applications. The combination of SolAero and Alliance creates a vertically integrated satellite subsystem provider offering its satellite OEM customers improved value across a spectrum of mission-critical products and technical solutions.

SST-US, Aerojet Rocketdyne, NanoRacks Develop FeatherCraft Satellite Line

The International Space Station (ISS).Photo: NASA.

Surrey Satellite Technology US (SST-US) announced its collaboration with Aerojet Rocketdyne and NanoRacks on the development of the FeatherCraft platform, a satellite platform optimized for deployment from the International Space Station (ISS). The 100-kilogram, SST-US-designed platform is intended to exploit the full capabilities of ISS cargo resupply vessels and the NanoRacks Kaber deployment system aboard the ISS.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s electronic propulsion system permits handling of FeatherCraft inside the ISS, meaning astronauts can position it on the Kaber deployer for deployment into orbit. It has a mission lifetime of five years. SST-US will manufacture, integrate, and test FeatherCraft at its Englewood, Colo. facility.

Globalstar Unveils New Satcom Antenna for Experimental Aviation Market

Globalstar announced its new aviation antenna is now available for use with Experimental Category Aircraft (STC for Part 23 aircraft approval pending), offering pilots fast and affordable satellite communication. Paired with the Globalstar Satellite Phone (GSP-1700) or the Globalstar Sat-Fi satellite hotspot, the new aviation antenna allows for voice and data communication while in-flight and completely independent of cellular coverage.

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