Regional Roundup: October/November 2016

Top satellite industry news from around the world.

Inmarsat, Hughes and SpeedCast Become Skynet Partners

Airbus Defence and Space, owner and operator of the Skynet X-band satellite system, has struck up partnerships with Inmarsat Government, Hughes Network Systems, and SpeedCast to offer Skynet military satellite communication services. The three companies are able to offer Skynet services to Australian, New Zealand and U.S. forces operating across the globe.

Inmarsat Government will include Skynet services as part of its portfolio offer to U.S. government customers. Hughes will use the partnership for U.S. government tactical missions, primarily using the Xebra service, which uses the Hughes HM300 lightweight X-band satellite terminal and Airbus Defence and Space’s Skynet capacity. SpeedCast will be offering the tactical secure communications services to the Australian and New Zealand government.

Rockwell Collins Providing System for New Zealand Defense Force WGS Access

Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

The New Zealand Defense Force, as part of the Strategic Bearer Network Phase 1 program, has awarded a second contract to Rockwell Collins for a Deployable Ku-band Earth Terminal (DKET) satcom system. The Strategic Bearer Network Phase 1 program oversees the modernization of networked communications equipment interfacing with the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system.

The DKET Earth terminal enables the transmission of high-bandwidth data, such as voice, imagery and video, across long distances and rugged, remote environments.

SIS Live Taps into Telstra Network to Reach Asia Pacific

SIS Live in the United Kingdom has linked up with Australia-based telecommunications and technology company Telstra to expand into the Asia Pacific region. The partnership gives SIS Live the ability to distribute content across Asia via Telstra’s submarine fiber cable network and teleports in Hong Kong and Sydney.

SIS Live’s combined fiber and satellite infrastructure includes a managed fiber network called Anylive that connects more than 100 sport and entertainment venues.

ISRO Selects Arianespace to Launch GSAT 11 Communications Satellite

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has selected Arianespace to launch its GSAT 11 telecommunications satellite. An Ariane 5 rocket will launch the satellite from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in 2017. The GSAT-11 satellite, designed, assembled and integrated by ISRO, will weigh about 5,725 kg at launch.

Ariane 5 on launch pad.Photo: ESA

GSAT-11 is an advanced communication satellite with multi spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby Islands to bring huge advantage to the user community, compared with the existing INSAT/GSAT satellite systems. With this new system architecture and the technology elements to be employed for realization, GSAT 11 will generate a capacity of more than 12 Gbps for users from a single platform, according to ISRO.

France 24 Debuts HD Service on AsiaSat 5

France 24 has selected AsiaSat 5 for the recent launch of its very first HD service in the world. Broadcasting since Sept. 1 this new HD service transmits FTA in English and marks a major milestone for the expanded partnership between France 24 and AsiaSat.

France 24 and AsiaSat have been partners since 2009 when France 24 first launched its English language news channel into Asia. In 2010, France 24 further expanded its service with the addition of its French channel on AsiaSat 5.

TricolorTV Launches Broadband Services in Russia Via Eutelsat 36C

TricolorTV, a Russian pay-TV platform with 12 million subscribers, has officially launched its new broadband service using the high throughput Ka-band capacity on the Eutelsat 36C satellite commercialized by Eutelsat Communications. The new service offers consumer and professional subscribers Internet access with speeds of up to 40 Mbps downstream and 12 Mbps upstream, with a range of tariffs tailored to end-user requirements.

Launched in December 2015, the Eutelsat 36C satellite features high-power capacity for TV broadcasting in European parts of the Russian Federation and a high throughput payload comprising 18 Ka-band beams delivering continuous coverage of Western Russia, from the Arctic coastline to the Caspian Sea. Eutelsat selected Gilat’s SkyEdge II-c hub with X-Architecture and SkyEdge II-c small user terminals to power broadband services from Eutelsat 36C from a hub installed at the Dubna satellite center operated by RSCC, near Moscow.

Thales Alenia Space Signs Phase B Contract with LeoSat

Left: Thales Alenia Space CEO Jean-Loic Galle; right: LeoSat CEO, Mark Rigolle.Photo: Business Wire

Thales Alenia Space and LeoSat Enterprises have signed the phase B contract for the development of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. It will offer very-high-speed broadband, low latency and secure global connectivity. The contract follows the initial phase resulting in the preliminary definition of the LeoSat constellation, which validated the technical feasibility of the system and its compatibility with other Ka-band services. Phase B concerns the detailed definition of the overall system architecture and performance specifications, including both the ground and space segments. It will also provide the framework needed to set up an optimized organization for production and deployment.

The LeoSat constellation will comprise from 78 to 108 high-power Ka-band satellites in LEO.

Spain Taps Indra to Build Space Radar System

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded Indra contracts to deploy a space surveillance and tracking system known as S3T for objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The company is tasked with developing and supplying the surveillance radar to cover between 200 and 2,000 kilometers. Additionally, Indra is to coordinate implementation and integration of the operations center and the radar and electro-optical sensors for gathering complementary information.

The total contract is worth 17 million euros ($19 million). According to Indra, the scalable design of the system may transform it into the most powerful radars ever designed in Europe.

DLR’s BIROS Satellite Successfully Releases BEESAT 4 Picosatellite Into Space

The Bi-Spectral Infrared Optical System (BRIOS) fire detection satellite developed and built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) successfully released the Berlin Educational and Experimental Picosatellite (BEESAT 4) into space on Sept. 9. The spacecraft was released at 515 kilometers above the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. BIROS launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on June 22, 2016.

Installing the BREESAT 4 picosatellite into the BRIOS spacecraft.Photo: DLR

Staff and students at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) developed and built the BEESAT 4 cubic satellite, with sides 10 centimeters long, with support from DLR Space Administration and funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Lockheed Martin and PGZ Sign LoI for Deeper Collaboration

Lockheed Martin has signed a wide-ranging Letter of Intent (LoI) with Poland’s state-owned defense company Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ). The agreement, signed at the International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO), paves the way for PGZ member companies to be directly involved in the manufacture of satellite systems, aircraft, helicopters, weapons and combat systems, training devices and simulators. Both Polish domestic and export customers are set to benefit from the agreement, according to Lockheed Martin.

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,. 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 and the Mexican government completed final field tests of Mexsat within 10 months following the launch of the last satellite, Morelos 3, in October 2015. The tests involved exercising the 3G+ services such as voice calls, push-to-talk, internet video sessions, asset tracking, voice mail and text messaging over secure links to prototype terminals on ships, planes, vehicles, handheld devices and fixed sites.

Telecoms Sans Frontieres Trains UN in Costa Rica for Disaster Response

Emergency telecoms agency Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) is training United Nations workers in Costa Rica on the support functionality of On-Site Operations Coordination Centers (OSOCC) for use in disaster situations. OSOCCs are the first port of call for aid agencies and search and rescue units, and as such are vital hubs for centralizing all the information necessary for a speedy and effective response.

UN emergency training with Telecoms Sans Frontieres in Costa Rica.Photo: Inmarsat

TSF plays an important role in showing the UN Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) body how to deal with the critical communication demands they would face in the event of a disaster, and how satellite connectivity would be used to respond to their communication needs when local lines are down.

Rockwell Collins Gets Approval for Satellite Connectivity in Brazil

Anatel, the telecommunications regulatory body of Brazil, has given Rockwell Collins the ability to sign distribution and service agreements with any satellite entities and customers operating in the country. The global license authorizes the company to sell satellite services in Brazil.

Brazil has been investing heavily in a growing network of airport and Air Traffic Control (ATC) facilities, and major events like the World Cup and 2016 Rio Games have also driven growth.

Hispamar Investing 1.5 Million Reals in Brazilian Audiovisual Market

Digital rendering of the Amazonas 2 satellite.Photo: Hispasat

Hispamar Satellites, the joint venture between Hispasat and Oi, has launched a strategic business action in the Brazilian audiovisual market through which it will invest more than 1.5 million reals ($460,000) in a program for installing reception equipment with the country’s main pay-TV operators. The investments are to enable operators to receive content through both standard and extended C-band, which is less vulnerable to interference, in order to promote the use of the latter type of frequency in the audiovisual sector. Hispamar expects all the equipment from the incentives program to be installed by the end of September.

Intelsat Wins HTS Contract from TIM Brasil

TIM, one of the largest mobile communications operators in Brazil, has entered an agreement to use Intelsat EpicNG High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services in its network infrastructure, providing expanded connectivity throughout the country. Under the multi-year agreement, TIM will become the first Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in Brazil to incorporate HTS services into its infrastructure, according to Intelsat.

TIM will use Ku-band on Intelsat’s first EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 29e at 310 degrees east, to support the roll-out of new sites in currently underserved areas, as well as to support the deployment of 3G and 4G services.

STC, Intelsat to Provide Connectivity to Oil & Gas Market in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Telecommunication Company (STC) has extended its relationship with Intelsat to support operations for the largest oil and gas producer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using Intelsat’s satellite solutions. Under a multi-year agreement, STC will use connectivity provided by Intelsat 10-02, located at 1 degrees west.

STC uses multiple satellites in Intelsat’s globalized network to provide high-quality broadband networking for corporate customers in the banking, government and oil and gas sectors operating throughout the Middle East and Asia. “The operations of oil and gas companies are important to Saudi Arabia and the global economy, and reliable broadband communications are a vital part of the sector’s daily operations,” said Walid Al Wabel, general manager of operations management at STC.

“Demand for VSAT connectivity in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East remains strong, demonstrating that satellite is the best option for delivering reliable communications services to large enterprises with hundreds of locations spread across vast and sometimes remote areas,“ said Shahrokh Khanzadeh-Amiri, Intelsat’s director of sales for the Middle East and North Africa.

Spacecom Kicks off Post-Amos 6 Recovery Plan

Spacecom is putting together a plan of action following the loss of its Amos 6 communication satellite due to the Sept. 1 explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. The company has begun measures to recover funds invested in the project.

Amos 6 during testing.Photo: Spacecom

“Spacecom has crafted a plan of action which represents the foundation upon which we shall recover from Amos 6’s loss. Our program includes, among other measures, exploring the possibility of procuring and launching a replacement satellite. Working quickly and efficiently, management is engaging with current and potential partners to move forward,” said David Pollack, president and CEO of Spacecom.

As part of the recovery plan, some of Spacecom’s current Ku-band clients on Amos 2 that were to relocate to Amos 6 will be instead relocated to Amos 3. For others, the company is planning to help find capacity on other satellites or possibly on a satellite that will be relocated.

Thuraya Announces Plans for L-Band Network Evolution, New Constellation

Thuraya 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.

Boeing to Build Communications Satellite for Global IP to Expand Broadband in Africa

Boeing will build a 702 satellite, called GiSAT, for Cayman Islands-based Global IP with a new digital payload offering twice the capacity of previous digital payload designs. Global IP will use the satellite to deliver streaming media, digital broadcast and other communications services to Sub-Saharan Africa with a coverage area encompassing 35 countries and 750 million people. Scheduled to enter service in 2019, GiSAT is designed to operate with more than 10 gateways in Europe and multiple gateways within Africa.

SES Training Satellite Dish Installers with Cable Channels Nigeria

SES has formed a four-day “Elevate” training program together with Cable Channels Nigeria Ltd. (CCNL) that will teach more than 50 people how to install a satellite television dish.

Licensed by the Nigeria National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), CCNL is the certified content aggregator and platform owner for FTA DTT and DTH platforms in Nigeria. The company is playing a key role in the Nigeria Digital Switchover (DSO) process by getting channels onto the land-based DTT network and onto satellite as DTH, both offered under the brand FreeTV.

Yuzhnoye Bringing Ukraine’s Cyclone 4 Launch Vehicle to North America

The State Space Agency of Ukraine has authorized the Yuzhnoye Design Office in Dnipro, Ukraine to proceed with a new international launch complex and operations in North America based on the existing Cyclone 4 rocket. The company is beginning a search for business and investment partners to develop the launch infrastructure and conduct sales, marketing, and mission management. On site assessments have already been conducted in Canada and the United States for possible launch complex locations.

The Cyclone 4 is an all-Ukrainian launch vehicle originally planned for use in the Ukrainian-Brazilian joint venture Alcantara Cyclone Space. Brazil decided in 2015 to discontinue the program, though Ukraine was still interested in progressing with the Cyclone 4. According to Yuzhnoye, Cyclone 4 launcher target pricing will be $45 million, all-inclusive, for 3,700kg payloads to Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Yuzhnoye has completed the Cyclone 4 launch vehicle design, and the first flight vehicle manufacturing is nearly complete, poising the company for near-term launch ability.

Clay Mowry.Photo: Arianespace

Clay Mowry Leaves Arianespace, Joins Blue Origin

Clayton “Clay” Mowry, president of Arianespace’s U.S. subsidiary Arianespace Inc., has joined Blue Origin. He joins the Kent, Washington-based company around the same time it announced New Glenn, its forthcoming pair of reusable orbital launch vehicles. Mowry led Arianespace’s Washington, D.C. office for 15 years, handling customer, industry and governmental relations.

In his place, Arianespace has promoted Wiener Kernisan as president of its U.S. subsidiary effective Sept. 26. Kernisan joined Arianespace as VP of sales and marketing in 2000, and has more than 35 years of experience in the commercial launch and satellite sectors. He will guide Arianespace’s customer, industry and governmental relations in the U.S. — a market that constitutes nearly one-fourth of the launch services contracts Arianespace has signed since its creation in 1980. Additionally, Kernisan will remain directly engaged in sales activities across the U.S. and Canada.

NOAA Selects GeoOptics and Spire for Commercial Weather Satellite Data Purchase

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded GeoOptics and Spire data purchase contracts under its Commercial Weather Data Pilot program. This is the first time NOAA has contracted to purchase satellite weather data from commercial providers. Under this pilot program, the companies will provide Global Positioning System Radio Occultation (GPS-RO), a critical weather data type, to NOAA for evaluation.

ULA Introduces RapidLaunch to Improve Order-to-Launch Times

United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced a new service called RapidLaunch, which it claims provides the customer the fastest schedule from the initial order to launch service in the industry today. According to Tory Bruno, ULA CEO and president, this new offering allows customers to launch in a few as three months from placing their order.

A United Launch Alliance rocket during lift off.Photo: ULA

In addition to the contracted launch date for the mission, now ULA can also assign the spacecraft as a backup to an earlier mission in the event that the earlier mission needs to move. If that happens, the RapidLaunch customer’s spacecraft can be pulled forward into that launch slot.

Hughes Reveals Second Generation Jupiter Satellite Broadband System

Hughes Network Systems has released the second generation of its Jupiter system. Building on the first version, the new iteration incorporates a second-generation System on a Chip (SoC-2) and new family of broadband VSATs. According to the company, the second-generation system yields improved operating economics for satellite service providers, notably through highly efficient allocation of bandwidth. VS

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