Bangabandhu Satellite 1 Passes Critical Design Review, Advances Toward Launch
The Bangabandhu Satellite 1 program has successfully passed its Critical Design Review (CDR), which took place with Thales Alenia Space end of 2016. The Bangabandhu-1 (BD 1) satellite will be the first Bangladeshi geostationary communications satellite operated by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), which is scheduled to launch in 2017.
The program will now begin the production phase with the integration of the communications module in Thales Alenia Space plant in Toulouse, France and the service module in Cannes, with the mating set for March 2017. At the same time, the ground team is kicking off factory acceptance tests and starting local work on the installation of ground antennas.
ExactEarth to Provide India’s Navy with Satellite-AIS
ExactEarth has signed a contract with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), to provide satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) data services to the Indian Navy. The three-year subscription revenue contract is valued at $1.75 million in total.
With more than 7,500 km of coastline and significant offshore resources, keeping track of maritime activity is paramount to maintaining India’s security and economic activity. ExactEarth’s Satellite AIS technology will help its client to identify, detect and track vessels of interest and to secure the country’s maritime borders.
Palau Telecoms Takes More O3b Capacity
Palau Telecoms has increased network capacity with O3b Networks for the fifth time in less than 24 months, nearly doubling its service capacity since going live over O3b in January 2015. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) has since upgraded regularly to keep up with subscriber demand, twice each in 2015 and 2016, and already once in 2017.
Palau Telecoms is located on the Island of Palau, a remote archipelago of more than 300 islands located South East of the Philippines in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Gilat, Air Esurfing Partner to Bring IFC to China’s Domestic Airlines
With the aim to transform the domestic In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) market in China, Gilat Satellite Networks has announced a strategic partnership with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media Group. The companies intend to use China’s Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity for domestic IFC services over mainland China.
Gilat and Air Esurfing will jointly deliver broadband connectivity to airlines throughout China. Gilat will use its multi-service HTS platform, which will operate with ChinaSatcom’s Ka-band capacity planned to launch in 2017. Gilat’s solution promises speeds of 100 Mbps to “many dozens” of passengers per aircraft, according to a Jan. 17 statement released by the company. Gilat will provide a complete IFC terminal including its ER6000-A Ku/Ka antenna terminal and its Taurus Modman. The companies will jointly pursue Standard Type Certificate (STC) certification for the Gilat system with commercial trials planned for early 2018.
China Launches Second Telecom Test Satellite
China successfully launched its second telecommunication technology test satellite on Jan. 5 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Xinhua, China’s sate-run news source, has reported.
The satellite was launched at 11:18 p.m. local time by a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
CNES Commits Satellites to Cut Back on Climate Change
France’s government space agency, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) has signed a framework agreement with the French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Maritime Affairs (MEEM) with the aim to develop new space systems and applications, notably in the fields of climate monitoring and mobility. The agreement will strengthen and extend the scope of the previous agreement signed in 2011.
This new agreement reflects recent space efforts engaged to curb climate change, with the go-ahead for the MicroCarb and MERLIN satellites that will monitor emissions of carbon gases and methane. It also recognizes the creation of CNES’s new Directorate of Innovation, Applications and Science (DIA). Climate and innovation are two key thrusts of the agency’s strategy that mesh closely with the ministry’s goal of boosting ecological competitiveness, environmental protection and mechanisms for coping with climate change.
To this end, the framework agreement signed by MEEM and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall ties in with the National Strategy for the Ecological Transition to Sustainable Development.
GMV Invests Funds, Technology into Reusable Rocket Start-Up
Spanish reusable rocket technology start-up PLD Space has received financial and technological backing from technology business group GMV. Alongside $7 million in funding through an investment fund and an office based in Valencia, GMV will also develop key technology and work jointly with PLD Space in the development of the launchers Arion 1 and Arion 2, with the aim of boosting the growth of both firms and winning a pole position in the market of small space launchers.
Under this agreement, GMV will aim to help develop the complete avionics of Arion 1 and Arion 2, including Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC), telemetry and onboard software of both launchers. GMV’s team will also be participating jointly with PLD Space in Arion 1 and Arion 2’s integration, qualification and launch-support operations, all during the phase of trial flights and commercial flights.
OneWeb Gets $1.2 Billion in Funded Capital Led by SoftBank Group
OneWeb has secured $1.2 billion in funded capital from SoftBank Group and existing investors, of which $1 billion will come from SoftBank. The fundraising round will support OneWeb’s technological development and the construction of its high volume satellite production facility. The new facility, based in Exploration Park, Florida will be capable of producing 15 satellites per week at a fraction of the current cost, according to OneWeb, and expediting construction, launch and operations of the company’s communications network.
Arianespace Poised for 12 Launches in 2017
Following 11 successful launches in 2016, Arianespace expects to maintain a sustained launch pace in 2017, with 12 planned launches.
The launch schedule will include up to seven launches with Ariane 5: Six Ariane 5 ECA launchers carrying satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) for global or regional operators and one Ariane 5 ES, which will orbit four more Galileo satellites for the European Commission and European Space Agency (ESA) in the second half of the year.
The company is also planning three launches with its Vega spacecraft, which will inject four Earth observation satellites into sun-synchronous orbit.
SES Finishes Refinancing Debt from O3b
SES has completed the refinancing of the remaining debt from its investment in Medium Earth Orbiting (MEO) satellite system O3b Networks. Since acquiring the remaining shares in O3b, SES has refinanced the entire $1.4 billion of gross debt at a materially lower average funding rate, the company said in a statement. The refinancing will deliver a total of approximately $63 million of annual finance cost savings, starting from 2017.
“The annual financing synergies will allow SES to maximize profitability and drive long-term returns,” said Padraig McCarthy, chief financial officer of SES.
IDC Announces New Video Broadcast Network in Mexico
Novra Technologies’ wholly owned subsidiary International Datacasting Corporation (IDC), has been selected to provide a new, enhanced infrastructure for RTV Nuevo Leon, the regional television and radio broadcaster for the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. On this project, IDC is partnering with prime contractor Rohde & Schwarz and longtime reseller Grupo Etercom.
The IDC Laser solution enables Digital Program Insertion (DPI) for targeting content such as information and advertisements by geographical region and/or demographic group. Additionally, it provides precise, frame-accurate switching of signals for a seamless viewer experience, according to IDC.
RTV Nuevo Leon’s new Canal 28 will use the Laser DPI capabilities to conform with regulations established by Mexico’s national electoral institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral). The network includes Laser MPS receivers at 34 regional stations across the state that receive a Second Generation Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite (DVB-S2) satellite signal and output Asynchronous Serial Interface (ASI) into Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) transmitters.
Eutelsat 117 West B All-Electric Satellite Enters Commercial Service
Eutelsat Communications’ Eutelsat 117 West B satellite has entered into full commercial service and is now ready to support customers across Latin America. Commercialized by the Eutelsat Americas affiliate, Eutelsat 117 West B is the second all-electric satellite in Eutelsat’s fleet. It is equipped with 48 Ku-band transponders, a 36 MHz equivalent, and connected to four beams covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the Andean region and the Southern Cone.
Eutelsat’s new satellite complements its Eutelsat 117 West A, launched in 2013, to create a multi-satellite neighborhood at 117 degrees west, which is already used by Millicom’s Tigo Star, Stargroup and Televisa. It will also provide key services to telecom operators and government service providers.
GlobalSat Licenses Inmarsat Ka, L-band Services Throughout Mexico
GlobalSat Group has obtained a license for all Inmarsat services through its Mexican affiliate MultiSAT. It has received official authorization and landing rights for foreign satellite signals in the Ka- and L-bands.
The Ka-band authorization includes Inmarsat I5 satellites, which deliver the new generation Global Express (GX) service, both for transmission (Earth to satellite) and reception (satellite to Earth), GlobalSat Group has also been authorized for L-band services.
Telefonica Launches 4G LTE in Antarctica
Telefonica Moviles Argentina (Movistar) has launched Antarctica’s first 4G LTE mobile network. At Marambio Base, a permanent Argentine research facility in Antarctic territory, the most remote region on the planet, the only viable method of data communication is through a satellite network.
In addition to increased data capacity to support 4G service for the 70 permanent residents and 5,000 annual visitors at Marambio, the solution has increased network stability and reliability compared to the previous communication network solution, according to a statement released by the company. Telefonica’s deployment at Marambio has increased data transfer speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 20 Mbps.
Cloud Constellation Signs First Partner for Space-Based Data Storage Network
Elara Comunicaciones, a Mexico-based provider of satellite connectivity, has signed on as the first channel partner of Cloud Constellation Corp., a cloud storage network of space-based data centers.
Elara will sell Cloud Constellation’s SpaceBelt services to customer markets in Mexico and Central and South America.
Yahsat Grows Y1B Services with Hughes’ Jupiter System
UAE-based satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat) is looking to refresh and expand services delivered over its Y1B Ka-band satellite by implementing Hughes Network Systems’ Jupiter System, incorporating the new DVB-S2X air interface standard. DVB-S2X is incorporated in Jupiter’s second-generation System on a Chip (SoC-2) and a new family of broadband Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs).
Yahsat’s satellite broadband service YahClick serves consumers, businesses and governments in the Middle East, Africa and Central and South West Asia. By upgrading its Jupiter satellite broadband system with DVB-S2X, the company aims to yield more scalable bandwidth while enhancing performance across all of its service categories. Yahsat’s service partners will gain capabilities such as Virtual Network Operator (VNO) access while using existing integrated Operation Support Systems/Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) and service delivery infrastructure via cloud services.
Al Yah 3, a new High Throughput Satellite (HTS), which is due to launch in early 2017 and will extend the company’s presence in Africa to 19 countries and Brazil.
Thuraya Helps Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon Get Back to School
Thuraya has supplied books for classrooms in Lebanon, where displaced Syrian children are being helped to return to structured school life. The telecommunications company is supporting the Ana Aqra Association, a non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-political association that exists to respond to the educational, psychosocial and cultural needs of children in the early years of learning. Since this is especially important in times of upheaval, Ana Aqra is focusing on many of the thousands of Syrian refugee children who are rebuilding their lives in Lebanon.
Ana Aqra supports Lebanese public schools, and serves 20,000 children every year throughout the country, providing a way back into formal education for those who are out of school.
RigNet Renews Contract to Provide Maritime Services in the Middle East
RigNet has renewed a multi-year contract with an international oil and gas service company. RigNet will provide services for the customer’s energy maritime vessels operating in the Middle East.
The customer’s vessels will include RigNet’s resilient managed communication solution using the latest VSAT technology, which is equipped with stabilized antennas. Also, the solution allows for the improvement of bandwidth distribution among the fleet.
Boeing to Build Next Spacecom Satellite for $161 Million
Israel-based Spacecom announced it will buy a satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems International for $161 million. The new satellite, Amos 17, would be aimed at expanding and growing Spacecom’s coverage in Africa, Middle East and Europe.
The company expects Amos 17 would launch in 2019 and have a life expectancy of 15 years. The new satellite contract comes as contact with its Amos 5 satellite, launched in 2011, was lost last year, and its Amos 6 satellite was destroyed in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion last September.
Iraqi TV Channel Al Rafidain Now Broadcasting Through Es’hailSat
The Al Rafidain TV channel is now available through Es’hailSat’s Es’hail 1 satellite, located at the 25.5 degree east hotspot covering the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Al Rafidain is an Iraqi satellite TV channel that showcases Iraqi political, economic, cultural and social identity. With the goal to advocate unity among Iraqis, the channel broadcasts programs that reject intolerance, fights sectarianism and racism, while highlighting the history and tradition of the Iraqi civilization, according to a statement released by Es’hailSat.
GEE Buys SES Mobile Communication Payload
Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) has acquired a Ku-band payload on the SES AMC 3 communication satellite in a move to boost capacity for its customers in North America, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. GEE will rebrand the satellite as Eagle 1. SES will operate the non-station-kept satellite and will support GEE’s strategic plan to optimize the quality of experience for its mobility customers on air land and sea.
“Eagle 1 is a key element in the strategic expansion of our global satellite network to optimize Quality of Experience (QoE) for our rapidly growing user base,” said Abel Avellan, president of GEE. “To that end, GEE is increasing satellite capacity and upgrading our robust ground infrastructure of owned teleports.”
Eagle 1 will be integrated into GEE’s global network as the company continues boost its own ground teleport infrastructure and technologies.
SpeedCast Completes CapRock Acquisition
Harris Corp. has completed the previously announced sale of its CapRock Communications commercial business to SpeedCast for $425 million in cash. CapRock, which was part of the company’s critical networks segment, is a premier global provider of managed satellite, terrestrial and wireless communications solutions for the cruise and energy markets.
According to a statement released by Harris, the company said that it will use proceeds from the transaction to pay down debt and return cash to shareholders.
UltiSat to Supply Satellite Bandwidth to Geospatial Intelligence Missions
The Defense Information Systems Agency Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA-DITCO) has awarded a Commercial Satellite Communication (ComSatCom) Transponded Capacity (CTC) task order to UltiSat to provide Ku-band bandwidth capacity to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Deployable Communications Systems (NDCS). Services provided will support Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) missions around the world.
3D Printing Rocket Fuel Could Cut Launch Costs in Half
Rocket Crafters (RCI) Co-founder, President and Chief Technology Officer Ronald Jones has been granted a U.S. patent for a method of designing and fabricating fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines using additive manufacturing technology, also known as 3D printing. This method aims to allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts, according to a recent statement released by the company. Jones stated that 3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbits at as low as half current launch costs.
Viva Partners with TikiLIVE to Boost OTT Services
Viva Entertainment Group, a developer of Over-the-Top (OTT) systems, has signed a strategic sales agreement with OTT content aggregator TikiLIVE, an OTT and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) provider. The agreement will give Viva access an array of TikiLIVE services, including Nielsen-rated networks and technology aggregation for its consumers and its business partners, as well as channels such as ESPN, AMC, Discovery, A&E, FX USA, History, National Geographic and others. VS