Via Satellite

LEO Satellite Momentum Shows no Signs of Slowing

Editor's note for April 2015.

Another month, and more major activity in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) market. Vern Fotheringham, the ex-CEO of Kymeta, a company that has been aiming to revolutionize the antenna market, has become the CEO of Leosat, a company looking to target the government and business markets with its LEO satellite constellation. Leosat aims to build a constellation of between 80 to 120 small satellites, in another intriguing announcement for the industry. It is an exciting time for satellite no doubt, although many maintain a healthy skepticism as to how successful such constellations will be — especially given the chequered history of these types of initiatives.

In this edition, we get the industry’s reaction to this flurry of LEO satellite announcements. We have exclusive interviews with six top executives in the industry, including four past Satellite Executive of the Year winners, about these new plans and what impact all of these constellations could have on the satellite industry as a whole. We also have a great column from Tim Farrar from TMF Associates who also looks at the prospects for these new constellations.

Additionally, our Junior Editor Caleb Henry takes an in-depth look at the milsatcom market. It has been a while since we have covered this market in such detail, and in this feature he talks to a number of key decision makers at the U.S. Air Force and NATO, for example, to see the trends in this marketplace. While governments are more prudent than ever, the need for satellite capacity is certainly not going away.

However, this year, it is all about LEO. Will lessons be learned from the past? How will they dovetail with these new high throughput satellites coming to market? There are so many questions. Over the next few years, I suspect we will find some very interesting answers.

Mark Holmes is the editorial director for Via Satellite and Avionics Magazine.