viernes, 13 de agosto de 2010

Army Under Pressure to Bring Broadband to the Battlefield

The Army has more radios, computers and advanced networking technology than ever before. Soldiers at war, alas, are information-deprived.
Despite an information-technology buying spree over the past decade, the Army has yet to figure out how to sate troops’ gargantuan appetite for information and ever-growing needs for battlefield intelligence. Current battlefield networks are accessible by divisions, brigades and battalions. But smaller units remain digital orphans, even though they lead the day-to-day fighting in current wars. The squads, platoons and companies require high-bandwidth connectivity so they can share information and gain instant awareness of what is happening on the ground, Army officials said.


Help appears to be on the way. In the Army’s 2010 modernization roadmap, the “network” is billed as a top priority. After more than a decade of failed efforts and billions of dollars spent, the pressure is on for the Army to deliver a battlefield network that supports small, mobile units. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli characterized the network as essential to the future Army. “It will require an open architecture that will allow further plug-and-play development in the future as our network grows and matures,” Chiarelli said at an industry conference last year.
The Army since the early 1990s has made several attempts at building a battlefield Internet, but the technology has leapt way ahead of the military procurement bureaucracy. The closest the Army has come to having an IP network at the squad level is in the “land warrior” system — an ensemble that includes a communications and navigation computer-radio suite. In the land warrior network, each member can pinpoint other soldiers’ locations by simply looking at a display. But this is only a niche solution and does not solve the larger problem of connecting every element of a deployed brigade.
Visions of broadband connectivity in the field and smart phones that can be constantly updated with new applications, from a technical standpoint, are realistic, experts said. But they will never be realized as long as the Army continues to buy IT the same way it acquires tanks and helicopters. It simply takes too long to move technology to the field, and by the time it gets there, the market already has moved on.
The Army’s chief information officer, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, said at an industry conference that the service since 9/11 has tripled its inventory of radios to more than 900,000 and increased its ability to transmit data within U.S. Central Command networks from 46 megabytes per second to about 10 gigabytes per second.
Similar capabilities have not trickled down into the small units that don’t have access to the high-tech command centers and need mobile equipment they can operate from their trucks. Platoons and squads have line-of-sight radios — whose signals are blocked by buildings or mountains — with low-bandwidth and they are unable to chat online or transmit images. Soldiers at a typical forward base in Afghanistan using line-of-sight radios travel only a few miles down the road before they lose their connection to the base.
Under a program called Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team Increment 1, or E-IBCT, the Army is piecing together its most advanced information technologies into a deployable network that would allow soldiers to not only stay connected to each other but also to capture intelligence from unmanned sensors and disseminate it throughout the brigade. The Army’s 3rd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, which is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012, will be the launch customer for the new technologies. Soldiers from the brigade are testing the systems at Fort Bliss, Texas. If the Pentagon approves additional funding, more brigades could be equipped with the advanced network later this decade.
With this technology, the “company commander becomes the network quarterback for the Army,” said Lt. Col. Darby McNulty, deputy program manager for network systems integration. The future company “command post” is being designed to link all soldiers in a company and below, and also to connect the company with higher echelons and with national intelligence databases via satellite. The command post could be set up in a fixed site or could be installed in the cab of a large armored truck.
The nearly 1 million radios that the Army currently owns, however, are not part of this setup. The E-IBCT program is building the network with new software-programmable radios that were developed by the Defense Department’s “joint tactical radio system” or JTRS program. The radios can be programmed to operate a variety of software communication applications that are called “waveforms.”
JTRS program officials said that current radios cannot deliver the high bandwidth that deployed forces need and cannot run the required software applications.
For the company command post, three waveforms are required: The soldier radio waveform (for narrowband communications within a company), the wideband networking waveform (for broadband data transfer) and the network centric waveform (for satellite-based communications). The soldier radio waveform capacity to pass data is about 500 to 600 kilobits per second. The wideband networking waveform transfers five megabytes per second.
JTRS hardware includes a family of radios — a half-pound device for small robots, a two-pound handheld “rifleman” radio, a 14-pound “manpack” and a four-channel command-post system. The entire JTRS program includes nine waveforms not just for the Army but for the other branches of the military as well.
For the first time, the latest advances in radio communications are being brought together in a live exercise, McNulty said during a conference call with reporters. The recent tests at Fort Bliss proved that JTRS is an essential piece of the Army’s future network, he said. “It’s something you absolutely want to stick with.”
For the exercise, mobile company command posts installed aboard armored trucks were outfitted with “network integration kits,” which are the network hubs connecting the terrestrial and satellite layers of the network to one another. Each NIK consists of a command-and-control terminal, called the “integrated computer system,” a four-channel JTRS ground mobile radio and a blue-force tracker display screen. Dismounted soldiers carried either a JTRS rifleman radio or a manpack radio.
The radios in each vehicle create a “mobile ad-hoc network,” or manet. Each tactical radio functions as a cell phone tower. At the tests in Fort Bliss, engineers extended the range of the network by adding an “aerial layer” made up of unmanned aircraft and helicopters that were outfitted with small JTRS radios. “We were able to extend sensor and position data beyond 20 km, in some cases up to 40 km,” McNulty said.
The four-channel JTRS, made by The Boeing Co., runs the soldier radio waveform, the wideband networking waveform and the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, or Sincgars, waveform, which allows the commander to talk to all the vehicles in the unit. Sincgars is the most commonly used radio net in the Army.
Details about how the network will be organized and what specific equipment will be acquired are still being hashed out, said McNulty. “We need to better understand who needs what information at what level so we can better optimize the network,” he said. “If you can eliminate extraneous information you can improve the quality of the network, if you send everything to everyone all at once the quality of your service decreases exponentially.”
Tests will continue over the next several months.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this program is under intense scrutiny. The Pentagon’s senior acquisition officials will be reviewing test results this fall, and will determine whether the program will continue to receive funding. A separate evaluation is under way within the Army. This “network capabilities portfolio review” will examine the entire litany of Army IT programs and nominate winners and losers. It will look at whether the Army can afford to acquire new equipment, whether it should stick with “legacy” systems or, a most likely outcome, whether it should have a mix. Overseeing this review is Chiarelli, who has expressed concern about the “affordability” of current programs and famously brandished his iPhone as an example of the low-cost apps-friendly IT that soldiers need but the Army’s plodding acquisition system is unable to provide.
Another contentious issue in the ongoing reviews is whether JTRS can make up for lost time and deliver hardware at prices that are competitive with other radios. JTRS has been in development since 1999 and originally was scheduled to be fielded by 2006. Delays dogged the program as the slippages coincided with the war buildup, when billions of dollars were being appropriated in emergency war budgets to purchase new radios. When it became clear that JTRS was not ready, the Army poured billions into other radios. The result is today’s inventory that has tripled in size.
JTRS program officials now are forecasting that the models that the Army needs — the JTRS HMS (handheld/manpack/small form-fit) radios will be ready for deployment by 2011.
“These radios provide digital connectivity, networking down to the soldier level. That has not been done before,” said Army Col. John V. Zavarelli, program manager for JTRS HMS. Orders of up to 215,000 HMS radios are expected, he said in an interview. “We believe they could increase to 250,000 based on service needs.”
Zavarelli said he was not familiar with the Army’s network review and could not comment on the affordability of JTRS. He said all the services have been funding their share of JTRS research and development expenses. “I’m not sure the costs are an issue,” he said. “I certainly haven’t been told it in that way.”
About 750 pre-production radios have been purchased so far from prime contractor General Dynamics. Once the radios are cleared for full-rate production, the JTRS program office will solicit competitive bids from vendors for each variant. The assumption is that competitors will challenge General Dynamics and help to drive down prices, Zavarelli said. Several industry sources told National Defense that current JTRS HMS handheld radios cost upwards of $75,000 each, but Zavarelli said he could not confirm or discuss prices.
“We are on the edge of operational testing and limited rate production decisions in the next year,” he said. “We’ve offered some alternatives for accelerating and are waiting for a decision.”
Radio suppliers are watching these events closely as they seek to position their products for future JTRS business. Several executives interviewed for this story said they fear that the JTRS program is too rigid in that only radios that strictly meet the technical specifications of JTRS will be allowed to compete. That means none of the radios that exist in the military’s inventory today are acceptable. Under that scenario, the Army would be in a position of having to replace hundreds of thousands of radios that already are paid for and installed. A radio installation kit for an average Army vehicle costs more than the radio itself. When JTRS was conceived in the late 1990s, it was assumed that the radios would be installed in new Future Combat Systems vehicles. But when the FCS vehicle program was terminated last year, some Army officials sounded alarms about what this meant for JTRS. “By losing FCS a lot of the Army’s network and communications programs seriously unraveled,” said a retired Army officer who was closely involved in FCS.
Ripping out existing radios and installing new JTRS systems across the Army’s fleets of vehicles would be an exorbitant expense, several industry sources said. They don’t see how the Army will go along with such a plan when the services are under pressure to cut costs and find $100 billion in savings across all defense programs over the next five years.
Officials from one of the Army’s major radio suppliers, ITT Corp., have for years been trying to sell the idea that its Sincgars combat radios could be modified to run the soldier radio waveform (SRW) so the Army would not have to replace them with more expensive JTRS systems. ITT is the prime contractor for the SRW software and also the manufacturer of the Sincgars radios that the U.S. military has been using since the early 1980s.
ITT has delivered more than 500,000 radios, nearly half of them during the past two years. War funds paid for a huge expansion of ITT’s manufacturing plant so it could ramp up production from 1,000 to 6,000 radios per month. The Army Science Board, an advisory panel, recommended in a 2007 report that the Army “stop buying Sincgars immediately” so it could invest the money in “future, not legacy hardware.” But Congress continued to fund Sincgars purchases, and production continues to this day, although Army orders are scheduled to end in a couple of years.
With such a large inventory in the force, it is hard to see how the Army can toss it and buy all new hardware, said David Prater, ITT vice president for network communications.
“We’ve proposed adding a single channel SRW to keep the cost down,” he said. “For $10,000 to $15,000 you’d get a two-channel radio that does Sincgars or SRW,” compared to a $75,000 two-channel manpack that does those two waveforms plus perhaps one or two others,” Prater said.
“The Army is wrestling with this,” he said. The timing has worked against JTRS. “In the meantime you’ve got all these Sincgars radios,” Prater said. “JTRS kind of missed the war. A lot of equipment was bought” during the past eight years.
Zavarelli insists that none of these options meets the requirements of JTRS.
“Some radios by design are incapable of hosting narrowband and wideband waveforms,” he said. ITT has suggested adding a “sidehat” data radio to Sincgars that could run the SRW waveform, but Zavarelli is not convinced that it would work. “That’s a separate entire radio that’s added to the Sincgars. I have a requirement for SRW radios and that’s what we are doing.”
Other vendors also have questioned the radio-procurement strategy as well as the Army’s larger game plan for acquiring information technology.
The Defense Department spent the better part of a decade developing JTRS and during that time the industry has moved on to other products and the technology landscape has changed, said Steve Marschilok, president of defense business at Harris RF Communications.
Any company that competes for JTRS production contracts will have to build a custom radio that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the marketplace, Marschilok said.
“You can’t procure IT the way we always have,” said Dennis Moran, vice president of Harris Corp.’s government communications systems division. The Army is stuck with an “antiquated requirements process that goes from Fort Gordon, to Fort Monroe, to the Pentagon,” Moran said. “You can’t force technology to adapt to requirements that are out of touch before ink is even dried on paper at TRADOC headquarters.”
In the case of JTRS, the government could have saved billions it spent on development by purchasing off-the-shelf products, Moran said. That is how U.S. Special Operations Command does business these days, he noted.
Harris has supplied more than 120,000 radios to the Defense Department. The company is a JTRS contractor for single-channel radios and expects to compete for future production contracts for the JTRS rifleman and manpack systems. It plans to offer variants of its existing radios even though the program office says none of today’s commercial radios meet the JTRS requirements. Harris also is expected to bid its PRC/117G radio against competing systems from BAE Systems and Rockwell Collins for the four-channel JTRS ground mobile radio.
A commercial approach to building the Army’s networks would save billions of dollars, said Moran. If JTRS were to be canceled, “ITT and Harris radios could give you an extremely powerful architecture at a much better value than potentially the Defense Department has budgeted for JTRS,” he said. Still, JTRS is an important program for the Defense Department because it can help guide industry investments, he said. “We need the program to develop the standards, to ensure interoperability,” Moran said. “You want waveforms to be seamless to the soldier. We don’t want the program killed. But is there a better way to invest the dollars? Maybe there is.”
Paul D. Mueller, vice president of Motorola’s federal government market, said the military has failed to tap the commercial sector for new technology and remains bogged down in “programs of record” that take too long to deliver products. Defense Department IT users demand unique levels of security for information networks but there are ways to bridge their needs with commercially available technology, Mueller said.
“We’re excited about the adoption of the smart phone technology” for the U.S. military, he said. “That looks like a good bet for us.” There is growing interest in Motorola’s Android smart phone because of its open system and its potential for the military to be able to run its own software applications. Smart phones are regarded as the ticket to information sharing on the battlefield.
The Marine Corps has been ahead of the Army in modifying commercial radios and wireless networking technology for tactical communications, he said.

Motorola has designed a “gateway” box that would bridge cellular, Iridium satellite and land mobile radio networks so users of different cell phones and radios can talk to each other.
The JTRS waveforms could be installed in current radios such as the Marine Corps’ P-25 handheld devices as a low-cost alternative to the HMS radios, said Mueller.
Marines in small units communicate on the battlefield and back to their ships with a mix of commercial and military systems. The “distributed tactical communications system” employs military radios and Iridium commercial satellite services. They also have a terrestrial mobile network built by Trellisware, a commercial supplier of wireless systems.

Satelllite Optimization Enhances Network Performance for Remote Branch Offices

For remote branch offices that are unable to access ISDN or fiber infrastructure, Satellite links are the only hope for communications and networking. But, increasing bandwidth over Satellite links is a very expensive proposition. However, there is a more cost-effective alternative to improve network performance of satellite links: satellite optimization.


For the purpose of optimizing its clients’ satellites, Roseland, NJ-based Expand Networks, Inc. has developed wide-area network (WAN) compression and acceleration algorithms to significantly enhance application response time across network to remote sites.
Consolidated Minerals (CSM), an independent West Australian public company whose principle operations are the exploration, mining, processing and exporting of high grade manganese and chromite ores from Western Australia to markets in Asia and Europe, demonstrated the effectiveness of satellite optimization.
Because CSM’s two main projects are in remote regions of Australia, they required advanced communication solutions. In fact, the two projects, the Woodie Woodie Manganese Project and the Coobina Chromite Project, are located a respective 1,3000 km and 1,000 km from CSM’s headquarters in Perth, Australia.
Due the remoteness of these sites, CSM is dependent on satellite communications to network the main project sites with the head office. The CSM network has up to 100 users and provides the infrastructure necessary to support administrative tasks for the main mine sites. The network is used for Internet, e-mail, remote desktop and Telnet applications.
To improve application response time, CSM found that increasing bandwidth over Satellite links was very costly. The Australian company was looking for a more cost-effective option to improve its network performance.
So, to achieve a minimum of 200 percent improvement in bandwidth, CSM adopted Expand Network’s satellite optimization technology, the 4820 Acceleration device.
CSM installed two Expand 4820 Accelerator devices on their network, one at the headquarters and another at the remote mine site in Coobina. In addition, the company also utilized Expand’s QoS feature to improve responsiveness of real-time applications such as Telnet and remote desktops, which are critical to its business operations.
According to Expand Networks, proof of concept testing exceeded customer expectations when it produced a 300-400 percent increase in bandwidth and demonstrated the ability to perform effectively over Satellite links to remote sites.
In summary, satellite optimization enabled CSM to avoid costly bandwidth upgrades and improved its “real-time” responsiveness for business critical applications by dramatically boosting capacity of the company’s satellite network.

Blackstone advises teetering TerreStar - sources

Cash-strapped telecom TerreStar Corp is working with a restructuring team from Blackstone Group (BX.N) in negotiations with its major creditors, including Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners, according to people familiar with the situation.


Reston, Virginia-based TerreStar hired the restructuring arm of private equity firm Blackstone to head up the talks with its bondholders several weeks ago in a bid to stave off a bankruptcy filing, the sources said.
Douglas Brandon, TerreStar's general counsel, declined to comment.
TerreStar, which is trying to build a wireless network that relies on both satellite and earth-based communications systems, said in an Aug. 6 regulatory filing that it may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Reuters reported on Thursday that the company could soon file for bankruptcy if the restructuring talks prove fruitless. In Friday trading on the Nasdaq stock market, TerreStar shares were down 14 cents, or 36 percent, to 25 cents.
In the event of a bankruptcy, some of TerreStar's bondholders, including Harbinger, are prepared to step in and provide the company with debtor-in-possession financing to enable it to continue operating during the Chapter 11 proceedings, sources familiar with the situation said.
In the restructuring talks, Harbinger, a New York-based hedge fund with more than $6 billion in assets spread across a half-dozen funds, is being advised by bankers from UBS (UBS.N).
Falcone's hedge fund is TerreStar's biggest equity holder and owns $150 million of the company's nearly $1 billion in debt, according to regulatory filings.
Harbinger owns a rival telecom company, LightSquared, which has entered into a number of lease agreements with TerreStar.
A Harbinger spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment. UBS and Blackstone declined to comment.
In July, UBS arranged a $400 million financing package for Harbinger. The hedge fund pledged billions of dollars in assets as collateral, including its equity interest in the holding company for LightSquared.

Industry Sees Growing Market For Personal Tracking Devices

Troops in combat zones, workers in remote areas, hikers and mountain climbers are an emerging market for providers of two-way tracking devices. The technology so far has mostly been used by the Defense Department, but as price points come down it is becoming a more attractive alternative for non-military buyers.


Two-way satellite alerting and messaging systems have been around for a long time. But personal location device providers now see potential new customers as electronics become more miniaturized and the availability of two-way satellite services increases.
Iridium Communications Inc., a satellite communications company, has developed a matchbook-sized transceiver and a half-dollar-sized antenna that can be incorporated into a variety of handheld and man-portable devices. The components enable the tracking systems to communicate with a satellite network. Military special operations forces now use some of those advanced technologies to keep tabs on their units. Industry experts expect to see demand for those personnel trackers increasing throughout the armed forces and expanding to other agencies in the coming years.
For now, though, the trackers are limited in size to items such as radios and PDAs.
The overall personal tracking market could have as many as 1 million terminals in use by 2014, said a study released earlier this year by Telecom, Media and Finance Associates Inc. Two-way devices may account for 25 percent of the $150 million retail service revenues expected in that year.
Traditional non-military tracking systems function more like beacons, which emit a signal at regular intervals with location information and diagnostic data readings. Such one-way communication sensors are useful for remote monitoring of pipelines and other infrastructure. But when they are deployed by federal agencies and companies to track employees working in distant locations, the limited communications can cause problems. For example, the tracker can transmit emergency signals accidentally and trigger a search-and-rescue operation unnecessarily because command centers cannot confirm the alert with the person carrying it.
A growing number of companies are solving that issue by developing trackers that can send and receive text messages.
EMS Technologies Inc.’s latest product is the Osprey, a personal tracking device with two-way satellite communications capability.
This is almost a blue force tracker for individuals, says Steve Edgett, vice president for business development at EMS Global Tracking. The handheld device operates on Inmarsat’s geosynchronous satellite constellation. Through those satellites, customers can send 10-byte messages back and forth to the tracker, which has a menu of pre-selected texts.
Comparable products cost thousands of dollars, but the company intends to sell the technology for $1,200 per unit and provide the training, network and resources necessary for customers to monitor their own personnel. That price point will drop further through electronics miniaturization and new satellite communication services being made available, he adds.
Companies and governments increasingly are focusing on using satellite signals to provide personal communications and information well beyond location data, says William Ostrove, space systems analyst at Forecast International.
The three largest direct-to-consumer satellite service providers — Globalstar, Iridium and Orbcomm — are all in the process of upgrading their fleets for increased capacity for the two-way communications traffic. Iridium, which owns the largest fleet of low-earth orbit constellation satellites, recently awarded a contract to Thales to replace its 66 satellites with 81 next-generation systems. The current network was designed to support more than 1 million voice subscribers. In July, its tally of subscribers was 359,000, and many of them were data subscribers, company officials said. The new satellites will not only add capacity to the system but it will also boost data rates, says Shay.

SkyBitz Collaborates with QinetiQ to Provide Global Terrestrial Tracking Solution

To provide a global terrestrial asset tracking solution, SkyBitz, the major player in remote asset tracking and information management solutions has entered into a partnership relation with QinetiQ’s  GPS enabled telematics business, a high sensitivity business which delivers tracking solutions in difficult operational environments.


With the new partnership, SkyBitz can now address customer markets and operations both in North America and internationally, such as high-value load transportation, local delivery operations, heavy and construction equipment, as well as goods movement using flatbed and less than truckload assets that have a need for a high-data rate solution via a ruggedized device and secure terrestrial network.
The SkyBitz Falcon Series GXT1000, which sets a new standard with its ability to operate in harsh environments that demand a reliable, high performance tracking device with accurate reporting and increased security requirements, will be the first offering under the agreement. In developing and delivering services and solutions for surveillance, vehicle and trailer tracking, and the security of goods in transit or portable assets for governments and commercial customers, this new terrestrial-based solution will leverage the experience of QinetiQ’s GPS business.
The terrestrial solution of SkyBitz will operate on a Global System for Mobile Communications platform, building upon SkyBitz’s existing GSM network relationship with KORE Telematics, the world’s largest digital wireless services provider specializing in machine-to-machine communications. SkyBitz’s forthcoming two-way global satellite solutions from Iridium Communications Inc., the only provider of truly global mobile satellite services are complemented by the SkyBitz Falcon Series GXT1000 terrestrial-based solution.
Lex Alexander, QinetiQ Managing Director GPS Enabled Telematics said, “We are particularly pleased to be partnering with SkyBitz as it expands our global offering of telematics products into the United States. SkyBitz has an excellent reputation as well as a premium position in the transportation tracking marketplace. Working together our GPS enabled telematics business and SkyBitz can penetrate additional security and defense sectors.”
Due to its self-contained design, no external antenna and stealth installation capability, the SkyBitz Falcon Series GXT1000 is ideal for transporting high-value goods or recovering stolen assets like containers, trailers, construction and other heavy equipment. Via SkyBitz’s InSight, a best-in-class asset management tool for tracking, monitoring and managing a broad range of assets for multiple industries, information is delivered to end-users.
QinetiQ’s GPS Enabled Telematics business holds more than 25 years of experience in satellite navigation and tracking systems.

Africa launches satellite into space

At the dawn of this third millennium, Africa’s eyes are fixed on space. By launching the new satellite of the African regional communications satellite, called Rascom-QAF1R, Africa is hoping to catch up and develop its technological and telecommunication network.
The take-off of the Ariane 5 rocket without a hitch on 4th August 2010 has finally brought real commercial prospects for this project, which was co-funded by the Libya Africa Investment Fund and more than forty African telecom operators.
It was Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket that powered the telecommunications satellite Rascom to orbit. Covering mainly Sub-Saharan Africa, the satellite, whose construction was entrusted in 1999 to Alcatel-Alenia (now Thales-Alenia), will connect African villages to the Internet without having to install expensive networks. Twenty-eight African countries have already committed to renting its services.
The new satellite has replaced his older brother RQ1, which was put into orbit in December 2007. Victim of a helium leak, the first satellite saw its life expectancy drop from 15 to 3 years. Consequence: there was an urgent need to replace it by the beginning of 2011. That has been achieved.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) identified and listed the project of Pan-African satellite system RASCOM-QAF as basic infrastructure of utmost importance to facilitate the development of new technologies of information and communication.
Like its predecessor, RQ1R strives to provide telecommunications services to African operators and bridge the digital divide by connecting the great cities of the continent with broadband infrastructure but also by bringing phone in remote areas through low-cost terminals.
Hundred and thirty thousand remote villages could be served by VSAT: 15 000 antennas have already been ordered for this purpose and are ready to be installed. Other target clients are televisions, who, with the transition to high definition, have become very large consumers of satellite links. To encourage its progress, Rascom also announced 386 million euros of savings for the telecom sector through the elimination of interconnection fees.
The RASCOM infrastructure will enable national telecommunications operators in Africa to develop a national traffic base designed to render their incomes less dependent on international traffic over which they have less control and could hence increase income opportunities through the inter-African traffic flows generated by direct links between all the African countries and associated islands.

Spacenet signs contract with Valero

Spacenet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks and provider of broadband network solutions, has signed a contract with Valero to serve as a provider for broadband network managed services and offer connectivity to its nationwide wholesale locations.

Valero will be offering Spacenet's broadband communications services to support its primary retail applications and network backup.
Valero is leveraging Spacenet's satellite and digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband managed services as well as its Prysm Pro network appliance to support its retail applications. These applications include internet and intranet access, point-of-sale and credit and debit transactions, ATM transactions, Automatic Tank Gauge, WiFi, store loyalty programs and video security, the company said.
The upgraded network combines Spacenet's SkyEdge VSAT satellite platform and DSL managed services into a centrally managed, integrated platform that supports full Payment Card Industry compliance. The new network supports speeds, functionality and network availability to support expanding applications, the company added.

In addition, Valero is leveraging Spacenet's Prysm Pro, which is a modular IP network appliance that offers features including hybrid switching between wireline and wireless technologies for business continuity and network backup. Additionally, the Prysm Pro appliance can be integrated with Spacenet's managed network services, providing access to a web portal to enable centralized network management.

India’s African satellite network to be expanded

Twelve more African countries will be formally inducted into India's flagship initiatives in tele-medicine and tele-education as part of the Pan-African network that will also establish a communication link between Secretariats of their Heads of States.
On Aug 16, Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will have a video-conference with ministers of 12 African countries. These will be the second batch of African nations to be formally inducted into the satellite network.
The first batch of eleven countries had been inducted in February 2009, when the then External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee had inaugurated the network with a similar video-conference ceremony.

So far, India has signed agreement with 47 countries in Africa, but the infrastructure has been completed in thirty-four of them.
The countries that will be formally part of the network are Botswana, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda.
The eleven countries in the first batch were Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Seychelles.
There are three components to the Pan-African network, implemented by state-run Tele Communications of India Limited (TCIL) which are tele-medicine, tele-education, as well as, a "VVIP" network between the heads of state or government.
The pilot project of the network was with 34 students to acquire a degree in Masters of Business Administration from Indira Gandhi National Open University, without even leaving their country's border.
Since then, 2000 African students are enrolled to get their degrees from top Indian universities, by attending classes by Indian lecturers, through video-conferencing.
Besides, doctors in African hospitals are also getting further training as part Continuing Medical Education classes conducted by Indian doctors working in super-specialty medical institutions here. "We have conducted 658 CME sessions so far," a senior TCIL official said.
Online medical consultation is also being provided to each participating African country for a period of five years in various medical disciplines.

Inmarsat Deal Boosts Boeing Bid

Inmarsat’s decision to go with Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) for its Global Xpress deal marks a major step forward in the aerospace giant’s goal to return in force to the commercial satellite business.
In the last decade, BSS saw its commercial activities largely vanish in the wake of engineering glitches, lawsuits and skyrocketing defense demand that caused it to shift its focus to military space. However, with U.S. defense budget growth on the wane, illustrated by the department’s decision to cancel the Transformational Satellite (TSAT) system, the U.S. manufacturer is being forced to change course.
Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Space and Intelligence Systems (S&IS) at Boeing Defense, Space & Security, says the company will attempt to raise commercial satellite sales to 30% of the company’s space business within five years, up from 10% now.
Large investments in military broadband and other new technologies that are in heavy demand in the commercial world — many of them intended for TSAT — are expected to help. Rupert Pearce, senior vice president of Inmarsat Enterprises, notes that through its role in the Defense Department’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system, Boeing has supplied more than 70% of Ka-band capacity worldwide.
BSS also moved to broaden its product line to more closely hew to commercial requirements. The launch of the 702 MP spacecraft last year provided an offering in the popular medium-size segment of the industry that immediately led to a four-satellite award — two firm and two to be assigned later — from Intelsat. The first spacecraft under that award, carrying an Australian-hosted military payload, is to be launched in 2012.
The three Global Xpress satellites, to be handed over by 2014, provide a welcome boost to the top-of-the-line 702 HP satellite bus (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 9).

Equally important, they give Boeing a foothold in the fast-growing market for high-throughput Ka-band satellites, intended to meet mushrooming demand for broadband Internet access. This sector had previously been dominated by Space Systems/Loral — said to be one of the losing bidders for Global Xpress — and Astrium. The other reported loser, Thales Alenia Space, has been developing a new 12-18-kw. bus, in cooperation with Astrium, to better address the market.
Together, the Inmarsat and Intelsat sales have rejuvenated BSS’s commercial satellite business, which in recent years has averaged barely one unit per year. Jim Simpson, vice president of marketing development and sales at BSS, predicts at least one-two annual sales of 702 HP and MP models in the years to come.
Boeing management expects commercial success, in turn, to drive more government business, particularly in areas like communications, where technologies and satellites can be widely shared. Roger Krone, president of Network and Space Systems at Boeing, says, “There is more dialogue than ever before” for hosted payloads, in particular. Krone also thinks the Defense Department will need up to six more WGSs, including two units for which only long-lead items have been ordered to date.

jueves, 12 de agosto de 2010

Gilat settles litigation related to termination of 2008 merger agreement for USD20m

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd (Nasdaq: GILT | PowerRating) announced the signature of settlement agreements with each of Mivtach Shamir Holdings Ltd, LR Group Ltd, Gores Capital Partners II L.P and DGB Investments Inc against which Gilat had filed lawsuits in November 2008.
These lawsuits were filed by the company in connection with the termination of the Merger Agreement, dated 31 March 2008. The lawsuits were filed based on guarantees delivered by each of the defendants to cover their respective portion of the total amount of approximately USD47.0m.

The settlement agreements will result in the termination of all court proceedings filed by Gilat against each of the defendants, as well as general mutual waivers and releases provided by all parties, including the entities formed by the defendants to purchase Gilat.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement the defendants will pay Gilat an aggregate of approximately USD20m, over half of which will be paid by 1 October 2010 with the remainder to be paid in annual instalments ending in October 2013.
The settlement agreements were reached as part of mediation proceedings that began in 2009.

iN DEMAND and SES WORLD SKIES Renew Video on Demand and Pay-Per-View Pact

SES WORLD SKIES, a division of SES S.A., announced that iN DEMAND has renewed a long-term capacity deal, tapping two satellites to deliver much of its Video On Demand, Pay-Per-View and HD content to cable systems across North America.
As part of the renewal agreement, iN DEMAND will continue to utilize two transponders aboard SES WORLD SKIES' AMC-1 and AMC-10 satellites to support its innovative transactional platforms featuring sports, movies, events and entertainment programming. In all, iN DEMAND relies on five transponders and three of SES WORLD SKIES' HD-PRIME satellites (AMC-1, AMC-10, AMC-11) to reach more than 52 million households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

"SES WORLD SKIES' advanced satellites and its HD-PRIME neighborhood have played an important role in the exciting growth of iN DEMAND," said John Vartanian, Chief Technology Officer for iN DEMAND. "We will continue to depend on the advanced infrastructure of SES WORLD SKIES to extend our reach and meet the evolving needs of our cable affiliates."

Thales Selects Seakr to Develop Iridium Next Communication Processor

SEAKR Engineering, Inc., a privately held company, announced that Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the Iridium NEXT prime contractor, has awarded the communication processor for the Iridium NEXT constellation to SEAKR Engineering. The Iridium NEXT constellation will ultimately replace the existing Iridium constellation providing enhanced mobile satellite communication services worldwide, with the first Iridium NEXT satellite launches scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.

The communication processor plays the critical role in the Iridium NEXT constellation of providing MOD/DEMOD for the user RF links, the satellite-to-satellite cross links, and the satellite-to-gateway links on Earth. It is also responsible for managing the network and routing user traffic. The processor will support existing waveforms to provide a seamless replacement of the existing constellation while also providing advanced capabilities to improve speed, bandwidth, and flexibility.
The scalability and flexibility of the Iridium NEXT communication processor will also have the potential for new applications beyond voice communications and is being developed with government and commercial cooperative relationships in mind which could leverage Iridium's unique constellation architecture.
Thuraya has launched its first satellite aeronautical service, AviationComms, which aims to provide cost-effective voice communications for various types of aircraft.

The initial service offering is based on Thuraya’s compact narrowband terminal, providing voice, fax and 9.6 kilobits per second (Kbps) circuit switch data, as well as GmPRS data at speeds of up to 60 Kbps. The solution is already installed and operational onboard more than 200 helicopters and business jets.
Thuraya said it would offer an enhanced AviationComms portfolio and service later this year. The company also is currently developing a terminal that will provide data speeds of up to 444 Kbps in standard mode and up to 384 Kbps in streaming mode as well as voice and optional onboard GSM services. The terminal is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter.

CapRock Launches Energy Market VSAT Service

Harris Corp. subsidiary CapRock Communications has launched its turnkey FieldAccess VSAT service offering for land drilling, shallow-water and production platform markets in the United States.
The off-the-shelf service suite includes broadband Internet, voice connectivity, corporate networking, real-time data, equipment and technical support under all-inclusive pricing plans. CapRock said it would leverage in-region field technicians for FieldAccess technical support in order to provide quicker service response.

“CapRock has served clients with operations in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 29 years and holds approximately 50 percent market share within the drilling segment, but has not specifically targeted the shallow water production market. With our new service we will be able to further serve the production market and customers can now rely on us for all of their offshore communication needs,” CapRock Global Energy Services President Keith Johnson said in a statement.

miércoles, 11 de agosto de 2010

Lockheed Martin First Advanced EHF Satellite Encapsulated

The first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite was encapsulated into the fairing in preparation for a mid-August liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.


Designed and built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., the AEHF will deliver survivable, protected, secure links to U.S. national leaders, air, land and sea forces, providing rapid, global coverage for the nation's strategic forces, the Air Force's space warning assets and operationally deployed military forces. The AEHF constellation will also serve international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

One AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity that the entire Milstar constellation. Individual user data rates will be five times improved. The higher data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communication such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.
The AEHF team is led by the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor and system manager, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44.5 billion.

Newtec Wins Major U.S. Government Order for FlexACM(R)

Newtec announced today a multi-million dollar order from a major government prime contractor in the United States for its FlexACM(R) technology for IP trunking satellite links. The installation, comprising Elevation EL470 Satellite IP modems with FlexACM technology in 1:1 and 1:4 redundant configurations, will form the core of an entirely new infrastructure for the project.

FlexACM combines a range of cutting edge technologies for implementing Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), traffic shaping, payload compression and IP acceleration in a highly efficient way. The integrated unique patent-pending Noise and Distortion Estimator (NoDE) provides accurate monitoring of the satellite link quality and enables optimum usage of satellite transponders. In addition to on average doubling the capacity of an existing link, FlexACM guarantees the highest availability of link reception even during heavy rain fade, making it ideal to use on Ku-band and Ka-band links.

Intelsat signs multiyear deal with Sony Pictures

Intelsat SA, satellite services provider said it has signed a multiyear contract with Sony Pictures Television to give it capacity on its Intelsat 17 satellite located in the Indian Ocean region.

The satellite is scheduled to launch later this year. It is designed to provide service for the next 16 years, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia, Intelsat said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

SEAKR Has Been Awarded The Iridium NEXT Communication Processor

SEAKR Engineering, Inc., a privately held company,announced that Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the Iridium NEXT prime contractor, has awarded the communication processor for the Iridium NEXT constellation to SEAKR Engineering. The Iridium NEXT constellation will ultimately replace the existing Iridium constellation providing enhanced mobile satellite communication services worldwide, with the first Iridium NEXT satellite launches scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.


The communication processor plays the critical role in the Iridium NEXT constellation of providing MOD/DEMOD for the user RF links, the satellite-to-satellite cross links, and the satellite-to-gateway links on Earth. It is also responsible for managing the network and routing user traffic. The processor will support existing waveforms to provide a seamless replacement of the existing constellation while also providing advanced capabilities to improve speed, bandwidth, and flexibility.


The scalability and flexibility of the Iridium NEXT communication processor will also have the potential for new applications beyond voice communications and is being developed with government and commercial cooperative relationships in mind which could leverage Iridium's unique constellation architecture.

Boeing wins order for three next-gen satellites

Boeing Co. has received a new contract from communications technology provider Inmarsat to build three Ka-band satellites that will expand its current mobile satellite services fleet. The value of the contract was not reported, but Inmarsat has confirmed it is investing $1.2 billion in a new fleet of next-generation satellites in response to a shift in demand from voice communications to data services.



The Boeing units, to be known as Inmarsat-5 satellites, will allow Inmarsat to adapt to changes in subscriber usage, involving high data rates, specialized applications and evolving demographics over a projected 15-year service. Inmarsat will arrange the launch of the satellites, which Boeing will design to be compatible with the Ariane, Sea Launch, Proton, and Atlas launch vehicles.
Separately, Boeing entered into a distribution partnership with Inmarsat to provide L- and Ka-band capacity to key users within the U.S. government.
Boeing’s contract, a fixed-price deal, with options, calls for it to build three 702HP commercial spacecraft with 89 Ka-band beams that will operate in geosynchronous orbit with flexible global coverage. The new satellite series, to be known as Inmarsat-5, draws on Boeing's 40 years of experience with satellite technology and Ka-band satellite communications systems. It claims to have produced more than 175 commercial communications satellites and its extensive expertise in Ka-band satellite communications systems.


"This contract represents a best-value solution that combines Boeing's unmatched commercial satellite heritage and Ka-band satellite communications experience to meet Inmarsat's satellite requirements," stated vice president and general manager Craig Cooning of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "Boeing has produced more Ka-band satellite communications systems than any other manufacturer, and we are currently producing the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite series, which is the primary Ka-band system for the U.S. government. We are committed to a successful partnership with Inmarsat for this newest addition to their service fleet."

DigitalGlobe Signs $3.55 Billion Agreement with NGA

DigitalGlobe, Inc. , a provider of commercial earth imagery products and solutions, said Monday that it has entered into a $3.55 billion agreement with National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or NGA, under the EnhancedView procurement. The agreement will be effective September 1, upon expiration of its NextView Agreement and has a ten year term.


As a result of the EnhancedView Service Level Agreement, DigitalGlobe also updated its outlook for the full year 2010. In the morning trading session, the company's shares are up by 12% on the NYSE. The company collects imagery products and services through its three high-resolution imagery satellites. As per the agreement, Longmont, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe will supply satellite imagery deliveries from the WorldView satellite constellation under a Service Level Agreement for $2.8 billion and up to $750 million for value added products, infrastructure enhancements and other services.
Under the EnhancedView Service Level Agreement, the company will supply deliveries worth $250 million annually or $20.8 million per month for the first four contract years. For the remaining six years, it will increase to $300 million annually or $25 million per month. The company said it will immediately begin procurement and construction of its next satellite, WorldView-3, which is expected to be ready for launch by the end of 2014.
According to the company, the ten-year term includes nine one-year options exercisable by NGA , subject to Congressional appropriations and the right of NGA to terminate or suspend the contract at any time. The company now expects full-year 2010 earnings to be in the range of $0.40 to $0.55 per share, compared to the prior forecast of $0.25 to $0.55 per share. Total revenues for the year are now expected to be between $340 million and $360 million, compared to previous guidance of $330 million to $360 million. Eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $0.37 per share on revenues of $341.78 million for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
DGI is currently trading at $31.21, up $3.49 or 12.59%, on a volume of 825 thousand shares.

Another Ariane 5 is delivered to the Spaceport in French Guiana

The active mission pace for Arianespace’s workhorse Ariane 5 is being sustained as a new launcher is welcomed to the Spaceport.


This latest heavy-lift vehicle was delivered to French Guiana yesterday aboard the MN Colibri, which is one of two roll-on/roll-off ships that transport components from Europe to the launch site in South America. Today, the launcher hardware was transferred by road from the port of Pariacabo to the Spaceport.
Arianespace is planning a total of six Ariane 5 flights during 2010, with three of these already performed and a fourth mission in advanced preparation for liftoff in September.
The three launches conducted so far this year have orbited six satellites, delivering a combined payload lift performance of nearly 24,600 kg.
This activity began with Arianespace’s May 21 launch of the ASTRA 3B commercial telecommunications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES ASTRA, along with the COMSAT Bw-2 secure military relay spacecraft for Astrium GmbH on behalf of the German Bundeswehr.
It was followed by a June 26 flight that lofted Arabsat’s Arabsat-5A telecommunications and TV broadcasting satellite, with the multi-purpose COMS spacecraft for South Korea’s KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute).
Arianespace’s latest mission success occurred August 4, orbiting two satellites that will provide telecommunications services to Africa, the Middle East and Persian Gulf states: NILESAT 201 for Egyptian-based Nilesat, and RASCOM-QAF1R for the Pan-African satellite operator, RascomStar-QAF.
Preparations are well advanced for the fourth Ariane 5 flight of 2010, with its launcher having completed the initial build-up at the Spaceport. This vehicle will carry Eutelsat’s W3B telecommunications satellite and the BSAT-3b relay platform for B-SAT Corporation, and is scheduled for launch on September 15.

Amended rules could send Telesat out of Canadian orbit

Telesat could be the latest Ottawa technology company to get foreign ownership.

Chief executive Dan Goldberg kicked off the latest earnings conference call by telling analysts that the federal government has lifted rules limiting foreign ownership of the big satellite operator. Telesat has substantial debt from the $3.2-billion deal that expanded the company in 2007. With interest rates at record low levels, the opportunity to raise new capital is tempting.
Analysts wanted to know what Telesat will have to do if a new financing leads to a change of control. Goldberg said Investment Canada would still review the deal. "We (would) have to demonstrate that the change in ownership becoming foreign controlled, that at the end of the day there was a net benefit for Canada."
Harvard-trained Goldberg led the complicated restructuring of Telesat in 2007 that improved its competitive position in a global market dominated by much bigger operators in Europe and the U.S.
Loral, a New York satellite company, put its satellites and investments into the Telesat fleet and got a 64-per-cent stake in Telesat profits. Canadian pension funds put in financing and kept two-thirds of the Telesat board seats to comply with the now defunct rules. The arrangement looked like a recipe for trouble, but Goldberg, a skilled expert in the global industry, said the marriage has gone smoothly.
Loral chief executive Mickey Targoff certainly likes the deal -- almost half of his potential bonus this year will be driven by Telesat financial performance. But Telesat has a hefty debt load in U.S. dollars. Depending on exchange rates, that can have a dramatic impact on results.
Switching to U.S. dollar reporting and reducing the debt at lower interest rates might prove attractive. But it will probably mean Telesat will join a long list of Ottawa companies, including the Nortel operating businesses, Tundra, Newbridge, Third Brigade and Cognos, that are no longer Canadian-controlled.
Telesat sales rose just two per cent in the latest quarter to $205 million, partly because because of the loss of a contract serving General Motors dealerships with training and information programs.
Telesat said it lost the business to Internet operators, not to another satellite operator. Telesat lost $72 million in the quarter because of foreign exchange movements affecting its U.S. debt. It turned a profit of $182 million a year earlier.
Meanwhile, another satellite company with an Ottawa profile faces some significant challenges. U.S.-based TerreStar launched a new communications satellite a year ago to serve remote customers and provide backup service to global wireless companies facing increased congestion on their networks. But negotiations have not gone well and TerreStar has missed some key deadlines for financing the operation.
The stock plunged on the grim warning.
Huawei Technologies continues to get the brush-off in its efforts to crack the U.S. market. The booming Chinese communication equipment maker reportedly bid more than $100 million above the selling prices for the wireless networking business of Motorola and 2Wire Inc., a software maker.

Bloomberg News said sellers doubted that Huawei would win U.S. government business over fears about possible links with the Chinese government. The U.S. Congress effectively blocked a Huawei bid for 3Com in 2008 by launching an investigation into security concerns.
Nokia Siemens Networks won the Motorola business with a $1.2-billion bid, but reportedly let Motorola keep patents and some other assets to make up the gap with the Huawei offer. A British set-top equipment maker, Pace PLC, landed 2Wire with a $475-million bid.
Huawei came close to bidding on some Nortel Networks assets earlier this year, but backed off. Even with political opposition, Huawei, which has a growing Ottawa research operation, continues to take market share. The latest target could be the DragonWave franchise at Clearwire, the new alternative U.S. carrier. Reports say that Clearwire in the future could buy Huawei gear that uses different technology for the DragonWave portion of the business.
Pacific Safety Products, the troubled Arnprior maker of bulletproof vests and other protective gear, is trying to raise $1 million to save the company. Stonehouse Management Capital, which helped block an earlier sale attempt and which owns 9.9 per cent of PSP, plans to buy $350,000 in securities. ... Trend Micro, the Japanese network security player that bought Third Brigade a year ago, is having a rough patch. Sales in the June quarter were down 3.5 per cent from a year ago and profits slid 21 per cent. ... QNX Software has appointed Derek Kuhn as vice-president of sales and marketing. He previously worked at Alcatel-Lucent as vice-president of emerging technologies. He is a Carleton University graduate. ... PharmaGap, an Ottawa company developing a potential cancer treatment, said trials at the National Research Council show that rats tolerate the treatment at dose levels sufficient to kill cancer cells.
More testing is planned to determine effective dose levels.
Read more:

Loral Space posts 2Q loss on exchange rates

Satellite manufacturer Loral Space & Communications Inc. posted a net loss during the second quarter, citing changes in foreign exchange rates at its Canadian business.

During the three months ended June 30, the company lost $19.7 million, or 66 cents per share. That compares with a profit of $74.3 million, or $2.48 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
The company, which reported its results after the market close on Mon Monday, blamed the loss on a foreign exchange loss totaling $93 million tied to U.S.-denominated debt at Telesat Canada, a telecommunications operator in which Loral owns a 64 percent stake.
Revenue rose 3 percent to $280 million.
Shares fell 63 cents to $49.64 in afternoon trading on Tuesday. They have traded between $19.27 and $50.83 in the last 52 weeks.

Zombie satellite is eating internet connections

A rogue satellite is causing major problems for Alaska's main telecommunications provider.


Bush communications which runs a satellite service for some 35,000 people in rural Alaska fears that many of them will lose service for hours at a time this week because of a "zombie" satellite that has wandered off course.
According to ADN The disruptions to GCI service are expected to begin Wednesday morning and continue until Saturday morning in blocks of time that will last 90 minutes to 5 1/2 hours, mostly in the morning and at night.
A spokeswoman for Intelsat, the Luxembourg-based company that operates the zombie satellite, says no conclusive cause has been determined. Some claim that it is due to the current solar storm.
She said that the Europeans were doing their best to keep the Alaskans informed about what was happening. However she did not indicate what steps it would be taking to fix the problem in the longer term.
The satellite's path is taking it in wide, north-south arcs as it approaches a different satellite GCI uses to provide phone and internet service to much of rural Alaska. When it gets too close to the "good" satellite, the rogue satellite is expected to disrupt the GCI signal.
Read more:

New Technology Brings African Nations Together

For the first time ever, an operational satellite phone call was made from the African continent using the Inmarsat network. Zambian Colonel Wilson Tembo, African Union delegation chief, made an international call from the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College during Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 in Accra on August 10, 2010. This call showcased the technology and ease of use of this new product.

"This was a significant moment for Imarsat. AE 2010 allowed us to demonstrate to more than 30 African nations the outstanding voice quality in a call to a cellular phone over our satellite network," said Steff Taylor, Inmarsat business development manager. "It proved the capability and applicability of the product that can now be used by African nations anywhere on the continent."
Inmarsat launched the IsatPhone Pro, which was used to make the call, in June 2010, and it was built for the Inmarsat network.
This is the first time Inmarsat has participated in Africa Endeavor and the company is providing equipment to the exercise and training to country delegates pro bono.
According to Taylor, the participation is part of the outreach that the company does and the exercise was an excellent opportunity to reach the African audience. This is one of many outreach projects the company does, providing free equipment and financial support to restore communications in disaster zones.
Throughout the exercise, Inmarsat representatives will be providing training to participants on satellite phones, as well as voice and data capability. There will be an opportunity to do real-time demonstrations of satellite communications during the second week of AE 2010.
One of the purposes of AE 2010 is to promote interoperability among the African nations, and this training and equipment at the exercise enables ease of communication.
Inmarsat has a current fleet of 11 satellites that provides seamless mobile voice and data communications around the world. Inmarsat enables users to make phone calls or connect to the internet whenever and wherever they need - on land, at sea or in the air.

Iridium reports growth in the second quarter 2010

It seems that the episodes of financial crises in many parts of the world during the 2008-2010 have come to an end. Probably, the process of economic recovery is slow across all financial sectors, but the companies have started reporting financial growth.


Recently, Iridium Communications Inc., a mobile satellite communications company has declared its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2010. The company has reported growth in all its products line. The Total billable subscribers grew 16.8 percent, reaching approximately 383,000 up from approximately 328,000 at the end of the comparable quarter last year. The company has also reported sharp increase in Commercial service revenue from 13.8 percent to $45.5 million in the second quarter compared to $40.0 million during the second quarter of 2009. For the first half of the year, commercial service revenue was up 12.5 percent over the first half of 2009.
Iridium that has recently entered into long-term agreements with The Boeing Company for maintenance, operations and support of Iridium's satellite network has reported government voice and machine-to-machine (M2M) data service revenue increased 7.1 percent to $14.2 million in the second quarter compared to $13.3 million in the second quarter of 2009. For the first half of the year, government voice and M2M data service revenue was up 5.1 percent over the first half of 2009.
Due to a global parts supply issue that delayed some shipments to customers, to a change in the mix of equipment sales to lower- cost M2M devices, and to lower overall device pricing, the subscriber equipment revenue for the second quarter decreased to $20.3 million compared to $24.6 million in the second quarter of 2009. And in the first half of the year, subscriber equipment revenue was down 6.6 percent over the first half of 2009.
In the second quarter of 2009 the total revenue was $82.7 million and now it has reached to $84.0 million in the second quarter of 2010. For the first half of 2010, revenue increased 4.6 percent over the first half of 2009.
There is remarkable increase on the net income of the company. Net income for the second quarter was $3.2 million compared to net income of $28.6 million for the second quarter of 2009. For the first half of the year, net income was $1.9 million compared to $38.3 million in the first half of 2009, in part reflecting $11.8 million and $30.2 million, respectively, of non-cash expenses related to purchase accounting adjustments in those periods, net of tax, related to GHL Acquisition Corp.'s acquisition of Iridium Holdings LLC.

martes, 10 de agosto de 2010

Beam-splitter comissioned for laser satellite communications

Optical Surfaces has received an order from the German communications satelite building firm Tesat-Spacecom for a high performance, thermally stabilised beam expander. The beam expander will be used as part of the Tesat Optical System Test Bed for verification of the optical performance of their Laser Communication Terminals (LCTs).

Tesat's LCTs are the result of more than two decades of development expertise in the field of optical communications, and Tesat's broad knowledge of space systems production. The US Missile Defence Agency's NFIRE satellite, built by General Dynamics, and Germany's TerraSAR-X satellite both launched in mid-2007, each carrying a Tesat LCT. This equipment enables point-to-point data transfers with high data volume. .
Reflecting on their choice of supplier, Dr Andreas Weichert, responsible for the Tesat Optical System Test Bed, commented: 'Optical Surfaces was selected to produce the critical 10x beam expander for our Optical System Test Bed because of their impressive track record in preparing high performance optical systems for telescope and space projects. We were also very pleased with a previous beam expander supplied by Optical Surfaces in 2006.'
Using proprietary production techniques, Optical Surfaces' skilled craftsmen will produce two concave off-axis parabolic mirrors, with a combined wavefront accuracy of lambda/35rms, that form the principal optical elements of the common focus 10x beam expander. The excellent surface accuracy achieved during manufacturing will enable the beam expander to provide sustained high optical performance over the complete field of view (+/- 0.1° at large aperture). Manufactured in INVAR - the beam expander was designed be used in vacuum at 10-6 mbar and offers high thermal stability for thermal gradients that may be as much as 10°C along the length of the instrument.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. Wins $1.8 Million Order for MIL-STD-188-165A Satellite Modems

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. announced that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., received a $1.8 million order for its SLM-5650A Satellite Modems from the U.S. government to upgrade an existing satellite-based communications network.

The SLM-5650A Satellite Modem is compliant with the strict requirements defined in MIL-STD-188-165A, modem types I, II, IV, V and VI for applications on DSCS, WGS and commercial satellites. The order specified advanced options for the SLM-5650A that increase its bandwidth efficiency and flexibility, including the transmission security (TRANSEC) and Network Processor modules.
The TRANSEC module for the SLM-5650A Satellite Modem provides bulk AES-256 encryption/decryption in accordance with the FIPS-140-2 Level 2 specification. It encrypts all traffic sent over the air, including data traffic, overhead channel and Vipersat Management System messages.
The Network Processor module provides advanced IP features including routing, switching, Quality of Service, and Vipersat dynamic bandwidth control. The modems will be integrated with Comtech EF Data's Vipersat Management System (VMS), which is the engine that provides dynamic Single Carrier per Channel bandwidth management of the space segment.

Comtech EF Data Corp. manufactures a broad spectrum of satellite earth station communications products, including Satellite Modems, Bandwidth & Capacity Management, TCP/IP Performance Enhancement Proxies, Encapsulators, Receivers, Frequency Converters, Amplifiers, Transceivers and Terminals. All products meet or exceed the standards published by worldwide and regional satellite networks.

Honeywell to Provide Navigation Control for Argentina's First Geostationary Satellite

Honeywell  announced that it will provide the stability equipment for Argentina's first geostationary telecom satellite in a contract worth $2.4 million.

Honeywell's Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA) and Miniature Inertial Measurement Units (MIMU) are integral parts of the ARSAT-1 satellite's Attitude Control System.
"Honeywell is the only U.S. company selected in the competition for Argentina's first GEO satellite program," said Dave Douglass, Honeywell vice president of Space, Missiles and Munitions. "Honeywell's RWAs provide fine attitude control required by satellite communication networks."
The ARSAT-1 will be developed by the Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales S.A., Argentina's first geostationary satellite, scheduled to launch in 2012. The satellite will provide data, telephone and television transmission services for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Honeywell's RWA and momentum wheel assemblies (MWA) are reliable, lightweight solutions to a variety of momentum control needs, providing stability and attitude-control for small to very large, heavy spacecraft. RWAs and MWAs from Honeywell have accumulated more than 65 million hours of 100 percent successful on-orbit operation – the equivalent to more than 7,400 years of accumulated time on orbit – and have never caused a mission to end prematurely.
ARSAT is a company incorporated by the Argentine Government to develop geostationary orbital slots assigned to the Argentine Republic by means of telecommunications satellites developed and built in Argentina, and to operate them and provide all kind of satellite services, voice, data, audio and video, to customers across the Americas. Currently holding Argentine orbital slots 81 degrees West and 72 degrees West, ARSAT is providing service to customers using satellite capacity obtained through strategic and commercial agreements with global operators.
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Honeywell's aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.

Thales Alenia Space Ships Three Second Generation Satellites to Globalstar

Globalstar, a provider of mobile satellite voice and data services, has stated that they have authorized the acceptance of three second generation satellites from manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and they will be shipped immediately to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. From that location the satellites are to be launched into orbit aboard the Soyuz launch vehicle in October.

Officials with Globalstar have commented that the satellite delivery represents another tremendous milestone achievement and is the culmination of more than five years of planning and work by Globalstar and their satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. Delivery of these satellites would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of all their technical, financing and insurance partners. The company has specifically acknowledged the tireless work and commitment of all of its highly skilled employees around the world, as well as those at Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace, who helped make the satellite delivery a reality.
The new satellites with help Globalstar deploy its new constellation that is intended to offer finest quality mobile satellite voice and fastest mobile satellite data services to commercial and government customers in more than 120 countries. The new constellation along with Globalstar’ SPOT products are supposed to place the company in a unique position from where it can offer the world's most extensive lineup of high quality mobile satellite services to the broadest range of customers around the globe.

Emmanuel Grave, head of telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space added that the delivery of the first satellites in the constellation is a major milestone for both Thales Alenia Space and their customer Globalstar. It reflects the close relationship that all their teams have developed throughout this program. With the delivery of the next three satellites at the end of August, and the launch of the first batch in the fall, Globalstar Second Generation will be entering service. They are very proud of their work on this program, and delighted to be able to ensure the satisfaction of their customer Globalstar.

Yahsat Subsidiaries Win TRA Licenses in United Arab Emirates

Yahsat subsidiaries Al Yah Advanced Satellite Communications Services and Star Satellite Communications won licenses from the United Arab Emirates Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Al Yah Advanced was issued a 10-year satellite services license, with Star receiving a 10-year satellite and broadcasting services license. While the Al Yah Advanced license is limited to providing telecoms services to the government, the Star license allows the company to provide a portfolio of telecommunications services such as turn-key telecoms solutions, broadband services and broadcasting services within the United Arab Emirates.
“The TRA strategy aims to widen the services and the packages offered in the market through satellite providers. We fully believe that fair competition is a fundamental factor to drive the market forward and to ensure resourcefulness. The telecom sector has witnessed massive changes within the last four years; we are aiming to position our country as a center for integrated telecommunications services. Issuing the licenses to Al Yah Advanced and Star will definitely add value to the telecom sector,” TRA Director General Mohamed Al Ghanim said in a statement.
In February, parent company Yahsat was awarded a satellite services license from the TRA to install, operate and manage its satellite and ground network in the United Arab Emirates.

Cobham Sea Tel® Sees And Tells All — Always-On (VSAT)

If you're (floating and boating) in the maritime environment Cobham SATCOM's new Sea Tel XX10 marine stabilized antenna enables bandwidth conscious customers to enjoy the benefits of Always-On VSAT network.

The XX10 series is a lighter weight, easy-to-install, marine stabilized antenna system for broadband connectivity. Available in 40 inch (100cm) and 50 inch (125cm) reflector sizes, it is configured to be compatible with all Ku-Band frequencies. It is designed to meet some of the most stringent design specifications such as EN 60945, MIL STD 461, MIL STD 167-1 and IEC 60950. The XX10 will run with Sea Tel’s latest DAC (digital antenna controller), along with the latest generation electronics and software. The XX10 system is fully enabled to work with remote management devices to provide remote access, control and management of the system. The antenna will also be equipped with the proven Sea Tel stabilization system, isolating the antenna system from ship’s motion no matter how rough the sea state or weather conditions. The XX10 is available both in co polarization configuration for global customers and cross polarization configuration for regional customers.

The XX10 will enable Sea Tel dealers to offer a higher return on investment and reduced cost of ownership, with application specific products for their customers. Sea Tel is currently shipping this product worldwide.

Spacecom plunges as Amos runs low on fuel

Shares of Spacecom Communication, operator of the Amos family of satellites, dropped over 6% in the last hour of trading yesterday on NIS 2 million in turnover, well above average.

The fall came after the company released a statement to the stock market saying its interim Amos-5i satellite is running out of fuel. Its resources will not last until the scheduled launch of the Amos-5 in June 2011.
Spacecom will be forced to find alternatives for African telecommunications customers serviced by Amos-5i. The firm estimated the financial damage at $12 million.
Amos-5i started life as AsiaSat 2 and Spacecom contracted for exclusive use of the satellite in January from AsiaSat so it could start providing service to Africa earlier.

Analyst Uri Licht of IBI investment house said Spacecom's strategy was to buy a satellite to use until the launch of Amos-5 and to build its business on the satellite. Since the Amos-5i failed too early, Spacecom will be forced to find other satellites and lease bandwith from them to serve existing customers.
Licht said he expects Spacecom to start building its African customer base for Amos-5 now, based on the alternatives to Amos-5i.

Asia Cell, CDN, Eutelsat and Alcatel Lucent confirmed to speak at Iraq Telecoms 2010

The CWC Group announce the participation of Mr. Faruk Mustafa Rasool, Chairman of Asia Cell, at Iraq Telecoms 2010, taking place in Istanbul on 2 – 3 November 2010. He will be addressing the Iraqi mobile market issues, the role mobile services have in the stimulation of economic activities and how this is improving the lives of the Iraqi people.

Mr. Loay Almalaieka, Vice President Operations of CDN, has just confirmed he will be addressing one of the main topics for the Iraq Telecoms agenda: ‘Fiber, submarine cables, gateways’. CDN will also be hosting the extended lunch on the second day of the conference.
Mr. Ali Korur, Regional Sales & Marketing Director at Eutelsat, will address another major topic on this year’s programme: ‘Connecting Iraq's homes and businesses, via satellite and new satellite capacity over Iraq and the Middle East’.
Alcatel Lucent has also just confirmed their participation, addressing the topic: ‘What role will new technologies play in the economic and social development in Iraq?’
Other highlights include:
• The Cruise Tour on the Bosphorus River, hosted by Fast Iraq, with welcome remarks from the Managing Director of the Fast Iraq, Timothy Moore.
• The networking lunch on day one of the conference will be hosted by Zain, while Zain’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer will outline Zain Iraq’s new policy as an opening keynote address on 2 November.

New telco selects Utilibill for billing and provisioning

Retail and wholesale billing provisioning provider, Utilibill, has implemented its solution for newly-launched telecommunications provider, Indigo Telecom.

The billing and provisioning platform was integrated into the telco’s hybrid communications network. It combines voice and data mobile satellite, a dedicated virtual
private network (VPN) and point-of-presence (PoP) for IP data through the Thuraya mobile network.
Launched last month, Indigo claimed it can provide 100 per cent coverage across Australia.
Utilibill managing director, Morgan Duncan, said the partnership would broaden opportunities for both companies and predicts it would sign up tens of thousands of customers to its services in the first year of operation. “Now that we have integrated our system into this multi-billion dollar hybrid communications network we look forward to introducing Indigo Telecom’s products and services to our wholesale service providers,” Duncan said in a statement. “This is an exciting time for all Australians as this partnership provides a long-needed and competitively priced mobile communications service for businesses and industry operating in regional and remote areas.”
Utilibill anticipates Indigo will help the billing provider reach one million new customers in Australia.

American Aerospace - Echo From the Past

Fifty years ago this week, the United States successfully launched the Echo 1A passive communications satellite into Earth orbit. The 100-foot diameter balloon was among the largest objects ever to orbit the Earth.

A plethora of earth-orbiting communication satellites provide for a global connectivity that is commonplace today. Such was not always the case. Roll the clock back a half-century and we find that a global communications satellite system was just a concept. However, keen minds would soon go to work and provide mankind with yet another tangible spaceage benefit.

Communications satellites are basically of two types; passive and active. A passive communications satellite (PCS) simply reflects signals sent to it from a point on Earth to other points on the globe. An active communications satellite (ACS) can receive, store, modify and/or transmit Earth-based signals.
The earliest idea for a PCS involved the use of an orbiting spherical balloon. The balloon was fabricated from mylar polyester having a thickness of a mere 0.5 mil. The uninflated balloon was packed tightly into a small volume and inserted into a payload canister preparatory to launch. Once in orbit, the balloon was released and then inflated to a diameter of 100 feet.
The system described above materialized in the late 1950?s as Project Echo. The Project Echo satellite was essentially a huge spherical reflector for transcontinental and intercontinental telephone, radio and television signals. The satellite was configured with several transmitters for tracking and telemetry purposes. Power was provided by an array of nickel-cadmium batteries that were charged via solar cells.
Echo 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Friday, 13 May 1960. However, the launch vehicle failed and Echo 1 never achieved orbit. Echo 1A (sometimes referred to as Echo 1) lifted-off from Cape Canveral's LC-17A at 0939 UTC on Friday, 12 August 1960. The Thor Delta launch vehicle successfully placed the 166-lb satellite into a 820-nm x 911-nm orbit.
An interesting characteristic of the Echo satellite was the large oscillation in the perigee of its orbit (485 nm to 811 nm) over several months. This was caused by the influences of solar radiation and variations in atmospheric density. While these factors are just part of the earth-orbital environment, their effects were much more noticeable for Echo due to the type's large surface area-to-weight ratio.
Echo 1A orbited the Earth until it reentered the Earth's atmosphere on Saturday, 25 May 1968. Echo 2 was a larger and improved version of Echo 1A. It measured 135-feet in diameter and weighed 547-lb. Echo 2 orbited the Earth between January of 1964 and June of 1969. Other than the Moon, both satellites were the brightest objects observable in the night sky due to their high reflectivity.
The Echo satellites served their function admirably. For a time, they were quite a novelty. However, progress on the ACS scene quickly relegated the PCS to obselescence. Today, virtually all communication satellites are of the ACS variety.

Inmarsat’s iSatphone Pro: Satellite communication goes handheld

Our mobile phones have become such an everyday part of our lives, it’s almost impossible to imagine what it would be like without one. Well, in the middle of the Atlantic on an oil rig would be a good place to start, or perhaps in deepest Amazonia or even up at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Just spotting a ‘no service’ warning on our handsets are enough to raise the blood pressure levels a notch or two, hell it even happens in central London!

All that angst is now a thing of the past however, with the launch of Inmarsat’s first hand held satellite phone the ISatphone Pro. Once the sole domain of secret agents and government men in black, the satellite phone is now available to mere mortals, for a more than mortal price tag of between $500 – $600.
It’s splash proof, dust proof, shock resistant and able to withstand extreme temperatures from -20 up to plus 55 degrees centigrade. More than enough then for a typical day in the UK countryside. It is however aimed solely at the ‘remote environment market’ such as gas and oil engineering or the construction trade and with 8 hours talk and 100 hours stand by time, it will provide the kind of global portable communications access that has long been needed in those sectors, although as far as main stream public use is concerned, it is another stepping stone in the development of mass global communications.
It has Bluetooth connectivity (unique in this market), a high visibility colour display, text and email capability and a keypad designed to be used while you’re wearing gloves. It will be, as Inmarsat CEO Andrew Sakawaty bullishly predicts, “a game changer” for the industry. The benefits to users such as the military or remote engineering are obvious and while this all sounds very exciting and clearly a step up in mobile technology, the one thing missing so far is detailed information on call charges, something that, at the end of the day will prove crucial in such a competitive marketplace.

Gilat Satellite Q2 Loss Widens

Internet Protocol based communication and networking products maker Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (GILT: News ) Tuesday reported a slightly wider loss for the second quarter, hurt mainly by a decline in revenues.


Net loss for the quarter was $1.33 million compared to loss of $1.20 million last year. On a per-share basis, loss remained unchanged at $0.03
Excluding share-based compensations, non-GAAP net loss was $0.93 million or $0.02 per share compared to $0.98 million or $0.02 per share last year.
Petah Tikva, Israel-headquartered Gilat's quarterly revenues declined to $51.79 million from $56 million in the comparable quarter a year ago.

SatMAX Offers Satellite Repeater to Science Applications International Corporation

The development of satellite communications technology has provided wide range of choices in technology and service offerings to many industries. The high-quality transmissions in satellite communication systems offer effective, robust and reliable data communication service in military network.

To provide the next generation enhanced data communication service, Science Applications International Corporation has bought Alpha ECS Portable SatMAX satellite communications repeater system form SatMAX Corp, a provider of wireless, non-line-of-sight satellite communications products and services to the $46 billion ground-based satellite communications industry.
The SatMAX will be delivered to a U. S. military customer by SAIC (News - Alert). SatMAX patented repeater technology enables satellite communications users to quickly and easily make fully wireless voice and data communications from any non-line-of-sight location. SatMAX users will now be able to access dependable and uninterrupted wireless satellite communications.
SatMAX Corporation is dedicated to providing global wireless, non-line-of-sight, satellite voice and data communications links to government, military, and commercial and industrial customers. SatMAX satellite repeaters have been tested and proven with all major branches of the U. S. military and have been purchased by several major defense contractors. SatMAX equipment has also been used by the world's the largest, most prestigious oceanographic research institute as an integral component in identifying and quantifying global ocean warming issues.
SAIC is a scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The company's approximately 45,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets. Headquartered in McLean, Va., SAIC had annual revenues of $10.8 billion for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2010.

Valero, the Largest Independent Refiner in North America, Selects Spacenet as a Broadband Managed Services Provider for its Nationwide Wholesale Locations

Spacenet Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd.  and a leading provider of broadband network solutions, announced today that it signed a contract with Valero to serve as a provider for broadband network managed services and offer connectivity to its nationwide branded wholesale locations. Valero, the largest independent refiner in North America and one of the nation's largest retail operators with approximately 5,800 retail and branded wholesale outlets in the US and the Caribbean, will be offering Spacenet's broadband communications services to support their primary retail applications and network backup.

Valero is leveraging Spacenet's satellite and DSL broadband managed services as well as its award winning Prysm Pro network appliance to support its retail applications. These applications include Internet/intranet access, point-of-sale and credit/debit transactions, ATM transactions, Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG), WiFi, store loyalty programs and video security. The upgraded network combines Spacenet's SkyEdge VSAT satellite platform and DSL Managed Services into a centrally managed, integrated platform that supports full PCI compliance. The new network supports faster speeds, advanced functionality and improved network availability to support expanding applications. In addition, Valero is leveraging Spacenet's Prysm Pro, which is a modular, scalable, off-the-shelf IP network appliance that offers unique features including hybrid switching between wireline and wireless technologies for business continuity and network backup. Additionally, the Prysm Pro appliance can be integrated with Spacenet's managed network services, providing access to a user-friendly web portal to enable simplified and centralized network management.

CapRock Announces New VSAT Services for North America Energy Market

CapRock Communications, a subsidiary of Harris Corporation and a global provider of satellite communications to remote and harsh environments, today announced its new turnkey VSAT services designed specifically for the U.S. land drilling and Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production platform markets. The new suite of off-the-shelf services delivers distinctive equipment, service and support with all-inclusive pricing plans to provide remote drilling sites and shallow-water production platforms with broadband Internet, voice connectivity, corporate networking and real-time data.

The land drilling service, marketed under the name FieldAccess(TM), solves customers' requirements for quick VSAT orders, installations and rig moves by leveraging in-region field technicians. The service also enables predictable budgeting through flat rate service plans and unlimited contiguous U.S. long distance. FieldAccess' service is backed by CapRock's strong support capabilities, enabled by its self-owned and operated global infrastructure and four 24/7 Network Operations Centers (NOC) that provide support and service today to more than 2,000 customer sites.
CapRock also announced today its new service developed uniquely for the shallow water production market that is available as part of CapRock's full service portfolio of offshore energy solutions. Customers operating shallow-water production platforms now have access to voice and data communications that include CapRock's reliable service and support.
The new turkey managed VSAT services include terminal selection, satellite bandwidth, support including 24/7 NOC access, and a set of optional products and features. FieldAccess for the U.S. land drilling market and the production platform service for the GOM are both available immediately. The expansion of the services internationally is currently in development.
These new services build on the success of CapRock's existing managed VSAT services and DR-Series of pre-packaged disaster recovery solutions developed for the energy industry. Service will be provided by CapRock's award-winning, self-owned and operated infrastructure which contributed to the company receiving the top teleport operator of the year rating in 2008 by the World Teleport Association.

Arianespace Announces Launch Contracts For Intelsat-20 And GSAT 10 Satellites

Leading international satellite operator Intelsat has chosen Arianespace to launch its Intelsat-20 satellite. Arianespace has announced that it has been chosen by Intelsat to launch the Intelsat-20 satellite during the second quarter of 2012.

Weighing 5,800 kg. at liftoff, Intelsat-20 will be boosted into geostationary transfer orbit by an Ariane 5 ECA from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Intelsat-20 will be built by Space Systems/Loral and will provide at least 15 years of in-orbit service. Positioned at 68.5 degrees East, this high-power satellite will deliver a wide range of telecommunications, video, voice and data transmission services, enabling Intelsat to expand its global coverage in the C and Ku bands. It will replace the Intelsat-7 and Intelsat-10 satellites.
The launch is slated for the first quarter of 2012, using an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana.
GSAT 10 will be the 15th ISRO satellite to use the European launcher. Starting with the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 13 Indian satellites to date. Arianespace has another Indian satellite in its order book, INSAT 4G (GSAT-8).
GSAT 10 is designed, assembled and integrated by ISRO. Weighing about 3,425 kg. at launch, it has payloads for communications, navigation and broadcasting (DTH). Positioned at 83 degrees East, its primary payload comprises 12 Ku-band transponders, 12 C-band and 12 Extended C-band transponders. GSAT 10 coverage zone will include the entire Indian sub-continent. The satellite's design life exceeds 15 years.

lunes, 9 de agosto de 2010

Inmarsat announces £752m advanced satellite services investment

UK satellite communications firm Inmarsat has announced a $1.2bn (£752m) investment in next generation satellite network services.
The primary investment is a contract with aerospace company Boeing for the manufacture of three 702HP Ka-band satellites.
The constellation formed by the three Inmarsat-5 satellites will enable Inmarsat to offer global coverage, and unparalleled bandwidth to customers in remote locations, said Inmarsat chief eexecutive Andrew Sukawaty.
The Ka-band satellites will be used to deliver Inmarsat's Global Xpress service, which will address growing markets in maritime, energy and government sectors, along with the developing aeronautical market.

Such bandwidths have aroused interest because of the postponement of government plans to rollout a UK-wide broadband network of 2Mbit/s to 2015.
Global Xpress will use Ka-band microwave frequencies of between 18 and 31GHz, which although faster and less expensive than current Ku-band (12-18GHz) frequencies, can be more vulnerable to signal quality issues.
Each Inmarsat-5 satellite can transmit 89 Ka-band beams. "These are capable of flexing capacity and enabling Inmarsat to adapt to shifting subscriber usage patterns over their projected lifetime of 15 years," said the company.Services will start in 2014.
Inmarsat also plans to spend £313m replacing its existing, lower bandwidth, L-band satellites over the next 11 years.
Inmarsat estimates the total cost of Inmarsat-5 and Global Xpress will be £752m over four and half years.
Inmarsat's latest half year financial results announced last week, showed revenue up 12 per cent at £358m, with profit before tax up 56 per cent to £85m.