Broadband Satellites: Looking Up

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Northern Sky Research says satellite services made it through the economic crisis relatively well. Probably one of the biggest success stories of 2009 was satellite broadband access, where NSR noted that North America became the first region to top 1 million subscribers, and Western Europe will likely exceed 100,000 subscribers well before the end of 2010.

The imminent launch of the second generation of high throughput satellites (HTS) like ViaSat-1, KaSat, Jupiter-1 and even Hylas-1, a hybrid Ka Band/Ku Band satellite, will finally change the core economics of satellite broadband access services, says NSR.

ViaSat says their new ViaSat-1 would have more capacity than all current North American satellites combined, and could serve two million subscribers with 10 times the throughput of any other Ka-band satellite. Wild Blue has struggled with having enough capacity to add more customers, and ViaSat’s new satellite should provide the bandwidth to burn.

ViaSat-1 will use Space Systems/Loral’s 1300 platform and high-capacity Ka-band spot beam technology. In many ways it’s similar to Eutelsat’s KaSat, also scheduled for launch in 2010.

Viasat’s strategic partner Eutelsat, in a parallel competition, awarded EADS Astrium a contract to construct the European-based KaSat. It will be positioned at 13° East, Eutelsat’s prime orbital position (above).

A number of national government initiatives to bring broadband to all residences and business. NSR believes that ensuring 100% broadband coverage in any country will almost always include the use of satellite broadband access services as the most economical way to reach the last few percent of households and businesses.

In total, NSR projects that broadband VSAT networking, satellite broadband access, and broadband trunking & backhaul services will generate nearly US$8.8 billion by 2019, which is a 135% increase over 2009. Global satellite broadband access will add the most new revenues, says the research firm, with some US$4.1 billion between 2009 and 2019, to become the leading market segment and bypass traditional broadband VSAT networking in revenue terms as of 2013.

In other satellite news, Intelsat announced today that its Galaxy 15 satellite experienced an anomaly on 5 April 2010. The G-15 satellite, located at 133° West Longitude, primarily provides transmission capacity for cable programmers in North America.

All media traffic on this satellite is planned to be transitioned to Intelsat’s Galaxy 12 satellite, which is the designated in-orbit spare for the North American region. There has been no immediate service interruption and no service interruption is expected for the media customers on this satellite, says Intelsat.

Galaxy 12 is currently relocating to the 133° WL orbital location. Intelsat’s global fleet, the largest of any commercial satellite operator, includes 12 other satellites that serve the continental U.S. region.

Launched in 2005, the Galaxy 15 is one of nine Orbital Sciences spacecraft ordered by Intelsat since 2001 that are either now in orbit or in production for upcoming launches. Intelsat and Orbital Sciences Corporation, the manufacturer of G-15, are conducting a technical investigation with respect to the anomaly.

Galaxy 15 (pdf), launched October 13, 2005, features a unique hybrid payload configuration. In addition to the C-band commercial communications, the spacecraft will also broadcast Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation data using L-band frequencies as part of the Geostationary Communications and Control Segment (GCCS) being implemented by Lockheed Martin for the FAA.

The purpose of GCCS (pdf) is to generate and transmit the WAAS signal in space.

The Wide Area Augmentation System enables increased position accuracy for GPS receivers. GCCS is the GPS-based navigation and landing system for aviation use to provide precision guidance to aircraft at thousands of airports and airstrips where there is currently no precision landing capability. Orbital engineered the payload and integrated it onto the existing Galaxy 15 satellite.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 9:50 am .

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