The SATELLITE 2013 conference (twitter) kicked off Monday, March 18 with a pre-conference focusing on the industry’s latest technical and engineering challenges. The 32nd annual conference will be held March 18-21 in Washington, D.C.
This year’s annual event will attract more than 12,000 delegates from 75 countries and features more than 350 exhibiting companies plus a full conference program led by more than 300 communications via satellite experts and innovators. The 2013 conference features focused forums on broadcast, enterprise, military and emerging regions.
New participants this year include O3b Networks and Northrop Grumman, as well as Russian satellite manufacturer Reshetnev, Nigerian operator NigComSat, antenna technology developer Kymeta, and other communications solution providers.
The “big four” fixed satellite operators seemed to agree that the satellite industry is currently in one of its strongest positions of the past decade.
- CEO David McGlade of Intelsat, which operates 52 communications satellites, the world’s largest fleet of commercial satellites, singled out ULA’s Delta 5 rocket as an excellent, but pricey, increasing risks and costs of launching satellites.
- CEO Romain Bausch of SES, the world’s second-largest telecommunications satellite operator which operates a fleet of 52 geostationary satellites reaching 99% of the World’s population, praised their own O3b System of medium orbit equitorial satellites, due to launch in a couple of months.
- CEO Michel de Rosen of Eutelsat, which provides coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, said the most significant moment for the satellite industry last year was the death of Apple Founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who he called “the true pioneer of mobility and an innovator that made, and will continue to make, a considerable impact on our industry.”
- CEO Dan Goldberg of Canadian-based Telesat, the fourth-largest fixed satellite services provider in the world, owns a fleet of 13 satellites and operates 13 additional satellites for other entities, didn’t think Ultra HD (4K TV) would make its presence known for at least another five years – in 2018 – despite the upcoming 2016 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, both happening in Brazil, while the three other panelists said that this would most likely happen in the 2015 to 2016 timeframe.
Some of the new products and services announced at the show include:
- EchoStar announced that it has selected Space Systems/Loral to build JUPITER 2/EchoStar XIX. With over 150 Gbps throughput, the new Ka-band satellite will be the world’s highest capacity broadband satellite, with a 50 percent greater capacity than EchoStar XVII, which was also built by SSL for Hughes and launched on July 5, 2012.
- Northrop Grumman will highlight products and initiatives for affordable, protected military satellite communications
- ORBCOMM has entered into an agreement to acquire MobileNet, a leader of satellite and cellular-based telematics solutions for monitoring heavy equipment.
- The United States said it would bolster defenses against a possible North Korean missile strike
- The fourth batch of six second-generation Globalstar satellites, all designed, manufactured and delivered by Thales Alenia Space, was launched on February 6th, 2013 by a Soyuz rocket in Kazakhstan.
- Thales Alenia Space and ISS Reshetnev create a Joint Venture in Russia to work on new satellite products.
- Gilat’s EagleRay 7000 is part of their low-profile, in-motion, two-way antennas for mobile communications-on-the-move (COTM).
- VSAT is marking the one-year anniversary this month of their Exede Internet service, which uses the ViaSat-1 satellite, the most advanced and highest capacity satellite in the world.
- An Atlas V is expected to launch tomorrow a Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for the Air Force.
The Nature & Impact of Space Debris is a concern. Currently about 19,000 pieces of space junk larger than 5 cm are tracked, with another 300,000 pieces smaller than 1 cm below 2000 km altitude. What has been reported to have been a satellite collision in late January, which allegedly damaged a Russian satellite, never took place, according to one U.S. defense official.
Northern Sky Research analyst Patrick French will lead a panel session on the impact of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) on the enterprise market. Originally, much of HTS capacity was intended for the consumer market. Recent market projections by NSR, though, show that close to 50% of all HTS revenues will come from enterprise-class and military applications.
Aireon is a planned joint venture between Iridium and NAV CANADA with support from the FAA and Harris Corporation. Aireon will use Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers built into each of the 66 satellites in Iridium NEXT for commercial airline customers.
The NEXT constellation will provide L-band data speeds of up to 1.5 Mbit/s and High-speed Ka-Band service of up to 8 Mbit/s. The deal could signify an inflection point for the hosted payload industry and show the way forward in terms of innovative government-enterprise partnerships, says NSR.
Sadly, no quantum optical satellites made it to the show. Worse, sex in space may be dangerous, says biologist Dr. Anja Geitmann of Montreal University. Changes in gravity apparently make cell growth erratic and unstable.