PSLV Launch with 104 Payloads Opens New Opportunities for Small Satellites

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

PSLV-C37 with 104 payloads. Source: Indian Space Research Organisation

On the morning of February 15, 2017, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (designated PSLV-C37) launched the 714-kilogram Cartosat-2 Series Satellite and 103 co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The launch – which marked the 38th consecutively successful PSLV mission out of 39 flights – was one for the record books.

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Enhanced Polar System Should Avoid Ice Station Zebra Scenario

By Richard Sterk, C4I Analyst, Forecast International.

Enhanced Polar System (EPS).

In an attempt to prevent a real life Ice Station Zebra incident, the U.S. DoD has pumped money and technology into the Enhanced Polar System (EPS). The system’s mission – to provide around-the-clock protected communications in the polar north – is considered vital by the DoD.  Continue reading

Enhanced Polar System Cuts Through Ice, but Can It Cut Through Program Review Bureaucracy?

By Richard Sterk, C4I Analyst, Forecast International.

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Starting back in the high-tension days of the Cold War, the U.S. Department of Defense realized the vital necessity of having around-the-clock protected communications in the north polar Arctic region. The need for this capability became even more acute after the Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) program was restructured in 1992 into the Transformational Satellite (TSAT) program. Under the restructuring, the two originally planned polar satellites were dropped. Then, the production of the interim payloads to cover the gap created by the MILSATCOM restructuring was delayed. However, now that those satellites have finally been built, attention has shifted to the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) program to provide a next-generation, protected, extremely high-frequency (EHF) satellite communications capability (especially for submarines) in the Arctic. Continue reading

PT Telkom Indonesia Orders $200 Million Communications Satellite from SSL

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

1300 Series Satellite Platform. Source - Space Systems Loral

1300 Series Satellite Platform. Source – Space Systems/Loral

Space Systems Loral (SSL) has been selected to provide a communications satellite to PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. According to a December 30, 2015, announcement, SSL will build the TELKOM-4, which will be used for fixed satellite services in Indonesia, India, and Southeast Asia. Continue reading

Multiple Issues Lead to Last Zenit Launch

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Zenit launcher being transported by rail.

Zenit launcher being transported by rail.

A Zenit 2SB launch vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 12 carrying the Elektro-L2, a geosynchronous meteorological satellite, into orbit. The Zenit 2SB is also referred to as the Zenit 3SLBF by some sources. Continue reading

Chinese/Russian SmallSat Joint Venture Could Play Role in $40 Billion Silk Road Project

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Dauria's Auriga

Dauria’s Auriga

Cybernaut, a Chinese investment fund, has signed an agreement with Russian satellite builder Dauria Aerospace to provide $70 million in financing. Under the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture called UrbanObserver, based in Hong Kong, which will develop 10 remote sensing satellites to conduct daily imaging of the 100 largest cities in the world. The agreement was signed at the second Chinese-Russian Expo, in Harbin, China.[i]

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COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation Development Continues with EUR182 Million Award

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation. Source, Thales Alenia Space.

COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation. Source, Thales Alenia Space.

Thales Alenia Space has signed a new phase of the contract for the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG) satellite program with the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The new phase is worth EUR182 million ($204.5 million), with Thales Alenia Space receiving 85 percent – EUR154 million ($173 million) – of the total and Telespazio 15 percent – EUR28 million ($31.5 million). Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for the COSMO-SkyMed program, in charge of building the space segment consisting of two CSG satellites, while Telespazio is responsible for developing the ground segment and integrated logistics for operations. Continue reading

AT&T’s $49 Billion Acquisition of DirecTV Won’t Hurt Satellite Production

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

DIRECTV 7S satellite (Credit: Space Systems/Loral)

DIRECTV 7S satellite (Credit: Space Systems/Loral)

AT&T Inc has completed its $49 billion acquisition of direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television provider DirecTV. DirecTV will be folded into AT&T’s Entertainment & Internet Services division, which also includes AT&T’s terrestrial TV and broadband Internet services.

The combined company will be the largest pay TV provider in the world when measured by subscribers. The company provides services to more than 26 million customers in the U.S. and more than 19 million customers in Latin America. Additionally, AT&T has more than 132 million wireless subscribers and connections in the U.S. and Mexico; offers 4G LTE mobile coverage to nearly 310 million people in the U.S.; covers 57 million U.S. customer locations with high-speed Internet; and has nearly 16 million subscribers to its high-speed Internet service. Continue reading

New Quantum Satellite Bus Will Be the Focus of New Technology Development

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Quantum new-generation satellite (Credit: Airbus)

Quantum new-generation satellite (Credit: Airbus)

A partnership between ESA, Eutelsat, and Airbus Defence and Space has introduced a commercial communications services satellite platform that utilizes new technology. The Quantum satellite’s software-based design will give operators the ability to change a satellite’s operational parameters in orbit, enabling users to serve any region of the world and adjust to new business without needing to procure and launch an entirely new satellite. The satellite will feature phased-array antennas, flexible connectivity, and software-configurable payloads that can adapt to new demands in coverage, bandwidth, and frequency configurability. Continue reading