Showing posts with label Satellite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Satellite. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

SpaceX completes 13th Starlink launch, nearing 800 satellites in orbit

 SpaceX successfully completed its 13th Starlink launch mission, delivering a further 60 satellites to orbit and bringing the constellation size to over 760. The booster rocket successfully landed on a drone ship off the Florida coast.

SpaceX confirmed that public beta testing of the Starlink network will begin soon. Private tests of the service have achieved download speeds of 100 Mbps with "super good latency" capable of supporting the fastest online video games. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

SES signs on as MEO satellite partner for Microsoft Azure Orbital

 SES signed a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to be an Azure Orbital partner as well as to accelerate and expand the use of Microsoft Azure across its operations and jointly develop cloud-based video and data connectivity managed services.

Under the arrangement, SES will be co-locating and managing O3b mPOWER gateways with Microsoft Azure locations so its customers are always only “one-hop” away from their Azure cloud services anywhere in the world. More specifically, SES will be the medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite partner for Microsoft Azure Orbital. The two companies also agreed to make joint investments in Azure Orbital ground stations for the MEO and Earth Observation segments that SES will deploy and manage based on its industry expertise, with the first Earth Observation gateway being located at Quincy, Western Australia.

The Microsoft partnership is expected to bring improved network performance for SES customers as they route over Microsoft’s global network and inject value-added, cloud-based managed services such as enhanced security, SD-WAN, and other network functions into the service chain.

Additionally, to support customers migrating to the cloud, SES has established a corporate cloud cross-functional team responsible for driving cloud adoption within its own enterprise and operations, and defining, developing and launching seamless cloud, content and connectivity solutions across all of the company’s key market segments. These cloud-based solutions will enable SES customers to enjoy the agility, flexibility and cost-optimisation they require in capitalising on new revenue opportunities. Under the corporate cloud initiative, SES is also moving its IT systems and operations to cloud-based automated services and applications.

“With the breadth and scope of Azure’s global platform and capabilities, Microsoft emerges as an ideal partner in our accelerated transformation into a cloud-first enterprise delivering cloud-based video and data managed services,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks who leads SES’s corporate cloud initiative. “We believe our customers – from dense urban areas to remote and rural locations around the world – will be best served by a ‘new space’ ecosystem that enables them to be more agile, scale flexibly and seize new revenue opportunities.”



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Intelsat signs Maxar, SpaceX and Arianespace for C-band plan

 Intelsat finalized all of its required contracts with satellite manufacturers and launch-vehicle providers to meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the FCC.

Intelsat selected U.S.-based Maxar Technologies to build the final satellite required to support its C-band transition and maintain the FCC’s post-transition, “same or better” quality-of-service standard. Earlier this summer, Intelsat announced manufacturing contracts with Maxar and U.S.-based Northrop Grumman for six satellites.

Intelsat has contracted with SpaceX and Arianespace to launch these satellites on four separate launch vehicles, beginning in 2022. The diversity of manufacturers and launch-vehicle providers will lower transition program costs and help Intelsat mitigate potential launch-delay risks that could prevent the company from meeting the FCC’s accelerated clearing deadlines.

“We have made exceptional progress to date in executing our transition plan,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “We’re moving forward at an accelerated pace to clear portions of the C-band spectrum and help cement America’s leadership in 5G.”

“We’re committed to maintaining this momentum, and we look forward to collaborating with our longstanding partners, Maxar, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Arianespace, on these important contracts to ensure we can continue to provide the high-quality, uninterrupted television, radio and data services that more than 100 million American homes and businesses have come to rely upon,” continued DeMarco.


Intelsat files C-band spectrum transition plan with FCC

Intelsat filed its C-band spectrum transition plan with the FCC, detailing how it will:

  • Migrate 80-plus broadcast, cable, radio, religious and government customers to the upper 200 megahertz (MHz) of the C-band, including the corresponding changes required at 3,500 cable head-ends and 13,500 affiliate earth stations
  • Install 60,000 5G signal-blocking filters across the U.S. in order to mitigate post-transition interference
  • Consolidate multiple telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C)/Gateway antennas into two locations on the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
  • Contract with U.S.-based companies USSI Global, WESCO, ATCi and Convergent to perform aspects of the transition and installation work required on the ground at thousands of earth stations and cable television head-ends throughout the U.S.
  • Intelsat and other satellite operators participating in the FCC’s accelerated C-band clearing plan are responsible for incurring the upfront costs associated with clearing 300 MHz of the spectrum and moving their existing services to the upper portion of the band. Intelsat estimates these upfront investments will cost the company $1.6 to $1.7 billion.
In addition to receiving reimbursement for reasonable upfront costs associated with clearing the spectrum and transitioning incumbent services to the upper portion of the band, Intelsat said it is eligible to receive up to $4.87 billion in incentive payments for successfully meeting the Commission’s accelerated deadlines of clearing 120 MHz of spectrum (3.7 to 3.82 GHz) by December 5, 2021, and the remaining 180 MHz (3.82 to 4.0 GHz) by December 5, 2023. Reimbursements will be funded by the winning bidders of the FCC’s public C-band auction, in line with the FCC’s emerging technologies framework.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

SpaceX completes 12th Starlink launch, private testing undeway

SpaceX successfully completed its 12th Starlink launch mission, delivering a further 60 satellites to orbit and bringing the constellation size to over 700.

During the launch webcast, SpaceX disclosed that private beta testing of the Starlink network has achieved download speeds of 100 Mbps with "super good latency" capable of supporting the fastest online video games. SpaceX also confirmed that inter-satellite links using "space lasers" have been successfully tested. Once the constellation is fully operational, the inter-satellite links should be able to transfer large data flows across the globe.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

FCC grants OneWeb permission for 2,000 satellite constellation

The FCC granted OneWeb with market access in the 37.5-42 GHz (space-to-Earth), 47.2-50.2 GHz (Earth-to-space), and 50.4-51.4 GHz (Earth-to-space) frequency bands, subject to sharing conditions and other requirements, for a proposed 2,000-satellite non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO) broadband constellation.

OneWeb proposes to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku/Ka-band constellation previously approved by the Commission and proposes 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km.  The OneWeb constellation will be authorized by the United Kingdom.

One condition of the grant is that OneWeb must submit a plan within six months for decommissioning and debris mitigation for its MEO satellites.

  • In July 2020, the UK government (through the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited were confirmed as buyers of the OneWeb business through a court-supervised sales process. The deal is aimed at ensuring sufficient funding for the deployment of the OneWeb system. Bharti Airtel, is the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 425 million customers. Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications. Bharti will contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, providing a near-term anchor customer for large-scale global deployment of OneWeb’s services. 
https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-oneweb-us-market-access-expanded-ngso-constellation


OneWeb looks to increase its constellation up to 48,000 satellites

OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, is now asking the FCC for permission to increase the size of its planned constellation up to 48,000 LEO satellites.

OneWeb said a larger constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

To date, OneWeb has successfully launched 74 satellites and developed a significant portion of its ground network.

In August 2019, OneWeb met the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and succeeded in bringing into use its global priority spectrum rights in the Ku- and Ka-band.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb said: "We have always believed that LEO satellites must be part of converged broadband network strategies to enable forward-thinking governments and businesses to deliver much-needed reliable connectivity, create more pathways to 5G and connect to the IoT future everywhere on earth. This significant increase in the size of the OneWeb constellation enables long-term flexibility and ensures we will be ready for the demand, future growth, and technology changes to come."

OneWeb files for Chapter 11

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. The company said uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis derailed advanced negotiations might have fully funded the company through its deployment and commercial launch.

OneWeb said it intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

So far, OneWeb has launched 74 satellites as part of its constellation, secured valuable global spectrum, begun development on a range of user terminals for a variety of customer markets, has half of its 44 ground stations completed or in development, and performed successful demonstrations of its system with broadband speeds in excess of 400 Mbps and latency of 32 ms. In addition, OneWeb’s commercial team has seen significant early global demand for OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity services from governments and leaders in the automotive, maritime, enterprise, and aviation industries.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Arianespace completes triple mission with Ariane 5 rocket

Arianespace successfully orbited two telecommunications satellites and one satellite servicing vehicle for Intelsat, B-SAT and Northrop Grumman using an Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Center.

The Galaxy 30 UHD video distribution/broadcast and broadband satellite, built for global network operator Intelsat, will cover North America. It is the first satellite in Intelsat’s Galaxy fleet refresh plan and will replace Galaxy 14 at 125 degrees west once it is in service in early 2021.

Intelsat also said Galaxy 30 will play an important role in its U.S. C-band spectrum transition plan, which is accelerating America’s path to 5G. Intelsat is facilitating the work of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in transitioning and safeguarding media services currently utilizing the lower portion of the band to make way for 5G wireless services. Intelsat is not seeking any reimbursement costs from the FCC’s public auction proceeds for any aspect of the Galaxy 30 launch or relocation.

BSAT-4b will be used for Ultra-High-Definition (UHD, 4K and 8K) direct-to-home television broadcasting across Japan, in conjunction with its twin, BSAT-4a, launched by Arianespace in 2017.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Intelsat: 75% average fill rate for its satellite transponders

Intelsat reported revenue of $482.0 million and net loss of $405.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2020.

Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler, said, “Our business demonstrated resiliency in a challenging operating environment, highlighted by a sequential quarterly increase in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA largely from the successful execution of a new agreement with Speedcast in our network services business. Financial results, when compared to the same period last year, reflect the ongoing challenges in our network services business due to the impacts of COVID-19 in the cruise maritime and aeronautical mobility, despite booking new business in merchant maritime and enterprise network applications. The decline in the media business was driven by ongoing secular headwinds that we have experienced over several quarters. Finally, the government services business delivered year-over-year growth in revenues resulting from strong uptake of third-party services and growth in our new FlexGround managed services."

Spengler concluded, “During the period we filed our initial C-band transition plan with the FCC, detailing our roadmap to meet their accelerated spectrum clearing deadlines. The final transition plans are due to be filed with the FCC on August 14, 2020. We will consult with the FCC and continue to refine our plan as that date approaches. Ongoing engagement with our supply chain, vendors, and customers gives us a high degree of confidence that we can execute our transition plan and ensure that the U.S. maintains its 5G leadership position."

Some highlights:

  • Network services revenue was $176.7 million (or 37 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended June 30, 2020, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the three months ended June 30, 2019
  • Media revenue was $202.6 million (or 42 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended June 30, 2020, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the three months ended June 30, 2019.
  • Government revenue was $96.1 million (or 20 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended June 30, 2020, an increase of 3 percent compared to the three months ended June 30, 2019.
  • Intelsat’s average fill rate at June 30, 2020 on our approximately 1,675 36 MHz station-kept wide-beam transponders was 75.1 percent, as compared to an average fill rate at March 31, 2020 of 78.5 percent on the company's approximately 1,675 transponders. 
  • As of June 30, 2020, the Intelsat fleet included approximately 1,225 36 MHz equivalent transponders of high-throughput Intelsat Epic capacity, reflecting no change from the prior quarter.



I

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

SES awards launch contracts to ULA and SpaceX

SES awarded a launch contract to U.S.-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch two C-band satellites. ULA’s Atlas V rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2022 and carry the two stacked satellites.

SES also awarded a contract to SpaceX to provide launch capability for up to 3 of its C-band satellites over two launches.

The launches will be part of SES' accelerated C-band clearing plan to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s objectives to roll out 5G services in the United States.

Earlier this year, SES contracted with American companies Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company to deliver four C-band satellites. These satellites will enable SES to clear 280MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G use while seamlessly migrating SES’s existing C-band customers and ensuring the continued delivery of digital television to nearly 120 million American TV homes and other critical data services. ULA will launch the two C-band satellites manufactured by Boeing.

SES is investing in America through its C-band transition plan and its work with large and small businesses across the country and its selection of Atlas V, an American launch vehicle “Clearing mid-band spectrum expeditiously while protecting cable neighborhoods across America is a huge undertaking and one that requires partners that can deliver mission success and schedule assurance,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES. “We are thrilled to be working with ULA again and partnering to meet the FCC’s ambitious timeline for the accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum.”

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Rocket Lab launch fails 4 minutes into flight

Rocket Lab 13th "Electron" mission experienced a catastrophic anomaly four minutes into flight, resulting in the loss of customer payload. The mission, ‘Pics Or It Didn’t Happen,’ was launched from New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

The primary payload was Canon Electronics Inc.’s CE-SAT-IB, which was procured by satellite rideshare and mission management provider Spaceflight Inc. Canon Electronics was seeking to demonstrate Earth-imaging technology with high-resolution and wide-angle cameras, as well as test its microsatellite for mass production.
R
ocket Lab, which, currently has more than eight Electron rockets in production, said it hopes to be ready for a rapid return to flight as soon as investigations are complete and any required corrective actions are in place.

“We are deeply sorry to our customers Spaceflight Inc., Canon Electronics Inc., Planet, and In-Space Missions for the loss of their payloads. We know many people poured their hearts and souls into those spacecraft. Today's anomaly is a reminder that space launch can be unforgiving, but we will identify the issue, rectify it, and be safely back on the pad as soon as possible,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO. “The launch team operated with professionalism and expertise to implement systems and procedures that ensured the anomaly was managed safely. I’m proud of the way they have responded to a tough day. We’re working together as a team to comb through the data, learn from today, and prepare for our next mission.”


Friday, June 26, 2020

Intelsat and Liquid Telecom extend partnership for Africa

Intelsat and Liquid Telecom are expanding their partnership to deliver very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) service to 20 countries across Africa.

Through the partnership extension, Liquid Telecom will be able to connect more than 2,000 additional VSAT terminals across the continent. This will ensure the continuity of high-speed, reliable satellite connectivity to mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media, content companies and retail customers across Africa, and it will also help Liquid Telecom better serve the growing demand for improved connectivity in its rural service areas.

“Extending our partnership with Intelsat will enable us to continue developing VSAT products with high- efficiency models and ubiquitous coverage; in fact, Liquid Telecom has just added three new high-performance VSAT service offerings to our portfolio, each with a range of data volume options. Liquid Telecom is continuing to drive increased demand and improve service levels across the continent, and this continuation of our partnership with Intelsat is a significant boost in that regard,” said Liquid Telecom Satellite Services CEO Scott Mumford.

http://www.liquidtelecom.com

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Intelsat files C-band spectrum transition plan with FCC

Intelsat filed its C-band spectrum transition plan with the FCC, detailing how it will:

  • Migrate 80-plus broadcast, cable, radio, religious and government customers to the upper 200 megahertz (MHz) of the C-band, including the corresponding changes required at 3,500 cable head-ends and 13,500 affiliate earth stations
  • Install 60,000 5G signal-blocking filters across the U.S. in order to mitigate post-transition interference
  • Consolidate multiple telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C)/Gateway antennas into two locations on the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
  • Contract with U.S.-based companies USSI Global, WESCO, ATCi and Convergent to perform aspects of the transition and installation work required on the ground at thousands of earth stations and cable television head-ends throughout the U.S.
  • Intelsat and other satellite operators participating in the FCC’s accelerated C-band clearing plan are responsible for incurring the upfront costs associated with clearing 300 MHz of the spectrum and moving their existing services to the upper portion of the band. Intelsat estimates these upfront investments will cost the company $1.6 to $1.7 billion.

In addition to receiving reimbursement for reasonable upfront costs associated with clearing the spectrum and transitioning incumbent services to the upper portion of the band, Intelsat said it is eligible to receive up to $4.87 billion in incentive payments for successfully meeting the Commission’s accelerated deadlines of clearing 120 MHz of spectrum (3.7 to 3.82 GHz) by December 5, 2021, and the remaining 180 MHz (3.82 to 4.0 GHz) by December 5, 2023. Reimbursements will be funded by the winning bidders of the FCC’s public C-band auction, in line with the FCC’s emerging technologies framework.

“Intelsat is filing its comprehensive transition plan after having spent more than two years proactively working with the FCC, our customers, industry stakeholders, vendors and other satellite operators to create a clear path for meeting the FCC’s accelerated clearing deadlines and ensuring the U.S. maintains its leadership in 5G,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “With our detailed plan finalized and our supply chain engaged, Intelsat looks forward to supporting the FCC in successfully transitioning the C-band spectrum and accelerating America’s path to 5G – all while safeguarding the high-quality media broadcast services on which more than 100 million American households rely.”

  • Last week, Intelsat announced that it has selected U.S. manufacturers, Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman, to design and manufacture satellites required to transition the company’s high-quality media distribution and contribution services – uninterrupted – from the 3.7 to 4.0 gigahertz (GHz) portion of the C-band to the 4.0 to 4.2 GHz portion of the band.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Investors pour $100 million into Ligado for its terrestrial L-Band network

Ligado Networks announced more than $100 million in new investments to begin taking the necessary steps to build 5G IoT networks.

“With this new round of capital, we are better prepared than ever to do exactly what we’ve said: get this mid-band spectrum deployed to support the next-generation wireless networks needed to bring America’s critical infrastructure and essential services into the 21st century,” said Ligado CEO Doug Smith. “The investments will create American jobs, expand innovation and directly enhance critical industries such as first responders, health care workers and supply chain personnel that depend on ubiquitous and ultra-reliable networks to protect and secure American lives.”

https://ligado.com/press/ligado-raises-100-million-build-mission-critical-5g-networks/


  • On May 22, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), acting on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Transportation (DoT), petitioned the FCC to reconsider, clarify or amend its recent decision regarding Ligado. Specifically, NTIA is requesting the FCC to rescind the approval of the mobile satellite service (MSS) license modification applications conditionally granted to Ligado, stating that these will cause irreparable harms to federal government users of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Separately, NTIA is seeking a stay in the proceedings to prevent Ligado from deploying its network until this petition is addressed and harmful interference concerns are resolved.

    In response, Ligado stated "This rehash of arguments put before the FCC over two years ago contains no new information or technical data to support its request that the FCC reconsider its recent unanimous, bipartisan decision.  The entire petition is premised on the tired 1 dB argument, which is just another way of the DoD saying, “we want this spectrum for our own use.”  The FCC carefully analyzed and dismantled that argument in its 74-page Order, and we are confident that it will affirm its decision upon review." 

FCC approves Ligado for low-power L-band terrestrial network

The FCC voted unanimously to approve with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that will primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services.

“I thank my colleagues for coming together on a bipartisan basis to support Ligado’s application,” said Chairman Pai.  “The vote at the Commission reflects the broad, bipartisan support that this order has received, from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr on the one hand to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California on the other.  This vote is another step forward for American leadership in 5G and advanced wireless services.”

Among the conditions that Ligado must abide by:
  • Ligado must provide a significant (23 megahertz) guard-band using its own licensed spectrum to separate its terrestrial base station transmissions from neighboring operations in the Radionavigation-Satellite Service allocation. 
  • Ligado is required to limit the power levels of its base stations to 9.8 dBW, a reduction of 99.3% from the power levels proposed in Ligado’s 2015 application. 
  • Ligado must protect adjacent band incumbents by reporting its base station locations and technical operating parameters to potentially affected government and industry stakeholders prior to commencing operations, continuously monitoring the transmit power of its base station sites, and complying with procedures and actions for responding to credible reports of interference, including rapid shutdown of operations where warranted. 


  • Ligado Networks is a privately-backed company based in Reston, Virginia, with investors including Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. From the big hitting industry execs on the leadership team it is clear the company is serious. Ivan Seidenberg, a former chairman of Verizon Communications, serves as chairman. Also on the board of directors is Timothy Donahue, former executive chairman of Sprint Nextel and former president and CEO of Nextel Communications, and Reed Hundt, the former Federal Communications Commission. Doug Smith serves as Ligado's president and CEO; he is known for his work in engineering and launching nationwide networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Intelsat opts into FCC accelerated C-band clearing plan

Intelsat filed a written commitment with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to accelerate clearing of the U.S. C-band spectrum. Intelsat completed the filing in advance of the FCC’s May 29 deadline.

“Intelsat has been connecting Americans with technology for more than half a century. Our expertise, innovation, and technology investments have played a critical role in driving America’s economic and national security edge for the last five decades”

In March, the FCC finalized its Expanding Flexible Use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz Band order, which requires the lower 280 megahertz of the 3.7 to 4.2 gigahertz C-band spectrum, plus a 20 megahertz guard band, to be cleared and repurposed for use by 5G services, by relocating existing satellite services to the upper part of the band.

“As the foundational architects of satellite technology and leading experts of integrated communications technologies, Intelsat is committed to advancing – at an accelerated pace – America’s position in the race to 5G. With decades-deep institutional knowledge of the U.S. C-band, we understand what’s required to successfully and quickly transition current users, while maintaining high-quality, uninterrupted broadcast to more than 100 million American homes and businesses,” said Intelsat Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler.

“Intelsat has been connecting Americans with technology for more than half a century. Our expertise, innovation, and technology investments have played a critical role in driving America’s economic and national security edge for the last five decades,” continued Spengler. “We embrace America’s drive to adopt 5G and recognize the important role that Intelsat will play in accelerating the clearing of the C-Band spectrum to ensure the U.S. maintains its leadership in 5G and other advanced telecommunications technologies for decades to come.”

FCC approves C-Band spectrum rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve new rules to accelerate the auction and transfer of a wide swath of 3.5 GHz spectrum from the satellite industry for new uses, including 5G.

The 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum will be made available via a public auction.

Within the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, the FCC has is allocating the 3.7-4.0 GHz portion of the band for mobile use and 280 megahertz (3.7-3.98 GHz band) will be auctioned by the FCC for wireless services in the contiguous United States.  Another 20 megahertz (3.98-4.0 GHz) will serve as a guard band while existing satellite operations will be repacked into the upper 200 megahertz of the band (4.0-4.2 GHz).

Satellite operators will be able to receive accelerated relocation payments of $9.7 billion if they meet accelerated clearing milestones.

FCC expects to conduct an auction beginning on December 8, 2020.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Intelsat offers Cellular Backhaul Solution for U.S. Mobile Operators

Intelsat launched CellBackhaul, an end-to-end managed service that helps Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) provide cost-efficient and rapid 4G and 5G broadband coverage to rural areas of the United States.

As an end-to-end cellular backhaul managed service, Intelsat CellBackhaul includes:

  • Network-design consultation
  • Connectivity from the MNO's cell sites to their core network over Intelsat's high-performance integrated space and ground network
  • Satellite antenna and modem, plus additional equipment installation and maintenance options
  • Guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • 24x7 network-operations support

“We innovate to help our customers connect more people, places, and devices they otherwise would not be able to connect, and we do that on a global scale,” said Intelsat Director of Product Management for Networks, Gerry Collins. “Our service will enable our U.S. mobile network operators to quickly and cost-effectively expand their coverage and bring connectivity into unserved and underserved areas, including many previously considered unreachable or unprofitable.”

Intelsat also noted that the FCC is moving forward with its planned $9 billion 5G Rural Fund. As much as 67% of the U.S. landmass in 49 states and three U.S. territories could be eligible for funds to bring 5G into rural communities and support connectivity needs of American farms and ranches – a tremendous opportunity for U.S. MNOs.

Intelsat plans to roll out the Intelsat CellBackhaul service to mobile operators in additional regions, including Africa, in late 2020.

Monday, May 18, 2020

U.S. Defense Innovation Unit to test Isotropic's' Optical Beamforming

Isotropic Systems announced an antenna evaluation and development contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to test the ability of its patented multi-beam antennas to unlock high-powered bandwidth aboard next-gen Naval vessels at sea.  The collaboration contract is focused on the delivery of a low-profile, high performance, affordable and customizable antenna to support multiple links over multiple bands of satellite capacity, including S-, C-, Ka-, Ku-, X-, and Q-band connectivity, to open up a new world of real-time government communications and connectivity.

Isotropic's patented optical beamforming antenna technologies are designed to fuse multi-band, multi-orbit commercial and military capacity to deliver intelligence data at the tactical edge over a single platform.

Isotropic Systems said its high-performance terminal features optical lens modules that are conformal to the limited real estate aboard Navy ships, providing an antenna design that delivers seamless make-before-break switching between satellites in multiple orbits, and continuous connectivity during turbulent pitch-and-roll conditions facing vessels traversing rough seas.

"Isotropic Systems has cracked the code for a new age of seamless and secure connectivity and communications in some of the most challenging conditions facing government agencies and military operations around the globe," said John Finney, CEO and Founder of Isotropic Systems. "This important effort is potentially a major milestone that will ultimately lead to ultra-high-speed data delivery and real-time national security advantages that come with integrated government networks. We will enable the Navy, and other government forces and agencies, to arbitrage all the capacity it needs from across low-Earth, geosynchronous- equatorial and medium-earth orbit constellations over a single multi-beam platform."

https://www.isotropicsystems.com/

Sunday, April 26, 2020

FCC updates satellite orbital debris rules

The FCC updated its satellite rules on orbital debris mitigation for the first time since 2004.

Specifically, the new rules improve the specificity and clarity of rules that require disclosure of debris mitigation plans by satellite companies.  The changes include requiring that satellite applicants assign numerical values to collision risk, probability of successful post-mission disposal, and casualty risk associated with those satellites that will re-enter earth’s atmosphere.  Satellite applicants will also have new disclosure requirements related to protecting inhabitable spacecraft, maneuverability, use of deployment devices, release of persistent liquids, proximity operations, trackability and identification, and information sharing for situational awareness.  The new rules also update the process for geostationary orbit satellite license term extension requests.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated "Today, for the first time in 15 years, we are adopting new rules to mitigate the threat posed by orbital debris, including regulations involving satellite design, better disposal procedures, and active collision avoidance.  15 years is an eternity in this fast-moving sector, and the time has come to address this critical issue.  The rules that we adopt today take a balanced approach: mitigating the risk posed by orbital debris, while at the same time continuing to light a regulatory path for space-based innovation." 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites on Wednesday, 22-April-2020, bringing its constellation to 420 satellites in orbit.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic.

Monday, April 20, 2020

FCC approves Ligado for low-power L-band terrestrial network

The FCC voted unanimously to approve with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that will primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services. 

“I thank my colleagues for coming together on a bipartisan basis to support Ligado’s application,” said Chairman Pai.  “The vote at the Commission reflects the broad, bipartisan support that this order has received, from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr on the one hand to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California on the other.  This vote is another step forward for American leadership in 5G and advanced wireless services.”

Among the conditions that Ligado must abide by:

  • Ligado must provide a significant (23 megahertz) guard-band using its own licensed spectrum to separate its terrestrial base station transmissions from neighboring operations in the Radionavigation-Satellite Service allocation. 
  • Ligado is required to limit the power levels of its base stations to 9.8 dBW, a reduction of 99.3% from the power levels proposed in Ligado’s 2015 application. 
  • Ligado must protect adjacent band incumbents by reporting its base station locations and technical operating parameters to potentially affected government and industry stakeholders prior to commencing operations, continuously monitoring the transmit power of its base station sites, and complying with procedures and actions for responding to credible reports of interference, including rapid shutdown of operations where warranted. 


  • Ligado Networks is a privately-backed company based in Reston, Virginia, with investors including Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. From the big hitting industry execs on the leadership team it is clear the company is serious. Ivan Seidenberg, a former chairman of Verizon Communications, serves as chairman. Also on the board of directors is Timothy Donahue, former executive chairman of Sprint Nextel and former president and CEO of Nextel Communications, and Reed Hundt, the former Federal Communications Commission. Doug Smith serves as Ligado's president and CEO; he is known for his work in engineering and launching nationwide networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

FCC Chairman favors Ligado's bid for low-power L-band terrestrial network

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated  a draft order that would approve with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that would primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services. 

“After many years of consideration, it is time for the FCC to make a decision and bring this proceeding to a close,” said Chairman Pai.  “We have compiled an extensive record, which confirms that it is in the public interest to grant Ligado’s application while imposing stringent conditions to prevent harmful interference.  The draft order that I have presented to my colleagues would make more efficient use of underused spectrum and promote the deployment of 5G and Internet of Things services.

In recent years, Ligado has amended its application to significantly reduce the power levels of its base stations from 32 dBW to 9.8 dBW (a reduction of 99.3%).  Ligado has also committed to providing a significant (23 megahertz) guard-band using its own licensed spectrum to further separate its terrestrial base station transmissions from neighboring operations in the Radionavigation-Satellite Service allocation.  As such, Ligado is now only seeking terrestrial use of the 1526-1536 MHz, 1627.5-1637.5 MHz, and 1646.5-1656.5 MHz bands.  The Order is conditioned to reflect these technical requirements.  It also requires Ligado to protect adjacent band incumbents by reporting its base station locations and technical operating parameters to potentially affected government and industry stakeholders prior to commencing operations, continuously monitoring the transmit power of its base station sites, and complying with procedures and actions for responding to credible reports of interference, including rapid shutdown of operations where warranted.

Doug Smith, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ligado, stated: "Since the very beginning of its long, comprehensive and collaborative analysis of the technical issues presented by Ligado's application, the FCC's dedicated staff has repeatedly shown its commitment to science-based, engineering-driven decision making, and Chairman's Pai's circulation of the Order regarding our license modification applications is the most recent example of this. The central importance of mid-band – especially our lower mid-band – to 5G is well-known. As Ericsson and Nokia technical studies on our proposed network deployment have shown, the superior propagation characteristics of our spectrum will improve mobile 5G coverage – both outdoor and indoor – and in doing so, accelerate the deployment of 5G networks. Ligado is committed to the twin goals of protecting GPS while delivering highly secure and ultra-reliable communications to accelerate next-generation technologies and the Industrial Internet of Things."


Ligado Networks is a privately-backed company based in Reston, Virginia, with investors including Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. From the big hitting industry execs on the leadership team it is clear the company is serious. Ivan Seidenberg, a former chairman of Verizon Communications, serves as chairman. Also on the board of directors is Timothy Donahue, former executive chairman of Sprint Nextel and former president and CEO of Nextel Communications, and Reed Hundt, the former Federal Communications Commission. Doug Smith serves as Ligado's president and CEO; he is known for his work in engineering and launching nationwide networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.

Picking up the pieces from LightSquared, SkyTerra and Mobile Satellite Ventures

Ligado Networks, previously known as LightSquared, emerged from bankruptcy reorganisation in 2016 with a new plan, or rather a new version of an old plan. The company controls 40 MHz of nationwide spectrum licenses in the L-Band (1500 to 1700 MHz), which it acquired in 2010 through its purchase of SkyTerra, another bold start-up that envisioned transforming the U.S. mobile scene with satellite communications.

Prior to 2008, SkyTerra was known as Mobile Satellite Ventures and had successfully operated the MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 satellites for over a decade. As 4G LTE technologies neared, the company set its sights and going big. The business plan evolved from pure mobile satellite to a hybrid design where the satellite connectivity would be used to augment terrestrial mobile communications. This would mean using the same spectrum bands from ground based base station as well as from the satellite. The company changed its name to SkyTerra and was acquired by Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners acquired SkyTerra in March 2010. Harbinger invested about $2.9 billion in assets and soon raised more than $2.3 billion in debt and equity financing.

SkyTerra soon became known for its massive SkyTerra 1 satellite, which weighed a record 6,910 kg. The satellite was built at Space Systems/Loral's Palo Alto, California facility. It operates in two 10 MHz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2 GHz band throughout the U.S. and Canada. Notably, the satellite uniquely features an 18-metre reflector and an S-band feed array with 500 spot beams. In November 2010, SkyTerra 1 was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

SkyTerra changed its name to LightSquared and in January 2011 was granted a conditional waiver by the FCC to test its network if it could be shown that the service would not interfere with GPS signals. This alarmed many GPS advocates, who argued that the L-band spectrum was simply too close to its own and that even a little interference could have serious consequences for the military, aviation, agriculture and other vertical sectors that rely on precise navigation.

In February 2012, the company received its greatest setback when the FCC withdrew its conditional approval for LightSquared network due to the potential interference concerns with GPS receivers. In June 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against Philip Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners; the case was settled in June 2013. For LightSquared, the game was over and it was soon forced into the bankruptcy courts. In addition to the technical, legal and financial challenges, LighSquared also faced allegations of political favouritism. Nevertheless, it still had the spectrum licenses and a fully functional Skyterra1 satellite parked in geostationary orbit.

Ligado Network is the new entity that in December 2015 emerged from this decade-long mess. Significantly, the company reached a settlement with the GPS industry on a technical plan to avoid interference issues by reducing the transmission power. It is not clear why a similar compromise could not have been reached in 2012. Ligado is now awaiting clearance from the FCC.

Ligado looks for its market

So back to square one, and Ligado Networks is now moving ahead with the plan to combine Skyterra1 satellite coverage with a ground-based network should FCC approval come. The goal is a ubiquitous national network whose footprint requires far fewer ground-based towers than would otherwise be required for universal coverage. The company says its mid-band spectrum is well suited for things that move, such as planes, trains and automobiles.

In its original iteration, LightSquared aimed to either compete with or partner with 4G LTE mobile services. At least one mobile handset model was developed that incorporated specialised silicon for tuning in the L-band frequency in addition to standard cellular bands. It seemed that a distribution partnership with AT&T was also in the works. For consumers, this would have meant being able to use the AT&T LTE network where available and then seamlessly roam onto the SkyTerra1 satellite service when that signal was stronger. Unfortunately, this handset was based on an old Nokia design and was not an iPhone or Android device. Even without the legal and financial issues, this business plan was not going to work.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Myriota raises $19M for satellite IoT

Myriota, a start-up based in Adelaide, Australia, announced  US$19.3 million in Series B funding for its low-cost and low-power satellite connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Myriota has pioneered a new way to retrieve data from anywhere on Earth through the connectivity between its constellation of satellites and low-power IoT modules. The company said its technology will revolutionize the way companies share information across multiple industries, such as agriculture, defense, mining, transport & logistics, and more.

The new funding round was led by Hostplus and Main Sequence Ventures. Additional investors include In-Q-Tel, Inc., Right Click Capital, Singtel Innov8, Boeing HorizonX, South Australian Venture Capital Fund, and Malcolm Turnbull – the former Australian Prime Minister who led the government that established the Australian space agency in 2017. This latest round of funding brings Myriota’s total funding to more than US$37 million.

“This is a critical time for IoT. Presently, 90 percent of the earth’s surface lacks connectivity. At Myriota, we’ve been focused on filling that gap and overcoming constraints in existing infrastructure. With this new round of funding, we’ll continue to grow our network of satellites to deliver on an affordable, environmentally friendly, and powerful solution to make data accessible for our global customer base,” said Alex Grant, Co-founder and CEO, Myriota.

"Myriota is a leader and innovator in low cost, low power IoT. They have paved the way in bringing products to market for global and local applications, both here in Australia's flourishing space sector and across the world. Myriota’s growth plans will only strengthen its ability to provide industry-leading connectivity across its network of international partners,” said Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia.

https://myriota.com