Space 

Telesat to announce manufacturing plans for LEO constellation in coming months

TORONTO — Telesat, with one demonstration satellite for its planned broadband satellite constellation in orbit, expects to announce plans for manufacturing the full system in the coming months as it seeks partners to help fund its development. Speaking at the Canadian SmallSat Symposium here Feb. 15, Erwin Hudson, vice president of Telesat LEO, said the company was currently reviewing proposals for the 117-satellite constellation submitted by a number of major satellite manufacturers. “We’ve spent the last several months digging through” about 5,000 pages of proposal documents, he said. Those reviews…

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Space 

Viasat says ViaSat-2 business plan intact despite antenna glitch

WASHINGTON — Fleet operator Viasat’s newest satellite could lose around 15 percent of its intended throughput due to an antenna problem discovered after launch. Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s Chairman and CEO, told investors Feb. 8 that the 6,400-kilogram ViaSat-2 satellite launched in June on an Ariane 5 rocket will likely have a maximum capacity of 260 gigabits per second, rather than 300 Gbps or more as initially hoped. Viasat and satellite manufacturer Boeing are continuing to work on solutions to the antenna problem, Dankberg said, but cannot conclude whether any prospective…

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Space 

FCC chairman urges approval for SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation. In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet. “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S.…

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Space 

SES allies with Intelsat, Intel on revised US C-band proposal

WASHINGTON — Satellite fleet operator SES has agreed to join Intelsat on an amended proposal to let 5G networks use some of the satellite industry’s coveted C-band spectrum for next-generation cellular systems in the United States. The modified proposal, building on a submission Intelsat and computer chip-maker Intel made to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in October, would allow mobile networks to use one-fifth of satellite-designated C-band. SES had stipulated in November that, while considering Intelsat and Intel’s plan, the operator could not support opening the full 500-MHz of U.S.…

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Space 

OneWeb spars with SpaceX, Boeing, SES and Space Norway over FCC coverage rule

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Federal Communications Commission requirement that developers of non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) satellite systems provide full coverage of the United States to get market access has  prospective megaconstellation operators pitted against each other. The FCC, in a notice of proposed rulemaking that closed Jan. 29, asked for input on whether it should maintain the nationwide coverage requirement, noting that some proposed systems are not designed to reach all of the continental U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. OneWeb, with investors Intelsat and Hughes, and Alaska’s governor were…

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Space 

Solar panel suppliers adjust to GEO satellite slowdown

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 15, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Suppliers of solar panels and related equipment for the space industry are pivoting to serve customers planning satellites for low and medium Earth orbits as the slow down in geostationary satellite orders persists. Commercial satellite operators ordered just seven geostationary telecommunications satellites in 2017 — well below the 20 to 25 orders considered normal in years past. Orders for 2016 and 2015 topped out in the teens (still below average, but better than last year). Space solar…

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Space 

Kepler confirms health of LEO Ku-band cubesat

WASHINGTON — Kepler Communications, a Canadian startup designing a low-Earth-orbit constellation for satellite connectivity, says its first satellite is performing as expected following a Jan. 19 launch on China’s Long March 11 rocket. Kepler’s cubesat satellite was one of six satellites that China Great Wall Industry Corp. launched from China’s oldest spaceport, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. Nicknamed Kipp after a robot in the 2014 sci-fi movie “Interstellar,”  the 30-centimeter by 10-centimeter by 10-centimeter nanosatellite is the first of two demonstration satellites Scotland’s Clyde Space built for Kepler,…

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Space 

PSLV launch a milestone for India and several companies

WASHINGTON — The successful launch of an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Jan. 11 marked not just the return to flight of the rocket but also major achievements for several of the companies with payloads on board the vehicle. The PSLV lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Jan. 11, carrying a Cartosat-2 remote sensing satellite and 30 secondary payloads. All the payloads were successfully deployed into two low Earth orbits within two hours of launch. The launch was the first for…

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Space 

ISRO launches PSLV return to flight mission with 31 satellites

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully returned to flight Thursday night. The PSLV lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10:59 p.m. Eastern and placed into orbit a Cartosat 2 imaging satellite and 30 secondary payloads. Among the secondary payloads were four Dove cubesats for Planet, four Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire, a prototype broadband smallsat for Telesat and the first synthetic aperture radar smallsat for Finnish company Iceye. The launch was the first for the PSLV since an August mission that failed when the rocket’s payload fairing did…

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Space 

Registering C-band dishes a costly, cumbersome task for customers, SES says

WASHINGTON — If the U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants a more accurate database of C-band satellite dishes, it should make the process of registering those dishes less expensive and time-consuming, fleet operator SES said Dec. 6. In a letter recounting a Dec. 4, meeting between Luxembourg-based SES and representatives of the FCC, SES argued that its C-band customers have little incentive to register their dishes, since registration is a voluntary process that can cost over $1,000 per site. The FCC is pushing for an updated registry of C-band users to…

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