Briefs

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  Space News Business

Briefs

posted: 27 November 2007
04:30 pm ET









1st Advanced EHF Launch Slips to Fall of Next Year








The launch of the Pentagon’s first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) secure communications satellite is expected to slip from spring




until




fall of next year, according to Lt. Gen. Mike Hamel, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.



Hamel told reporters during a Nov. 16 briefing that the delay could not be blamed on any one factor. He said integration of the satellite is going much more smoothly than was the case at the same juncture with the first of the previous-generation Milstar spacecraft.

Meanwhile, Hamel said program officials are studying Advanced EHF parts obsolescence issues associated with the recent congressional direction in H.R. 3222, the 2008 defense appropriations legislation. That measure, signed into law Nov. 13, directs the Air Force to purchase a fourth Advanced EHF satellite with an option for a fifth.







Skynet 5B, Star One C1 Launched Atop Ariane 5

Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket successfully placed British military and Brazilian commercial telecommunications satellites into orbit Nov. 14 in the fifth of a planned six Ariane 5 launches scheduled for 2007. The satellite’s builders reported Nov. 15 that both satellites were healthy.

At 8,800 kilograms, the dual payload was the heaviest ever lifted by the standard-configuration Ariane 5 ECA vehicle.

The Skynet 5B satellite, owned by Paradigm Secure Communications, a unit of Astrium Services, will be used by British and NATO military authorities under a long-term services contract with Paradigm. The 4,700-kilogram satellite will join its twin, the Skynet 5A launched in March, and will be followed in mid-2008 by the Skynet 5C spacecraft. Skynet 5B will be tested for several weeks at 56 degrees east longitude before moving to its operating slot at 53 degrees east.

The Skynet 5 satellites are built by Astrium Satellites, giving the launch a “triple play” feature for Astrium, whose Astrium Space Transportation division is the prime contractor for Ariane 5 rockets.

The Star One C1 satellite owned by satellite-fleet operator Star One of Brazil will be placed in Brazil’s 65 degrees west orbital position. The satellite, built by Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space, carries 28 C-band, 10 Ku-band and one X-band transponder. It weighed 4,100 kilograms at launch.

The Arianespace commercial-launch consortium of Evry, France, tentatively plans to launch one more Ariane 5 rocket this year in mid December to place satellites owned by satellite-fleet operator Intelsat and Rascom of Africa – a new entrant into the business – into geostationary transfer orbit.




General Dynamics Wins Satellite Terminal Order

General Dynamics C4 Systems won a $78.3 million U.S. Army order for satellite communications and broadband network equipment under the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment One program, a Nov. 15 company press release said.

The indefinite quantity-indefinite delivery WIN-T Increment One contract could be worth as much as $1.4 billion. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems are subcontractors on the program.

The WIN-T program was restructured and accelerated in June. WIN-T Increment One, formerly known as the Joint Network Node, is the first of four increments. This order’s equipment includes network hubs, command posts and network management suites scheduled for delivery starting in May 2008, the release said.



General Dynamics also was picked to deliver the system’s next two increments: Increment Two will deliver initial on-the-move broadband networking starting in 2009, and Increment Three will deliver a full range of network capacity, security and mobile




capabilities starting in 2011. The fourth increment has not yet been awarded.




Ulysses Granted One-Year Extension to March 2009



Even though the U.S.-European Ulysses solar science spacecraft has been in space for nearly two decades, the European Space Agency (ESA)




Science Programme Committee has




unanimously approved a one-year extension that




will keep the spacecraft operational until March 2009. It is the fourth extension of the




project, according to a Nov. 16 ESA




press release.



“This new lease of life is great news for the international heliophysics community,” said Richard Marsden, ESA’s Ulysses mission manager and project scientist. “Ulysses has a finite lifetime determined by technical limitations. There are no limitations to the science that we can still do. We are on an exploratory mission, probing the most fundamental processes of our solar system. Every bit of new data holds the promise of a new discovery of profound importance.”

In order to compensate for the steadily diminishing power output of Ulysses’ onboard radioisotope thermoelectric generator, the spacecraft operations team devised a new operations scheme that allows the majority of the scientific instruments to operate throughout the period covered by the extension without much power-sharing, according to the ESA release.




Lawmakers Press NASA To Find Ride for Station Lab



Two U.S. lawmakers continue to press NASA to find a launch for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a bulky particle physics facility developed at a cost of more than $1 billion and designed to be attached to the international space station.

NASA had planned to launch AMS




on the space shuttle, but dropped the international payload from the manifest in order to concentrate the shuttle’s remaining flights and on space station construction and vital logistics.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) suggested during a Nov. 15 hearing that NASA make room for the AMS by taking supplies slated to fly in 2010 on one of the shuttle’s final dedicated logistics runs and launch them aboard European or Japanese cargo vehicles instead. William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, said that was not a possibility because there is no alternative to the space shuttle for launching that hardware.

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said the preferable approach, if Congress really wants the AMS to launch, is to buy a ride on an expendable rocket. He said NASA studied that possibility last year at the request of Congress and found that it could be done for about $350 million to $400 million, a cost that includes a rocket and the necessary modifications to the AMS




. Gerstenmaier said the modification costs likely have since risen because additional work has been done on the AMS. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said she would like NASA to find a way to deliver the AMS to the station, even if that means buying an expendable rocket launch for it.








AIA, U.S. Government Form Council for Cost Estimates



The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the U.S. government will create




a permanent council tasked with improving the fidelity of cost estimates on




military space programs, AIA President and Chief Executive Marion Blakely announced




Nov. 16.

The Joint Government/Industry Space Cost Analysis and Estimating Improvement Council will officially form in 2008. Its goal is




to bridge the gap between government and industry cost calculations that have caused planning and funding problems for years.



The council will include participation from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Air Force, National Reconnaissance Office and Office of the Director of National Intelligence in conjunction with AIA




member companies. The deputy assistant secretary for cost and economics in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller will first chair the group. The chairmanship will rotate annually between other government participants.







Hughes






Is Bullish on Broadband Business



Hughes Network Systems is maintaining its pace of signing up about 10,000 new customers per month for its HughesNet consumer and small-business satellite broadband service. Subscribers totaled 364,700 as of Sept. 30 – a 16 percent increase from a year earlier, Hughes Communications




officials said.

In a Nov. 8 conference call with investors, Germantown, Md.-based Hughes said its newly launched Spaceway 3 Ka-band satellite continues its in-orbit testing regime, with commercial service expected to start by March.

Spaceway 3 will permit Hughes to reduce the amount of commercial Ku-band satellite capacity it purchases for the HughesNet service by putting all new subscribers onto Spaceway 3 and gradually migrating existing customers to the new satellite.

Hughes Chief Executive Pradman P. Kaul said the growth of the consumer-broadband business in the United States shows no sign of tapering off. Kaul said that while Hughes to date has not profited from the capacity limits of its direct competitor, WildBlue Communications of Denver, “over the next few quarters this probably could result in an opportunity for us – but only once Spaceway 3 is operational.”

WildBlue has sold out its satellite capacity in some regions of the United States.

Kaul said Hughes




still is undecided about how to add to its Ka-band in-orbit capacity so that it is not facing a problem similar to WildBlue’s in 2011. Kaul said a decision is likely within three or four months.

Kaul said that in




addition to signing on more subscribers,




Hughes is seeing its




existing subscriber base




opt




for the higher-bandwidth formula, which carries a higher monthly fee. This has helped




raise the company’s average monthly revenue per subscriber to $63. However, increased




subsidies for




subscriber hardware are




putting pressure on profit margins




.

Hughes reported that for the nine months ending Sept. 30, revenue




totaled $690.5 million, up 12.2 percent from a year earlier. Net profit more than tripled, to $27.9 million.

In a Nov. 7 filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Hughes said the American Arbitration Association




has begun reviewing the company’s




demand that Sea Launch Co. of Long Beach, Calif., refund a $44.4 million launch down payment that Hughes made. Hughes subsequently decided to launch Spaceway 3 aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket in August following Sea Launch’s January failure.

Hughes argues that it was within its rights to cancel the Sea Launch contract given the delays and should get a full refund. Sea Launch disagrees.




OHB and SpaceDev Eye Markets in U.S., Europe



OHB Technology of Germany hopes to use its expertise in small satellites and




launch vehicles to help win U.S. government business for SpaceDev Inc. of California, in which OHB has become the biggest shareholder, OHB Chief Executive Marco R. Fuchs said Nov. 13.

In a conference call with investors, Fuchs said Bremen-based OHB crafted its purchase of a 19 percent stake in SpaceDev so as to assure there would be no objection from NASA or the U.S. Defense Department.

With OHB’s




investment limited to 19 percent of SpaceDev’s equity, “we are perceived as a shareholder that does not have a dominant influence,” Fuchs said. “For NASA and especially the U.S. Defense Department, you can’t have foreign domination in your shareholding if you want to do business with them. There were talks with customers in the U.S. government about what investment would have a positive effect.”

SpaceDev is designing technologies for small satellites, an area attracting increased attention from




the U.S. Defense Department. The company




also is designing an orbital vehicle, called Dream Chaser, that could carry astronauts to the international space station. An unmanned version would carry




cargo only.

SpaceDev Chief Executive Mark N. Sirangelo said the company plans to compete for $175 million in NASA business now available under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program




following NASA’s termination of a contract agreement with Rocketplane Kistler.

In a separate conference call, Sirangelo said OHB’s ownership stake will open doors in Europe that otherwise would be closed to SpaceDev




– echoing




what Fuchs said about OHB’s opportunities in the United States.

OHB paid $4.4 million in cash for its SpaceDev stake. SpaceDev on Nov. 13 reported that for the nine months ending Sept. 30




revenue totaled $25.3 million, an 11 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Net profit, at $214,000, was more than triple that of the same period in 2006.

SpaceDev expects to be doing more future business as a prime contractor or contract co-leader, in addition to its work providing components, Sirangelo said. The company recently won a $3.75 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency




to develop a satellite that uses




solar thermal propulsion.



Fuchs, meanwhile, said OHB’s financial performance so far in 2007 has been led by MT Aerospace of Augsburg, which makes Ariane 5 rocket segments. MT Aerospace’s business, which is increasingly profitable, has risen with the recent success of the Ariane 5, which is scheduled to conduct six missions in 2007.

“MT aerospace is the star in our profitability,” Fuchs said. MT Aerospace and other Ariane 5 suppliers




are in negotiations




with prime contractor Astrium Space Transportation on




contracts for an




additional 35 Ariane 5 vehicles. The contracts are




expected to be signed by early 2008.





OHB’s Bremen headquarters builds satellites, including the German Defense Ministry’s SAR-Lupe radar reconnaissance spacecraft. The third of five SAR-Lupe satellites was




launched successfully Nov. 1.



OHB Technology reported revenue




of 152.2 million euros ($223.4




million) for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30, a 17 percent increase that was partly due to the purchase of Kayser-Threde of Germany, a satellite and space-hardware builder, which Fuchs said should add 40 million euros per year to OHB’s revenue.



Net profit for the nine-month period was 9.5 million euros, up 6 percent over the previous year.






Spacehab Reports 1Q Loss of Nearly $1 million



Houston-based Spacehab lost $856,000 on revenue




of $8.6 million for the three-month period ending Sept. 30. The first-quarter loss follows a year in which the heavily NASA-dependent commercial space services company lost $16.3 million on revenues of $52.8 million. Most of that loss came in the last quarter as Spacehab wrote down the book value of one of its two space shuttle modules.



The most recent quarter saw the completion of NASA’s STS-118 shuttle mission, which used Spacehab’s Logistics Single Module to ferry thousands of kilograms of cargo to and from the international space station. It was the last contracted shuttle flight for any of Spacehab’s modules. The shuttle is due to retire in 2010. Spacehab’s stock closed Nov. 15 at a price of about




17 cents a


share.

Prototype Orion Heat Shield Passes NASA Inspections








Boeing Co. has finished building




a prototype thermal protection system for NASA’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), and the hardware has passed initial NASA inspections, the Chicago-based company said in a Nov. 13 press release.

The 5-meter-wide heat shield is composed primarily of a material that Boeing refers to as a phenolic impregnated carbon ablator, which was




developed by subcontractor Fiber Materials Inc. of Biddeford, Maine.

The heat shield is intended




to protect Orion’s crew from the extreme heat experienced during atmospheric re-entry




, the release said.

In October a technical and inspection team from NASA’s Ames Research Center,




Moffett Field, Calif., completed an acceptance review of the prototype, the release said. Boeing shipped the shield




Nov. 13 to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will undergo further inspection.

“Our Manufacturing Demonstration Unit met




NASA’s Advanced Development Program risk reduction objectives to move the Orion heat shield program toward full-scale development in preparation for CEV missions,” Thomas Andrews, program manager for the Boeing thermal protection




system, said in a prepared statement.

NASA awarded Boeing a




$14 million contract




for the initial




design phase of the heat shield in September 2006




.







Perminov Pushing for New Russian Launch Site



Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) is once again pushing to build a new launch facility on Russian territory to reduce its dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia leases from Kazakhstan.





“This issue will be considered by the leadership of our country in early 2008,” Roskosmos Director Anatoly Perminov said after a meeting of the agency’s board. “So far the preference is being given to the Amur region” in Russia’s




Far East, Perminov said, according to a statement posted on the official




Roskosmos Web site




Nov. 9. The government and president have to formally endorse Roskosmos’ proposal before it can be




implemented




.

“The proposal … would allow




us to conduct launches for manned space exploration programs from our own territory, becoming independent of any states,”




Perminov told Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station




Nov. 9 after the board meeting, according to a transcript of that interview released by




Roskosmos




.

However, Russia would




continue to use Baikonur – from which it conducts all of its




launches to the international space station and most of its launches to geosynchronous orbits – at least until 2020, according to Perminov.

“We will build the new cosmodrome, but initially it will be used along with Baikonur,” Perminov said




.

The




Roskosmos board also decided to carry on with plans to build a new crew capsule and rocket to




launch




it into space, Perminov said.

“We will definitely build a new cosmodrome as well as a new spaceship and a new launch vehicle for it, but all of this will take place after 2020,” Perminov




said.

Russian space officials have for years been discussing reducing the country’s reliance on Baikonur but to date have made little headway on a new launch facility.





Perminov also said




Russia will launch three modules to the space station




by 2011 as well as




increase its




production of Soyuz TMA crew capsules and Progress-M cargo carriers to double the space station’s crew capacity from three to six by 2009.














Thales Alenia To Develop New Satellite Processor



Thales Alenia Space’s Spanish subsidiary will build a second-generation Amerhis onboard multimedia processor for the Amazonas-2 satellite scheduled for launch in late 2009 for Spanish satellite-fleet operator Hispasat, the French-Italian satellite manufacturer announced Nov. 14.



A first-generation Amerhis processor is on board the Amazonas satellite launched in 2004 and is used for commercial and military broadband communications. Amazonas is located in




a Brazilian-registered orbital slot at 61 degrees west longitude.

Amazonas-2, to be operated at




the same orbital position, is under construction by




Astrium Satellites, which also built Amazonas.

Amerhis uses the Digital Video Broadcast-Return Channel by Satellite, or DVB-RCS, transmission standard.




Lockheed Martin Wins Responsive Space Work



Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., nabbed




a $14 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to demonstrate technologies




for future




reusable launch vehicles, a Nov. 12 company press release said.

The AFRL’s Future Responsive Access to Space Technologies (FAST) program is intended




to develop structures, thermal protection systems and other subsystems for future high-speed aircraft and reusable space-launch vehicles that operate like aircraft




. Lockheed will integrate composite structures, thermal protection systems and structural health monitoring systems onto a full-scale airframe for




ground-based testing




.




The goal of the experiment is to reduce risk in the development of a national Operationally Responsive Space capability, the release said. The demonstration is one of three experiments the lab is pursuing over the next four years to progress toward




this capability.







Northrop Grumman Touts Engine Testing Milestone



Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif., has completed more than 50 firing tests of a




NASA-funded rocket engine that could




be used for a lunar lander, according to a Nov. 14 company press release.

The engine is unique because it vaporizes its




fuel and




oxidizer –




methane and liquid oxygen, respectively – before injecting them




into the combustion chamber, the release said.

NASA




initially was interested in using the engine for its Orion




Crew Exploration Vehicle, but the agency has changed directions and now is considering it for other missions, possibly including a lunar lander, Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Erika Raney said.

The NASA contract, the value of which Raney would not disclose, is now in a




second phase




expected to last 10 months.








Netjets Inc. To Provide NASA Aviation Services



NetJets Inc. will provide commercial aviation transportation for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, the U.S. space agency said in a Nov. 8 press release.

The five-year indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract has a maximum value of $25 million.



The NetJets aircraft will replace the three NASA-owned,




Gulfstream-built aircraft the space agency had been using to transport astronauts to and from sites for shuttle flights,




NASA spokeswoman June Malone said




Nov. 14




. Flights also will be available in case of emergencies with spacecraft or natural disasters, the release said.

The contract allows for the transport of U.S. and non-U.S. astronauts to and from Russia, Malone said.

NASA estimates it will use approximately 300 hours of service for the duration of the contract, Malone said. The U.S. space agency anticipates it




will begin using




the service around the time of its first shuttle flight in 2008, currently slated for February, Malone said.



The NASA-owned aircraft will go into storage in January, Malone said.




Ka-Band Antenna Network Unveiled at NASA Facility



NASA




unveiled a new Ka-band antenna network for science data transmission




Nov. 8 at its complex




complex at




White Sands




, N.M., the agency said in a Nov. 8 press release.





The $20 million network, consisting of three 18-meter dish antennas






, was built by Datron Advanced Technologies, Calif.

The first missions to use the




network will be the Solar Dynamics Observatory




, set to launch in December 2008, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter




, slated to launch late 2008, according to the release. Both will be NASA’s first




missions to rely exclusively on




Ka-band frequencies for transmitting science data




, Raymond Pages, chief of the Ground System Development Office at Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a Nov. 15 phone interview.








The antennas are designed to receive data and then send it immediately to the appropriate science facility, Pages said. The antennas also store




45 terabytes of backup data for 30-day periods, he




said.







NASA has proposed deploying two similar Ka-band networks in




Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, and Canberra, Australia, Pages said. Goddard, located in Greenbelt, Md., manages NASA’s White Sands facility.



















5th Planet Discovered Orbiting Nearby Star



Scientists have discovered a fifth planet orbiting a nearby star dubbed 55 Cancri using ground-based telescopes and Doppler analysis techniques, according to a Nov. 6 press release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The Doppler technique infers the presence of a planet based on its observed gravitational effect on the star that it orbits.




The research




, performed








at the Lick Observatory in Mt. Hamilton, Calif., and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, will appear in a future issue of the Astrophysical Journal.



“Discovering these five planets took us 18 years of continuous observations … starting before any extrasolar planets were known anywhere in the universe,” Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California,




Berkeley, said in a prepared statement.

Last DSP Missile-Warning Satellite Launches Atop Delta 4 Heavy








A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket successfully launched the last of the current generation of U.S. missile warning satellites Nov. 10 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

In its first operational mission, the Delta 4 Heavy, the largest and most powerful expendable rocket in the U.S. fleet, placed the 2,340-kilogram Defense Support Program (DSP) 23 satellite into geosynchronous orbit.

In its only other mission to date, back in December 2004, the U.S. Air Force rocket failed to place an instrumented test payload into a sustainable orbit.




An errant sensor reading caused that rocket’s engines to shut down early, contributing to more than two years of delay in the launch of DSP-23.




DSP satellites, operating from orbital perches 35,000 kilometers high, use




infrared sensors to detect the heat emitted by ballistic missiles. Though designed primarily to detect ICBM launches, the satellites, which have been on orbit since the 1970s,




also have been used to detect smaller rockets like Scuds and contribute to U.S. tactical military operations. All




DSP satellites were built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology of Redondo Beach, Calif.





The successful launch has the Pentagon breathing easier for two reasons: the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), DSP’s replacement, is well behind schedule; and the next Delta 4 Heavy payload is a critical classified payload. The Air Force recently disclosed that the first dedicated SBIRS satellite, which had been scheduled to launch in early 2009, could be delayed another six to 12 months due to technical difficulties.







China Launches Newest Remote Sensing Satellite







China successfully launched the Yaogan 3 remote sensing satellite Nov. 12 aboard a Long March-4C rocket, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state-controlled news









agency.

The 2,700-kilogram satellite launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province. It will perform a variety of research functions, including surveying land resources, estimating crop yields, and assisting in disaster prevention and relief efforts, Xinhua said




.

The satellite and




rocket were built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, which is affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. China launched the first Yaogan satellite in April 2006 and the second in May 2007.




XM, Sirius Shareholders Approve Merger Plan



Shareholders of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. approved the companies’ plans to merge this year in separate votes Nov. 13.



The merger, which would make




XM of Washington a wholly owned subsidiary of New York-based Sirius, still must be approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.



Votes representing almost




99 percent




of XM shares




and more than 96 percent of




Sirius shares were cast




in favor of the merger, according to press releases issued by the companies.

If the acquisition goes through, XM shareholders would receive 4.6 shares of Sirius common stock for every share of XM common stock.

“We look forward to completing the merger by the end of the year,” Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, who is slated to head the merged company,




said in a prepared statement.




Orbcomm Launch Delayed Due to Solar Panel Defect



The launch of seven Orbcomm two-way messaging satellites, including one featuring a payload for the U.S. Coast Guard, has been delayed again and likely will




slip into early 2008 following discovery of a defect on the satellites’ solar panels, Orbcomm Chief Executive Jerry Eisenberg said Nov. 13.



In a conference call with investors, Eisenberg said he did not think the Coast Guard, which already had extended the deadline for the launch of its payload, would insist on a refund or scrap the contract.

“The Coast Guard is aware of everything that’s going on and I really don’t expect a material impact” from the delay, Eisenberg said. “The problem is with the solar panels, which will now have to be sent back to the supplier in Russia, then reshipped and retested. It’s a slippage I would say is more like weeks, not months.”



Polyot of Russia is providing the




platforms for the seven satellites;









Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., is the payload supplier. OHB-System of Germany, an Orbcomm shareholder, is overseeing the satellites’ testing and has arranged for their launch aboard Russian Cosmos rockets from the Russian Kapustin Yar spaceport.

The Coast Guard is paying for an Automatic Identification System aboard one of the satellites, a system Orbcomm expects other national coastal authorities will adopt to facilitate identification of ships approaching territorial waters.

The seven satellites are intended to replenish Orbcomm’s existing low Earth orbiting constellation. Ft. Lee, N.J.-based Orbcomm continues to negotiate with potential prime contractors for the construction of a second-generation constellation of 30 satellites and company




officials have said they expect to make a selection




before the end of the year.



Orbcomm reported that revenue




for the first nine months of 2007 was




$19.5 million, up 7.2 percent over the same period in 2006. Service




revenue




was




up 55 percent, to $12.7 million. Equipment sales dropped by 32 percent, to $6.8 million, which




Orbcomm said was




mainly because of a large sale to General Electric in 2006.

The company reported a net loss of $4.7 million for the first nine months of this year, compared to a $7.3 million net loss for the same period in 2006.




Globecomm To Provide Modems for U.S. Army



The U.S. Army




awarded a $9.9 million contract to Globecomm Systems Inc.




of Hauppauge, N.Y.,




to provide the Joint IP Modem for the service’s




Communications Electronic Life Cycle Command, a Nov. 12




Globecomm press release said.

The modem will provide warfighters with demand-based satellite communications capabilities. Globecomm will provide project management and services, while




subcontractor ViaSat Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif.,






is responsible for the development and production of the modem.

Multiple options could increase the value of the contract to as much as $87 million over the next three years.




U.S., Australia Ink Deal on WGS System



The United States and Australia signed an agreement Nov. 14 to cooperate on the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) communications system, sealing a prior deal that will




fund




the procurement of a sixth satellite in the constellation, an




Air Force press release said.

Australia has committed $707 million to the system, which is scheduled to begin launching in 2008. The WGS system will provide a dramatic increase




in military satellite communications capacity and allow users to cross-communicate in




X-band and Ka-band frequencies.













Russia, India Agree To Fly Joint Lunar Mission



India and Russia have signed a lunar exploration agreement calling on the countries to jointly develop a robotic orbiter, lander and rover




that would launch together in 2013.



The accord was signed Nov. 12 in Moscow by Anatoly Perminov, director of the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, and Gopalan Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).



“This is a very interesting project,” Perminov said in a press release posted Nov. 12 on the Roskosmos




Web site. “Russia and India will be developing a spacecraft jointly.”

The lunar lander would include a research laboratory and a rover, according to the Roskosmos press release. Both the lander and orbiter would be integrated as a single payload to be launched by India’s Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle, the press release said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin singled out the accord during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s




visit to Moscow Nov. 12.

“We plan to continue our cooperation in such high-tech spheres, as telecommunications and exploration of space,” Putin told reporters during a joint press conference with Singh




, according to the Kremlin’s official




Web site.

S. Sateesh, a spokesman for




ISRO, said the agreement covers Russian collaboration in the previously planned follow-on mission to India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter slated to launch next year. In a press release issued Nov. 14, ISRO said India would be responsible for the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter while Russia would be responsible for the lander and rover.

“A few scientific instruments from other space agencies may also be accommodated on these systems, ISRO said.




NASA Makes Awards for Ames Renovation Work



NASA




awarded




contracts to six companies for renovation work




at its Ames Research Center and its host facility, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., a Nov. 9 agency




press release said.





The




maximum combined value of the contracts is approximately $49 million. Each contract has a one-year base period and four one-year options.

The winning companies are: Sygnos Inc. of San Diego; Syska Hennessy Group Construction Inc. of Los Angeles; Agbayani Construction Corp. of Daly City, Calif.; Kuehne Construction of Sunnyvale, Calif.; RMA Land Construction Inc. of Brea




, Calif.; and RS Morris Construction Inc. of Fresno, Calif.