FIRST UP Satcom | Turksat tests 8K broadcast • SpaceX changes Starlink leadership • Hughes starts service in Peru
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Turksat has tested satellite broadcasts in 8K Ultra-HD, demonstrating the ability to transmit content with 16 times the resolution of HD. The practice broadcast showed scenes from Istanbul, Turkey, using the Türksat 4B satellite at 50 degrees East. Turksat said testing 8K at a time when such broadcasts are uncommon will give Turkish companies a leg up when competing globally in the future. Two Turkish companies, satellite broadcast hardware provider Kızıl Elektronik and TV manufacturer Vestel, partnered with Turksat on the test, along with Japanese chipmaker Socionext. [Turksat]
SpaceX shook up the leadership of its Starlink broadband satellite constellation program earlier this year in an effort to accelerate progress. During a June meeting at a SpaceX office in Seattle leading Starlink, company CEO Elon Musk reportedly fired at least seven members of the Starlink senior management team, including executives who previously worked for Microsoft and Google. SpaceX launched two prototype Starlink satellites, called Tintin A and B, in February, and Musk is seeking to start launching operational satellites in mid-2019, a faster schedule than what the former managers had proposed. [Reuters]
Hughes has started satellite broadband service in Peru using Eutelsat’s 63 West A satellite rebranded as Hughes 63 West. The high-throughput Ka-band payload covers 97 percent of the population in Peru. Hughes’ service launch in Peru follows similar expansions into Colombia last year and Brazil in 2016. The company’s service in Peru will offer download speeds up to 50 megabits per second, supporting web browsing, email, video and other online tasks. [Hughes]
A Telesat satellite launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Sept. 10 has started service over the Asia-Pacific. Telesat’s Telstar 18 Vantage satellite replaces the 14-year-old Telstar 18, while adding high-throughput capacity over Indonesia and Malaysia. APT Satellite of Hong Kong cofinanced the 7,000-kilogram satellite in exchange for use of more than half its capacity, which the company rebrands as Apstar-5C. [Telesat]
Antenna provider C-Com said Oct. 30 it has received $1 million in new orders from customers in Asia. C-Com said resellers purchased the antenna systems for end users in cellular backhaul, disaster management and energy exploration. “Despite a recent slow down in sales to the region, C-COM remains a dominant player in the auto-acquire VSAT terminal market in Asia,” Drew Klein, C-Com director of business development, said. Deliveries are expected to take place over the next few months. [C-Com]
Low-Earth-orbit satellite operator Globalstar of Covington, Louisiana, joined the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) Oct. 29. Around 40 satellite companies, including operators, manufacturers and antenna suppliers are part of SIA, which represents the industry in Washington on regulatory and policy matters. “Globalstar continues to focus on its growth in the [Internet of Things] and emergency communication sectors and believes SIA will be a valuable resource in these and other efforts,” said David Kagan, Globalstar CEO. [SIA]
Fleet has joined the manifest for Rocket Lab’s next launch. Fleet, an Australian company planning a constellation of small satellites for Internet of Things applications, said it will launch two cubesats on Rocket Lab’s next Electron mission, dubbed “It’s Business Time” and scheduled for November. Flavia Tata Nardini, the CEO of Fleet, said her company built the satellites in just a month after learning about the launch opportunity. The company has other satellites awaiting launch on Falcon 9 and PSLV missions. [InnovationAus.com]
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions will build gateway stations for Sky Perfect JSAT’s upcoming high-throughput condosat, JCSAT-18. The gateway contract follows an $11 million contract last month with Kacific for gateway stations to link with the other half of the condosat, called Kacific-1. Kratos did not quantify the size of the JSAT contract. JCSAT-18/Kacific-1 launches next year on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Kratos said it will provide 13-meter Ka-band antennas and a monitoring and control system to JSAT. [Kratos]
The founder of flat-panel antenna maker Kymeta is stepping down as CEO next month to make way for someone with more experience running a business. The Seattle company said Monday night that Nathan Kundtz, a physicist and electrical engineer who developed the key technology behind Kymeta’s metamaterial antennas, will continue to advise the company. Kymeta’s CFO will assume day to day activities while the company conducts its CEO search. [SpaceNews]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.