KT Sat eyes North Korean business • Outdoor Wi-Fi interfering with Globalstar constellation • Viasat buys British defense company
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South Korean satellite operator KT Sat hopes to launch service in North Korea as relations improve between the two countries. Following the April Inter-Korean Summit where representatives from both halves of the peninsula met, KT Sat created a special task force to support inter-Korean cooperation and expand exchanges in information and communication technology. “If things go well, KT Sat can provide telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructure in North Korea by using its satellites,” KT Sat CEO Hahn Won-Sic said. [KT SAT]
Globalstar says outdoor Wi-Fi devices that use the same spectrum as its satellites are creating a high level of interference with its low Earth orbit satellite system. The satellite operator told the FCC June 12 it has recently measured “a dramatic rise in the noise level,” causing Globalstar satellites to pick up unwanted Wi-Fi signals. “Globalstar will suffer severe harmful interference in the future if the current U-NII-1 ‘sharing’ regime is left unchanged,” the company told the FCC. [Globalstar]
Viasat bought a British defense company that deploys networks for the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence. Horsebridge Defence and Security will be part of Viasat UK, receiving immediate access to Viasat’s full communications portfolio, including satellite and Link 16 mobile networking solutions, cybersecurity products and information assurance capabilities. Viasat did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, and said it is still conducting a valuation analysis before determining the impact to earnings. [Viasat]
Federal regulators are weighing a new spectrum strategy that could require satellite operators to share frequencies with terrestrial applications. During a panel discussion Tuesday, regulators and industry officials said it’s increasingly difficult to reserve key spectrum bands for exclusive use given demands such as 5G broadband services. The FCC will vote in July on ways to open up 500 megahertz of C-band spectrum currently reserved for satellite use for 5G applications. [SpaceNews]
Angola will try again to launch a communications satellite as interest in space among African nations grows. Angosat-1, built by Russia, launched late last year on a Zenit rocket but failed shortly after reaching orbit. The government of Angola said last month that it will work with Russia to build and launch Angosat-2, a replacement, in 2020 at no additional cost to Angola. Angola is one of a number of African nations that, in recent years, have pursued satellite programs for communications or Earth observation. [SpaceNews]
Australian telco Telstra launched a satellite small cell product called 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell that it hopes will lead to co-funded connectivity projects with customers. The company hopes customers such as regional councils, mining companies, or private individuals will pay for installation costs. Telstra would build and maintain the cell. The local government of Winton, Australia is Telstra’s first customer for the product. [ZDNet]
Satellite operators are taking different approaches to servicing their spacecraft. Intelsat has signed contracts with SpaceLogistics, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, to use Mission Extension Vehicles to extend the lives of Intelsat satellites. SES, though, is working with SSL to refuel an SES satellite using a servicing vehicle SSL plans to launch in 2021 under a partnership with DARPA. In both cases, the goal is to provide short-term extensions of satellite lifetimes, rather than indefinite ones. “The goal of life extension is not to take a 15-year satellite and make it last for 30,” said an SES executive. [SpaceNews]
Japan-based Kyushu Institute of Technology, a partner for startup InfoStellar, has become a test user of the company’s StellarStation platform. StellarStation lets smallsat operators use idle time on other operator’s ground stations to talk to their satellites. InfoStellar CEO Naomi Kurahara is a graduate of Kyutech.
Portugal’s largest telco, MEO, will begin Ultra-HD broadcasts of the World Cup June 14 using the the Hispasat 30W-5 satellite. MEO will broadcast all of Portugal’s matches, three games from the second round, three quarter finals, the semi-finals and the final in Ultra-HD. MEO is one of the early adopters of Ultra-HD, and has been broadcasting Hispasat’s all-Ultra-HD channel Hispasat 4K since 2016. [Rapid TV News]