A new wave of small-satellite constellations for communications and remote sensing applications is attracting growing amounts of venture capital funding, but regulators worry they will struggle to keep up with the licenses these systems require.
The Satellite 2015 conference featured repeated exhortations for the satellite sector to defend itself against any encroachment onto its reserved C-band spectrum from terrestrial broadband. But there were exception
SpaceX plans to inaugurate its new, more-powerful Falcon 9 rocket this summer, using the same Merlin 1D engine with a modified fuel mix and other changes to extend the company’s planned reuse of the first stage to cover all SpaceX launches, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said.
Satellite fleet operator Yahsat of the United Arab Emirates has been able to offset to lower demand from the U.S. Defense Department for Yahsat’s military Ka-band capacity over the Middle East by increased use by regional governments, starting with the UAE.
Airbus, Lockheed Martin, OHB AG, Space Systems/Loral and Thales Alenia have submitted bids to build some 900 small Internet-delivery satellites for OneWeb.
Airbus contracted with Arianespace to launch the EDRS-C laser-optical data-relay satellite in early 2017, a deal that follows contract discussions with rival SpaceX that drew fire from the French government.
Current and would-be providers of Ku- and Ka-band satellite broadband on March 18 said they have no concern that the high-throughput spacecraft on the way will cause a glut of in-orbit capacity.
OneWeb LLC Chief Technology Officer Dave Bettinger on March 18 said the company is within weeks of selecting a prime contractor for its 900 low orbiting Internet delivery satellites and that the first launches would occur in 2017.
Mobile satellite services operator Thuraya Telecommunications Co. of Dubai posted revenue of $140 million, up 14 percent over 2013 on the strength of continued strong sales of its Satphone handset, Thuraya Chief Executive Samer Halawi said March 18.
Sierra Nevada Corp., looking to rebound from a failed commercial crew bid, said March 17 it has proposed to NASA a variant of its Dream Chaser vehicle for shuttling cargo to and from the International Space Station.
On the verge of contracting for more than 600 low-orbiting satellites, OneWeb says it’s looking likely they can be built for around $400,000 apiece or less.
The chief executives of SES, Intelsat and Eutelsat each gave a flat “No” when asked whether spectrum now reserved for satellites in most places in the world would be subject to sharing under pressure from mobile broadband networks.
“The self-imposed trade embargo on U.S. satellites has basically been lifted,” said Kevin Wolf, assistant secretary at the Commerce Department’s Export Administration Bureau of Industry and Security. “There has been a radical reduction to the regulatory burden.”
Russia plans to retire its Proton rocket, a heavy-lift workhorse with 50 years and 400 successful missions under its belt, in 2025, some four years after its replacement becomes operational.