Universal Space Network Wins Lunar Orbiter Subcontract

Honeywell has awarded Universal Space Network (USN) Inc. a subcontract to perform pre-launch engineering for the S-band telemetry, tracking and control services that will be needed to support NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. The LRO, which is being built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is scheduled to be launched in 2008.

Newport Beach, Calif.-based Universal Space Network specializes in space operations and ground control and communications solutions.

The LRO is a robotic probe that will map and photograph the lunar surface, investigate the moon’s radiation level and search for surface ice deposits. It is the first mission developed under the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program (RLEP), which will include a series of robotic lunar missions that are planned to follow this initial launch in 2008.

USN, which provides time-shared access to its telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) communications services, will provide approximately 10 hours per day of service to NASA’s LRO mission while it is in lunar orbit.

U.S. Air Force Expected To Award GPS Contract in 2006

The U.S. Air Force expects to award a contract for the construction of the GPS 3 next-generation satellite system in the summer of 2006.

The request for proposal for the award, which is being pursued by both Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., and Boeing Company of Chicago, will be issued in December 2005 or January 2006, Col. Alan Ballenger, a system program director for the Navstar Global Positioning System joint program office, said at an Oct. 27 teleconference.

Ballenger said the Air Force is still debating whether it will exercise its option to purchase additional GPS 2F satellites from Boeing. So far, the Air Force has ordered 12 GPS 2F satellites from the company.

The GPS 3 satellites are being designed to include additional signals and to have improved capabilities for blocking any attempts to jam the satellites.

In September, the Air Force launched a GPS Block 2R-M satellite which also features improved resistance to jamming, and is the first satellite to devote an entire signal to civilian use, Ballenger said. That satellite provides five to 30 percent increased accuracy from previous models, he said .

Pentagon Appeals Cuts To T-Sat, Space Radar Budgets

The Pentagon has asked U.S. lawmakers to reconsider plans to make substantial reductions to the proposed Transformational Satellite (T-Sat) and Space Radar budgets in 2006.

In an appeal coinciding with House-Senate meetings to finalize the defense spending bill, the Defense Department said the cuts would significantly delay the implementation of critical military capabilities. Both the House and Senate have recommended cutting T-Sat’s proposed $835 million budget next year by almost half. The House and Senate have proposed cutting $125 million and $75 million, respectively, from the $226 million request for Space Radar.

The appeal said incorporating T-Sat technologies aboard current-generation communications satellites, as Congress has suggested, “carries significantly greater risk than does the current T-Sat baseline program.”

NGA Turns To Raytheon For Information Assurance

Raytheon has won an information assurance contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to ensure the protection of the agency’s computer systems, network and infrastructure, Raytheon announced Oct. 31.

The company will provide program management, life-cycle planning, intrusion detection and prevention, technical support and other information security measures under a five-year contract ending in September 2010.

The work will be performed at NGA offices in Washington and St. Louis. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

Nissan, Infiniti Vehicles To Feature XM Radios in 2008

More than 500,000 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles will feature factory-installed XM satellite radios beginning in the 2008 model year, with more than 1 million expected to include XM radios by the 2010 model year.

XM Satellite Radio of Washington announced Nov. 2 that it has extended an agreement with Nissan North America Inc. of Gardena, Calif., for future Nissan and Infiniti models to feature factory-installed XM satellite radios.

The two companies embarked on an agreement this past January when Nissan chose XM to provide satellite data including XM NavTraffic, which provides current traffic information, and in-vehicle messaging for current Nissan and Infiniti models.

Garmin Navigation Devices To Feature XM Radio Services

Garmin International Inc. will offer portable navigation devices in the fourth quarter of 2005 that feature XM Satellite Radio’s NavTraffic, weather and radio services.

XM Satellite Radio of Washington announced Oct. 31 that Garmin’s GXM 30 antenna in the company’s new StreetPilot products will be capable of delivering XM services such as NavTraffic, a satellite-based traffic information service, as well as XM weather reports and more than 150 channels of XM radio.

The GXM antenna comes standard on the StreetPilot 2730 unit, which is expected to be available sometime in the fourth quarter for $1,199. The antenna is an optional accessory on the StreetPilot 7200 and 7500 models, which are slated to be available in December.

Anteon Gets $26.9 Million U.S. Navy Space Contract

Anteon International Corp., a technology and engineering services company, has won a contract from the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to provide engineering and program support for the Program Management Warfare 780 Airborne Networking and Integration International Program Office, the company announced Nov. 1.

Under the five-year contract, Anteon will offer program management support and systems engineering services for the Multifunction Information Distribution System, Low Volume Terminal and the Joint Tactical Radio Systems. The Fairfax, Va.-based company also will provide platform integration, data management and database development.

The contract, if all options are exercised, is valued at $26.9 million.

NASA Awards Occupational Medicine Contract to Wyle

Wyle Laboratories Inc. has won a contract worth up to $128 million over 10 years from NASA to provide occupational medicine and health services at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and the White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M., Wyle announced Oct. 28.

Wyle’s Life Sciences Group in Houston will offer occupational emergency and preventative medicine services, flight medicine, occupational health and human test support.

The contract has a three-year base period valued at nearly $34 million starting Dec. 1. A seven-year extension option would increase the value to over $128 million.

Marlink Unveils New E-Mail System for Maritime Users

Satellite communications provider Marilink has unveiled a new e-mail system for maritime users that is more affordable and easy to use, the company announced Nov. 2.

The e-mail system uses a mobile packet data service that enables senders to pay based on the amount of data transmitted rather than the amount of airtime used. It also comes with a number of features including multiple mailbox support, direct Internet access to Hub mailboxes and message support.

The @SEAmail version 6 program will be available in mid-November, the company said. The new e-mail communications package is designed for mobile users at sea or on land and is compatible with Inmarsat A, B, M, Mini-M, Fleet technologies, Iridium and Thuraya services.

Iridium, Impeva Labs Work To Increase Port Security

Iridium Satellite LLC and Impeva Labs Inc. are expanding their collaboration to implement a container monitoring, tracking and security system for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, part of an effort to step-up security measures there, the companies announced Nov. 2.

The port authority recently awarded a contract to Impeva as part of the federal Operation Safe Commerce Phase 3 testing. Iridium and Impeva, an Iridium value-added manufacturer and reseller, plan to conduct field trials on Impeva’s Global Sentinel system, which uses the Iridium satellite constellation for global communications, so port monitors can keep tabs on the location, security and internal conditions of containers running in and out of the port.

The planned system will be able to inform officials within minutes if a container experiences an abnormal event, such as unauthorized entry, mishandling, route deviation or unscheduled delay. The companies said system testing will begin in December.

The two companies have collaborated on projects for the past four years on several platforms and products.

Durometer Used in Shuttle Tile Repair Gets Certification

The Space Foundation announced Nov. 1 that the Rex Gauge Co.’s durometer SG-5000, which was used to detect damaged thermal protection tiles on the shuttle during the latest STS-114 mission, has been recognized as certified space technology.

The durometer was tested by STS-114 astronauts in space when analyzing thermal protection tiles to see if any sustained damage after liftoff. The durometer measures the hardness of rubber, plastic and other non-metallic materials.

The Rex Gauge Co. of Buffalo Grove, Ill., worked with engineers at NASA and Lockheed Martin to develop the durometer so it could endure the extreme conditions of outer space.

FIA Cost Problem Still Begs Long-Term Fix, Staffer Says

The recent restructuring of Boeing’s contract to build the Future Imagery Architecture (FIA) spy satellites was a short-term fix that does too little to resolve the longer-term budgetary problem the program faces, according John Stopher, a staffer with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Chicago-based Boeing has struggled mightily on the multibillion-dollar FIA program, which is intended to field a new generation of classified optical and radar imaging satellites. As a result, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) restructured the optical component of Boeing’s contract and awarded related work to Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp.

Stopher did not get into the specifics of the restructuring but characterized it as the “least-worst” solution that will get the NRO through the upcoming fiscal year, but not the next 15.

He took issue with what he called a ground rule that “space will fix space,” explaining that the NRO typically is forced to resolve programmatic problems within the limitations of its own annual budget allocation.

“We’ve just been set back considerably in resolving that problem,” Stopher said, noting that Congress has been concerned with FIA for the past five years. “…To go on with the expectation that we will get no more money is unacceptable,” he said.

“We can say ‘there’s no more money, but it’s a question of priorities,” Stopher said, noting that the federal government came up with money that it ostensibly did not have after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Addressing critical national-security priorities should not be a “budget-limited exercise,” Stopher said.

Separately, Stopher questioned the creation of the joint U.S. Air Force-NRO program office to procure and operate the Space Radar, a proposed constellation of radar satellites for moving-target detection, high-resolution imaging and terrain mapping. The Space Radar has been billed as a dual-use system serving both the military and the intelligence community and has been a source of friction between the two camps.

Stopher said the NRO was created to operate space systems serving both the military and the intelligence community. “So why create a joint venture between the Air Force and NRO to do Space Radar?” he said.

U.S. Support Sought for Radarsat Tandem Mission

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Richmond, British Columbia, is looking for a U.S. government partner to help fund the second of two planned radar satellites that would operate in tandem for terrain mapping, according to a company official.

The first of the satellites, Radarsat 2, is fully funded by the Canadian Space Agency and is slated for launch next year. The second satellite would operate in concert with the first to collect stereoscopic images for the creation of high-resolution 3D terrain maps, also known as digital elevation models.

Philip S. Gray, vice president and general manager of MDA’s Geospatial Services division, said the Canadian government has committed 100 million Canadian dollars ($85 million) to the second satellite. He said MDA is looking for a U.S. government partner to cover the remaining costs and has had discussions with the relevant Pentagon organizations, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Air Force.

The military uses 3D digital elevation models for mission planning and training, and NGA Director James R. Clapper has spoken recently of the importance of such information.

Nonetheless, a U.S. defense-intelligence source pointed out that it is U.S. national policy to support the domestic remote sensing industry. The source also noted that the NGA has a vehicle for obtaining imagery from industry in the form of the ClearView and NextView contracts, and that the funding available under allocated for those programs has already been assigned.

MDA operates the Canadian government-funded Radarsat 1 spacecraft and has commercial rights to the data. The company is prime contractor on the higher-resolution Radarsat 2 satellite and also will market that data commercially.

Radarsat 2 is nearing completion at MDA’s Ottawa facilities after extended delays and is expected to launch in late 2007, Gray said. The satellite platform was built by EADS Astrium of Europe and the radar sensor was provided by Montreal-based EMS Space & Technology, which MDA intends to acquire before the end of 2005.

The satellite for the tandem mission would be nearly identical to Radarsat 2 and would launch as early as 2009, Gray said.

Boeing Unit To Provide NGA With Analysis Tools

Chicago-based Boeing Co. will provide $24 million worth of in data analysis products to for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for various military and homeland security-related purposes.

The contract is part of the NGA’s Global Geospatial Initiative (GGI), a 10-year, $750 million program that which began in 2003, said Brian Knutsen, general manager of space and intelligence systems at Boeing Mission Systems, Springfield, Va. Including the new orders, Boeing has done $50 million in work on the program for NGA this year., according to a Nov. 1 Boeing press release.

Items under the contract include maps of high security-risk areas, such as Iraq and Southeast Asia, with time-sensitive information built into them. The maps are useful because users can compare how the features of a particular area have changed over a specific time period, Knutsen said in an interview here at the 2005 Geoint 2005 Symposium. Boeing is one of multiple contractors that provide data products for the GGI program.

AirLaunch LLC Wins $17.8 Million DARPA Contract

The Pentagon awarded a $17.8 million contract to AirLaunch LLC on Oct. 28 to continue working towards a demonstration of a small rocket that can launch payloads on short notice, according to a Nov. 2 Defense Department news release.

AirLaunch, which is based in Kirkland, Wash., was competing against Microcosm of El Segundo, Calif.; Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of El Segundo; and Lockheed Martin Michoud Operations of Louisiana, for the Falcon Small Launch Vehicle contract, which is intended to lead towards a flight demonstration around 2008.

Those companies each won contracts in September 2004 worth $8 million to $12 million to refine their designs for the small launcher. SpaceX’s deal also included the launch of an experimental satellite for the Air Force Academy.

Jan Walker, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is managing the program with the U.S. Air Force, said that the agency is continuing to review the work conducted under the previous phase of the program and is considering the possibility of additional awards.

The goal of the Falcon program is the development of a launch system that can orbit a small satellite for less than $5 million on very short notice.

AirLaunch’s QuickReach small satellite booster concept relies on dropping a rocket from an unmodified C-17 or other large cargo aircraft. The company demonstrated the safe release of a dummy booster from a C-17 during testing on Sept. 29, according to an AirLaunch news release.

The $17.8 million award is a one-year contract continuance under Phase 2B of DARPA’s Falcon program, according to a Nov. 2 AirLaunch press release.

“In Phase 2A, AirLaunch rapidly designed a prototype rocket, integrated a mock-up with an unmodified C-17 aircraft, and successfully executed a drop test of the hardware. Phase 2B will focus on additional risk reduction and maturing the launch vehicle design and concept of operations,” AirLaunch founder and Chairman Gary Hudson said in the Nov. 2 release.

AirLaunch recently hired Debra Facktor Lepore, former vice president for business development and strategic planning at Kistler Aerospace Corp., to serve as its president. “The AirLaunch concept will enable tremendous flexibility for deploying satellites anywhere and anytime,” Lepore said in the company’s press release.

China To Build Venezuelan Telecommunications Satellite

The Venezuelan government has signed a contract to purchase a telecommunications satellite from China to be launched in 2008 aboard a Chinese Long March rocket, the Venezuelan Science Ministry announced Nov. 2. It is in the second satellite export contract win for the China National Space Administration.

The contract for the Simon Bolivar satellite followed a year ‘s of negotiations with Chinese authorities over technology transfer provisions. Venezuela also had considered possible satellite-purchase deals with Russian and Indian organizations.

Financial terms were not announced. The Venezuelan Science Ministry said that under its terms, 90 Venezuelans will be trained in China — 15 doctoral candidates, 15 master’s candidates and 60 others to be trained in satellite operations and control.

The contract signing on Nov. 1 by Venezuelan Science Minister Yadira Cordova and China National Space Administration Administrator Sun Laiyan was witnessed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who in the past has complained of Venezuela’s dependence on satellite links provided by non-Venezuelan, and especially American, satellite-fleet operators. Wang Heibo, head of the Chinese space-export arm China Great Wall Industry Corp., was also in attendance, according to the Venezuelan Science Ministry statement.

China in early 2005 began work on a telecommunications satellite for the Nigerian government. Nigeria and Venezuela are both oil-exporting countries. Industry officials said the Venezuelan deal, like the Nigerian contract, involves oil-supply guarantees to China for at least part of the contract payment.

The Venezuelan ministry said the satellite would include secure communications for government services in addition to its mission of providing links to rural Venezuelan villages. The ministry also referred to a possible Earth observation payload on board the satellite.

U.S. Seeks More Info on Intelsat-PanAmSat Deal

Intelsat received a second request for information from the U.S. Department of Justice Oct. 26 on the company’s planned $3.2 billion acquisition of rival satellite operator PanAmSat.

Intelsat had been expecting the request, Intelsat spokeswoman Jodi Katz said. The merger must be approved by the Justice Department and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

LFK Joins Boeing Team Vying for NATO Contract

Lenkflugkorpersysteme GmbH (LFK) of Germany has joined the Boeing-led ‘s Alliance Shield team that is planning to compete for a NATO contract to build a test-bed that integrates all of the NATO defenses against short- and medium-range ballistic missile threats, Boeing announced Nov. 1.

LFK is a leading guided-missile system house in Germany that offers products in a number of markets including air defense. The Alliance Shield — which also includes BAE Systems of the United Kingdom, Finmeccanica of Italy, Havelsan of Turkey and others — is an international team vying to develop a system that integrates various data inputs from missile defense sensors and various interceptor programs to coordinate faster responses to potential threats.

Chicago-based Boeing is competing with Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego for the contract, which is valued at up to about $130 million over two years.

NATO is scheduled to issue an official request for proposals in March 2006.

House Bill Authorizes Study Of Aerospace Work Force

Legislation to create an interagency task force on the revitalization of the U.S. aerospace industry work force passed the U.S. House of Representatives Oct. 26 by unanimous voice vote.

The bill, H.R. 758, was introduced by Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) earlier this year and endorsed by the Aerospace Industries Association.

If the bill becomes law, the U.S. government would require 11 government agencies, including NASA and the Defense and Homeland Security departments, to work together to identify new scholarships, training and recruitment opportunities for aerospace workers that can be provided in partnership with the private sector and state governments.

Lockheed’s Full Staff Gets Back to Work at Michoud

Lockheed Martin’s full team of employees return to work at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Oct. 31, for the first time since hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely damaged the location.

All employees’ whereabouts had been accounted for in September, NASA spokesman Marion LaNasa said, and individuals had been returning as conditions improved.

On Oct. 31, 1,554 of the company’s approximately 2,000 employees returned to work, with an additional 200 or so returning to other locations outside Michoud, LaNasa said.

“There are more people coming in every day,” LaNasa said, stating that the remaining employees are taking vacation or leave to work with the recovery effort.

Lockheed Martin has been conducting housing fairs to let workers know what options are available, and has set up a park and ride service from various locations, including as far as Baton Rouge, La., for commuting purposes, LaNasa said. “We still have some issues with water supply,” he noted. Around Oct. 27, the facility gained access to sanitary city water. A well was drilled during the interim period, but that water was only deemed safe earlier that week, he added.

The facility, which houses the majority of work done on the external tank for the space shuttle, has received External Tank 120 from Kennedy Space Center, LaNasa said. External Tank 119 was shipped to the facility in early October.

The workers most critical to tank production were brought back to work first, and Lockheed does not anticipate delays on the tank work. “It should be full speed ahead,” LaNasa said.

Japan’s Hayabusa Homes in on Asteroid Itokawa

As it neared its historic rendezvous with the asteroid Itokawa (above), Japan’s Hayabusa space probe began returning sharp, detailed imagery of its target to help ground controllers select candidate landing sites.

At press time Nov. 4, Hayabusa was drawing closer for its historic attempt to collect and return a specimen to Earth when it ran into trouble during a practice landing session. According to a statement by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the rehearsal descent was canceled after detection of an anomalous signal that curtailed spacecraft operations.

The practice run was designed to verify procedures for an initial landing on the asteroid Nov. 12, followed by a second landing Nov. 25.

USAF Considers Moving Space Radar up 5 Years

The U.S. Air Force is considering restructuring its Space Radar program to move up the first launch by five years and scrap a planned small-scale demonstration, according to Pentagon and industry officials.

The Air Force began 2005 with plans to develop one-quarter scale demonstration radar satellites by 2008, and begin launching an operational constellation in 2015. The Space Radar satellites are intended to watch for moving targets on the ground and provide high-resolution imagery to intelligence users.

The Air Force asked Congress for $226 million for the Space Radar program in 2006, but the House and Senate both slashed that figure to $100 million in their versions of the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act.

The satellites that the Air Force is considering launching in 2010 would likely be based on currently available technology, the officials said. The Air Force could continue research and development in this area and launch more sophisticated satellites at a later date, the officials said.

If the Air Force chooses to pursue this plan, it may ask Congress to reprogram money from other efforts in 2006 to speed up the work on the satellites, the officials said.

Lawmakers OK Funding Boost for NASA, NOAA

Negotiators from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate agreed Nov. 4 to fund NASA at $16.5 billion in 2006, $1 million more than the White House had requested and $260.3 million above the U.S. space agency’s 2005 budget. The agreement was reached the same day the Senate confirmed Shana Dale as NASA’s new deputy administrator.

House and Senate negotiators also agreed to fund the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at $3.9 billion for 2006, or $364.8 million above the White House request.

The funding agreements were reached during a House and Senate conference to reconcile competing spending bills funding the departments of State, Justice and Commerce as well as the major federal scientific agencies. The House and Senate must still approve the conference report.

Satterlee Replaced as DigitalGlobe Chief Exec

Jill Smith has replaced Herb Satterlee as president and chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe, one of the top two U.S. commercial satellite imagery providers. Satterlee will stay on as company chairman.

Smith, a DigitalGlobe board member, has held a variety of senior executive positions with high-tech companies, and most recently served as president and chief executive officer of eDial, a software company that has been purchased by Alcatel. She also was chief operating officer of Micron Electronics Inc., a personal computer manufacturer.

Industry sources said Smith specializes in positioning companies either for sale or for public stock offerings.

SpaceDev Closes on $2.5 Million in Funding

SpaceDev has closed on $2.5 million in financing for its pending acquisition of Starsys Research Corp., according to a Nov. 3 SpaceDev press release.

The money, which was acquired from the New York-based Laurus Master Fund Ltd., will be used for costs associated with the purchase, Poway, Calif.-based SpaceDev said.

SpaceDev announced Oct. 26 that it would purchase Boulder, Colo.-based Starsys for $1.5 million in cash and $7.5 million in common stock. The sale is still subject to U.S. regulatory approval.

Anik E2 Helps Two Nations Keep Orbital Slots Viable

Two South American governments have used the same Telesat Canada satellite to prevent reservations of separate orbital slots from expiring, according to industry officials.

Within a period of less than six months, Ottawa-based Telesat has leased its aging Anik E2 telecommunications satellite to the Venezuelan government to confirm a Venezuelan reservation at 61 degrees east longitude, and to the Argentine government to prevent that nation’s 81 degrees west slot position from expiring.

Telesat Canada announced the lease agreement with Argentina on Nov. 2 and said the satellite was on its way to Argentina’s orbital position. How long it will stay there is uncertain.

The Venezuelan government’s orbital reservation slot was set to expire in mid-October under rules established by the United Nations-affiliated International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of Geneva, which regulates satellite broadcast frequencies and orbital positions.

To meet an ITU deadline, the nation reserving the slot must demonstrate that it is “bringing into use” the proposed service. Once that milestone is met, the satellite used to start the service can be moved elsewhere. In this case, the Anik E2 remained at Venezuela’s slot for about four months, according to industry officials.

Meanwhile, Telesat Canada announced Nov. 2 that for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30, it recorded a net profit of 71.1 Canadian dollars ($60.4 2 million) — up 16.1 percent from a year earlier — on revenues of 357.2 million Canadian dollars. The revenue figure represented an increase of 37 percent over the same period in 2004.

XM, Sirius Keep Dueling Over Subscriber Stats

Sirius Satellite Radio reported high subscriber and revenue growth for the third-quarter 2005, and continued the competition of dueling press releases with rival XM Satellite Radio of Washington, as both companies claimed to have the better growth story, particularly in the month of September.

During a Nov. 1 conference call with financial analysts, Mel Karmazin, chief executive officer of New York-based Sirius,  claimed a higher growth rate than XM. Karmazin said an analysis prepared by the New York-based market research firm NPD Group showed Sirius taking in 56 percent of the market share in new satellite radio equipment sales for the month of September.

XM representatives dismissed those statistics for not including sales of new vehicle sales with factory-installed satellite radios or wholesale marketers such as Wal-Mart. During the call, Karmazin said that even without factoring in Wal-Mart, Sirius would have had 54 percent of the market share for the month.

For the third quarter, Sirius added 359,294 new subscribers, which was up 97 percent from the same time period last year. XM added 617,152 new subscribers in the quarter.

Revenue at Sirius was up 250 percent from third-quarter 2004, with the company bringing in $66.8 million. The company’s third-quarter net loss was higher — $180.4 million compared to $169.4 million for third-quarter 2004.

During the call, Sirius’ Chief Financial Officer David Frear also said the company has not made a decision about whether it will launch its Sirius 4 satellite into one of two orbits under consideration, or look to build a next-generation satellite instead.

“We continue to look at what our options are and what might be best for the experience of our subscribers,” Frear said.

Various Sirius executives predicted a big increase in their numbers for fourth-quarter 2005 due to Christmas sales and the addition in January of programming from popular U.S. radio personality Howard Stern.