Lost in Space: Fruit Flies, Mushrooms and Geckos

Too bad Geico doesn’t offer spacecraft insurance. The Russians could use some help, as they hold a large share of both launch and in-orbit failures.

I feel bad for the researchers suffering the latest Russian space program setback, the in-orbit loss-of-control for the Foton M-4 spacecraft, carrying a payload of geckos, fruit flies and mushrooms.

Russia’s Progress space firm confirmed Thursday that the Foton-M4 satellite was not responding to commands from the ground to start its onboard engine and lift it to a higher orbit.

However the company said in a statement that all other systems on the satellite, which was launched on July 19, were operating normally and information from the scientific experiments was being transmitted to the ground.

“The equipment which is working in automatic mode, and in particular the experiment with the geckos is working according to the programme,” said Oleg Voloshin, a spokesman of Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, which is running the experiment.

The two-month mission is monitoring by video how well the geckos sexually reproduce in space, according to the Institute’s website.

Progress said the design of the Foton-M4 “allows for the functioning of the satellite in automatic mode for a long time.”

A space expert cited by Interfax said that in its current orbit the satellite could stay up in space as long as three or four months.

OK, so maybe they can’t control the thrusters, but all else is working.

Perhaps the resulting “Russian lizard sex in space” video will compete with the popularity of Russian dash cam videos.

WBMSAT News Bits 07/17/2014

Satellite companies on the Future Space 2014 event panel “Return of Wicked Cool Space Technology,” discussed advanced satellite manufacturing and launch systems.
[Via Satellite - 07/18/2014]

Futron announces the release of the 2014 Space Competitiveness Index.
[Satellite Markets & Research - 07/18/2014]

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), prime contractor for Orbcomm’s OG2 satellites, has established communication with the first six spacecraft launched July 14, 2014.
[Via Satellite 07/18/2014]

GPS3 satellite – Credit: Lockheed Martin artist’s concept – Space News

Senate spending bill directs U.S. Air Force to develop alternative GPS payload.
[Space News - 07/18/2014]

Short-term demand for 4K/Ultra-HD televisions hindered by lack of consumer awareness and sensitivity to the cost of the advanced sets.
[Satellite Markets & Research - 07/18/2014]

UAE reveals plans for unmanned mission to Mars by 2021.
[Reuters - 07/16/2014]

Two space satellites for India will be manufactured in Russia.
[ITAR TASS - 07/16/2014]

Liquid Telecom extends Eutelsat contract to 2019.
[Via Satellite - 07/18/2014]

Artist rendition of the SES 12. Photo: SES – Via Satellite

SES selects Airbus to build new hybrid high throughput communications satellite SES 12 to increase capacity available in the Asia Pacific region.
[Via Satellite - 07/17/2014]

DoD official says a replacement for the RD-180 Russian rocket used for satellite launches could take 8 years and cost $2 billion.
[Via Satellite - 07/17/2014]

Russia installs Glonass satellite station in Brazil.
[Via Satellite - 07/17/2014]

Airbus Defence and Space and Inmarsat expand Global Xpress partnership.
[Via Satelli9te - 07/17/2014]

Virgin Galactic sets sights on 2016 for LauncherOne.
[Via Satellite - 07/16/20147]

- SatNews file image

Dauria Aerospace tapped by India-based satcom provider Aniara to design and build two new generation, small, Ku-band geostationary satellites.
[SatNews - 07/16/2014]

Hughes Network Systems hiring more engineers to expand satellite services.
[Gazette.Net - 07/16/2014]

MCS TV and Newslux choose Eutelsat to drive TV channel expansion in Southeast Asia.
Market Watch – 07/16/2014]

middle east on line file photo

United Arab Emirates announces it will create a space agency with the aim of sending the first Arab unmanned probe to Mars by 2021.
[Middle East Online - 07/16/2014]

SpaceX has completed the long-awaited launch of Orbcomm’s first batch of second-generation satellites.
[Via Satellite - 07/15/2014]

Northrop Grumman breaks ground at site for its new government-focused satellite facility, the Maryland Space Assembly and Test building.
[Via Satellite - 07/15/2014]

Korean manufacturer KNS announces the launch of its C-Band 2.2m satellite antenna in two variations.
[The Digital Ship - 07/15/2014]

Milpeak announces the expansion of its satellite communication rental services to cover the needs of the mining and exploration industry.
[Digital Journal - 07/15/2014]

Arabsat signs lifetime use agreement with Asia Broadcast Satellite for a multi-Ku-band payload on ABS3A to be launched later this year or early next year.
[Via Satellite - 07/15/2014]

North American M2M satellite communications market projected to be worth $1.43 billion by 2019 in new report by MicroMarket Monitor.
[Digital Journal - 07/14/2014]

Loral is in the final chapter of its corporate life and is in the process of selling its last significant asset, Telesat.
[Seeking Alpha 07/14/2014]

Orbital Sciences launches Cygnus to ISS with 28 CubeSats for Planet Labs.
[Via Satellite - 07/14/2014]

A Falcon 9 rocket in a hangar. Photo: SpaceX – Space News

SpaceX confirms the Air Force has certified the Falcon 9 rocket as meeting the three-launch prerequisite for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.
[Via Satellite - 07/14/2014]

Raytheon prepares to deliver on the FAB-T contract shortly after winning the U.S. Air Force competition for the family of Beyond Line of Sight Terminals.
[Via Satellite - 07/14/2014]

EBU uses NovelSat’s modulators to broadcast three World Cup matches in Ultra-HD, including the final game between Germany and Argentina.
[Via Satellite - 07/14/2014]

Satcom Direct expands Savannah, GA, office to provide additional classrooms for training airline employees on aircraft cabin satellite communications.
[Via Satellite - 07/14/2014]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

No Free Speech or Paids Ads in Russia

The remnants of totalitarian communism in Russia refuses to go away. Putin’s mafia-style government first tried to take down the satellite TV signal of Dozhd, one of the few remaining independent channels. The channel is available via Yamal 300K, Eutelsat 36B, Astra 4A, and Dish Network in the U.S. (via Anik F3).

Now the government wants to ban advertising on any channel beside FTA television, most of which is state-owned or controlled. Removing one of the main sources of revenue is their way of putting them out of business.

Dozens of small and independent Russian television stations could face closure after lawmakers approved a controversial bill banning advertising on cable and satellite channels.

The proposal would also consolidate state-controlled channels’ dominance of the advertisement market.

The surprise bill raced through Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, last week, sailing through its three compulsory readings in just two sessions.

Excluded from the ban are “national, compulsory, universally accessible” channels and those conveyed by terrestrial broadcasting — meaning all the state-controlled channels that currently dominate Russian television.

Advocates say the new law aims to end unfair competition on the television market, where pay channels supposedly benefit from mixed funding schemes — subscription fees and advertising — while free broadcast channels are limited to commercials.

But the heads of 15 pay channels, including Natalya Sindeyeva of opposition-leaning Dozhd TV, have written a letter to the government warning that the ban will sound the death knell for more than half of Russia’s cable and satellite channels.

“Excluding the advertising model could place about 150 thematic pay channels on the brink of survival,” the letter says. “Raising payments for television services may lead to understandable customer dissatisfaction.”

The signatories also warn that the new law will hurt small and medium-sized businesses currently advertising on pay channels since “only big-business representatives can afford advertising on federal channels.”

Read the letter in Russian here. Behold the quick translation into English…

From an article in the newspaper “Kommersant” from 26/06/14, we were surprised to learn that in the State Duma in an expedited manner planned to adopt a package of amendments to the “Law on Advertising.” Our keen interest aroused amendment prohibiting advertising on pay channels. We believe that consideration of this amendment, the State Duma of the Russian Federation should take into account the following circumstances:

1. Absolutely no obvious reason why television channels necessary in law to impose a particular model in the market. We believe that any TV channel can select or advertising model, or paid, or mixed. The choice of a model should be determined solely by market mechanisms rather than the provisions of the legislation. According to our information the absence of such legislative restrictions characteristic of the vast majority of countries around the world.

2. Most pay-TV channels now uses both models of monetization of their business – and advertising and paid. Exception advertising model will deliver about 150 paid thematic channels on the brink of survival. It is possible, the financial burden will be shifted to the subscribers. Services of the largest Russian operators used by tens of millions of Russian citizens. Increased pay for TV service can lead to understandable frustration consumers.

3. Please note that the central channels of essential federal campaigns can afford only representatives of big business. For medium and small business advertising on such channels is not available due to its high cost. But representatives of small and medium businesses can promote on the Russian market their products and services by means of pay-TV channels. They can appeal to the audience of thematic channels, which are most likely to consume their product or service at feasible prices for their business. Ban such advertising can lead to a significant delay in the development of small and medium-sized businesses in our country. We believe that this provision of the legislation is contrary to public policy to support small and medium-sized businesses.

Appeal with the proposal to postpone consideration of this amendment in the spring session of the State Duma. Propose to discuss the amendment with the business community, and nominate it for discussion by the State Duma in view of his opinions.

This is ridiculous, yet typical of Putin’s stupidity. Gutting the Russian economy is obviously not a consideration.

People will find want they want from other sources: the truth.


SpaceX Falcon-9 Feeds The Reefer

Congrats to ORBCOMM, providers of ReeferTrak and other fine services, on their launch this morning…

Thanks to SpaceX for bolting a rocketcam to the fuselage!


WBMSAT News Bits 07/11/2014

European satellite operators underline the crucial role that satellite plays in the roll-out of future digital infrastructures
[Space Daily - 07/11/2014]

Display of the launch area of the proposed SpaceX facility in Brownsville, Texas. Credit: Draft from FAA, April 2013 – Space News

FAA ruling clears path for SpaceX launch site in Texas.
[Space News - 07/11/2014]

Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have signed a contract to build the Alsat-1B Earth Observation satellite.
[Space Daily - 07/11/2014]

Soyuz rocket launches second batch of O3b satellites from French Guiana.
[Space News - 07/10/2014]

The next MUOS satellite to launch (foreground) – Photo: Lockheed Martin – Via Satellite

Lockheed Martin MUOS satellite completes testing on schedule.
[Via Satellite - 07/10/2014]

Eumetsat and the European Commission on July 8 said they expected to reach agreement on financing a long-delayed U.S-French ocean-altimetry satellite by October.
[Space News - 07/10/2014]

SES puts spotlight on hybrid networks to meet future video demand, expected to be driven in large part by proliferation of Ultra HD.
[Via Satellite - 07/10/2014]

General Dynamics to supply tri-band communications radome to Boeing for inflight passenger satellite broadband services.
[AsiaTravelTips - 07/10/2014]

Globecomm begins offering Mobile Virtual Network Operator services worldwide.
[Via Satellite - 07/10/2014]

Emerging Markets Communications subsidiary EMC Satcom Technologies is selected by Bank Rakyat Indonesia to provide satellite connectivity for its banking applications.
[SatNews - 07/10/2014]

NSSLGlobal opened its Southbury Conn. Teleport to new and existing customers.
[Via Satellite - 07/10/2014]

Government funding for space on the road to recovery – Euroconsult report.
[Satellite Markets & Research - 07/09/2014]

Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket carried Russia’s Meteor M2 weather satellite along with six small satellites for domestic and international customers into orbit July 8.
[Via Satellite - 07/09/2014]

European launch industry adapting to market – in mid-June, first, Airbus and Safran agreed to merge their launch vehicle operations into a 50-50 joint-venture; second, they proposed a new design for Ariane-6.
[NSR - 07/09/2014]

A Japan Airlines (JAL) flight. Photo: Aero Icarus (Flickr) – Via Satellite

In-flight connectivity (IFC) has become a top market opportunity for the satellite industry but despite this Euroconsult believes it will not be a profitable market until 2023.
[Via Satellite - 07/09/2014]

Credit: ISEE-3 Reboot Project artist’s concept – Space News

NASA’s International Earth/Sun Explorer (ISEE)-3 will not be resuming its original mission after all, as propulsion system fails.
[Space News - 07/09/2014]

Avascent acquires the satellite, space, and telecommunications businesses of Futron Corporation.
[Market Watch - 07/09/2014]

Hughes and Tampa Microwave partner on manpack satellite terminals.
[Via Satellite - 07/09/2014]

ASC Signal releases new 2.5m carbon fiber antenna capable of operating in L-, X-, C-, Ku-, Ka-, Q- and V- bands, winds military contract.
[Via Satellite - 07/09/2014]

Failed Russian Yamal-201 satellite tumbling uncontrollably in space is threatening to damage operating spacecraft in geostationary orbit.
[inagist -  07/08/2014]

The ISEE-3 (ICE) spacecraft. // NASA – Nextgov

Quest to save NASA’s long-lost ISEE-3 probe by amateur scientists and engineers has outside chance of succeeding.
[Nextgov - 07/08/2014]

Intelsat has continued to show confidence in Boeing’s 702MP (Medium Power) platform, placing its ninth order with the company to build the Intelsat 35e Epic Next Generation satellite.
[Via Satellite - 07/08/2014]

The US and Australia will jointly expand an Australian spy base in Western Australia that would allow real-time satellite communication for US and Australian military operations.
[itnews - 07/08/2014]

Thuraya Telecommunications Company now has a partnership with Satellite Communication SA, a provider of data communications and voice services in Europe.
[SatNews - 07/08/2014]

Thuraya steps up efforts to commission next set of satellites, with RFI to be issued in next couple of months.
[Via Satellite - 07/08/2014]

Dauria Aerospace, a Russian startup company, has encouraged radio enthusiasts to locate and track its newest satellite, DX 1, launched aboard a Soyuz rocket on July 8, 2014.
[Via Satellite - 07/08/2014]

Swing Transport, a privately owned logistics company, has chosen Orbcomm’s GT1100 asset tracking solution for its fleet of more than 1,000 dry van trailers.
[Via Satellite - 07/08/2014]

Indonesian turbulence: two satellite owners, both claiming government backing, order competing satellites for the same orbital slot.
[Space News - 07/07/2014]

Thales Alenia Space has initiated a project with the European Union and a consortium of companies called HIPPO: High-Power Photonics for Satellite Laser Communications and On-Board Optical Processing.
[Via Satellite - 07/07/2014]

Laser Light Communications, a company focused on becoming the first Optical Satellite Service (OSS) provider, is close to opening a major facility called the High Articulation Laser Optics (HALO) Center.
[Via Satellite - 07/07/2014]

Space Systems/Loral (SSL) announces it was selected to provide a multi-mission communications satellite to Spanish satellite operator HISPASAT.
[SatNews - 07/07/2014]

Deep Blue, a Technip vessel – Digital Ship

MTN Communications announces it has won a contract that more than doubles the number of Technip vessels it supplies with broadband connectivity.
[Digital Ship - 07/07/2014]

Iridium’s application to provide global maritime distress and safety system services receives support from International Maritime Organization subcommittee.
[MarineLink - 07/07/2014]

Iridium Communications Inc. and SpaceX announce the successful completion of dispenser qualification testing for the Iridium NEXT constellation.
[SatNews - 07/07/2014]

Defence departments and now civil government customers can rapidly convert existing radios to access the Inmarsat L-TAC network through the simple addition of a small converter and antenna.
[SatNews - 07/07/2014]

iGT offers advancements in satcom connectivity to meet DoD and Intelligence requirements for increased bandwidth and throughput.
[Marketwatch - 07/07/2014]

EUTELSAT 3B satellite fully fired up at 3 degrees East.
[MarketWatch - 07/06/2014]

NSR’s Nano and Microsatellite Markets provides unique insight into the emerging market for nano and microsatellites across all key applications.
[NSR reports - July 2014]

FREE WEBINAR July 30 – ENERGY MARKETS VIA SATELLITE: IS THERE A MARKET BEYOND DEEP-WATER?
[NSR - July 30]

[WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services


Angara!

Interesting to read of the Angara project’s history, via Russian Space Web

The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 had profound effects on the Russian space program. The nation’s main space launch site in Baikonur ended up in the newly independent Kazakhstan, while several major suppliers of rocket components along with key tracking facilities were now in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry had the most reasons to worry about losing its capability to launch strategically important military satellites, in case of a conflict between former Soviet republics.

On Aug. 3, 1992, less than a year after the failed coup to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev had instead triggered the final convulsion of the Soviet state, Russia’s Military Space Forces approved a new assessment on the state and prospects of the nation’s launch systems. (355) The document set the course toward the development of a new launch vehicle, whose design and launch facilities would not rely on contractors outside Russia. A month and a half later, on September 15, the Russian government issued an official decree giving the rocket industry the task to conceptualize the best architecture for a heavy space launch vehicle, which would be dubbed Angara after a great Siberian river.

The future rocket was required to carry up to 24 tons to low Earth orbit and up to 3.5 tons to geostationary orbit. The new launch vehicle was expected to replace Proton after 2005. Similar studies aimed to eventually built the Neva light-weight launch vehicle capable of delivering four tons of payload to the low Earth orbit and thus replacing the Ukrainian-built Tsyklon and for the medium-class Yenisey launcher designed to replace Zenit. (264)

The new heavy rocket would be first based at Russia’s northern space port in Plesetsk, however, in 1994, plans were also made to deploy it at a future new launch site in Svobodny with a much better geographical location in the Russian Far East.

The launch complex, or cosmodrome, is less than 100 miles from the Chinese border and the Russian Federation is comprised of many ethnic groups.

What if the R.F. breaks apart even further? Putin will surely go down in history as the biggest Russian asshole ever.


HIPPO Hurricane Holler

High power photonics for satellite communications and on-board optical signal processing — that spells HIPPO. Considering their objectives, this is the future of space-based communications and some day will replace the RF technology used by today’s satcom spacecraft.

NASA recently proved lasers work well and the increase in throughput will be a revolutionary game-changer.


WBMSAT News Bits 07/03/2014

Airbus Defense and Space and Azercosmos launch low orbit satellite, SPOT-7.
[Azernews - 07/03/2014]

Galileo satellite – Credit: OHB artist’s concept – Space News

Sudden power loss leaves a Galileo satellite in safe mode.
[Space News - 07/03/2014]

Northrop and Boeing respond to U.S. Air Force GPS 3 solicitation.
[Space News - 07/03/2014]

Orbit Communication Systems and Inmarsat sign MOA on manufacturing of aviation terminals for Global Xpress serving the government market.
[Bernam - 07/03/2014]

All-volunteer team manages to activate propulsion system on NASA’s International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) -3 at 11th hour; will attempt to return the satellite to Lagrange Point 1.
[Space News - 07/03/2014]

Tour de France chooses satellite phones from Globalstar to stay in touch.
[Sourcewire - 07/03/2014]

OCO 2 launch. Photo: ULA – Via Satellite

ULA launches NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 satellite from Vandenberg AFB.
[Via Satellite - 07/02/2014]

Inmarsat chooses SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket for upcoming joint-satellite launch, and two additional launch missions.
[Via Satellite - 07/02/2014]

Hawaiian governor signs two bills totaling $750,000 for groundbreaking PISCES initiatives in partnership with NASA.
[Big Island Video News - 07/02/2014]

Inmarsat issues notice of default to LightSquared, having not received payment due under cooperation agreement between the two companies.
[London South East - 07/02/2014]

Hispasat chooses SSL to build multi-mission Hispasat 1F.
[The Wall Street Journal - 07/01/2014]

Satellogic’s final prototype satellite, BugSat 1. Photo: Satellogic – Via Satellite

Argentinian startup Satellogic gears up for large scale imaging constellation.
[Via Satellite - 07/01/2014]

ViaSat and Eutelsat agreement allows service access on roaming on each other’s HTS Ka-band broadband satellites.
[socal tech - 07/01/2014]

DoD awards blanket purchase agreement to Airbus Defense and Space for L-band satellite communications including Inmarsat BGAN, Fleetbroadband and Swiftbroadband airtime.
[Via Satellite - 07/01/2014]

First images acquired from JAXA’s DAICHI 2 earth surface monitoring satellite.
[Via Satellite - 07/01/2014]


CEO Latency at SES

This past June, while at the CASBAA & CommunicAsia events, the new CEO of SES S.A. sat down with CNBC Asia for a little interview. At approximately the 1:05 mark, he’s asked about “social media” and its impact on satellite services. I don’t know who’s less prepared here — the interviewer or his guest — but taking 7 seconds to come up with an answer should give you a clue…


Meanwhile, Deepak Mathur nails it on Bloomberg


Putin as Dr. Evil

Great analysis by Buzzfeed, portraying Putin as a real-world Dr. Evil, watching the inaugural Angara rocket launch from swank video suite, alone.

It was postponed by 24 hours on Friday, which then got postponed by at least a month — now “indefinitely.”

Given the importance of the Angara program, Putin is not happy.