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By | July 23, 2007

      Analyst: Satellite Industry Could Find Opportunity In Working With WiMax
      While many in the satellite industry fear the potential loss of some C-band spectrum to terrestrial providers, by working together satellite and WiMax technologies can produce a variety of “distinct opportunities, highly dependent on the frequency band in use and regional competitive considerations,” research firm NSR said July 19.
      “The issue isn’t broadband, but interference,” said Christopher Baugh, NSR president, who added that “the widespread use of C-band will clearly be a challenge [between extended and standard C-band users and emerging WiMax services using the 3.5 gigahertz spectrum]. There are certainly some challenging issues ahead, but there are opportunities as well,” including C- and Ku-band satellite backhaul in developing and remote areas, or retail DBS-WiMax triple-play bundles in established satellite TV markets.
      The report, “WiMax — Opportunity or Threat for Satellite Communications?,” includes forecasts for WiMax-generated transponder demand, backhaul sites and satellite service revenues in each region of the world throughout the next five years.

      KVH Profits Slip In Second Quarter Despite Revenue Gains
      KVH Industries Inc. posted revenue of $23.2 million in the second quarter, a 6 percent increase over the second quarter of 2006, the company announced July 19. Profits slipped from $1.7 million a year ago to $1.5 million in the most recent quarter, which closed June 30.
      "Overall, we had a good second quarter that was in line with our expectations,” Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s president and CEO, said in a conference call. “We set a record for quarterly revenue and continued to build our long-term military business. We also made great strides in strengthening our positions in both the marine and land mobile markets through the development and introduction of several new products and services."
      Mobile communication revenue grew 4 percent to $17.5 million in the second quarter of 2007. Defense-related sales, including TacNav military navigation systems, were about $5.7 million, up 11 percent over the same period.
      The company reported that introduction of its TracVision M-series satellite TV systems helped drive marine sales up 12 percent over the same quarter in 2006.
      In a separate announcement, KVH rolled out a line of four low-profile mobile satellite TV systems for recreational vehicles. Monaco Coach will add the TracVision SlimLine series of 12-inch satellite TV antennas to its 2008 vehicles.

      Worldspace, Fiat Sign Satellite Radio Distribution Agreement For Italy
      Fiat Group Automobiles and Worldspace Inc. have signed a marketing agreement to make Fiat the first Italian automobile manufacturer to install and distribute satellite radios in its models, the companies announced July 19.
      Worldspace plans by late 2008 to begin broadcasting throughout Italy. By late 2009, Fiat will feature Worldspace satellite radios as optional, factory-installed equipment in certain Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models.
      Worldspace’s programming will include a channel dedicated exclusively to Fiat, its dealers and customers.
      ND SatCom Partners With Spanish Company
      ND SatCom is teaming up with Spanish systems integrator Gestiona Servicios Audiovisuales to offer satellite newsgathering services in Spain, ND SatCom announced July 19.
      ND Satcom, an SES Astra company, believes the deal will make its solutions more attractive to the Spanish market. “Together with Gestonia we have bundled our core competencies to offer Spanish broadcasters, media companies and [satellite newsgathering] operators an attractive package,” Dieter Dreizler, director of sles of ND SatCom, said in a statement. “As Europe’s leader in [satellite newsgathering] technology, this partnership enables us to establish a very strong local presence on the Spanish market, to build customer loyalty and to offer comprehensive service in a timely manner.”

      Premiere Hopes To Bounce Back After Revenue Fall
      German pay-TV operator Premiere reported revenues of 229.1 million euros ($316.1 million) down nearly 15 percent compared to the previous quarter, the company announced July 19.
      Premiere blamed the decrease to the loss of the Bundesliga soccer rights in Germany, but the operator believes it can look forward to regaining revenues and subscriber numbers since the Bundesliga issue appears to have been resolved.
      Premiere also announced that its deal with cable rival Unitymedia regarding soccer content is back on track after the German Cartel Office approved a sublicensing deal between the two parties.
      Premiere closed June with 3.5 million subscribers, up nearly 12,000 for the quarter. Throughout the last 12 months, Premiere’s subscribers have increased by more than 30,000.

      Intelsat’s Galaxy 17 Goes Operational
      Intelsat Ltd.’s Galaxy 17 satellite began operations, while the launch of the company’s Horizons-2 satellite will be delayed.
      Galaxy 17, built by Thales Alenia Space, will be located at 91º West to join Intelsat’s North American cable community within its Galaxy fleet. The satellite will offer capacity via 24 C- and 24 Ku-band transponders for Intelsat’s video, corporate and consumer broadband customers in North America and the Caribbean.

      SkyWave D+ Service Added To PAC-C Satellite
      SkyWave Mobile Communications has received approval to operate on the Inmarsat Pacific Central (PAC-C) satellite, the first D+ provider to be granted authorized use of this satellite, SkyWave announced July 19.
      "We have extended SkyWave D+ onto Inmarsat’s PAC-C satellite to support the ever-increasing demand for SkyWave D+ services in this region of the world” from 70° West to 150° East, Peter Rossiter, SkyWave CTO, said in a statement.

      World Teleport Association Names Two To Board
      The World Teleport Association has added two members to its board, the association announced July 18.
      M.N. Vyas, director of India’s Essel Shyam Communications, has been elected to a three-year term that began in April. Essel Shyam, a joint venture of Essel Group and Shyam Group, provides satellite communications infrastructure and services.
      Anita Currie, director of global satellite services for Reach, a Hong Kong-based provider of international voice and satellite services, is filling a vacant slot on the board.

      Global Relief Technologies Adds General Counsel
      Global Relief Technologies named Paul Kollmer-Dorsey senior vice president and general counsel, the company announced July 19.
      Kollmer-Dorsey most recently served four years as vice president and associate general counsel of SES New Skies, where he managed the company’s contractual and litigation matters, including the acquisitions of New Skies by the Blackstone Group in 2004 and SES Global in 2006.
      Orbital Sciences Boosts Profits In Second Quarter
      Buoyed by strong growth in the satellites and related space systems segment as well as the launch vehicles segment, Orbital Sciences Corp. saw second quarter revenues increase to $273.3 million in the 2007 second quarter, up 39 percent from the same period a year ago, the company announced July 18.
      Orbital posted a profit of $13.8 million in the 2007 second quarter, which closed June 30. In the 2006 second quarter, the company earned $9.9 million on revenues of $197 million.
      Satellites and related space systems reported revenues of $160 million in the most recent quarter, an increase of 48 percent. Orbital credited the gains to work on NASA’s Orion program and growth in communications satellites revenues.
      The launch vehicles segment reported a revenue gain of 27 percent to $102.2 million due to higher target vehicles revenues and growth in the interceptor and space launch vehicles product lines.
      “These operating results, combined with strong new business bookings achieved in the second quarter, continue to signal an optimistic outlook for Orbital this year,” David W. Thompson, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. Orbital raised its revenue guidance for 2007 to between $975 million and $1 billion, up from previous estimates of $900 million to $925 million.
      In unrelated announcements during the earnings call, Orbital said that due to a technical anomaly, the planned September launch of the Horizons-2 satellite owned jointly by Intelsat and JSat Corp. would be delayed until December. Orbital is the prime contractor for Horizons-2.
      Orbital also announced having begun development of a new medium-class rocket, dubbed Taurus 2, designed to replace Boeing’s Delta 2, which is scheduled to be phased out in 2010.
      Hiwire, SES Americom Stock Lineup For Mobile TV Trial
      SES Americom and Hiwire unveiled part of their roster of TV content companies and channels that will be used for an upcoming trial of a digital video broadcast-handheld (DVB-H) mobile TV service, the companies announced Aug. 18.
      SES Americom and Hiwire, a subsidiary of Aloha Partners, claim they will deliver twice the channels and higher-quality pictures than other mobile TV services by coordinating Hiwire’s 12-megahertz capacity of UHF spectrum and wireless expertise with SES Americom’s satellites and distribution platforms.
      Consumer testers in Las Vegas will receive the Hiwire DVB-H system on their standard cell phones.
      Among the 24 channels that will be provided by SES Americom are Discovery Channel, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, VH1, CNN Mobile Live, Fox News and The Weather Channel.

      Tampa Microwave, RT Logic Release Satellite Simulator With Delay
      Tampa Microwave has rolled out its latest line of satellite simulators, the company announced July 16.
      The SatSim Plus family integrates Tampa Microwave’s flexible link simulation system with RT Logic’s family of channel simulators. The system is comprised of a pair of ruggedized, flyaway containers connected by signal, control and power cables.
      The simulator is designed for satellite communication systems that feature Internet Protocol-based data protocols and require link simulators capable of mimicking delays associated with TDMA architectures.

      Digital+ Sees Subscriber Numbers Fall
      Spanish direct-to-home provider Digital+ saw its subscribers drop in the 2007 second quarter, the company announced July 18. Platform owner Sogecable said Digital+ had 2.1 million subscribers at the end of June, a decrease of 9,000 compared to the end of March this year. Digital+ has seen a net growth of 66,000 subscribers throughout the last 12 months, Sogecable said.
      Vizada Unveils Improved SkyFile Video
      Vizada (formerly France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications) has launched a version of SkyFile Video, a mobile satellite software solution for the maritime sector, the company announced July 18.
      The software, for use on Inmarsat-Fleet 77 and 55 mobile satellite terminals, enables crew around the globe to edit, compress and transmit video images at relatively low costs, Vizada said.
      The software originally was developed under FTMSC’s partnership with French yachting skipper Yves Parlier in order to edit and send race images to newsgathering organizations on land.

      Humax Wins Turkish Set-Top Box Deal
      Humax will manufacture set-top boxes for Turkish broadcaster DoÄŸan TV for use with the operator’s pay-as-you-go satellite TV service, Humax announced July 16.
      Humax will supply 500,000 set-top boxes to DoÄŸan, one of Turkey’s largest broadcasters, for use with D-Smart, which was launched in January. The service is available to more than 17 million households in Turkey, with approximately 100,000 households using the service.
      The market for satellite pay-TV services in Turkey is dominated by Digiturk, which has over 1.1 million subscribers.

      Stratos Deploys Maritime Communications System
      Stratos Global Corp. has completed deployment of its AmosConnect from Stratos maritime satellite communications solution on 28 commercial vessels managed Dockendale Shipping Co. Ltd., Stratos announced July 17.
      Deployed on more than 10,000 vessels, AmosConnect integrates e-mail, fax, telex and GSM text into a single messaging system for use at sea or in offices onshore. The system can be adapted for maritime vessels ranging from small yachts to large commercial fleets.

      Wegener Receives Patent For Streamlining Receiver Authorization Process
      Wegener Corp. has been granted a U.S. patent for technology used in conditional access systems for decrypting data within a satellite broadcast system, Wegener announced July 17.
      The patent covers the quick restoration of IRD (integrated receiver/decoder) decryption authorization after the loss of a satellite signal.
      The solution reduces reauthorization time following a loss of signal incident or a deliberate switch to another satellite carrier. 

      Arrowhead Names Cavossa Vice President Of Government Affairs
      Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc. has named David Cavossa vice president of government affairs, the company announced July 17. Along with coordinating government affairs, public policy and public affairs activities for Arrowhead and parent company CapRock Communications, Cavossa will be part of the business development team.
      Cavossa previously served as executive director for the Satellite Industry Association.

      HD Set-Top Box Maker NTN Names President
      NTN Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of OJsys Inc., has named Steven Lee president, OJsys announced July 18.
      Lee has worked in the high-definition satellite set-top box industry for more than 20 years and has experience with product and market development, technical proof of concept and home media center technology.
      He served as vice president of NTN from January 2004 to September 2006.
      Measat Launches HD Platform
      Measat Satellite Systems has launched a high-definition (HD) distribution platform aimed at catering to the needs of international broadcasters wanting to bring more HD content to the Asia-Pacific region, Measat announced July 16.
      The platform, which will distribute content via the Measat-3 satellite, was developed with Ascent Media and Pacific Century Matrix, which are providing play-out and uplink services  from Singapore and Hong Kong. Scientific Atlanta and Tandberg Television also contributed to the HD offering.
      “Until now the distribution of HD content has been unable to meet bandwidth and compression expectations,” Wee Way Kiat, managing director of Ascent Media Network Services Asia, said in a statement. “As a provider of playout services to key broadcasters in Singapore, this has been a crucial step in the development of an HD workflow. We are now able to drive the transition to HDTV forward in Singapore and across the region.” 

      iDirect Supplies Platform For Intelsat Maritime Offering
      iDirect Technologies will supply the platform for Intelsat’s Network Broadband Global maritime service, iDirect announced July 16.
      The service, unveiled by Intelsat in June, is part of the operator’s GlobalConnex portfolio of offerings. The service will use Intelsat’s C-band capacity and provide speeds of up to 2 megabits per second for a fixed monthly fee. Schlumberger has signed a multi-year agreement to distribute the service to the oil and gas market.
      iDirect’s platform will allow service providers to establish satellite Internet Protocol (IP) networks and assigns a persistent IP address to each remote unit. Automatic beam switching will enable mobile units to remain connected while crossing multiple satellite footprints.

      Ball Aerospace Wins Contract For Landsat Imager
      Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. will develop the camera for NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the company announced July 16.
      Ball will manufacture the Operational Land Imager instrument, which will capture images in the visible and near-infrared spectra. The company also will provide five years of on-orbit support, and the contract includes five one-year options for basic on-orbit support.
      If all options are exercised, the potential period of performance would extend through 2021 and the contract would be valued at $127.9 million.
      The Landsat Data Continuity Mission is scheduled for launch no earlier than July 2011. Ball Aerospace, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Orbital Sciences Corp. and Space Systems/Loral received contracts from NASA in April to develop concepts for the satellite platform. NASA plans to release a request for offer for the spacecraft this fall.

      MDA Secures Role For European Mars Rover Mission
      MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) will design a robotic chassis for a planned European Space Agency mission to Mars, the company announced July 17.
      Under a contract from EADS Astrium valued at 1 million euros ($1.4 million), MDA will design the chassis for the ExoMars rover and provide a prototype for testing by 2008.

      U.S. Performance Boosts Pace Profits
      An unexpectedly strong performance in the United States will lead to higher profits for set-top box manufacturer Pace Micro Technology, the company announced July 17.
      Profit before tax for the shortened 2007 year will be significantly ahead of current market expectations of 8 million British pounds ($16.3 million) “due to further progress on product approvals for its U.S. customer base and anticipated increased volumes to a U.S. customer,” Pace said.

      Hughes Unveils Hybrid DSL/Satellite In Europe
      Hughes Network Systems’ HughesNet Managed Network Services is available in Europe, the company announced July 17.
      The suite of virtual private network solutions for multi-site enterprise networks offers customers a choice of broadband access technologies at each site. Hughes has negotiated wholesale DSL arrangements with providers in several European countries and will deploy more than 4,000 lines of ADSL sites for enterprise customers by the end of the third quarter 2007.
      "Customers can choose terrestrial, satellite or both technologies on a site-by-site basis to optimize their objectives for cost, deployment speed, reliability, and bandwidth ¬— all delivered and backed by Hughes,” Mike Darcy, president of Hughes Europe, said in a statement.

      C-Com To Supply Mobile Antennas To China
      C-Com Satellite Systems Inc. will supply its iNetVu Mobile antenna systems to China’s government agency responsible for disaster management, the company announced July 17.
      The transportable systems will be installed on vehicles and deployed across China for emergency response and disaster management.
      "The iNetVu antenna systems will make it possible for disaster management teams to communicate with each other in case of a disaster or during major emergencies, Leslie Klein, C-Com’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “iNetVu Mobile systems are already in use with a number of Chinese government departments and we see many vertical market opportunities for our products there."
      Details of the contract were not released.
      BAE Systems To Manufacture FPGA Semiconductors For Older Satellite Designs
      BAE Systems will produce and sell radiation-hardened, field programmable, gate array semiconductors for legacy satellite programs, the company announced July 16.
      Under a license agreement with Actel Corp., BAE will manufacture FPGAs that had been discontinued in 2006. BAE was the original equipment manufacturer of the discontinued Actel RH1280 and is the only manufacturer of the RH1280B, the new part designation.
      The agreement will enable producers of satellite payloads and instruments to avoid time-consuming and costly redesigns, BAE said.
      Boeing, Lockheed Martin To Submit Proposals for GPS 3
      Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. are preparing responses to the U.S. Air Force’s request for proposals for the GPS 3 constellation, the companies announced July 16.
      The Air Force plans to acquire eight GPS 3A satellites, with the first scheduled to be placed into orbit in 2013, the service announced July 12. Proposals are due Aug. 27, and the Air Force plans to award a contract for the first eight satellites as well as options for four more by the end of 2007. The contract could be valued at up to $1.8 billion. The Air Force also plans to order eight GPS 3B and 16 GPS 3C satellites.
      The next-generation GPS spacecraft will provide improved position, navigation and timing services to warfighters and civilian users.

      NASA Awards Pratt & Whitney Ares Rocket Development Contract
      Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. received a $1.2 billion contract from NASA to develop the upper stage engine for the Ares 1 and Ares 5 launch vehicles, the agency announced July 16.
      The contract to design, develop, testing and evaluate the J-2X engine includes ground and test flight engines. Ares 1 will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low-Earth orbit, while Ares 5 will be used to launch science and exploration payloads as well as components needed to go to the moon and to Mars.
      Work under the new contract will run through 2012, and engines for operational missions will be purchased through a separate contract.
      NASA awarded the contract on a sole-source basis, determining that no other existing capability meets its architecture requirements.

      FCC Sets Deadline For Comments On Satellite Radio Merger Rule
      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is accepting comments until Aug. 13 on its rule that would prohibit the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, the agency announced July 13.
      The FCC issued a call for comment in June about whether its 1997 satellite digital audio radio service prohibition against the companies combining should be waived, modified or repealed.
      Reply comments must be filed by Aug. 27.

      Lockheed Martin Repositions Milstar Satellites
      The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin completed a reconfiguration of the five Milstar satellites intended to improve the system’s capabilities, Lockheed Martin announced July 16.
      The operation entailed repositioning the satellites relative to one another to maximize and improve the constellation’s coverage of Earth. The seven-month reconfiguration was conduced by a team of engineers from Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., the Milstar prime contractor, and the 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., the Air Force’s team which flies and maintains the constellation.
      The Milstar constellation provides secure communications for warfighters. The first satellite was placed into orbit in 1994 and the fifth in 2003. The Milstar satellites will be replaced by the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, with the first one scheduled to be lofted into orbit in mid-2008.
      Inmarsat Launches IsatPhone
      Inmarsat launched its first commercially available handheld satellite phone July 16, the company announced.
      The IsatPhone, an attempt to “shake up the satellite phone market,” Michael Butler, president and COO of Inmarsat, said in a statement, is a dual-mode satellite and GSM phone targeting business and personal users who travel or work in areas where local telephone networks are unreliable or nonexistent. The handsets are expected to retail at about $500, with voice call charges expected to cost less than $1 per minute.
      Inmarsat is “targeting a 10 percent share of the [satellite phone] market by 2010,” Butler said.

      Norsat Receives U.S. Patent For GlobeTrekker
      Norsat International Inc. has been granted a U.S. patent for its GlobeTrekker portable satellite communications unit, the company announced July 16.
      The patent, “Portable High-speed and Broadcast-quality Video Terminal for Terrestrial and Satellite Communications,” covers the design of a high-performance portable microwave communication unit consisting of a directional antenna, radio frequency transceiver and high-speed data/video-processing unit. This is Norsat’s second patent, and the company has four more pending.
      GlobeTrekker is designed to provide terrestrial point-to-point communications or serve as a ground station in a satellite communication system.

      Louisiana Deploys Spacenet’s Connexstar Service
      Spacenet Inc.’s Connexstar VSAT services have been deployed as part of an emergency response network by the State of Louisiana, Spacenet announced July 16.
      The network, deployed and managed by Spacenet reseller partner Orbital Data Net, provides high-speed links to back up critical data networks in case of disaster or other terrestrial connectivity failure.
      Details of the contract were not released.

      EMS Founder Pippin Dies
      John Pippin, founder of EMS Technologies Inc., died July 13, the company announced. Pippin founded the company in 1968 as Electromagnetic Sciences Inc. and retired as chairman in 1998. Prior to founding EMS, Pippin was vice president of research at Scientific-Atlanta from 1964 to 1968.

      Virgin America And EchoStar To Offer Dish Network Inflight
      Virgin America airline and EchoStar Communications Corp. will offer an 18-channel programming package starting Aug. 8 to afford passengers live, in-flight satellite entertainment, the companies announced July 20.
      Programming will include sports, music and general entertainment on channels including Arts & Entertainment, Black Entertainment Television, Cable News Network, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, ESPN and Cartoon Network.
      Charles Ogilvie, Virgin America’s director of in-flight entertainment and partnerships said the airline’s “planes will offer more than just a static channel line-up:  With this partnership, every guest at every seat will have access” to live Dish Network satellite TV. Beyond that, the airline will offer pay-per-view movies, audio music entertainment with individual playlists, electronic games, and meals on demand.
      DMSP Satellite Operated Without Gyro
      A Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft has been flown for the first time without using navigation gyros, the U.S. Air Force announced July 19.
      DMSP F15, launched in December 1999, already operates on a single gyro. In the demonstration, the spacecraft was operated for 24 hours using only its Earth sensor and Sun sensor along with a software estimate of yaw error used to maintain proper attitude.
      The success of the demonstration means that the life of some DMSP satellites could be extended even when gyro data is not available, the Air Force said. Along with its primary mission, DMSP 15 carries a calibration sensor used by the radar community around the globe.

      EMC Plans Dedicated IP Trunking Service In Africa
      Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) will launch an Internet Protocol (IP) trunking DVB-S2 platform service in September for the African market, the company announced July 20.
      EMC will provide the service through its teleport in Raisting, Germany, using Intelsat satellite capacity and EMC infrastructure offering IP connectivity to more than 30 providers.
      The service will provide Internet and voice trunking for Internet service providers plus Global System for Mobile and push-to-talk operators, carriers and users. EMC will supply and finance all remote equipment needed by customers, the company said.

      Irdeto Introduces Prepaid Solution
      Conditional access and middleware vendor Irdeto is offering a prepaid solution to its customers under a partnership with Brand-ID Europe, Irdeto announced July 20.
      The companies have integrated Irdeto’s content security solutions with Brand-ID’s ChkView payment service, which supports a range of prepaid business models for digital TV, Internet Protocol TV and mobile applications.

      Soundtrack Channel Expanding To North America Via RRSat
      RRSat Global Communications Network Ltd. will broadcast the Soundtrack Channel to the United States, RRSat announced July 19.
      The content will be delivered over the RRSat Global Network using Intelsat’s Galaxy 23 Satellite. RRSat also will provide
      making the signal available video content management and
      distribution services.
      In March, the Soundtrack Channel launched services to Asia via
      the RRSat Global Network using Loral Skynet’s Telstar 10 satellite.

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