Satellite Update

A review of the FCC’s latest actions affecting the satellite industry.
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EchoStar Satellite Operating Corp. filed an application to launch and operate EchoStar 11 at 110.0 degrees West Longitude (WL). EchoStar did not request additional DBS frequencies or orbital locations. EchoStar 11 would use 12.2–12.7 GHz (downlink) and 17.3–17.8 GHz (uplink) frequencies. EchoStar requested a waiver of the FCC’s cross-polarity isolation requirements, specifying a minimum cross-polarization isolation of 28.8 dB. EchoStar asked for permission to transmit Earth exploration images at 12.208 GHz and sought a waiver for non-conforming use of the 12.2–12.7 GHz band, to the extent required. EchoStar requested a 180 day extension of special temporary authority (STA) to operate DBS service over Channels 23 and 24 at 61.5 degrees WL.

Orbcomm requested permission to modify its non-voice, non-geostationary mobile satellite service system. It proposes to launch its 25 new satellites in two phases: the first phase would consist of seven satellites launched into a circular orbit at an initial altitude of 670 kilometers. At that location, Orbcomm will test the satellites and integrate operations with their previously authorized satellite constellation. After the tests and integration, the satellite will be raised to a circular orbit inclined at 48.5 degrees at an altitude of 750 kilometers. The second phase will launch the remaining 18 satellites into three orbital planes with six satellites each, inclined in circular orbits with the same inclination and altitude as the first phase satellites. Orbcomm requested authority to operate on all the allocated “Little LEO” frequencies, including sub-bands assigned to the “System 1,” System 2,” and “System 3” Little LEO systems. The company said the satellites will be capable of receiving frequencies from 161 MHz to 163 MHz and would initially operate by receiving Automatic Identification Signals (AIS) in on 161.976 MHz and 162.025 MHz, a capability designed under contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Information on these applications is from FCC Report SAT-00475.

The FCC consolidated DBS Channels 25–32 (odd) assigned to Dominion Video Satellite at the 61.5 degree WL orbital location with DBS Channels 2–22 (even) assigned to EchoStar Satellite Operating Corporation into call sign S2741, held by EchoStar.

The FCC granted Loral’s request to modify its existing authorization for Telstar 11N to change the orbital location from 37.5 degrees WL to 37.55 degrees WL. At that location Loral is allowed to operate Telstar 11N with increased transponder capacity and expanded geographical coverage. Telstar 11N is authorized to use the following frequency bands: 10.95–11.2 GHz, 11.45–11.7 GHz, 11.7–12.2 GHz, 12.5–12.75 GHz, 13.75–14.0 GHz and 14.0–14.5 GHz.

EchoStar was allowed to extend the terms of its authorization for EchoStar 1 at 148.0 degrees WL in the 12.2–12.7 and 17.3–17.8 GHz frequency bands and to conduct telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) operations using 5926.5 MHz, 6423.5 MHz, 4198.5 MHz and 4199.5 MHz to affect operations at 148.0 degrees WL until November 26, 2016. The FCC also extended the authorization for EchoStar 2 in the same orbital location with slightly different TT&C frequencies.

The FCC approved PanAmSat’s request to modify its authority to construct, launch and operate C and Ku-band satellite INTELSAT 11 at 43.1 degrees WL. The satellite will use 3700–4200 MHz (space-to-Earth), 5925–6425 MHz (Earth-to-space), 10.7–11.45 GHz (space-to-Earth), 12.75–13.25 GHz (Earth-to-space) and 13.75–14.00 GHz (Earth-to-space).

The FCC granted, with conditions, the request from DG Consents Sub, Inc. to modify its authorization to operate a non-geosynchronous orbit satellite (NGSO) system in the Earth Exploration Satellite Service (EESS). WorldView-60 is authorized to operate with an apogee 521 kilometers and a perigee of 506 kilometers with an inclination of 97.36 degrees. DG is also authorized to reinsert its WorldView-110 satellite into its NGSO system. WorldView-110 is authorized to operate with an apogee of 795 kilometers and a perigee of 780 kilometers with an inclination of 98.5 degrees. The satellites are authorized to operate an EESS data downlink centered at 8185 MHz, to operate a TT&C uplink channel centered at 2085.6875 MHz with a 1.32 MHz bandwidth, and to operate two downlink TT&C channels centered at 8380 MHz with 2695 kHz and 5800 kHz bandwidths.

XM Radio Inc. was given STA to drift XM-2 from 115.1 degrees WL to 85.2 degrees WL for a period of 60 days, effective Oct. 12, 2007. During the relocation XM will operate only the TT&C system on XM-2.

Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. received STA to operate five terrestrial repeaters at power levels at or below 2 kW EIRP for a period of 180 days at the locations specified in its application. See file SAT-STA-20070719-00104.

Information on these grants is from FCC Report SAT-00474. Also see the letter from the FCC to Intelsat Corp. regarding in-orbit testing of Intelsat 11 at 47.5 degrees WL. The FCC rejected the request to use conventional Ku-band frequencies because PanAmSat did not request authority to operate Intelsat 11 in the 11.7–12.2 GHz and 14.0–14.5 GHz bands, nor, the FCC said, “did it indicate the satellite is capable of operating in these bands.”