Skip to main content

Satellite Update – Dec. 2, 2010

The FCC International Bureau usually releases lists of satellite Policy Bureau applications and actions on Friday but didn't last Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday. Instead of FCC actions, this week I'll report on other satellite news.

  • Intelsat 17 was successfully launched Friday, Nov. 26 on an Ariane 5 vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana at 1:39 PM EST. Monday Space Systems/Loral announced it successfully performed post-launch maneuvers. It fired its main thruster twice to begin moving to its geosynchronous orbit at 66 degrees east longitude (EL). The Intelsat 17 satellite is based on SS Loral's SS/L 1300 spacecraft platform. It has four deployable antennas and one fixed earth deck antenna and a steerable Ku-band antenna. The satellite will provide video and network services across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Dave McGlade, Intelsat CEO, said, “Intelsat 17 is an important addition to our fleet, allowing us to expand our successful Asian video distribution neighborhood located at 68.5º E, on the Intelsat 10 satellite. This satellite’s enhanced transponders include linear C-band capacity and multi-continental coverage that is attractive to programmers looking to expand distribution in a region that extends across Asia and into Europe and Africa."

    In addition to Intelsat 17, Friday's Ariane 5 launch carried Avanti's Hylas-1 satellite into orbit. The Hylas-1 satellite has eight Ka-band regional spot beams and will cover parts of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Eastern Europe with high-speed broadband services. The narrow spot beams allow frequency reuse between the beams. Hylas-1 also includes Ku-band transponders for broadcast capability. The European Space Agency website has an overview of the Hylas-1 project. Hylas-1 will be positioned at 33.5 degrees west longitude.
  • •Monday O3b Networks announced it had received final funding before service launch. O3b, which stands for “Other 3 billion" will provide “fiber quality" high speed broadband connectivity between developing markets and the global Internet infrastructure. The satellite network will use non-geosynchronous satellites in orbit 8,000 kilometers above the Earth, allowing extremely low latency for a satellite based connection. Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said, ““I am delighted to welcome an innovative newcomer to the ICT market, especially one whose strategy offers the potential to extend connectivity to broadband networks to millions more people worldwide. O3b’s plan adds an exciting new piece to the puzzle through a low-cost solution that could help quickly bridge the emerging broadband divide separating rich and poor nations."

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.