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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
VIASAT PARTNERS WITH EUTELSAT, ANNOUNCES NEW SATELLITE CONSTELLATION
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Source: Wikipedia/Satbuff

CARLSBAD, Calif. - In two separate announcements, ViaSat Inc. revealed plans for future growth in the broadband market. As part of those plans, ViaSat will introduce a network of three new high throughput satellites (HTS) and will work with Eutelsat to establish a satellite broadband market in Europe.

The three new satellites will make up the company's ViaSat-3 ultra-high capacity satellite platform, which will also include an advanced ground network infrastructure. According to ViaSat, work is already underway on the first two satellites. One will address the American market while the other will address the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) market. The third satellite will address the Asia-Pacific market.

ViaSat itself is building the satellite payloads, while Boeing Satellite Systems is building the bus platforms. Boeing will likely base the satellites on its 702 platform. The first two satellites are expected to be completed in 2019.

ViaSat expects the entire program - including satellite construction, launch, and insurance - will cost about $1.4 billion. Each satellite will have a launch mass of about 6,400 kilograms, and will launch on Ariane 5 rockets. Each satellite will offer 1-Terabit per second (Tbps) of bandwidth.

In addition to the new satellite construction, ViaSat announced a new partnership with Eutelsat to create a joint venture to address the European satellite-broadband Internet market. Initially, the partnership will use Eutelsat's KA-SAT. Capacity on the high throughput satellite will be supplemented by one of the new ViaSat-3 satellites when it launches in 2019.

ViaSat will face intense competition in the satellite Internet market. A number of companies, such as EchStar and O3b, are already in the market. Others, such as OneWeb, are working to enter the market in the near future. New technologies are making it possible to serve growing demand for Internet services around the world, and that is attracting new entrants into the market. Each company has a diferent business plan, making for interesting competition. While ViaSat is building a few very large satellites that will operate in geosynchronous orbit, OneWeb proposes building hundreds of small satellites that will operate in low Earth orbit. O3b is in the middle, with over a dozen satellites in medium Earth orbit.

Source:  ViaSat
Associated URL: www.viasat.com
Source Date: February 10, 2016
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 02/10/2016

 
 
THALES ALENIA SPACE AWARDED EUR450 MILLION TO BUILD SENTINEL-3C AND -3D SATELLITES
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Source: ESA

CANNES, France - Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract worth EUR450 million ($505.8 million) to build the Sentinel-3C and D environmental monitoring and oceanographic satellites for the European program Copernicus.

Thales Alenia Space is once again prime contractor for these two new satellites, as for the Sentinel-3A and 3B satellites, with responsibility for design, development, integration and testing. These satellites are compatible with the European light launcher, Vega.

Each satellite will be fitted with four main instruments:

-Two optical instruments: one dedicated to the color of the oceans, OLCI (Ocean and Land Color Instrument), and a Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR).

-Two radar instruments: a Synthetic aperture Radar ALtimeter (SRAL) completed by a MicroWave Radiometer (MWR), used to provide versatile capability of surface topography measurement with primary mission over the oceans but offering also sea ice, ice and in land waters and land capabilities.

Slated to launch as early as 2021, each satellite will weigh approximately 1.2 metric tons at launch, and will be positioned in low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 815 kilometers.

Copernicus received a huge boost in February 2013 when the EU committed to funding the operational phase of the mission in its next seven-year spending plan, which spans the 2014-2020 period. While the program did not receive as much money as was once hoped (ESA had asked for about $7.5 billion), the $4.9 billion ensures commitment and provides continuity to the program. ESA will manage the program during that time.

Source:  Thales Alenia Space
Associated URL: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/space/press-release/thales-alenia-space-has-signed-eu450-million-esa-contract-build
Source Date: February 10, 2016
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 02/10/2016

 
 
SOYUZ PRODUCTION REMAINS STABLE TO SUPPORT ISS OPERATIONS
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Source: NASA

NEWTOWN, Conn. - Originally, Russia planned to transport only its own cosmonauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on board its Soyuz capsules. However, with the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet, the Soyuz spacecraft is the only crewed spacecraft capable of carrying crew to and from the ISS. Now, all space station partners - including the U.S., the European Space Agency (ESA), Canada, and Japan - that send crew members to the ISS use the Soyuz.

Between 2003 and 2010, two Soyuz capsules were launched each year. In 2011, the number increased to three. Four Soyuz capsules were launched in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Three more were launched in 2015. At one point, Energia talked about increasing production to five Soyuz spacecraft per year. However, launches have remained steady at three to four per year.

The Russian Federal Space Agency has discontinued space tourism flights on board the Soyuz spacecraft. This was done to increase available space for crew members. In January 2011, Space Adventures Ltd and Roscosmos agreed to restart tourist flights to the ISS. Had Energia increased production to five per year, the increased production rate would have allowed the Soyuz to accommodate the extra people on board. Originally intended to start in 2013, no tourist flights have occurred so far. It is likely that tourist flights will not commence any time soon.

Soyuz production will remain at four spacecraft per year through the life of the ISS. Currently, the ISS is expected to cease operations in 2024. However, by 2020 U.S. spacecraft will be operational and will take some of the demand for launch services away from the Soyuz spacecraft. At this time, production of the Soyuz spacecraft is expected to continue into the next decade. However, production will be at a lower rate than between 2015 and 2020.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: February 9, 2016
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 02/09/2016

 

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