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Dispatches Part I
Information & News, by the editors
SES Mourns The Loss Of A True Bright Light

Some gifted people live and achieve phenomenal accomplishments in their short life...this is one such inspirational individual.

DispatchesFig1 With profound sadness, SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announces the passing of Robert (Rob) Bednarek, former CEO of SES WORLD SKIES and member of the SES Executive Committee, after a long and courageous battle with cancer at the age of 55.

As SES’ Executive Vice President Corporate Development and member of the SES Executive Committee since January 2002, Rob was instrumental in the execution of the company’s geographic expansion strategy.

During his tenure, Rob and his team led the acquisition of New Skies in 2006, as well as the integration process which followed. Rob became President and CEO of SES NEW SKIES in 2006, and later of SES WORLD SKIES.

In 2011 he took on an Executive Adviser role to the President and CEO of SES while fighting his illness. Rob joined SES from PanAmSat, where he held the position of Chief Technology Officer. In this position he was responsible for the overall operation of PanAmSat’s satellite fleet and associated terrestrial facilities.

DispatchesFig2 “Rob will be remembered as a dedicated and innovative professional who helped shape the world of modern satellite communications through his visions and inspirations,” stated Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “His accomplishments at SES significantly contributed to establishing the company in its current leadership position and his life will remain a source of inspiration for generations of satellite executives. But perhaps most of all, Rob will be remembered for the dignity and respect with which he treated all who were fortunate enough to know him. Rob will be sadly missed by all of us at SES and by many in the satellite industry. Our thoughts and deep sympathies are with his wife Elisabeth, his children Michael and Stephanie, and all other members of Rob’s family.”

In 2011, Rob’s outstanding contributions to the development of the satellite industry were honoured publicly when he was inducted into the SSPI’s Hall of Fame (Society of Satellite Professionals International). This highly prestigious industry award recognizes individuals who have devoted their careers to the advancement of technology and to helping build the political and commercial foundations of the satellite industry.

Prior to joining PanAmSat, Rob was the co-founder and partner of a Washington DC based technology-consulting firm, Rubin, Bednarek and Associates, specializing in communication systems engineering and technical regulatory matters pending before the Federal Communications Commission.

From 1979 to 1984 he served as deputy chief scientist for the U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) where he managed the research, development and application of new telecommunications and information technologies.

Robert Bednarek held a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, with a specialty in communications theory and mathematical analysis, from the University of Florida. He was also the holder of several U.S. Patents involving GPS (Global Positioning Systems).

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Is There A Need For HTS??

The GVF’s first industry roundtable event, the GVF Ka Roundtable Assembly 2012, focused on Ka-band and High Throughput Satellites (HTS).

It wrapped up last week in London and the consensus was that the satellite industry is going through a series of innovations that will lead to satellite becoming a mainstream connectivity offering.

The group of nearly 100 people listened to several roundtable sessions regarding the emergence of HTS and, specifically, Ka-band. Discussions focused on:

• Is there user demand?

• Do we have the technology innovations to meet the demand?

• Are we able meet the user needs of higher bandwidth, lower cost and ease of use to truly enable mass adoption?

• Are the ground segment innovations matching the space segment innovations with new HTS on the way?

• Is Ka-band really a viable option given the issues with spectrum and rain fade?

Throughout the three days of presentations and discussion, the common response to the questions was a resounding—“Yes!”

Bottom line: User demand is up across the board, HTS brings the promise of abundant bandwidth and potentially lower costs—and enabling smaller terminals with ground segment innovations will match the space segment to help overcome rain fade, enable higher data rates and allow service providers to take advantage of the opportunity to deliver enhanced service level agreements to customers across the globe. (Source: iDirect Satellite Connection site)

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Dishes To Swedes

“...we are able to reliably meet FMV’s requirement for secure personnel communication between Sweden and Afghanistan and are keen to expand on our supply throughout the duration...”

DispatchesFig3 Astrium Services – Government Communications (formerly the Vizada Networks Defence Division), the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and other contractors have signed a new framework agreement for the supply of satellite capacity to the Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) on C- and Ku-band between Europe and Afghanistan, until 2016.

FMV is a Swedish civil authority whose main task is to procure goods and services for the SwAF and in some circumstances other public and private clients.

The first contract under the framework agreement was awarded by FMV to Astrium Services – Government Communications under tender and is for the supply of satellite capacity for Europe and Afghanistan to the SwAF throughout 2013.

NorthropGrumman_ad_MSM0113 Delivery started for the capacity, which will be used by SwAF personnel when required, on October 22nd 2012. Using 33 MHz Satellite capacity for secure communication between Sweden and the Operation Theatre in Afghanistan will be delivered on the Ku-band.

The SwAF mission camps are equipped with VSAT stations as the main communication between the camps and the SwAF organization in Sweden.

“The framework agreement and subsequent contract for satellite capacity follows our development and installation of a custom designed VSAT Camp Antenna System (VCAS) in Sweden,” adds Thomas Åström, Business Development Director, Astrium Services – Government Communications. “With strong connections in the space segment, we are able to reliably meet FMV’s requirement for secure personnel communication between Sweden and Afghanistan and are keen to expand on our supply throughout the duration of the framework agreement.”

The SwAF has since 1948 participated in peacekeeping missions in several countries under the umbrella of the UN and, during the last decade, the EU.

Currently, SwAF personnel are participating in KFOR, Kosovo, and ISAF, Afghanistan, which are operations that Astrium Services is also involved in through the supply of satellite capacity, services and systems to various stakeholders, including FMV.

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Safe Passage In Space

Members of the 1st and 7th Space Operations Squadrons at Schriever Air Force Base took notice when an upper stage Russian rocket disintegrated in low Earth orbit (LEO) on October 16, 2012.

DispatchesFig4 The break-up introduced an estimated 500 pieces of debris into an area where the U.S. operates a multitude of satellites, further congesting an already crowded orbit around Earth.

This event sheds light on an ever-growing issue for the space and satellite industry—one that seemed far fetched only a few years ago.

“The idea that big space would someday become crowded was more theory than fact,” said Lt. Col. Mike Manor, 1 SOPS commander. “Now, the reality is that space is growing seemingly smaller as more objects are now orbiting Earth. Few people realize there are men and women dedicated to assuring safe passage for our assets in space.”

The Space Based Space Surveillance satellite and its sister, the Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite, were designed to provide space situational awareness of the geostationary belt, but increasingly are being tasked to support space situational awareness in other orbits as well.

A collision with something as small as a bolt, a rivet, even bits of shrapnel, traveling at a high rate of speed can render a satellite inoperable, if not totally destroy it, thus it’s becoming ever more important to accurately track such debris.

Along with radar and optical sensors on the ground, SBSS and ATRR are providing that tracking data to the Joint Space Operations Center, the organization that keeps a real-time catalog of orbiting objects.

Walton_ad_MSM0113 Maj. Patrick Slaughter, 1 SOPS assistant director of operations, says demand for this tracking data will do nothing but grow in the years ahead as space gets more congested and contested.

“For the longest time, we as a nation, held on to the idea that space is a big place, but most people don’t understand what’s happening up there,” he said. “Break ups like this add to the congestion, but we also have events like the Chinese Fengyun incident, that brought attention to the idea of contested space.”

In 2007, the Chinese government demonstrated the effectiveness of an anti-satellite system by destroying one of its own weather satellites, the Fengyun-1C weather satellite, via a ground-launched missile. Besides creating a large debris field, the event showed that China possesses the capability to “kill” a satellite in LEO. Manor pointed out that it’s not a big leap to assume they could do this to a U.S. satellite.

“The number of debris avoidance maneuvers required by the International Space Station has significantly increased since that incident,” Slaughter said. “Then we had the Iridium-Cosmos collision in 2009, where a U.S. and Russian satellite collided over Siberia. We have to maneuver our LEO satellites around that debris field as well.”

Manor said these combined events, among others, have not only helped drive international policy negotiations, but signaled that the world has recognized a need for better awareness of what’s happening in space.

“We can use the evolution of air travel as a model,” he said. “When the Wright brothers first took flight the skies were open. Gradually, more aircraft shared the skies and eventually we reached a point where we needed air traffic controllers and regulation to keep air travel safe. Now, we’ve taken the rudimentary steps for space traffic control.”

DispatchesFig5 When the JSPOC detects a satellite is on course to collide with something, they provide a warning to that system’s operators. No doubt similar conversations happen hundreds if not thousands of times a day between air traffic controllers and pilots.

Placing this all in perspective, why does it matter what operations crews at 1 and 7 SOPS do?

“Along with the ground tracking stations and the JSPOC, our team is keeping watch over space and will remain vigilant in keeping the domain as safe as possible,” Manor said. “These collective efforts not only help minimize the potential for disastrous events, but also keep the space domain in a condition for continued utilization by all nations.”

Story by Scott Prater of the Schriever Sentinel, Air Force Space Command

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More Than Remotely Interesting

iDirect Government Technologies (iGT), a wholly owned subsidiary of VT iDirect (iDirect), has released the iGT Downlink Configurator free of charge to enable users to create a basic options file locally at a deployed location for compatible remotes.

DispatchesFig7 This software is especially useful for users who are moving from one network to another without having a communications infrastructure to receive an options file from the hub. Features include...

• Ability to create an options file to receive the downlink broadcast. Hub will push out full options file via User Datagram Protocol (UDP) once locked onto the downlink broadcast

• iGT’s Downlink Configurator can be installed on any Windows 7 or XP machine

• Compatible with iDS 8.3.13, iDX 2.3, iDX 2.3.1, iDX 3.0 and iDX 3.1 software versions

• Works with the following remotes: iNFINITI 7350, iNFINITI i700, Evolution e8350, Evolution iConnex e800, Evolution iConnex e850mp, X3, X5, X1 and X1 Outdoor

“Our military and government users do not always have the communications infrastructure necessary to receive the options file, and now this complementary software download gives our users more functionality in the field,” says Karl Fuchs, vice president of technology. “Our emphasis is to support our users’ needs and deliver the solutions to meet their growing mission-critical applications.”

The iGT Downlink Configurator is available at iGT’s TAC website.

If you do not have an iGT TAC login, email TAC@iDirectGT. com.

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A Narrowband Win

VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect) has announced that TMC (a global media company) has named the Evolution X1 satellite remote as a recipient of the 2012 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award.

DispatchesFig6 iDirect introduced the Evolution X1 satellite remote in 2012 as a key element of its iDX 3.1 platform upgrade, enabling service providers to extend their market reach by supporting large-scale narrowband networks.

Large-scale narrowband networks represent a segment of the IP satellite communications market that is growing in size worldwide.

With the X1 and iDX 3.1, iDirect partners can grow their revenues with new service offerings for energy and utilities, distance education, pipeline monitoring, business continuity, and point-of-sale customers.

These markets require a bandwidth-efficient and energy-efficient satellite solution that is cost-effective to deploy, and is able to prioritize a mix of critical and non-critical applications over what is typically a very small return channel, as well as difficult outdoor environments.

The X1 combines a low power, compact satellite remote router with a highly efficient BUC and LNB, reducing the average power required for a given satellite terminal by as much as 50 percent.

The X1 features a DVB-S2/ACM demodulator, TDMA modulator, VLAN functionality and Group QoS. iDirect also released an outdoor version of the X1, which features an IP67 weatherproof housing to withstand extreme temperatures and multiple power options, including AC, DC, or rechargeable batteries powered by solar or an alternative power source.

Teledyne_ad_MSM0113 The X1 is designed to extend satellite connectivity to a growing range of field applications such as substation automation, smart meter data collection and pipeline monitoring. #

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Avoiding Sandy’s Wrath

Raytheon Company’s successful deployment of new backup ground station capabilities in advance of Superstorm Sandy significantly reduced the risk of losing critical weather information.

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Common Ground System’s (CGS) two backup locations made critical contingency support available during one of the United States’ most devastating weather events. Under NASA’s authorization, Raytheon deployed a backup ground station at the Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station, located at Gilmore Creek, Alaska, along with an emergency backup control center at the Raytheon campus in Aurora, Colorado. These two locations are designed to ensure that meteorologists, emergency response teams and others will have critical weather data when needed.

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The Army’s Eyes + Ears—On The Move

Four hours into an early morning desert operation during the Army’s latest Network Integration Evaluation, Col. Thomas Dorame, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division commander, was following his units in his Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2-equipped vehicle.

WIN-T Increment 2, the Army’s tactical communications network backbone, enabled him to obtain the situational awareness needed to command his forces and to even conduct a staff meeting with his troops, all from the front seat of his vehicle.

“I could make decisions on the move and rapidly provide priorities and focus back to the tactical operations center based on what I was seeing on the battlefield,” Dorame said of his WIN-T Increment 2 technologies. “I could continue the operation without having to deliberately stop. It extends your capability; it extends your range and allows us [as a force] to move more rapidly.”

During Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 13.1, WIN-T Increment 2 provided Soldiers down to the company level the on-the-move communications and situational awareness needed to conduct real-world battlefield operations.

DispatchesFig8 NIE 13.1, which concluded in November, was the fourth evaluation of its kind and was conducted at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, utilizing 3,800 Soldiers of 2/1 AD, who executed their missions in realistic operational environments. NIE 13.2 is scheduled for May of 2013.

The NIEs aim to rapidly mature and integrate the Army’s tactical communications network, and accelerate and improve the way network technologies are delivered to Soldiers.

The WIN-T Increment 2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation was held in conjunction with NIE 12.2 last spring and the Army took advantage of NIE 13.1 to implement improvements and reduce risk prior to the WIN-T Increment 2 Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation scheduled to be held during NIE 13.2.

Through focused follow-on tests and leveraging the NIE environment, the Army and Project Manager WIN-T plan to continue to make improvements to the tactical network and provide increased capability to the Soldier.

WIN-T Increment 1, formerly known as the “Joint Network Node - Network,” began fielding in 2004 and provides Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications down to battalion level units, at-the-quick-halt.

WIN-T Increment 2 provides Soldiers with a single, integrated and on-the-move network down to the company level. It further increases capability by introducing self-forming, self-healing networking radios and enhancing Network Operations, a suite of integrated monitoring tools used by communications officers to command and control the network.

“WIN-T Increment 2 is tremendously powerful, because you can transfer not just voice communications, but (also) data over extended distances,” Dorame said.

DispatchesFig9 From his point of presence, or PoP, vehicle, Dorame was able to download and review his staff estimates, the data slides used inside the tactical operations center, known as a TOC, to manage overall operations. He was then able to make a voice phone call and tie into a conference call at the brigade TOC.

His operations officer, miles away in a different part of the desert in his own WIN-T Increment 2-equipped vehicle, was also able to tie into that call. In roughly 10 minutes time, Dorame conducted the conference call with his staff and had them rapidly update him on what he needed to know about what was happening on the battlefield.

Unlike battles of the past, he said, he never had to leave his vehicle or battlefield position to go to a fixed structure to conduct these critical tasks. He could remain at the decisive point in the fight.

“The ability to do all that was tremendous,” Dorame said.

The PoP vehicle that Dorame had been driving in is a WIN-T Increment 2 configuration item to be installed on select platforms at division, brigade and battalion echelons. It enables mobile mission command by providing secret level on-the-move network connectivity, both line-of-sight (terrestrial) and beyond-line-of-sight (satellite).

Among the on-the-move mission command applications leveraged by the WIN-T Increment 2 PoP during NIE 13.1 were Tactical Ground Reporting, a multimedia, patrol-level reporting system; Command Post of the Future, which provides a collaborative common operating picture; and Joint Capabilities Release, the second generation of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, which tracks friendly and enemy forces on a geospatial imagery map.

Soldiers were also able to take advantage of enterprise services accessible via the network and chat from their WIN-T Increment 2 equipped vehicles.

DispatchesFig10 WIN-T Increment 2 is being fielded as part of Capability Set 13, which began fielding in October 2012 with two brigade combat teams from the 10th Mountain Division. CS 13 is the first fully-integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices and other network components that provide connectivity from the stationary command post to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier.

WIN-T Increment 2 is the tactical communications network backbone that binds the capability set together.

The Army leveraged NIE 13.1 to continue with follow-on CS 14 development to add additional capability to the force.

“The [WIN-T Increment 2] network gives us tremendous capabilities, not just stationary, but on the move with our on-the-move platforms,” said Maj. Ralf Radka, Dorame’s executive officer. “A commander can go in and through his vehicle he can access many of the same systems that we access in our TOC. So he can review it where he is, and working with his other battalion commanders, who have similar systems that are all tied into the network, he can fight the fight.”

Story by Amy Walker, staff writer for PEO C3T