2011 – A Busy Year in Space

They say time flies when you love your work. So here I am writing a recap of 2011, a very busy and successful year for Intelsat General.

We’ve continued to play a key role in supporting the global reach of the U.S. military and its NATO allies in 2011, providing solutions ranging from UAV data transfer to television signals to U.S. troops around the globe. Satellite capacity provided by Intelsat General and other commercial companies continued to make up the lion’s share of bandwidth used by the military in 2011, supporting the net-centric superiority of the American military.

This reliance will only continue to increase, and we’re ready. Manned ISR platforms are adding sensors and finding the need to transition from narrowband communications  solutions to wideband commercial and military SATCOM, creating even greater demand for high-capacity bandwidth. Based on projected data rates and growth, ISR bandwidth demand will reach 16GHz by 2018. This data amount is DOUBLE the amount commercial SATCOM in use today supporting operations in the Middle East!

Intelsat General  provides approximately 1 GHz of total wideband capacity, representing more than 50 simultaneous flights of manned/unmanned ISR missions in a number of theaters.

Intelsat General has made great progress working with satellite manufacturers on specialized payloads for next-generation capabilities that would provide dramatic increases in overall bandwidth and flexibility. These new payloads will have enhanced features for  coverage flexibility, connectivity, gain and wideband channelization that will allow operators to support many additional airframes at much higher data-throughput rates.

Specific 2011 highlights included:

  • Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) – Intelsat General is now providing the satellite capacity and terrestrial infrastructure via the IntelsatONE network in support of the service, as well as additional internal information programming offered by the Department of Defense. AFRTS now uses seven satellites and six data entry points to carry television and stereo audio services to over 1,000 outlets in more than 175 countries and U.S. territories and to U.S. Navy ships.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – CDC selected Intelsat General Corp. to provide satellite connectivity to 17 field offices in Africa and the Caribbean, regions of the world where crowding, poverty and tropical weather combine to create environments ripe for the incubation and spread of communicable diseases. IS-25, which will provide connectivity for the CDC, is one of the few satellites in orbit capable of covering both Africa and Latin America.
  • Air Force Space and Missile Center – Intelsat General was one of four firms awarded an Air Force contract to undertake a range of studies showing how the U.S. military can make better use of commercial satellite capabilities. The contract is further evidence that the Pentagon intends to incorporate commercial satellite capabilities into its long-range planning and to make better use of commercial assets already in orbit.
  • Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) – Intelsat General was among the first commercial satellite operators to be granted this eligibility under the new contract vehicle jointly managed by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). The award will permit the Department of Defense to directly acquire transponder capacity and subscription services from Intelsat General during the initial five-year term.

We’re at a pivotal time for space communications. Bandwidth demands for SATCOM continue to soar, and budgets are under intense scrutiny. The public and private sectors need to work closely together and implement a new architecture for space communications. Both the Administration’s National Space Policy and the DOD’s National Security Space Policy have some promising approaches.

Here’s hoping that 2012 is a year of implementation. Happy Holidays!

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