The Satellite Industry 2013: A Look Back and Ahead

Intelsat General President Kay Sears was one of a half-dozen satellite company executives who took part in a recent year-in-review roundup article that appeared online in Satellite Today.

Sears and others noted that 2013 was a banner year for the satellite industry with next-generation strategies taking hold, the recent SpaceX launch of the SES 8 satellite, more acquisitions and the launch of four O3b satellites. In addition, 2014 has the potential to be another significant year for the satellite industry.

When discussing the O3b launch and SpaceX’s first commercial satellite launch, Sears highlighted how the industry requires constant innovation and evolution to be successful.

“With respect to SpaceX, commercial operators launching multiple satellites each year need a robust source of launch providers to ensure that commercial and hosted payloads have multiple options to get to space on time,” said Sears.

“As an industry matures and markets open up, you expect to see a strong burst of innovation, entirely new solutions that shift the paradigm,” added Cotton. “SpaceX and O3b have taken on solving some tough, long-standing challenges to reduce the cost of satellite deployment and capacity.”

In terms of 2014 trends, many of the experts discussed how High Throughput Satellites (HTS) will fully come to life in the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, Sears discussed U.S. government challenges and opportunities, as well as the need to continue supporting broadband infrastructure for a fully connected world.

“The U.S. government, and its use of commercial capacity in a budget-constrained world, will be another major topic,” added Sears.  “For example, incorporating commercial capabilities into the U.S. government’s space architectures in a collaborative way will help industry plan satellite systems that meet future U.S. government requirements anywhere in the world.”

When asked about the most significant announcement regarding the satellite industry in 2013, the participants discussed how satellite connectivity fulfills the promise of mobility, and the success of HTS when competing with ground-based solutions.

Finally, these industry leaders discussed how high-throughput satellites have the potential to have a positive impact on a global scale, similar to what has been seen with broadband in the U.S.

“Intelsat believes that in order for satellite solutions to remain relevant, we must strive for higher performance and efficiency, allowing our customers to deliver higher bandwidth solutions while also differentiating their services in the marketplace,” added Sears.  “We have designed our global high-throughput platform, Intelsat EpicNG, by collaborating with some of the most intensive users of satellite capacity, supporting their vision of their network 10 years out.”

Based on the commentary from these industry experts, 2014 will continue to be a significant year for the satellite industry, especially as HTS and next-generation commercial launch platforms continue to take hold.

Click here to read the full Satellite Today article.


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