Intelsat General Corp. and Paradigm Secure Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astrium, have teamed to develop broadband satellite service to the United States Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
The contract is with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center of Charleston, SC, for the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, which operates the South Pole facility. Recently, engineers successfully completed testing of a satellite connection between the Oakhanger ground station southwest of London and the South Pole station using a small flyaway terminal delivered to the South Pole on short notice. This important first step demonstrates how Intelsat General could provide connectivity to the station using Paradigm’s Skynet-4C satellite and the Oakhanger ground station in tandem with Intelsat’s global fiber network.
“Our partnership with Paradigm positions us to again provide this critical service to scientists working in the harsh conditions of the South Pole,” said Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General. “Our global infrastructure coupled with Paradigm’s satellite capacity allowed our engineering staff to create a turnkey communications solution.
The population at the station ranges from around 50 in the dark winter months to over 250 scientists and support staff in the sun-lit summer. The station relies on satellite links for transferring scientific data to researchers at universities, phones calls home, video conferencing, software updates, and emergency telemedicine.
Sustaining the broadband IP networking connections to South Pole Station is essential for supporting advanced scientific research programs and station operations. Major astronomy and astrophysics research projects, such as the IceCube neutrino observatory and the South Pole Telescope, depend on broadband data communications for their success.
Because of its location on the southern-most point of the Earth, satellite dishes at South Pole Station are out of view of station-kept communications satellites orbiting the equator. However, the 20-year-old Skynet-4C satellite is in an inclined orbit and drifts slightly above and below the equatorial plane as it orbits the Earth. With its inclination now at 10.3 degrees, the satellite will barely clear the local horizon and be visible to the South Pole for five hours each day. As the satellite ages, the daily visibility will grow as the inclination increases. Skynet-4C could supplement the existing communications services provided to the South Pole station through GOES-3, a semi-retired weather satellite now managed by NSF, and part time coverage by NASA’s TDRSS fleet.
“We are delighted to be able to prove the reach of our secure communications capability to another continent,” said Dr Phil Wadey, Head of Space at Paradigm. “We take great pride in never retiring an ageing satellite when it has useful life left in it. Proving the potential of these vital communications to the South Pole has been an exciting challenge for our engineers and one which we are happy to have accepted.”
About Intelsat General Corp.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Intelsat General Corporation provides leading-edge communications solutions to commercial, government, and military customers through fixed and mobile satellite systems and associated terrestrial communications services. Intelsat General incorporates flexible and robust ground and space infrastructure and technical expertise to deliver reliable, quickly deployable and secure network solutions anywhere around the globe. Intelsat General is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat S.A.
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December 2009 and Intelsat’s other periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Because actual results could differ materially from Intelsat’s intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about the future, you are urged to view all forward-looking statements contained in this news release with caution. Intelsat does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Paradigm Secure Communications
Paradigm, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS Astrium, part of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), is the world’s leading commercial provider of military-grade satellite communications. The company is the prime contractor for the Skynet 5 contract with the UK Ministry of Defence, signed in October 2003, valued at £3.6 billion. The program provides mobile voice, video, internet and broadcast communications for the UK armed forces, as well as a range of other Government departments and agencies. Paradigm owns, manages and operates the Skynet 5 satellite system, and is responsible for delivering the service, controlling the satellite fleet, managing the network and implementing all upgrades throughout its life. Skynet 4C was designed and built by EADS Astrium and was launched into geostationary orbit on the 30th August 1990 and, along with Skynet 4F, is still an integral part of the Skynet 5 service delivery infrastructure.