Satellite 2015: “Big Four” satellite operator CEOs look forward to reconfigurable software and wonder about on-orbit servicing

by | Mar 17, 2015 | Satellites | 0 comments

In between fretting about how other sectors were intent on grabbing their frequency spectrum allocation, at Satellite 2015 in Washington D.C., space industry leaders continued the theme of increasing capacity flexibility using software reconfiguration.

The “Big Four” operators’ panel discussion was led by David McGlade, CEO of Intelsat who cited its Boeing-built family of Epic satellites, and Michel de Rosen, head of Eutelsat, who promoted his firm’s Airbus-built satellite Quantum. The panel thought that these new reconfiguration technologies could help standardise hardware reducing cost and lead times.

Karim Michel Sabbagh, the new CEO of SES, had a word of caution explaining that he could foresee a mismatch between satellite platform life of 15 to 20 years and shelf life of the payload, with obsolesce of the latter being as little as five years. This could, however, open the door to in-orbit servicing as a low cost way to upgrade satellites instead of having to replace them.

Such servicing faces the major obstacles of requiring standardised payload racks and robotic replacement technologies, but if the (satellite) platform was expensive and long lived enough, and the payload relatively inexpensive and short-lived, such a scenario could become economic and therefore a reality.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

SSL pulls out of construction of RSGS robot servicing satellite for DARPA but it keeps its hand in via NASA’s Restore-L mission

SSL, the former Space Systems/Loral spacecraft construction company owned by Maxar, has decided to withdraw from its construction contract with Maxar Read more

MDA creates Space Infrastructure Services which orders servicing craft from SSL for SES servicing contract

The Canadian firm MDA Corp has announced its resuscitated in orbit servicing and repair firm called SIS (Space Infrastructure Servcies) in which it has Read more

SSL gets NASA construction contract for Restore-L servicing spacecraft

NASA has awarded the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus and Support Services contract to the US-based, Canadian-owned spacecraft manufacturer Space Systems/Loral (SSL). Restore-L Read more

Intelsat supports in-orbit servicing with a contract for Orbital ATK

While it has previously dabbled in spacecraft servicing technology including a deal that in the end came to nothing with Read more

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) puts itself into Halo orbit around Sun-Earth L2

While it has been a painstaking operation during its four weeks since launch, engineers at NASA had previously confirmed that Read more

One Starlink launch batch does not look very healthy: one in five satellites appear to have failed

While for the most part SpaceX Starlink satellites have proven to be reliable - or at least reliable enough to Read more

ULA Atlas V launch vehicle in “Lopsided” 511 configuration flies straight to put a pair of satellite GSSAP satellite snoopers into orbit

The Boeing/Lockheed Martin owned launch provider, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) which mainly specialises in US military launches, successfully launched Read more

SpaceX launches second Starlink mission of the year, 13 days after the first

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 49 Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA. The flight lifted-off Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags