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December 2008 Edition
Year In Review
 
UPLINK
UPLINK: Reflections + Projections, by Hartley Lesser, Editorial Director, SatNews Publishers
While this past year generally was a pleasant experience for our industry, next year may find the experience more challenging. Insulation from the economic woes currently stressing governments and citizens alike will be sought. Cocooning will occur, as less and less disposable income is available for extracurricular activities. People will want and demand more and more in the way of home-based entertainment — offerings highly reliant upon satellite delivery. IPTV, DTV, Mobile TV, radio, web — all are big players with satellite connectivity needs.
UPLINK: Top 10 Reasons 2008 Was Great In Space, by Elliot Pulham, CEO, Space Foundation
SpaceX Falcon 9 launch by Elliot Pulham, CEO, Space Foundation
If you're like most Americans, you're very happy to see 2008 come to an end. Pockmarked by the scars of a long presidential campaign and a global economic meltdown, 2008 will be remembered as a long season of unwelcome news, punctuated by a historic moment of hope as Americans elected Senator Barack Obama to be president of the United States. Nonetheless, a series of dramatic events in space were playing out in the background, assuring that 2008 will be remembered as a great year in space.
YIR: COLUMNIST INSIGHTS
A Blisteringly Good Year For Europe,
Forrester Fig 2 by Chris Forrester
We need to find a new word to describe Europe’s satellite progress over the past year. Looking back a year we described 2007 as “spectacular”, and in 2006 we said “action-packed”, while 2005 had been in our view “exciting”. But how do you top ‘spectacular’? The answer, as far as 2008’s trading is concerned, is that the year has been an amazing one for European satellite operators. They’ve made profits, added impressively to their fleets, maintained fill rates, and seen their all-important margins improve.
Peering Around The Curtain, What surprises does 2009 hold for the space industry?
by Peggy Slye, Division Director, Futron
A year ago the space industry’s near and mid-term future looked extremely bright, with annual industry studies happily validating individual organization’s reports of increased revenue, improved sales, strong revenue growth and enhanced profitability, all buoyed by several years of consistently increasing global demand for satellite based services. Through the first half of 2008, strategic financial transactions continued to close, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than in previous years. Globally, government space programs maintained focus on expanding their military and civil projects. By all the signs and leading indicators, the pundits agreed that, although some overdue government policy and commercial sector adjustments were certainly wellwarranted, there was no need to look for clouds on the horizon. And there was certainly no reason to anticipate an interruption in the industry growth trends that had been solidly in place since 2003.
Annus Horribilis or Annus Mirabilis?,
by Hoyt Davidson, Founder, Near Earth LLC
To borrow from Queen Elizabeth II, the year 2008 “is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure… it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis.” Depending on your view of the U.S. Presidential election, you may believe the year had an offsetting “Annus Mirabilis” event or, alternatively, just more Horribilis.
The Legal and Regulatory View,
by J. Steven Rich, Attorney, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
The year 2008 has been a time of change in many respects. Continuing turmoil in worldwide markets, for example, has created challenges for numerous companies in virtually every sector of the economy and the satellite industry has not been immune. Regulators around the world have faced challenges of their own this year, and while their actions may have sometimes been overshadowed by world events, they have nevertheless kept themselves busy addressing numerous satellite-related matters in 2008.
The Age of Uncertainty,
Atrexx-teleport by Robert Bell, Executive Director, World Teleport Association
Certainly 2008, despite its surprises, has been a good year for our business. Looking forward toward 2009, optimism may not be justified — but neither is the world crashing down around our ears. Mostly, we will have to wait and see – and get used to living in an age of uncertainty.
FOCUS
The Maritime Market: VSAT Rules,
COMSYS-Maritime-VSAT-Report by James Dell, Co-Founder, Parallel
There are a number of segments within the maritime niche that have been well targeted by satellite vendors and these segments are now effectively saturated. These include cruise lines, oil & gas supply, and ferries. These sub segments are small in volume — less than 1,000 ships in total — but high in value. The related market in the oil & gas business includes supply vessels, drill ships, seismic vessels, and dive support services, so you can see why such should be included in the maritime market segment.
FOCUS: New Era For SatRadio Distribution, by Gary Carter, V.P. and CTO, International Datacasting Corporation
IDC article Figure 1 by Gary Carter, V.P. and CTO, International Datacasting Corporation
It seems not that long ago the great advances in audio coding technology and lower cost satellite equipment made it feasible for many radio networks around the world to distribute their programming by satellite. Many of these radio networks uplinked directly from the radio station studios to feed AM / FM / MW / SW and cable systems directly in order to by-pass major shared hub operators. The economics were first driven APT-X and later by MPEG Layer II audio coding and compression technologies implemented on relatively low cost equipment.
YIR: COMPANY INSIGHTS
YIR: Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), by Thomas Choi, co-founder and CEO
During the past year, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) witnessed unprecedented business growth in several areas. Satellite use increased from 50 to 95 percent and satellite coverage on ABS-1 satellite increased to more than 100 channels. This resulted in ABS becoming one of the top satellite distribution platforms for CATV distribution in the Indian Ocean Region.
YIR: ASC Signal Corporation,
Back in January of 2008, the former Andrew Satellite Communications Group became ASC Signal Corporation, with the financial support and other corporate resources of Resilience Capital Partners. ASC Signal Corporation manufactures antennas and RF electronics for enterprise and consumer satellite communication applications. The Company’s product line of antennas range from 45 cm to 9.4 meters and feature solutions for the VSAT and Earth Station Antenna markets.
YIR: GATR Technologies, by Dean Hudson, Marketing Manager
2008: Who would have thought anyone would take a big round “beach ball” satellite antenna seriously — but that is exactly what’s happening! In 2008, more and more interest was generated by GATR Technologies' inflatable satellite antenna, which is a unique piece of high-technology engineering that performs "like a champ" against rigid dish antennas of its size and class.
YIR: Global Protocols, by Nick Yuran
Global Protocols enjoyed record growth and profits again in 2008. This was due in very large part to the U.S. military’s continued commitment to the Space Communications Protocol Standards (SCPS) the standard in tactical satellite programs. As a vendor of a standardized technology, the Company has always been at the mercy of our customers’ willingness to adhere to the standard.
YIR: Globecast Worldwide, by Christian Pinon, Chairman & CEO
Despite the current economic climate, GlobeCast has managed to grow by more than 5 percent pro forma this year. This is a significant achievement in a period when everybody in the industry is aware that signs of downturn could have a negative impact. Additions to our fiber and satellite network and this summer’s Beijing Olympics have contributed to significant growth in both our distribution and contribution activities.
YIR: Hughes Network Systems, by Dr. Arunas Slekys, Vice President
2008 was a year of change. In the political realm, the enormous power of the individual to effect change has been confirmed yet again. Economically speaking, the painful, and most unwelcome, global financial meltdown may yet prove to be a catalyst for positive change in how we do business, how we govern ourselves, and underlying it all, how we communicate better on this tightly coupled planet we call home.
YIR: iDirect Technologies, by David Bettinger, Chief Technology Officer
The year 2008 saw two dominant trends emerge in the satellite communications industry: the widespread implementation of next-generation DVB-S2 technology, and the expansion of satellite beyond its traditional role to drive communications advances in numerous vertical industries.
YIR: Integral Systems, Inc., by John Higginbotham, CEO and Director
It's important to take a look forward to the opportunities and technologies for 2009 for both the company and, even more importantly, our industries. Taking the macro-view, the space industry has gone through several waves of growth.
YIR: Intelsat General, by Kay Sears, President
2008: One of the most important accomplishments for Intelsat General has been the broadening our thinking from a “bandwidth only” perspective to much more of a solutions-oriented mindset. We started to look more deeply at the government’s mission, and to more fully align our capabilities and expertise to meet those challenges, as well as to develop a best-solutions approach to those challenges.
YIR: Iridium, by Matt Desch, chairman and CEO
Despite worldwide economic uncertainty, 2008 has been a banner year for Iridium marked by strong market demand, growth in revenues and subscribers, and the launch of several innovative products and services. A number of new strategic partnerships as well as recent certifications and regulatory approvals are opening new market opportunities.
YIR: ISODE, by Will Shewards, V.P., Marketing
Core to Isode's business are directory and messaging server sales to a number of key verticals, including aviation, government and military. The past year has seen us consolidate our position as the primary supplier of X.400 messaging server products to the aviation ground-to-ground messaging market with a vast majority of countries that have adopted the new ICAO standard for messaging (AMHS) choosing to deploy systems from Isode partners.
YIR: Newtec, by Serge Van Herck, CEO
The impressive growth of HDTV and IP traffic is further boosting customers’ demands for satellite capacity around the world. The satellite capacity supply is growing as well but much slower than the demand; scarcity is therefore increasing transponder costs. Satellite service providers, broadcasters, telecom operators and ISPs struggle to find adequate satellite capacity, and struggle to grow the profitability of their business.
YIR: MITEQ, by Howard Hausman, President
During this past year, segments of the market have been changing as users switch to L-band modems and less expensive block converters. MITEQ supports this change and supports the technology with a line of high quality block converters as well as a diverse offering in synthesized converters.
YIR: ONDAS Media, by Dave Krueger, CEO
It was really a landmark year for ONDAS Media in which we restructured the company and reoriented its strategy in almost every aspect
YIR: Operationally Responsive Space Office, by Dr. Peter Wegner, Director
Since May 1 when I became the Director of the Operationally Responsive Space Office, a DoD level office, the ORS has delivered, on several occasions, coming closer to its main objective of “Assured Space Power Focused on Timely Satisfaction of Joint Force Commanders’ (JFC) Needs.
YIR: Orbit Technology Group, by Yossi Levy, Senior V.P., Sales, Marketing & Business Development
Orbit Technology group designs manufactures and sells three different product lines: Mobile Stabilized SatCom Systems, Tracking Systems and Audio Management Systems. Orbit was established 50 years ago and has been in the communication business ever since. Their portfolio is rich and versatile and is based on in-house engineering and scientific know-how that has been developed and nourished over the years, to become what it is today ó the foundation of its market leadership, product superiority and their level of advanced technology.
YIR: Paradise Datacom, by Tony Radford, V.P., Sales + Marketing
We have experienced consistent year over year growth and 2008 has been no exception. Since or product portfolio includes a broad offering of both RF amplifiers and modems, we are able to address a wide range of markets. We have seen a steady increase in demand in both the commercial and government sectors.
YIR: PBLSat, by Paul Claydon, General Manager
2008 has been an exciting year for us. In our second year of operation we’ve worked hard to establish our position as Europe’s leading specialist in Occasional Service broadcast solutions. 2008 saw our fleet of SNG’s deliver a range of events such as Euro 2008, the Champions League final from Moscow and a whole season of Formula One from various European locations.
YIR: PPM, by Colin Morris, Business Development Manager
Whether you are a teleport operator, broadcaster, systems integrator or satellite equipment manufacturer, the chances are that at some point you will have come across a situation where for one or more reasons traditional methods of connecting an antenna with the transmitting/receiving equipment just will not fly. Problems such as signal loss due to excessive cable length, Electromagnetic interference and the restriction of bandwidth plague copper based installations and in almost all cases the only way to resolve these issues is to use a fibre optic link.
RRsat, by David Rivel - Founder and CEO
This past year has been a great year for RRsat with two major acquisitions, the launch of an HD playout center, and new, additional, satellite platforms.
YIR: RUAG Aerospace, by Peter Scherrer, Executive V.P., Space
In general, RUAG Aerospace' peformance during 2008 was very intense. We see a continued good order intake and we work on a number of new prospects with good probability like Kopernikus (GMES) and the procurement of a full Galileo constellation. We also see a good inflow of commercial contracts.
YIR: SAT-GE, by Andrew Jordan
2008 has seen a buoyant year in the Pacific with demand for Ku and C band capacity growing steadily. SAT-GE has been able to benefit from this demand having a unique satellite positioned directory over the region with multiple spot beams giving almost complete coverage in both C and Ku band. Typical applications include GSM backhaul, aeronautical, maritime, military and just added cable head-end video distribution.
YIR: SkyTerra (formerly Mobile Satellite Ventures—MSV), by Alex Good, Chairman, CEO + President — Jim Corry, V.P., Government Solutions by Jennifer Manner, V.P., Regulatory Affairs — Chris Gates, V.P., Strategy
SkyTerra performed well throughout 2008, enjoying solid revenue from both equipment sales and satellite services. At the same time, the company also made significant progress on the development of its next-generation satellite-terrestrial network.
YIR: Space Florida, by Steve Kohler, President
In 2008, Space Florida worked with the U.S. Air Force to announce a significant achievement – the turnover and official lease of Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the State of Florida. While the lease itself for commercial build out may not seem like big news, the time frame in which it was conducted was telling.
YIR: Space Foundation, by Elliot G. Pulham, President & CEO
Despite the downturn in the general economy, the global space industry grew 11 percent to more than $251 billion in revenues in 2007, according to the Space Foundation’s annual The Space Report 2008: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity. While general financial markets faced great upheaval during 2008, forward momentum continued in the space industry and the Space Foundation’s operations reflected this momentum throughout the calendar year.
YIR: Spacenet, Inc., by Glenn Katz, President and COO
2008 was a strong year for Spacenet and we experienced our best performance ever since the company’s inception 27 years ago. We deployed thousands of VSATs across our core markets, launched multiple new product and technology introductions, and formed new strategic programs and alliances with leading companies in the industry.
YIR: Space Systems/Loral, by Arnold Friedman, Senior V.P., Worldwide Marketing & Sales
An exceptional year for us... to date this year we have signed seven contracts to design and build high power commercial satellites. We are very pleased to add SES and Hispasat to our family of Blue Chip customers. In addition to the contracts with these European companies, we also won awards for new satellites for ViaSat, EchoStar and Intelsat.
YIR: STM Group, Inc., by Emil Youssefzadeh, CEO
STMís performance during the past year was in line with our targets. Our product and standards based VSATs were selected for the largest public education based network, awarded with over 5000 schools in Turkey. We also delivered over one thousand terminals for a civil defense network in Europe, and through a UK-based service partner, our product was selected for rural broadband services in Scotland for over 800 sites.
Thuraya, by Reham Barakat, Media Relations Officer
With leadership for years in the world’s mobile satellite handhelds market, Thuraya has made distinguished and high-prospect marks in new lucrative satcom sectors such as satellite broadband and maritime during this year.
YIR: UltiSat, by Moe Abutaleb, President and CEO, and Michael Pollack, V.P., Sales and Marketing
Space-segment shortages over the past year demonstrate that demand for satellite services and networks is still strong and certain regions appear to show no sign of decline despite the current economic climate. As an example, Euroconsult recently confirmed that media, military and telecom customers in the Middle East and North Africa are providing more demand than supply for satellite capacity to deliver digital broadcast services.
YIR: ViaSat, by Mark Dankberg, Chairman and CEO
We are proud of our record of sustained growth. Our record revenues, earnings, and bookings during the past year reflect solid competitive positions in key areas – both commercial and government. We believe it’s indicative of a potential for comparable growth for our next five years and beyond.
YIR: Vizada, by Erik Ceuppens, CEO
The European mobile satellite services (MSS) sector experienced significant growth during the first half of 2008 and this is set to continue into 2009. We can say this specifically for on-demand MSS services in the three key market segments, which are maritime, land and aeronautical. This is the first time that we are seeing growth on all three, which is very positive.