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The new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series (GOES-R) currently being produced by Lockheed Martin could help provide earlier warnings of a severe weather, this according to NOAA. The weather satellite will be able to detect lightning inside storm clouds, which can lead to better tornado detection.
The national average time of warning U.S residents of a tornado is 14 minutes, but NASA and NOAA — the two final operators of the GOES-R satellite once it’s sent into orbit — are expecting the next-generation satellite to improve the current record time by providing enhanced spatial and temporal detail.
In a statement, NOAA scientist Steve Goodman said: “These storms can spin up pretty quickly which limits warning lead-time. The radar and storm spotter’s view of tornadoes reaching the ground can be blocked by terrain, or visibility is very poor when the tornado is wrapped in rain. And it’s certainly more challenging for storm spotters to observe and confirm tornadoes occurring at night. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to come up with enough advance warning.”
NOAA added that the GOES-R weather satellite would enable scientists to detect the lightning occurring inside storm clouds, making it easier for them to track how developing storms are moving and intensifying before and during the occurrence of a severe weather.
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NewSat’s Jabiru-1 satellite will be featuring Astrium-built Ku-band receivers and Ka-band beacons.
Astrium secured a milestone contract with Lockheed Martin to build telecommunications parts for the Australian satellite platform. It is the first such contract for Lockheed Martin, which is manufacturing the Jabiru platform for Australian satellite services company NewSat.
Astrium will also build the Ariane-5 heavy lifter rocket that will launched Jabiru-1 in late 2014.
Last December, Astrium snatched up a contract to build and deliver a very precise Fiber Optic Gyro Unit (Astrix) for the NASA/NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) mission. Astrium subsidiaries Tesat, Jena-Optronik, and Dutch Space regularly supply equipment to U.S. prime contractors.
Jabiru-1 is designed for a minimum lifetime of 15 years. It will be placed in geostationary orbit over the Indian Ocean. Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia will be among the countries served by the American-built, Australian-operated telecommunications satellite.
The Astrium-built equipment commissioned by Lockheed Martin incorporate technologies drawn from the Generic Flexible Payload (GFP) program of the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Ku-band communications receivers will recover the very low power uplink signals from ground. They will also isolate frequency domains between the uplink and downlink signals to ensure the absence of interference. Meanwhile, the Ka-band beacons will generate a signal that ground antennas can detect and track.
Astrium will deliver the satellite communications parts to Lockheed Martin within the first half of 2013.
Lockheed Martin LMT announced today that it has completed on-orbit testing of the first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite, designated MUOS-1, paving the way for the U.S. Navy’s multi-service operational test and evaluation phase in preparation for the start of operations in August 2012.
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Even world powers are not immune to fiscal crisis, which means criticaldefense projects can be halted due to budget constraints. For decades, thegovernment sector has overlooked hosted payload services from commercial satellite providers due to security reasons. But now, the rising cost of military satellite and growing spectrum scarcity are pushing up demand for payload alternatives.
The White House has proposed to slash $487 billion in military spending overthe next decade. That means laying off 100,000 ground troops and shrinking naval and aerial resources to develop leaner military force. Just recenty,the US Air Force has reworked its contract with Boeing for the constructionof Family of Advanced Beyond-line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) that will support the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. The Air Force wants to cap project costat $107.5 million, almost half of the 2012 projected cost of $231.2 million.
Cost-cutting has opened the door for alternative developers that can meet the budget requirements of the government. The project is still open forbidders for alternative solutions until the end of this month.
The US Department of Defense (DOD) has asked for $525.4 billion budget forfiscal year 2013 - down by $5 billion compared with the approved budget forthis year. But according to the Office of Management and Budget, the DOD will be needing as much as $533.6 billion for FY 2014. The challenge remainson how to balance rising defense expenses with limited fiscal revenues.
Not All Military Satellite Data Are Highly Classified
Military satellites are generally costlier than communications satellite,and the huge price difference warrants stricter allocation of militarysatellite only for highly confidential communications. A governmentspacecraft can cost $1 or $2 billion, while a commercial satellite withcomparable bandwidth capacity can cost from $150 million to $250 milliononly.
“We believe hosted payloads will be a low-cost alternative,” said RichardDalBello, vice president of government affairs at Intelsat General. Dal Bellosees fiscal deficit as somewhat favorable to hosted payload providers.
Not all wireless liasons among soldiers, commanders, pilots and militaryofficials are classified. Bruce Carlson, director of the DOD National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), estimates that most of the agency’s satellite data can be transmitted via commercial satellites since they are not top secret.
Challenges and Potential Market Drivers
The Australian government would be saving $150 million by using commercial payload on Intelsat IS-22 satellite to expand its UHF capacity. Thesatellite has been launched successfully last month. Intelsat is planning to sell similar payload on its IS-27 satellite to the US, but defense officials seem to be not ready yet for this type of capacity acquisition despite thehuge cost savings and more predictable construction timeline it offers.
Hosted payload providers have the ability to provide top-level dataencryption, but it only involves command links to their fleet, not satellite traffic. Preventing nuclear attack is something that commercial payload model cannot guarantee yet.
Nevertheless, the demand for wider mobile connectivity across the battlefield is expected to push the demand for hosted payload. According to Vince Squitieri, program manager for the Communications Program Office atthe Navy’s Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I), mobile gadgets will add to satellite bandwidth pressure. And so do unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other highbandwidth means of communications.