be biased – in fact, it is a mathematical certainty that I am biased – but I
believe that the satellite industry is an extraordinary place.
membership consists of more than 3,200 people in 30 nations, who work in every
part of the industry and most of its customer segments, from broadcast and
government to maritime and telecom. They
buy from each other and sell to each other, serve each other and compete with
each other. But when push comes to
shove, they are all part of one team.
this because of the evidence of my own eyes.
On March 13, we will present four Industry Innovators Awards
to a total
of six organizations. We will also honor
a military leader with our Stellar Award
for service to government using satellites. Those who will receive an award that night
will all have something in common. In
pursuing innovation, sometimes under tremendous pressure, they have chosen not
to act alone but to find strength in our global community.
the most straightforward example, which is the dual award for commercial
innovation in the Ka-band that goes to Eutelsat
. Two separate companies and two separate
spacecraft – KA-SAT for Eutelsat and ViaSat-1 – but a shared vision of the satellite business as a meaningful player
in broadband for the first time since Netscape launches its browser in
also honor the Space Data Association
as the first collaborative effort to
share data among competing satellite operators to make space operations safer and
more reliable. Another award goes to
Comtech EF Data
for its MetaCarrier technology for digital carrier ID, which
the company has proposed as an open standard to DVB.
But for sheer drama, nothing can surpass the
response to Galaxy-15’s loss of control.
Innovating at lightspeed, Intelsat
collaborated with every satellite
operator that had a spacecraft over North America, starting and ending with
, and evolved ways to reliably offload traffic and move satellites out of
the way of the drifting bird without taking a single customer offline.
the Industry Innovators, Lt. Gen. Ellen
can’t talk about most of the things she does as Commander, Space
and Missile Systems Center for the US Air Force. So as the Awards Committee gradually narrowed
its choice for the Stellar Award to her, I spent time speaking with people who
They described her as someone
who makes it her business to get to know the companies that are entering new
markets and challenging the status quo.
She pushes her staff to think of different ways to meet the military’s
needs in GEO and LEO, from hosted payloads to building more flexibility into
acquisition to just asking the comercial industry for help in thinking outside
the box. She believes that competition
is good and that the space industrial base is bigger than just a few familiar companies. That may be the best antidote imaginable to
the problem identified by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in cancelling
the TSAT program in 2009: that the US Government cannot afford to keep building
what he called "Battlestar Galacticas” that absorb billions of dollars and take
a decade to get into orbit.
we are military or civilan, competitors or strategic partners, the ties that
bind us are stronger than the concerns that divide us. At our Gala Dinner
on March 13, you will see
the evidence with your own eyes.