(New York City, February 15, 2012) – The Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) announced today the recipients of its 2012 Industry Innovators Awards. The Industry Innovators Awards, introduced in 1993, recognize outstanding new contributions to the field of satellite communications by both private-sector and public-sector organizations. Honorees are chosen by a committee of industry experts for accomplishments ranging across a broad spectrum of advanced satellite technology and business applications.
The 2012 Industry Innovators Awards will be presented during the Stellar Reception, sponsored by Arianespace, Intelsat and Space Systems/Loral, immediately prior to SSPI’s annual Gala on the opening night of the SATELLITE conference. The Stellar Reception will take place at the Renaissance Washington. SSPI will also honor the recipient of the Stellar Award for Government Service, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, announced in January.
Innovation in Ka-Band Services SSPI honors two for-profit companies and strategic partners for the development and launch of transformative high-throughput satellites that seek to provide broadband Internet access to homes and small offices at rates and speeds comparable to terrestrial alternatives.
Launched in December 2010, Eutelsat’s KA-SAT satellite ushered in a new era of competitively priced satellite Internet services in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. The satellite delivers throughput of over 70 Gbps with high frequency reuse achieved via 82 spotbeams. KA-SAT powers the Tooway broadband service, the first to implement ViaSat’s high-capacity technology, to provide speeds of up to 10 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload, making it the fastest satellite broadband service within its footprint and comparable to ADSL. Speeds of up to 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload address professional markets. With 30 million homes in KA-SAT's coverage still unserved or underserved by ADSL, KA-SAT is on the way to making a significant contribution to meeting pent-up broadband demand from consumers and enterprises.
October 2011 saw the launch of ViaSat-1, the world’s highest capacity satellite offering 140 Gbps of total throughput over the USA. ViaSat-1 represented a visionary initiative by the firm to change the paradigm of broadband services delivered via satellite. Spotbeams are focused on the 70% of the US population where most subscribers are located, and frequency reuse boosts total capacity by a factor of 18. The high-capacity satellite system also includes next-generation ViaSat ground system technology, which includes the company's advanced acceleration technology. The Exede broadband services introduced in January 2012 promise to provide a 10x increase in download speeds and 6x increase in upload speeds compared with satellite alternatives.
Innovation in the Mitigation of Galaxy-15 SSPI honors two satellite operators that forged an unprecedented collaboration to prevent a perfect storm of radio frequency interference over the US domestic arc. On April 5, 2010, the Galaxy 15 C-band spacecraft, operated by Intelsat at 133 degrees west, stopped responding to commands. The satellite continued to relay cable TV programming but, without spacecraft telemetry and tracking, it started an uncontrolled drift eastwards through the crowded orbital arc, threatening interference with other satellites, beginning with an SES spacecraft. Intelsat and SES developed an effective mitigation strategy including innovative spacecraft maneuvers to avoid interference from "ZombieSat”, customer communication strategies and a unique software utility that together averted disaster. SES successfully performed the first "leap-frog" maneuver, to be repeated by the other operators passed by Galaxy 15. Throughout the nearly year-long crisis, not one network programmer lost transmission, and the extraordinary efforts of Intelsat and SES and the other operators in the North American arc won them the respect of customers across America.
Innovation in Industry Collaboration on the Safe Use of Space SSPI honors an association formed by satellite operators to make operations in space safer for themselves and more reliable for their customers. The Space Data Association (SDA), incorporated in the Isle of Man, is the first organization created specifically to share information previously considered confidential by commercial operators. The SDA’s Space Data Center provides a common location for its operator members to securely pool satellite ephemeris data and radio frequency information in order to reduce the risk of collision in space and to more rapidly mitigate the impact of radio frequency interference. It is also the only system in existence today that routinely accounts for the maneuvers of all its member’s satellites making the output of the system far more accurate than any other in use today. Founded by Intelsat, SES and Inmarsat in 2009 to address the increased crowding of Earth orbit and the lack of reliable, industry-wide data on pending collisions, SDA has grown to 12 member organizations and has over 350 satellites in its database.
Innovation in Identifying the Source of Interference SSPI honors Comtech EF Data for developing, on its own initiative and at its own expense, a critical component of a long-term solution to the problem of satellite radio frequency interference (RFI). Responding to requests from the industry, Comtech EF Data developed a technology called MetaCarrier that is readable regardless of any encryption of the signal, uses a format that can be universally adopted and adds minimal overhead to the transmission. As a service to the industry, Comtech EF Data also proposed that MetaCarrier be adopted by DVB as an open standard, to be incorporated into new terminal equipment and downloaded by firmware update to existing equipment where possible. Once it achieves widespread adoption, carrier ID will permit satellite operators and their customers to identify, in minutes, the equipment from which an interfering signal originates, which will be a major step on the long road to making satellite RFI a thing of the past.
"Our Awards Committee focused on innovations in areas that deserve the industry's attention," said Keith Buckley, Chairman of SSPI's Board and CEO of ASC Signal Corporation," and on innovations that open doors to vast new opportunities for the industry. SSPI is proud to be able to draw attention to these innovative organizations and salute their achievements on behalf of our industry."
About SSPI The Society of Satellite Professionals International (www.sspi.org) is a nonprofit member-benefit society that serves satellite professionals throughout their working lives. With chapters in the Americas, Europe and Asia, SSPI works to attract new talent to the industry, helps satellite professionals advance in their careers, works to increase the professional standing of members and honors extraordinary achievement by satellite professionals and the companies they work for.