Satellites crowd space to keep up with demand from telecom

first_imgOne of the biggest drivers of satellite usage is expected to be communications. With radio companies such as XM, Sirius and international satellite provider Worldspace, not to mention satellite television providers, the need for more launch capabilities is sure to grow, said Paul Bond, West Coast business editor for the Hollywood Reporter. In fact, Google recently joined the satellite industry, indirectly, by entering a partnership with Dish to sell ads. “If Google is getting into the satellite business, then you know it is a growth business,” Bond said. Bond expects to see the blossoming of in-car satellite television, currently a small segment of the satellite industry. HDTV, Mobile TV and IPTV all require bandwidth, and many of those providers will turn to satellite, Bond said. “It’s a virtual cycle of bandwidth needs: The more you get, the more you want,” he added. In year-end financial reports, Direct TV reported 16million subscribers, and Dish reported 13million, while midyear reports showed Sirius with 7.1million subscribers versus XM’s 8.25million. “XM currently has four satellites in orbit. We have two operating satellites and two in orbit spares,” XM spokesman Chance Patterson said. Another spare satellite is under construction, Patterson said. The communications boon has also been good to companies such as Sea Launch Co. LLC. A boon to the boats, too “This is as pretty as it’s ever looked,” said Robert Peckham, Sea Launch’s president and general manager, as he strode by two massive gray-and-black ships on a recent overcast morning in Long Beach. “It’s like a new car on a lot.” The two vessels make up the Sea Launch equatorial satellite- launching operation based at the Long Beach Harbor. Repairs and new paint were required on one of the ships after a Jan.30 launch failure that destroyed part of the launch platform and sent a rocket and its payload 10,000 feet to the ocean floor. Peckham and his Sea Launch operation have put that incident behind them. The first launch since the failure is set in the next few weeks. “I’m chompin’ at the bit to get going again,” he said. For that launch, The Boeing Co. has shipped the third Thuraya communications satellite from its manufacturing facility in El Segundo to the Sea Launch home port. The satellites provide mobile-communications services to more than 2.3billion people. Planned to serve markets in China, Australia, Japan and Korea, Thuraya 3 provides access to advanced telecommunications services for first responders reaching those in need during emergencies, for businesses that depend on data access and for mobile-phone users. Sea Launch’s home port, on a 16.5-acre former Navy base, is in the middle of a satellite hub in Southern California. Complete satellites ready for launch are shipped from around the region to the Port of Long Beach to be prepared for a trip to the equator. Boeing, which has operations in Seal Beach, also uses aerospace subcontractors spread throughout Southern California. L3 ETI and Hi-Shear, both in Torrance, and Raytheon, ETS, Wyle Labs, Trio Mfg and Flight Microwave all have large operations in El Segundo. Another large satellite-industry player in Southern California is Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman, and Alliant Techsystems, an advanced weapons and space-systems provider, has its Space Division offices spread throughout the region in Commerce, El Segundo, Pasadena and Corona. Solar-cell maker Spectrolab, a large Boeing supplier, is based in Sylmar. Launch operations Sea Launch’s Long Beach locale also makes it a straight 3,000-mile shot to the launch location 250miles from Christmas Island, named by a British East India Co. Capt. William Mynors, when he arrived there on Dec.25, 1643. With a population of about 1,500, the island is a territory of Australia. At Sea Launch headquarters in Long Beach, there are two large screens, a large conference table and perhaps two dozen pieces of teleconference equipment. The operation is a hodgepodge of purpose-built and converted equipment. The launch platform is a converted oil platform called the Odyssey. The command ship was built exclusively for the Sea Launch operation. The rocket weighs more than 1million pounds when fueled and topped with a satellite. To take off, it requires 1.6million pounds of thrust. Before launch, a command ship heads four miles away for safety. When the Jan.30 failure occurred, the rocket rose about 11/2 feet into the air, then plunged into the ocean, taking with it the 280-metric-ton gas deflector. The deflector is a complex array of support steel that deflects rocket flames and controls the acoustic environment. It’s an international effort Sea Launch is an international effort. The ground transporters on the launch platform were built in Germany, and the proton telemetry tracker is Russian. The two predominant languages on board, and in the conference center during launches, are English and Russian. Most of the crew members, managed by Norwegians, are Filipinos. Out at sea during the launch, 70 passengers and crew sail out on the platform and the command ship carries a complement of 240. On the bridge of the command ship, built in 1997, stands Capt. Johnny Soevik. At 49, he has dedicated his life to the sea. “I started when I was 16,” he says. Talking about how the industry has changed and how more is expected to change with the anticipated growth, he points to two comfortable leather chairs at the helm. “When I started, we used to have to stand,” he said. “There was just, `Do your job.”‘ Don Jergler can be reached at [email protected] or (562) 499-1281. “There is a healthy continuing workload in satellites to keep the launch people busy,” said Howard Chambers, vice president of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. Chambers said worldwide there is a consistent stream of military satellites and an increasing stream of commercial satellites. “You should see, in the next five years, 100 to 125 more satellites launched,” Chambers said, adding that the number may double if you include military launches. Communication drives use Satellites are used for communications, navigation, intelligence gathering, weather and business-to-business communications in what Chambers refers to as “bent pipes.” LONG BEACH – Outer space will soon be a much more crowded place. Skyrocketing demand for broadband and other communication networks is creating a boon for satellite makers and launchers – who are expected to shoot about 125 satellites into orbit during the next five years. That will nearly double the number of satellites circling the Earth today. This is all good news for companies such as Boeing, the world’s largest satellite maker – having built about 85 of the 150 satellites in operation now – and the companies that launch them. last_img

Lesson in tolerance

first_imgVisitors reviewed lessons on prejudice and explored the effects of intolerance by highlighting examples of worldwide discrimination and focusing on events of the Holocaust. The depictions helped “put a face” to the sophomores’ world history curriculum, said student Megan O’Connell. “This gives us a better visual from a different standpoint than just a history book,” added Onkar Dhindsa, 16, of Norwalk. The sophomores also watched video clips of more recent national tragedies such as 9/11, the murder of Matthew Shepard, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Los Angeles riots. Erik Mallory, a European history teacher at Santa Fe High, said the museum trip “awakens” students to ongoing situations of intolerance. He also hopes it instills in them a sense of personal responsibility. “I hope to think that the lessons they learned today will help them be aware of the signs \, and if it does happen, hopefully these students will take action,” he said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LOS ANGELES – Stephanie Pozuelos understands the impact freedom of speech has had throughout world history. The Santa Fe High School sophomore, who considers herself “outspoken about certain things,” has studied the civil rights movement and has heard messages that defend equality and oppose discrimination. Last week, Pozuelos also recognized the power of silence, especially when it relates to intolerance. “If you don’t do anything, if you just keep your mouth closed, you’re just being part of it,” the 16-year-old said during a visit to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Pozuelos was among 700 Santa Fe High students who recently visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center museum. The trips, which have been scheduled about twice a week, are part of an annual event for the high school’s entire sophomore class, according to Principal Monica Oviedo. The local students’ visit to the Museum of Tolerance was more than a class outing, however. Museum tour guides challenged the teenagers to personally resist intolerance by educating themselves and by getting to know people, even if another’s beliefs or heritage might be different from their own. The lessons hit home for the Santa Fe High students, several of whom admitted they’d been on the receiving – and sometimes the delivering – end of intolerance. “No matter who we are or where we’re from, we’ve all experienced prejudice,” said Lorraine Simpson, a museum docent. “We’re more alike than we think.” last_img read more