The Tiny Satellites Ushering in the New Space Revolution
Summary: Spanning more than 5,500 words, this epic Bloomberg profile on Planet is well worth the (lunchtime) read. In addition to telling the colorful history of how Planet was started, the article provides a fairly good overview of the broader “NewSpace” revolution. My highlighted version of the article is linked above, but you’ll want to click through to the Bloomberg site to see sidebars, graphics, and an entertaining 16 minute video on Planet’s recent launch of 88 Dove satellites from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre (not on my bucket list).
Covered Companies: DigitalGlobe
Mentioned: Google, Monsanto, Wilbur-Ellis, Bayer Crop Science, 3 Gimbals LLC, Orbital Insight, SpaceKnow, Terra Bella, Capella Space, SpacePharma, OneWeb, Astro Digital, Axelspace, Hera Systems, Iceeye, SpaceX, Spire, Rocket Lab, Vector Space Systems, Virgin OrbitFull Article
How Americas two greatest rocket companies battled from the beginning
Summary: A lot of ink has been spilled on the long-running battle between SpaceX and ULA for US launch supremacy. This article by Eric Berger provides a good backgrounder on the controversy while also illuminating how the battle is likely to play out in the next several years.
Covered Companies: Orbital ATK
Mentioned: SpaceX, ULA, Lockheed, Boeing, Blue Origin, Aerjoet RocketdyneFull Article
How Boeing is Coping with the Slowdown in GEO Orders
Summary: While layoffs and reorganization grab the headlines, this article highlights some of the factory-level innovations that Boeing is pursing to offset the current “nuclear winter” in satellite orders.
Covered Companies: ViaSat
Mentioned: Boeing, Eutelsat, ABS, SpaceXFull Article
Amplifier Firms Eye Smallsat Ka-band Opportunities
Summary: They may not be as sexy as rockets and satellites, but power amplifiers play a critical role in supporting the ground network requirements of LEO constellations proposed by OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat, and Boeing. Problem is, none of the major players seem all that enthused with the prospects for spending large capex in pursuit of thin margins.
Covered Companies: Comtech Telecom
Mentioned: Teledyne, Mission Microwave, Wavestream, CPI International, Norsat International, Intelsat, OneWeb, SES, O3b Networks, Advantech Wireless, LeoSat, Boeing, SpaceX, OneWeb and TelesatFull Article
Arianespace launches SES-15 in 2d Euro Soyuz GTO mission
Summary: When Boeing first-introduced its all-electric (702SP) satellite bus in 2012, one of the purported benefits was the ability to secure cheap launch by stacking two satellites on a Falcon 9. As noted in this article, however, finding a co-passenger has proven harder-than-expected, leading SES to select a more costly Europeanized Soyuz for launch.
Covered Companies: ViaSat
Mentioned: Arianespace, SES, SpaceX, Boeing, Eutelsat, Panasonic, Inmarsat, ArabsatFull Article
Technology Update — Amplifiers Keeping Pace with Industry Changes
Summary: Although not a particularly sexy niche of the satellite industry, this article notes that there are some pretty interesting changes taking place in the amplifier market, driven by new technology (GaN) and new frequency bands (Ka, V, Q).
Covered Companies: CMTL, SATS, TDY
Mentioned: CPI International, Wavestream/Gilat, D&S Microwave Consulting, Advantech WirelessFull Article
Inmarsat attempts to change the landscape for software deployment
Summary: This article describes Inmarsat’s plans to develop a “walled garden” application infrastructure whereby the cost of an app will be linked to the application’s bandwidth consumption. The program is still in its early stages and will take about three years to roll out (as vessels are converted from Ku to Ka).
Covered Companies: N/A
Mentioned: Inmarsat, CPI, Apple, SingTelFull Article