Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TerreStar Completes Ground Based Beam Forming Test

terrestar smartphone service

TerreStar Networks completed its initial on-orbit testing of Ground Based Beam Forming (GBBF) is complete, clearing another hurdle prior to the launch of its hybrid satellite+terrestrial smartphone service. The service is expected to launch in the second half of this year.

The TerreStar GBBF system is the first two-way GBBF system to employ both ground based calibration and beam forming. The system provides the flexibility to deploy over 500 spot beams and manage power and capacity as customer demand dictates.

"Stable, configurable beams are being formed and link performance is meeting our expectations for this phase," said Dennis Matheson, chief technology officer, TerreStar. "We could not have made this tremendous progress without our dedicated partners Hughes Network Systems and Space Systems/Loral."

"Since the launch of our satellite, TerreStar-1, on July 1, 2009, TerreStar has continued to execute on its vision of offering ubiquitous, reliable and resilient mobile service -- virtually anywhere in North America," said Jeffrey Epstein, president & CEO, TerreStar. "Today's 'first' is another milestone on the path to deliver the next generation of mobile services."

* In September 2009, AT&T agreed to market TerreStar's satellite cellular smartphone. The TerreStar GENUS Smartphone combines AT&T's 3G terrestrial wireless service with TerreStar's all-IP satellite voice and data as a back-up throughout the United States. The TerreStar satellite footprint also covers Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and offshore coastal waters. The satellite-terrestrial smartphone reference design represents the world's first quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA device running the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, and offering integrated satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities.

* In July 2009, TerreStar Networks successfully completed the first end-to-end VoIP phone call over its newly launched TerreStar-1, the world's largest, most advanced commercial communications satellite. The call used two handsets developed by EB (Elektrobit).

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Next-generation “Iridium 9602” satellite data transceiver

Iridium Communications Inc. unveiled its next-generation “Iridium 9602” satellite data transceiver in January at its annual Partners Conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

iridium data tranceiver

The Iridium 9602 is a full-duplex short-burst data (SBD) transceiver designed for embedded applications in the rapidly growing market for remote asset tracking and monitoring solutions. The product, which is the culmination of a two-year R&D program, has completed prototype testing, and Iridium expects to begin commercial deliveries in June.

The new Iridium 9602 short-burst data transceiver will provide global two-way data links for remote tracking, monitoring and messaging applications. The small size of the new Iridium 9602 short-burst data transceiver will enable system integrators to embed the unit in a wide range of small, portable satellite tracking, monitoring and messaging solutions.

“The smaller, lower-cost Iridium 9602 will serve as the data communication engine for a wide range of portable tracking and monitoring devices, leveraging Iridium’s global coverage and low-latency, two-way data links,” said Don Thoma, executive vice president for marketing at Iridium. “Our service partners are already testing prototypes in their Iridium 9602-based solutions for applications such as tracking soldiers and military vehicles in the field, telemetry from unattended sensors, fleet management, enterprise logistics and supply-chain visibility, as well as personal two-way navigation and mapping devices.”

“The matchbox-sized Iridium 9602 is 69 percent smaller, 74 percent lighter and considerably less expensive than the first-generation Iridium 9601 SBD modem, which we designed the Iridium 9602 to replace,” said Thoma. “The very small form factor and low power consumption will offer greater flexibility to value-added manufacturers (VAM) and resellers (VAR) embedding the Iridium 9602 into their products.”

“The Iridium 9602 focuses on highest overall value of price and performance offering global, real-time service combined with new lower pricing,” said Patrick Shay, vice president, data services, Iridium. “The Iridium 9602 is the highest value in the industry.”

A unique feature of the Iridium 9602 is its built-in GPS input/output ports which will permit system integrators to interface with an external GPS receiver, using a single dual-mode L-Band antenna for GPS and Iridium SBD, saving the cost of an antenna in their applications.

The duplex data links provided by the Iridium 9602 will permit two-way communications to and from the remote devices, allowing users to reprogram the unit, adjust its reporting intervals and send on-demand queries for specific data updates. It will also enable first responders and search-and-rescue authorities to respond to emergency distress signals from personal location and tracking devices.

iridium 9602

“Prototype evaluations from Iridium’s service partners have been positive,” Thoma said. “More than 90 companies are working on plans to embed the Iridium 9602 in their next-generation products.”

“Our phase-out program for the Iridium 9601 will allow for ample overlap with the Iridium 9602, to ensure that our VAMs and VARs will be able to transition seamlessly to the new technology,” said Thoma.

According to a November 2009 report by TMF Associates, the number of low data rate mobile satellite service (MSS) devices is projected to grow from 1.5 million active terminals at the end of 2009 to more than 3.1 million active terminals by the end of 2013, a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent. Tim Farrar, a satellite industry analyst and author of the report, said, “Low-cost portable satellite tracking and messaging devices are an important new opportunity, and represent one of the fastest growing parts of the low data rate MSS market. The introduction of two-way connectivity will further stimulate market growth, particularly among professional users who may have been reluctant to rely on one-way satellite devices offering no assurance that a message has been received.”

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Sasken Comm to launch IsatPhone Pro - handheld satellite phone by June

Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd, a global provider of software and support services for the communication industry, has reported that IsatPhone Pro, a handheld satellite phone developed by Sasken for Inmarsat, the leader in global mobile satellite communications services, has completed its first call from Hawaii and is set for a planned global launch in June 2010, the company said in a regulatory filing.

isatphone pro

“One of the most important elements of the IsatPhone Pro development has been the R&D, and Sasken has successfully delivered on all key milestones in the last 13 months of this engagement,” said Helen Stalker, commercial director of Global Satellite Phone Services at Inmarsat. “We are all looking forward to the phone’s launch planned for June,” she added.

Sasken is responsible for end-to-end development of the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone, which has been made possible through its multi-site capabilities and centres of excellence in India, Finland and Germany. Last year around this time, we announced the partnership with Inmarsat to bring its global handheld satellite phone to the market. This year, they are all set to deliver on that promise.

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