2012 Speeches
Craig R Cooning

Craig R. Cooning

Vice President, General Manager

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems

Chairman and CEO

Boeing Satellite Systems, International

"50 Years of Satellite Innovation "

Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week

Paris, France

September 12, 2012

Good Afternoon.

It's my pleasure to be back in Paris to host this luncheon.

As the video mentioned, we are about to begin a year-long celebration of Syncom, the world's first geosynchronous commercial communications satellite.

The fathers of Syncom, Dr. Harold Rosen, Thomas Hudspeth and Don Williams, were determined to prove that a geosynchronous commercial communication satellite was feasible, and demonstrated a flyable prototype relaying television signals at the 1961 at the Paris Air Show.

They also showcased the prototype on top of the Eiffel Tower, which one cynical reporter wrote was as high as the satellite would ever get off the ground.

Fortunately, he was wrong.

Syncom was launched on July 26, 1963 and it was used by President John F. Kennedy to place a transcontinental phone call to Nigerian Prime Minister Abubaker Balewa.

This was the first live two-way call between heads of state by satellite relay.

Tragically, Syncom was also responsible for transmitting to the world the unfortunate news of President Kennedy's assassination.

The Syncom system was to bring the world together in many areas, including sports, when it was used to transmit imagery from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

If you come to our BUSY factory in El Segundo California, where 31 satellites are in varying stages of production today, prominently displayed is an engineering prototype of Syncom.

It serves as a reminder of our proud beginnings.

Syncom, at 0.71 meters in diameter (2 ft, 4in), 0.39 meters in height (1 ft 3 in) and weighing 35 kilograms (78 lbs) in orbit, is by today's standardsa very small satellite.

Syncomprovided only 28 Watts of power, barely enough for a small light bulb.

Today, our 702 HP has 18 kW of power, enough to light a city.

Despite its diminutive size, Syncom was a giant in initiating a new era of communication.

Due to Syncom's lower power levels, the demands on the ground elements were large, and very large dishes were required to collect the information.

Today we are building a range of satellites that can communicate to handheld devices the size of an iPod or tablet.

Over time, what we launched into orbit became more sophisticated.

And as those on-orbit assets became more powerful, what remained on the ground became much smaller.

But more importantly, the range of configurations improved, enabling customers to tailor the payload of an operational satellite to support their business needs.

Syncom started our journey.

In our video we also included a few of the satellite firsts our company has brought to the world.

Our legacy motivates us. It stimulates the minds of the newest generation of satellite innovators, and it fosters creative discussions with current and potential customers about what can be done now, and what can be done tomorrow.

And to get to tomorrow, we needed to make changes today.

We started our renewal five years ago.

We knew we had to make changes, and we made those hard decisions that enabled us to be more affordable, more technically differentiated, and more competitive.

Looking back over the last three years, we have seen the results of these hard decisions through new successes.

One of the most pivotal achievements for us was the introduction of the 702 MP for "medium power" satellite in the summer of 2009.

With this evolution of our classic 702 satellite design, we expanded our portfolio to include satellites that operate in the middle ranges of the power spectrum, and we attracted a segment of the market that wants a satellite that operates in the 6 to 12 kilowatt range.

The 702MP also provided a new opportunity for commercial operators: a Government-frequency,commercially hosted payload.

Our first 702MP customer, Intelsat, had the vision to place a UHF hosted payload on our new 702MP satellite for the Australian Defense Force.

This payload began operations in May of this year.

The 702MP marked the first major evolution of our product line since 1999, when the first 702 satellite was launched.

We reduced risk in the 702MP design by using flight-proven technology from the classic 702, which we call the 702HP for "high power."

This includes liquid propulsion, lithium ion batteries, and heritage bus and payload electronics.

But we also focused on our manufacturing processes, and designed a structure for the 702MP that is modular, which allowed us to accelerate production.

Our first 702MP was built in 29 months, inclusive of the heritage UHF hosted payload, and with each subsequent build of this design we expect to achieve shorter build cycles.

The introduction of the 702 MP was the culmination of a four-year investment in research and development.

In March of this year, following a similar path, we introduced the 702SP for "small platform."

This satellite, which is designed to operate at power levels ranging from 3 to 8 kilowatts, leverages even more proven advanced technologies to provide a very unique product offering.

The 702SP is an all-electric satellite.

We first introduced xenon ion propulsion as a secondary propulsion system back in 1997, and with more than 167,000 hours of on-orbit experience, we knew that an all-electric satellite would be a successful and attractive product offering today.

The use of electric propulsion results in a satellite that is almost half of the mass of traditional "small satellites," while enabling larger payload capacity.

The lighter weight of the 702SP translates into more affordable launch possibilities for this very capable satellite, which helps to meet our customer's needs for capability at a more affordable price

We further leveraged the mass advantage of the 702SP by designing it to be stacked in a dual manifest configuration, which cuts launch costs in half.

Launching two at a time is not only affordable, but the lighter weight of the 702SP also widened the range of launch vehicles that could be used.

For example, a Falcon 9, which is a relatively new launch vehicle, is compatible with the 702SP.

This economical option has drawn a lot of interest from industry.

We thank our ABS and SatMex customers for having the vision and insight to work with us to bring this system to fruition as the inaugural customers for the 702SP.

We will be launching the first of these systems in 2014 timeframe.

In summary, with the introduction of the 702MP in 2009 and the 702SP in 2012, Boeing now offers a broad product portfolio consisting of satellites operating at power levels ranging from 3 to 18 kilowatts.

Our team is inspired, committed, and excited at the new possibilities these designs are creating for our customers and our company.

In just three years time we have introduced two updated satellite designs, added 24 satellites to our backlog, and, through our launched satellites, delivered 210 years of communications capability to both government and commercial customers.

In addition to communications satellites, we also introduced the first unmanned space plane -- which we believe has unlimited potential.

Syncom may be 50 years old now, but it started us on an exciting journey, and the best is yet to come.

Thank you.