2012 Speeches
Stephen T. (Steve) O'Neill

Stephen T. (Steve) O'Neill

Vice President

Commercial Satellite Systems, Space and Intelligence Systems


Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc., Network and Space Systems

"Keynote Speech: The Next 50 Years"

Satellite 2012: "Executive of the Year 2011" Luncheon

Washington, D.C.

March 14, 2012

Good Afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed the video.

On behalf of Boeing, it's my pleasure to host the "2011 Satellite Executive of the Year" luncheon.

At Boeing, we just celebrated our 50th year in the satellite business.

As I look around the room, I see many customers and colleagues who also have a long history in this exciting industry... .

... And others that are just starting out in this unlimited business of space utilization.

The show theme this year is "The Center of the Satellite Communications Universe."

Truer words were never spoken, for this annual conference is the ultimate United States event for members of the satellite industry.

You just watched our latest video, which focused on hosted payloads.

It is timely, since we are now preparing to launch IS-22 for Intelsat.

The IS-22 satellite features a UHF hosted payload that will provide service in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions for the Australian Defence Force.

This is a great example of commercial and government industries working together to provide substantial capability, economically and timely.

It also illustrates how the lines drawn between government and commercial services are blurring.

Our industry has seen increased interest over the last year in hosted payloads --- from the formation of a Hosted Payload office at the U.S. Air Force --- to the formation of an industry-led Hosted Payload Alliance --- to increased media outlets looking to promote hosted payloads as an affordable -- and doable -- solution to address the continuing shortfall of communications availability... .

... seamlessly with U.S. and other government assets and existing ground infrastructure.

As the U.S. Department of Defense budgets continue to shrink, the need for complementary government and commercial satellite systems will continue to increase in importance and priority.

The question that must be asked is this: "How can commercial systems support government missions --- and --- how can government missions support commercial systems?

The answer to these questions creates an important opportunity, and I believe industry can be the catalyst for change.

Another opportunity exists with "free flyers," which are smaller satellite systems that meet a mission need, but are less complex and therefore can be launched and put into service faster.

Using existing ground infrastructure presents another opportunity.

"How can I design a system that does not require the added expense of new terminals, ground stations, training, and all of the other things that a new ground infrastructure requires?"

The melding of commercial and government systems is important, but let's not overlook affordability.

Is there a way for the government to save cost by adopting commercial practices?

Obviously the answer is YES!

This can be done through firm fixed-price contracting, just like we do with commercial bids, which guarantees that the government pays the price it negotiated, and holds the supplier accountable -- financially and contractually -- for cost, schedule and a technically compliant solution.

This can also be done through smarter supply chain management.

Most component providers face business challenges when quantities and timelines are uncertain.

One approach that manufacturers can take is to create a timeline for suppliers and embed it into the contract, so that suppliers know when the next lot will be ordered, and how large the lot should be.

This kind of long-term commitment can keep many of the smaller suppliers in business, especially during these times of economic pressure.

Oversight is another area where money can be saved.

Fewer mandated reviews enable manufacturers to spend contract money on the actual production of the product, not on preparing for lengthy meetings and presentations.

But there is a heavy caveat with fewer mandated reviews --- and that is that the manufacturer must at all times ensure mission assurance, for that must be the top priority.

The commercial industry has been successful with fewer reviews, and its existing standards have resulted in hundreds of highly successful commercial satellite missions.

The commercial market, as a market-driven industry, must focus on competitiveness.

This same focus could be easily adopted by government, too.

And of course there are many examples in the government that can benefit commercial providers, including payload technology.

Traditional government payload technology can now be used to create additional efficiencies and utilization of traditional commercial frequencies.

This will extract additional revenue from existing markets.

The efficiencies possible through government payload technology can help to identify untapped commercial frequency use.

In the middle, between commercial and government, are hosted payloads, which provide mutually affordable solutions through shared expenses.

As stated in the video, Boeing has been creating Hosted Payloads since 1993.

Our latest offering has been in support of Intelsat and its Australian Defense Force customer through our most recent 702 product line derivative -- the 702 Medium Power or MP satellite.

IS-22 was completed in 29 months, proving that it is possible to significantly reduce the amount of time required to design and deliver a satellite with a commercial payload and a separate, fully functional UHF government payload.

We believe that the velocity in delivering this system can be applied to other hosted payloads or shared government commercial payloads.

This includes, for example, a commercial Ka-band and a military Ka-band payload satellite for Inmarsat I-5.

This first Inmarsat-5 satellite will be ready for launch in 2013.

The satellite is but one element of a successful program for a commercial customer and government customer.

The ability to provide a complete satellite system, and the ability to integrate seamlessly into an existing infrastructure is also critical.

At Boeing, we started on a journey in 2000 when we delivered a turnkey geomobile satellite system to provide a much-needed cellular phone service.

That was Thuraya, and it continues to provide important capabilities to the people of the United Arab Emirates and through out the region.

Today we are building the MEXSAT satellite system for the Government of Mexico, and when the system enters operation, it will be the most modern telecommunications system in the world.

MEXSAT will provide end-to-end communication capability to the entire Mexican territory, including ocean areas, for both civilian and government users.

For the first time, broad band capability can be delivered to every school and hospital in Mexico

MEXSAT is an excellent example of the ways government and commercial communications needs are merging.

Although it is government procurement, the services that MEXSAT will provide can be shared with all civilians in Mexico, just as the services of the Air Force's Global Positioning System -- known to most of us as GPS -- are also being used for both government and commercial needs.

I'd like to conclude with a thought about the future:

What if a Hosted Payload could be controlled autonomously by the government customer --- without the commercial service provider's involvement --- during satellite operations?

It not only can be done --- it IS but being done.

It's a result of escalating collaboration between commercial providers and government users.

And it's a prelude to new ways of designing and delivering satellite systems that we haven't considered yet.

Every one of us is contributing to the next generation of satellites.

Our innovation and technical excellence has formed an amazing industry that touches nearly every person on earth.

I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

I wish you all continued success.

Thank you.