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2008 Speeches
Craig R Cooning

Craig R. Cooning

Vice President and General Manager

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems

"Executive of the Year Luncheon"

Satellite 2008 Conference and Exhibit

Washington DC

February 27, 2008

Good Afternoon.

On behalf of Boeing, it's a pleasure to once again host the Satellite Executive of the Year Luncheon.

The theme of Satellite 2008 is "six decades of telecommunications," which started with the 1957 launch of Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2.

At Boeing, we are in our fifth decade of space communications, which started back in 1963 with the launch of Syncom, the world's first geosynchronous satellite, and continues today as we prepare to launch our 263rd satellite, DIRECTV 11, next month.

Sputnik is pivotal because the unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1's success led to the Sputnik crisis in the United States, and ignited the so-called "Space Race," which helped to create the ground swell of interest in satellites that benefits all of us here today.

As you just saw in our video, Boeing-built satellites have accumulated more than 2,500 years of service on our more than 260 commercial and civil satellites. That's a staggering number and, although we are proud of our history in this industry, stay tuned, because we've only just begun.

Allow me to pause now to thank those of you here today who have allowed us to serve you and your customers.

Standing here, I see a truly diverse group, ranging from the Pioneers who started the space program, to the next generation whose ingenuity and innovation will pave the way to the future.

If you stop to think of how satellites serve us every day, in ways that we sometimes take for granted, it's pretty amazing.

A great example of this is the Global Positioning System. Primarily intended for military communications, today it's also used by civilians to track cargo, grant credit card approval, and assist with vehicle location. We've even seen it used in emergency response and search and rescue missions.

The flexibility and growing number of uses for this space-based navigational capability alone exemplifies the expanding role of satellites, and the thousands of ways they can -- and will -- be used.

Not a day passes that a satellite doesn't touch your life.

From the weather report, to the location of a disabled or stolen car, to the authorization to charge a credit card, satellites touch our lives in ways that even we in the business sometimes overlook.

While it's true that "live, via satellite" has become standard for awards shows like last Sunday's Academy Awards, the ability to beam an image "across the pond" with a delay of but a few seconds is still relatively new.

Yet almost anywhere you look, you see evidence of a satellite.

Houses with satellite dishes on the roof, cars with small receivers on the rear window, and even small dishes on military transport Jeeps -- all of these point to the ever increasing use of satellite technology.

Communication was meant to be wireless --- and, across the world -- nothing makes this more possible than a satellite.

It has been said that the world is flatter than before, since nearly everyone is now connected, virtually and instantaneously, through the Internet or some form of mobile communications.

Satellites have made all of this possible, and they've done so almost without notice.

So....what lies ahead?

Imagine the ability to provide telephone service to 3 billion people via satellite. No wires, no towers, nothing but the spacecraft and a handset. This capability is not just around the corner; it's here, now.

The time between imagination and operation is becoming shorter and shorter.

Telemedicine is another great example. Just as entertainers can be beamed to our television sets from other countries, imagine the benefits of a renowned medical specialist witnessing a complicated procedure half-way across the world, and assisting in the operating room, live, via satellite.

We've seen tragedies like Hurricane Katrina drive us to better communications, earlier notifications, and improved awareness, not to mention the related benefits of better and safer evacuation procedures.

The systems that Boeing is building, such as the GOES series of satellites, are providing capabilities that are 11 times greater than those they replace. This means that people have more time to react, and that translates directly into saving more lives.

Forty-five years ago, when Syncom was launched, the 78-pound, 2-1/2-foot satellite communicated to an antenna on the ground that was the size of a small house. The power of Syncom was only 28 watts -- less than the power of a standard light bulb.

Today's satellites have a wingspan as wide as a Boeing 777 airplane and can weigh as much as 13,200 pounds. And, contrasted with Syncom's 28 watts of power, these satellites carry enough power to light an entire city.

And, although highly powerful, these satellites today communicate to dishes that are only 18 inches in diameter, like those used by DIRECTV, and, in the example of a mobile satellite system, can communicate to sub antennas that are even smaller in size.

As our industry has grown, we've continuously raised the technical bar -- resulting in smaller electronics, more flexible payloads, and "smarter" satellites that can be adjusted to provide a different service to a different region, and all without the need to return to Earth.

Mobile phones have already become a permanent fixture in our society, and the drive for personal communication and information devices is insatiable.

Society's growing quest for instant communications have created an unprecedented demand for ubiquitous bandwidth.

Satellites will play an integral role in meeting this need.

More and more, the lines between civil, military and commercial demands are blurring. The ability to leverage both military and commercial technologies will enable all of us to maintain security in our flattened world, while still providing instant access to information.

The first five decades have been thrilling to watch.

How fortunate we are to be a part of the sixth decade.

Thank you.