Satellite 2013, Washington, DC

Craig R. Cooning
Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Satellite Systems, International

March 20, 2013

Good afternoon…I hope you enjoyed the video.

On behalf of Boeing, it’s my pleasure to host the “2012 Satellite Executive of the Year” luncheon.

I am especially delighted that Tom Choi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Asia Broadcast Satellite, is being recognized today, because his company, in conjunction with Satmex, are the first customers for our small platform satellite.

I will say more about that in a few minutes…As you may have read in the program at your table, Tom’s contributions to the satellite industry are far-reaching and enduring.

Congratulations, Tom.

The theme of this year’s show, “Bridging the Gap between Today and Tomorrow” is a very timely theme given sequestration and government uncertainty about future space architecture.

Against this backdrop, it is timely to look to the commercial market for solutions.

We’ve seen many changes in thought during recent years.

A lot of this is due to a continuing shortfall of military satellite communications.

The fact is that the military leases approximately 50 to 70% of its services from commercial providers.

But today there are operational systems that are helping to alleviate the shortage, and provide increased access to communications bandwidth for military use.

In the CHIRPS program, we have seen the government take a step forward by demonstrating that a military payload, hosted on a commercial satellite, could provide much-needed services.

Another example is Intelsat, whose hosted payload on Intelsat 22 is serving the Australian Defence Force, at a reported cost savings of 40% over the life of the program as compared to procuring a dedicated system.

Some progress continues -- a new National Space Policy was created in 2010, designed to facilitate these types of complementary associations.

And the Department of Defense created the 2011 National Security Space Strategy, which provides the strategic direction for the United States government to use hosted payloads.   

However a few months ago, the Department of Defense issued a memorandum on hosting military communications payloads on commercial satellites that on the surface appeared too restrictive and too difficult to actually advance the use of hosted payloads.

So, there’s room for improvement, and I encourage those decision makers to continue to engage with industry in order to adjust this memorandum and enable broader participation.

The Hosted Payload Alliance is making headway as an advocate for this capability, and I am confident that I share the thoughts of the other Alliance members that its charter is not only important, but critical to making this capability a reality for the Warfighter.

At Boeing, we’ve been on a journey that has enabled us to design and introduce two new satellite models in a 3-year period.

In 2009, we announced the 702MP for “medium power,” which provides an affordable option for owner operators designing satellites that operate in the 6 – 12 kilowatt power ranges.

Last year, we were thrilled to introduce the 702SP for “small platform,” which takes advantage of the proven technology on our primary 702 platform -- and extends it.

As many of you know, we have been using xenon ion propulsion on our satellites since 1997…In fact, we have accumulated more than 20 years of on-orbit operation with our XIPS units.

When we started work on the design of the 702SP we did so with an eye on cost… and an ear to our customers.

Market demand for capability, lower cost, and more flexibility in launch options was a common theme.

We designed the 702SP in less than two years, and Boeing was the first to offer an all-electric satellite.

And, we were especially pleased when Asia Broadcast Satellite and SATMEX became the first customers for the 702SP.

We also committed resources to broadening our hosted payload capabilities, which were started in 1993 but continue today on-orbit, through Intelsat 22, and soon on Inmarsat.

Our strategy is to anticipate the gap and design affordable, reliable variants to our proven 702 satellite, so that when the need arises, we can be ready.

It takes time, money, and commitment, but as an industry I know all of us in this room are constantly looking for ways to better serve our customers, and this is what makes this industry so vital and cutting-edge.

Let me return to the theme of bridging the gap between today and tomorrow.

You just saw our video, which highlights some of our recent accomplishments, as well as new things on our horizon.

But technology alone is not the answer…It’s also about procurement and how to quickly acquire the best technology this industry has to offer.

And it’s about partnerships.

I believe that over the coming years we will see a reduction in barriers to partnering, an increase in collaboration, and an overall shift in the industry that will blur the lines of government and commercial, resulting in a common goal:  quick and affordable access to space.

Tomorrow is just around the corner, and if we all work together, it’s amazing what this industry can do!...Thank you.