Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week, Paris, France
Craig R. Cooning
President, Network and Space Systems
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Sept. 10, 2014
It’s a pleasure to be back in Paris to host this luncheon, and it’s great to see so many familiar faces here at World Satellite Business Week, one of industry’s premier international satellite events.
I am also honored to share that I have a new role at Boeing: President of Boeing Network and Space Systems, but more on that later.
As our video described, government and commercial sectors are moving toward common requirements in ways never seen before.
To a large extent, it’s no longer true that what government wants is a unique platform -- more complicated and more expensive than what the commercial industry wants.
Both want economical solutions that meet their satellite communications requirements. And, sometimes the requirements are the same.
Data protection is one example of a common requirement for both government and commercial operators.
With the increased reliance on satellites for on-line transactions, distribution of valuable and personal data, as well as communications that enable the military to make tactical decisions, the ability to encrypt data is now a need in both market segments.
The differences between commercial needs and government needs are quickly eroding, and industry has an opportunity to play in both fields with common resources if we recognize this trend and considers both options from the start.
Boeing provides satellites to both sectors, and has been designing and delivering hosted payloads since 1993.
We are a charter member of the Hosted Payload Alliance and we firmly believe that hosted payloads can and will make a difference…in both markets.
Let me give just one example: Intelsat 22. Designed by Boeing and owned and operated by Intelsat, it carries a hosted payload owned by the Australian Defence Force. Most importantly, according to the Australian Defence Force, $150 million was saved by leasing a hosted payload from Intelsat for 15 years instead of purchasing and operating a fully dedicated satellite.
And Intelsat has benefitted from the additional revenue as a result of its lease arrangement with the Australian Defence Force for use of the payload.
So, we see that the economics of hosted payloads can benefit both commercial and government parties, and through the Hosted Payload Alliance these benefits are being communicated and promoted within the U.S. Government.
This is clearly only one example of many across industry.
Boeing is building Inmarsat’s Global Xpress fleet, which has the ability to be reconfigured in orbit from commercial Ka-band to Military Ka-band, resulting in a commercial complement to the Government-owned Wideband Global Satcom system.
We are also developing high-throughput satellites in C- and Ku-band for Intelsat’s Epic fleet, and in Ka-band for Viasat. These high-throughput satellite systems can implement new protected waveforms.
These protected waveforms enable protected communications by using commercial satellites and low-cost terminals.
This is a significant breakthrough that expands the potential for commercial satellites to support a greater range of government needs.
These things are all happening today, but what about the future?
In addition to being more creative about technologies and capabilities that support many disparate missions, what is the next big thing? And how can we all play?
It was of great interest to me when Google and Facebook started acquiring companies that will enable them to deliver Internet access to the more than 4 billion people who still don’t have it.
These Technology giants are looking for every possible way to connect more of the world.
Time will tell, but it’s an interesting development in the Internet industry and one that might create opportunities in the satellite industry.
It’s also interesting to think about breakthrough capabilities in flexible payload designs.
Imagine a satellite that is effectively a software-defined system that can be reconfigured on-orbit, thus enabling coverage to be changed and power to be reallocated.
And in addition, while on orbit, the satellite’s spot-beams can be reconfigured to cover an entirely different region.
Such a system offers great flexibility for a multitude of customers and enables satellite owners and operators to take more market risk, because of the reconfigurable nature of the satellite.
As the lines between commercial and government markets continue to fade, I believe there is ample opportunity to continue to innovate the ways satellites are designed and used.
I mentioned that I have a new role at Boeing. As president of the company’s Network & Space Systems unit, I’m now responsible for the entirety of our space, security, communications and information portfolio.
So far, I’m finding that while our customers are as diverse as our portfolio of products and services, they all rely on us to envision the future and help them shape it, rather than simply react to changes in the external environment.
In my new position, I am focused on looking across the entire Boeing Company for ways to incorporate our rich technologies into new and different configurations that will better and more affordably meet the needs of all Boeing customers.
Core competencies in our network and space business, like satellite communications, space flight, data processing, cyber security, and other capabilities are fundamentals that, when combined, make the sum of the parts greater than the whole.
And to illustrate how we continue to meet customer needs, we are announcing today that we have received our first order for the newest design in our satellite portfolio, which we are calling the 502 Phoenix.
The contract was awarded to us by HySpecIQ, which specializes in hyper spectral remote sensing.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the technology, hyperspectral imaging is an information-rich technology used to identify objects in an image.
More than 200 colors are collected to uncover diagnostic spectral patterns invisible to the naked eye.
This space-based system will create new applications for mining, agriculture and other markets.
It’s an exciting opportunity for us, and this market is one that I believe the commercial satellite industry will break wide open in the coming years.
But in addition to adding this very unique hyper spectral remote sensing capability to our range of satellite technologies, it marks the first order for our small satellite.
The 502 Phoenix addresses the need for small, highly specialized satellites that can augment current systems or perform very specific missions that do not require 15 years on orbit.
Small satellites also support the government’s move to disaggregated space, because these satellites can complement existing fleet of current programs, enabling the military to receive the services it needs --- faster, cheaper, with greater resilience.
The 502 Phoenix satellites are approximately one square meter, and can operate in low-, medium- and geosynchronous orbits.
But perhaps what’s most exciting about this new design is that it carries with it the ability to support a variety of missions, including electro-optical imaging, remote sensing, space situational awareness, weather monitoring, and a host of others.
For us, it’s a first: the satellites will carry industry’s first commercial hyper spectral imager in space.
We will be sharing news of its progress over the coming years, leading up to completion of the system in 2018.
So, stay tuned.
In closing I’d like to say how rewarding it is to attend Euroconsult each year, because it’s the “what comes next” discussions that enable our industry to continue to grow and prosper.