The Future Is Now

Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week, Paris, France

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

Sept. 11, 2013

Good Afternoon.

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

Last year, I had the honor of showing a video that traced our history, which began 50 years ago with the successful 1963 launch of Syncom, the world’s first geosynchronous commercial communications satellite.

As you just saw in our video, this year we are focused on the future.

In fact, we have been on a journey since 2007 to expand our product portfolio and provide new capabilities that open new markets – especially in the commercial sector – through the application of innovative technology that gives our customers the ability to better support the insatiable demand for bandwidth and capacity, economically.

One of the highlights of 2012 was the market introduction of the Boeing 702SP, which is the world’s first all-electric satellite.

It’s been a thrill to bring this capability to the commercial and government sector and provide satellites that improve the economics of access to space, while also providing significant on-orbit capability.

We believe that this system will enable growth in utilization of space, and will provide a more resilient Government space architecture, which is especially timely since expenditures in DoD and the Intelligence community are decreasing.  The government has already recognized the benefits, and has procured three of these satellites.

Since 2009 our portfolio of satellite buses has expanded.  Our focus had been on the 702HP, which supported customers requiring very high-power capabilities.

Through a concerted effort to expand our product portfolio to support all power levels, in addition to the all-electric satellite we introduced last year, we introduced a medium-power satellite in 2009.

With these two new satellite designs, today we can support satellite requirements that range from 3 – 18 kilowatts. 

We continue to advance our satellite technology, and just a few months ago the 1-kilowatt Phantom Phoenix prototype was introduced.

This small satellite will revolutionize the way customers plan their fleets, because for the first time they can factor in a small yet highly capable satellite that fits into an important niche:  the niche between traditional communications satellite platforms and nano-satellites.

This small satellite is capable of supporting small communications payloads, as well as providing capabilities for Earth Observation, Space Situational Awareness and Scientific Space missions.

We are currently marketing this new satellite design, and we anticipate orders in the coming months.

These recent advances in satellite technology are just beginning!

Satellite buses are essential, but not sufficient, on their own.  It is essential that these buses are paired with payloads that can exploit space to its fullest.

Consider the airplane passenger who, through satellite technology, can now enjoy a movie that is being streamed live via satellite worldwide with unparalleled image and sound.

And think about how far industry has come with handsets that support mobile communications.

Not long ago a satellite phone was large – about the size and weight of a man’s dress shoe.  Today they are virtually identical to the size, weight, form and function of any terrestrial cellphone, but can operate ubiquitously world-wide, independent of cellular towers.

Natural disasters have taken their toll on the many parts of the world, and a key issue during these tragedies is the lack of a robust communication system.  Today’s satellite phones continue on in times of tragedy, providing critical service to first responders, government officials, health care providers – and most importantly – loved ones.

The second benefit of satellite phones is the ability to communicate securely, especially in remote areas of the world.   If you think of it, a signal originating 22,300 miles above the equator must be not only resilient but protected from hacking.

Finally, satellite phones enable telephony and data services around the world where the cost of a ground infrastructure is prohibitive.

An example of this is MEXSAT.  We were honored to be selected in 2010 to build this next-generation satellite mobile communications system for the government of Mexico, and it will soon be the most modern mobile satellite service system in the world.

These are just a few examples, but they prove that the possibilities are endless.  And, today’s innovations are occurring at a much faster pace than a few years ago.

At Boeing we have taken a multi-faceted approach to our product strategy.

As the satellite platforms have enabled greater economics to space, our payload approach is also focused at providing critical capabilities to the warfighter commercially, as well as directly to the government, in the form of hosted payloads.

Drawing from the first hosted payload we delivered back in 1993, we were happy to partner with Intelsat in delivering a next-generation version of our hosted payload on Intelsat-22.

Launched in March of 2012, this hosted payload is generating additional revenue for Intelsat, which leased the hosted payload to the Australian Defence Force.

And the Australian Defence Force is receiving critical data now, rather than having waited for a full-up military satellite to have been specified, budgeted, procured, built and launched.

To give you an idea of time, whereas a military satellite can generally take 5 to 10 years from concept to delivery, the hosted payload we built for Intelsat-22 was delivered – along with the satellite – in just 29 months.

We have three hosted military Ka-band payloads under construction for Inmarsat – the first of which will be launched by the end of this year – and a fourth, a Wideband Area Augmentation System payload, known in the industry as WAAS, is now on order from Satmex, one of our inaugural customers for the all-electric 702SP.

What’s exciting about this is that in about two years, all three of our primary 702 models – the 702HP, the 702MP and the 702SP – will be carrying hosted payloads.

And, if you couple hosted payloads with the recently introduced small satellite, the military’s shift to disaggregated space can happen much faster, bringing with it new opportunities for commercial satellite operators.

Disaggregated space is a simple concept, and it essentially means that, through the use of the existing fleet of current programs and complementary smaller, single-mission satellites and hosted payloads – the military can receive the services it needs – faster,  cheaper, with greater resilience.

The world is changing.  No one knows what conflicts will exist in two years, much less 15.  Planning too far in advance – committing technology and funding – may no longer be the best approach.

Through disaggregation, the military’s dependence on aggregate satellites can be reduced, and the military could move to more commercial-like practices, with necessary technology brought online in 2-3 years, not the 10 years it takes today!

We believe that in the future, reconfigurable satellites will change the industry by enhancing operator business capability and flexibility.

We will also see different business and contracting approaches and a greater use of commercial and government assets through a combination of hosted payloads and services offerings.

I started my talk today by showing you a video that focuses on the future.  The future IS NOW.

Thank you for joining us for lunch today, and I hope you enjoy your time at World Satellite Business Week.