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Satellite Operations & Intelligence

Satellite operations and intelligence is becoming more and more important around the world. The staged photo is of the NORAD Space Ops room and around the world there are many other operations centers, military and civilian looking towards the highly valuable, and vulnerable satellite assets in space.

The politics of Space will feature more and more in the diplomatic negotiations between powerful nation states, especially those with a launch capability. Alan Simpson will be looking at the global space race, to control satellites, and launch spy satellites. eventually there will be conflict as Space is the Achilles Heel of US military power.

The dominance of the United States is quietly being challenged. The many projects around the world to develop alternative satellite systems, alternative launch sites and vehicles, and as with the display by China show that satellites can be destroyed at will. The crowded geostationary satellite belt is just waiting for a new conflict.

Our own involvement began in rural Suffolk, England during the early 1980"s where we created a satellite operations centre of our own to monitor the European, and INTELSAT satellites for the quality control of our clients.

Today we have a computer based operation with databases showing the position, status and parameters of every satellite around the Earth. Sadly ours isn't as grand as NORAD, just a couple of computers and multiple screens.

Satellite Industry Development

Satellite 2009 was the most positive satellite show for many years, and reflected the global increase in both space segment, and ground segment equipment and services.

One area seeing considerable opportunities and growth is the mobile data and voice marketplace. The need to send data from ships at sea, and especially those engaged in fishing has provided a significant boost to the fortunes of many satellite operators.

But many of the big operators are facing new challenges. Iridium is looking at an ageing constellation, which was bought for a song from the original failed company of the same name. When these satellites come to the end of their life there will be no bargain basement prices for their replacement, and the question of "Can the Iridium program succeed if they pay full price" will be answered.

The global satellite industry holds lots of opportunities, and in some regions there is a shortage of transponders, such as in the Middle East. Still until the satellites are in orbit, and working it still is a high risk business, but the general opinion of the impending demise of the industry to Fiber may be a little premature.