EUTELSAT 115 West B satellite chosen to enhance Alaska's connectivity landscape

Anchorage, Paris, 9 November 2017 –Alaska Communications, Alaska’s leading broadband and managed IT service provider, has signed a long-term multi-transponder agreement with Eutelsat Americas, a subsidiary of Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), to extend access to telecom services for businesses, schools, health care providers, state and local governments across Alaska.

Through EUTELSAT 115 West B’s exceptional C-band coverage, Alaska Communications is equipped to provide connectivity across the state, allowing residents in remote areas to benefit from faster broadband for online job training, e-commerce, state government services, tourism promotion and videoconferencing.

Bill Bishop, Alaska Communications Senior Vice President, Business Market, said. “Entering the market as a satellite provider instead of a reseller gives us more flexibility and control over our product, which we will use to provide more value for customers. We can offer our customers competitive pricing and a service we’ll manage end to end. As a statewide provider, it’s important for us to serve customers in remote areas, including the North Slope and Arctic regions, and that’s what EUTELSAT 115 West B delivers.”

Mike Antonovich, CEO of Eutelsat Americas, added: “EUTELSAT 115 West B’s exceptional coverage across Alaska and its reliable and efficient performance were central to Alaska Communications’ selection. This agreement showcases the vital role satellite services play in providing enhanced back-up to fibre networks and will allow our customer to serve rural Alaska with satellite technology for years to come, playing an important part in bridging the digital divide in remote areas across the state and bringing significant benefits to local communities.”

About Eutelsat Communications

Founded in 1977, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world’s leading satellite operators. With a global fleet of satellites and associated ground infrastructure, Eutelsat enables clients across Video, Data, Government, Fixed and Mobile Broadband markets to communicate effectively to their customers, irrespective of their location. Over 6,600 television channels operated by leading media groups are broadcast by Eutelsat to one billion viewers equipped for DTH reception or connected to terrestrial networks. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat assembles 1,000 men and women from 32 countries who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of service.

Eutelsat Communications is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ticker: ETL).

For more about Eutelsat go to www.eutelsat.com

Delivering signal power to cross space

Natanael Ayllon

Delivering signal power to cross space

Natanael Ayllon, payload engineer

Microwave radio signals – able to pass freely through Earth’s atmosphere as well as empty space – play a role in just about everything, including mission telemetry and telecommands, satellite services and broadcasting, navigation and timing signals and radar, along with other forms of active remote sensing. 

ESA’s Radio Frequency Technology and Equipment Section works on all types of microwave technologies. I worked there until recently, focused on RF-active technologies such as microwave amplifiers and transmit/receive modules. If a signal going to the ground is going to have sufficient energy that your TV can acquire it, then you need to amplify it at satellite level before it is transmitted down to Earth.

There are two types of amplifier: firstly, those based on vacuum tube technologies, such as ‘travelling wave tubes’, which are old technology but pretty much unbeatable in terms of power and efficiency, based on the interaction between an electron beam and the RF signal in a vacuum envelope, transferring power from the electron beam into the RF signal, triggering amplification.

The alternative solid state solution is often more compact. They are based on semiconductor transistors where small variations of the input voltage are translated into larger variations of current at the output. The main issue of these devices is that, contrary to vacuum tube amplifiers, their gain decreases with frequency. You know, electrons prefer vacuum!

Natanael in Lab

Our section performs various R&D developments through ESA’s technology programmes, from basic prototyping at low technology readiness levels to facilitating specific applications and also support to projects, to take things from the mid technology readiness levels all the way to launch campaigns. At the moment we’re doing work for ESA’s Biomass mission, designed to track status and dynamics of tropical forests using P-band radar.

Because this frequency is so low, a vacuum tube amplifier would be too heavy and bulky for the type of satellite we envisage. Instead Biomass has baselined solid state amplifiers using novel high-power semiconductor gallium nitride, harnessed for space through the ESA-led  ‘GaN Reliability Enhancement and Technology Transfer Initiative’ (GREAT2) consortium.

So, while the GaN technology has already been qualified, what we need to do is put that into a hermetically sealed package that can be flown in space – specially tailored to avoid any risk of electrical discharge or similar operating risks – and then put through rigorous lifetime testing to ensure reliability, arriving at a guaranteed mean time to failure. 

After the transistor is packaged, at solid-state power amplifier (SSPA) level we’re concerned about things like overall electrical performance and thermal dissipation, checking that waste heat is carried away without affecting component reliability – along with all the usual qualification steps of vibration, shock and thermal vacuum testing. The mission needs six SSPAs in total, each of these with three packaged GaN transistors inside. Nevertheless we are qualifying a larger amount of packaged transistors to have a safe number of parts.

For basic research we’re really privileged here at ESTEC, being able to propose new projects to try extend the current worldwide state of the art, using ESA R&D programmes like the Basic Technology Research Programme or Networking/Partnering Initiative to tap into academic expertise to tackle particular problems. As a good example, in 2011 we proposed integrating several functions into a transmit/receive module on a single chip.

Today that 6 x 6 mm prototype chip is now fabricated – also harnessing GaN – putting together a high-power amplifier, low-noise amplifier, a transmit-receive switch and a calibration coupler: what would normally involve an individual chip or circuit for each of these functions. The concept is applicable to any frequency band. In this case, we demonstrated the concept in C-band (for Sentinel-1) and it yielded three times more output power than the current amplifier on board these satellites, with savings of about 40% in terms of size.

GaN Single Chip Front End

There were all kinds of challenges in integrating all these functions on such a small chip. For instance, having the high-power amplifier beside the low-noise amplifier – the heat from the former could for instance compromise the performance of the latter, but we were able to come up with system-level solutions, such as switching off elements when not in use.

The potential is there for more sensitive radar instruments combining decreased mass or extended duty cycles for future Sentinel-1 follow-ons – here in the Directorate we are further maturing the concept within our General Support Technology Programme.

Last update: 9 November 2017

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1574

New regional EARS-IASI Level 2 products soon on EUMETCast

Thursday, 09 November 2017

New regional EARS-IASI Level 2 products soon on EUMETCast

The new regional EARS-IASI L2 products contain profiles of temperature and humidity derived from IASI, AMSU-A and MHS measurements from Metop-A and Metop-B, generated with the Piece-Wise Linear Regression-cube (PWLR3) algorithm.

They are available for all stations providing the EARS-IASI Level 1 service (currently: Athens, Kangerlussuaq, Lannion, Maspalomas, Moscow, Svalbard, Edmonton, Gander, Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk). The timeliness is expected to be better than 30 minutes for 95% of the data, except for the Canadian stations (currently: Edmonton and Gander) and FDES, Fast Dump Extract System (Svalbard, Metop-A).

The EARS-IASI L2 products are consistent with the global IASI L2 sounding products.

The filenames of the EARS-IASI L2 products follow the WMO naming convention:

W_XX-EUMETSAT-<station>,iasi,<satellite>+<station>_C_EUMS_<YYYYMMDDHHMISS>_IASI_PW3_02_M0x_<YYYYMMDDHHMISS>Z_<YYYYMMDDHHMISS>Z.hdf.bz2

where:
1st <YYYYMMDDHHMISS> is the creation time
2nd <YYYYMMDDHHMISS> is the data start time
3rd <YYYYMMDDHHMISS> is the data end time

M0x is the platform, either M01 or M02.

Example filename:

W_XX-EUMETSAT-sva,iasi,metopb+sva_C_EUMS_20171109100312_IASI_PW3_02_M01_20171109094042Z_20171109095537Z.hdf.bz2

The products will be distributed on EUMETCast Europe, on the same channel as the current EARS-IASI service: EUMETSAT Data Channel 1 (PID: 500, Multicast address: 224.223.222.1).

Users wishing to receive the EARS-IASI L2 products via EUMETCast should register via our Earth Observation Portal (EOP).

For more information, contact our User Service Helpdesk.

ViaSat, JetBlue Expand Relationship: JetBlue to Tap into ViaSat's Next-Gen Satellite Capacity and Coverage to Meet Growing Broadband Demand

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it expanded its relationship with JetBlue, and will serve as the direct in-flight internet service provider to the airline. JetBlue aircraft will be upgraded to the latest ViaSat hardware, and will have access to the additional coverage and capacity offered by ViaSat’s next-generation ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms

JetBlue first offered the ViaSat in-flight internet service, branded Fly-Fi®, in December 2013. Four years later, the airline continues to be recognized as having the industry’s “Best Wi-Fi” in the sky – most recently accepting an award for its Fly-Fi service at the September 2017 Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) show. JetBlue is the only U.S. carrier that has deployed a fast and free in-flight Wi-Fi service for all devices – across its entire fleet – encouraging passengers to stream, web browse and use the internet as they would expect to at home or at work. 

“From day-1, we set out to offer the best onboard internet experience available, and we made a great decision in installing ViaSat’s equipment,” said Mariya Stoyanova, JetBlue’s director of product development. “We’ve seen tremendous value from the Fly-Fi service – from driving customer loyalty with our ability to offer new, exciting applications through streaming partnerships to the positive effect we believe it has had on our bottom line. This new deal with ViaSat gives us the ability to tap into a robust communications satellite network, at far better economics, enabling us to build-out plans for a fully connected gate-to-gate experience.”

JetBlue’s commitment enables the airline to access ViaSat’s advanced high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which includes the ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms. These capacity-rich satellite platforms, enable ViaSat to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane.

“JetBlue and ViaSat have a similar strategic vision for in-flight internet service: make it fast, make it high-quality, make it affordable,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility, ViaSat. “Since the beginning of our partnership, we have focused on delivering the best service, with the best economics to enable JetBlue to offer the gold standard in in-flight Wi-Fi. This latest deal solidifies this vision and our partnership for years to come.”

To tap into the satellites, ViaSat’s latest in-flight internet system will be installed onto JetBlue aircraft beginning in fall of 2018. The equipment offers forward and backward satellite platform compatibility, allowing JetBlue to meet the growing broadband demands of the fully connected aircraft. This future-proofing feature ensures JetBlue can cost-effectively deploy the ViaSat equipment today, and take full advantage of the more than 3.5 terabits per second (Tbps) of total expected future global capacity ViaSat will be bringing to market through its next generation of satellite platforms.

About ViaSat
ViaSat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) keeps the world connected. As a global broadband services and technology company, ViaSat ensures consumers, businesses, governments and military personnel have communications access – anywhere – whether on the ground or in-flight. The Company’s innovations in designing highest-capacity satellites and secure ground infrastructure and terminal technologies coupled with its international network of managed Wi-Fi hotspots enable ViaSat to deliver a best available network that extends the reach and accessibility of broadband internet service, globally. For more information visit ViaSat at: www.viasat.com, or follow the Company on social media: FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and YouTube.

Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements that refer to JetBlue and the time-to-market for existing and new aircraft types to be outfitted with the latest generation ViaSat equipment, the expected future capacity and performance of ViaSat’s in-flight internet system, and ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 class satellite service commencement dates, capacity and available coverage. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platform; unexpected expenses or delays related to the satellite system; the ability to successfully implement ViaSat’s business plan for broadband satellite services on ViaSat’s anticipated timeline or at all, including with respect to the ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms; and risks associated with service launch of ViaSat-2, the construction, launch and operation of ViaSat-3 and ViaSat’s other satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance; reduced demand for products as a result of continued constraints on capital spending by customers; changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key customers or suppliers; reliance on a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply products; ViaSat’s level of indebtedness and ability to comply with applicable debt covenants; and other factors as may be detailed from time to time in ViaSat’s public announcements and SEC filings. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in ViaSat’s SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including ViaSat’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. ViaSat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.

Copyright © 2017 ViaSat, Inc. All rights reserved. All other product or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners. ViaSat is a registered trademark of ViaSat, Inc.

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/viasat-jetblue-expand-relationship-jetblue-to-tap-into-viasats-next-gen-satellite-capacity-and-coverage-to-meet-growing-broadband-demand-300552314.html

SOURCE ViaSat, Inc.

ViaSat Announces Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Results

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced financial results for the fiscal second quarter ended September 30, 2017.

“Results for our second quarter were consistent with the objectives we established for this fiscal year,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “Government Systems revenue, operating profit and Adjusted EBITDA growth continued to be very strong, driven by broadband mobility, tactical data links, and information assurance and cyber security. In-flight connectivity investments delivered key milestones with new customers including American Airlines and Qantas that clear the way for rapid growth in airplanes in service in the quarters ahead. We are very pleased that JetBlue has expanded their relationship with us in order to gain coverage with ViaSat-2, and to foster even greater passenger engagement with their award winning Fly-Fi® service. ViaSat-2 orbit raising is almost complete, and we are positioning our services portfolio to reflect its capabilities. Residential ARPU continued to grow to record levels, reflecting strong demand, as we introduced more plans with higher speed and greater bandwidth on our existing satellites.”

Financial Results

(In millions, except per share data)

Q2 FY18

Q2 FY17

Year-
Over-Year
Change

First 6
Months

FY18

First 6
Months

FY17

Year-
Over-Year
Change

Revenues

$ 393.1

$ 399.2

(1.5)%

$ 773.1

$ 762.3

1.4%

Net (loss) income1 

$ (13.7)

$ 11.0

*

$ (22.7)

$ 12.9

*

Non-GAAP net income1

$ 5.2

$ 20.3

(74.2)%

$ 7.8

$ 31.6

(75.5)%

Adjusted EBITDA

$ 61.9

$ 93.2

(33.5)%

$ 123.1

$ 173.4

(29.0)%

Diluted per share net (loss) income1

$ (0.24)

$ 0.22

*

$ (0.39)

$ 0.26

*

Non-GAAP diluted per share net income1

$ 0.09

$ 0.40

(77.5)%

$ 0.13

$ 0.63

(79.4)%

Fully diluted weighted average shares2

58.2

50.5

15.2%

58.0

50.4

15.2%

New contract awards

$ 384.8

$ 586.1

(34.3)%

$ 826.6

$ 922.4

(10.4)%

Sales backlog3

$ 1,078.9

$ 1,091.4

(1.1)%

$ 1,078.9

$ 1,091.4

(1.1)%

* Percentage not meaningful.

Segment Results

(In millions)

Q2 FY18

Q2 FY17

Year-
Over-Year
Change

First 6
Months

FY18

First 6
Months

 FY17

Year-
Over-Year
Change

Satellite Services

  New contract awards

$ 147.7

$ 149.2

(1.0)%

$ 299.0

$  291.0

2.8%

  Revenues

$ 147.6

$ 156.3

(5.6)%

$ 299.8

$ 308.7

(2.9)%

  Operating profit4

$ 12.6

$ 32.6

(61.2)%

$ 31.5

$ 63.4

(50.4)%

  Adjusted EBITDA

$ 55.4

$ 73.9

(25.0)%

$ 117.4

$ 145.8

(19.5)%

Commercial Networks

  New contract awards

$ 54.5

$ 51.3

6.1%

$ 97.1

$ 114.2

(15.0)%

  Revenues

$ 56.3

$ 65.5

(14.0)%

$ 101.5

$ 131.0

(22.5)%

  Operating loss4

$ (59.4)

$ (40.9)

(45.3)%

$ (125.5)

$ (79.4)

(58.1)%

  Adjusted EBITDA

$ (45.0)

$ (25.6)

(75.5)%

$ (95.0)

$ (49.8)

(90.7)%

Government Systems

  New contract awards

$ 182.6

$ 385.6

(52.6)%

$ 430.5

$ 517.2

(16.7)%

  Revenues

$ 189.2

$ 177.4

6.7%

$ 371.8

$ 322.6

15.3%

  Operating profit4

$ 34.2

$ 29.0

18.0%

$ 66.8

$ 47.0

42.3%

  Adjusted EBITDA5

$ 51.5

$ 44.9

14.6%

$ 100.7

$ 77.4

30.0%

1 Attributable to ViaSat, Inc. common stockholders.

2 As the three and six months ended September 30, 2017 financial information resulted in a net loss, the weighted average number of shares used to calculate basic and diluted net loss per share is the same, as diluted shares would be anti-dilutive.

3 Amounts include certain backlog adjustments due to contract changes and amendments. Backlog does not include contracts with our broadband internet subscribers in our Satellite Services segment, nor does it include anticipated purchase orders and requests for the installation of in-flight broadband systems or future recurring internet services revenues under commercial in-flight internet agreements recorded in our Commercial Networks and Satellite Services segments, respectively.

4 Before corporate and amortization of acquired intangible assets.

5 Government Systems segment Adjusted EBITDA for the three and six months ended September 30, 2016 has been adjusted to exclude $0.3 million of income and approximately $0.1 million of loss, respectively, attributable to noncontrolling interest, net of tax.

Satellite Services
In the second quarter of fiscal year 2018, ViaSat’s Satellite Services segment revenues were essentially flat year-over-year, after exclusion of the prior year benefit of $6.6 million associated with payments under the Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) settlement, which concluded in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017. Segment operating profits and Adjusted EBITDA were lower as compared to the prior year period, as a result of increased expenses relating to preparations for the impending ViaSat-2 service launch and a ramp-up in large-scale commercial in-flight connectivity services. Highlights for the quarter include:

  • In preparation for ViaSat-2 service launch, the Company began to trial a number of new service plans including a wide range of unlimited data options.
  • ARPU in the residential business grew 9% year-over-year to a record high of $67.35, reflecting a higher mix of new and existing subscribers choosing premium service plans and value added services, and a slightly higher proportion of retail subscribers. This ARPU increase nearly offset the effects of a decrease in the total number of residential subscribers, as the Company began to de-emphasize older service plans. Total residential subscribers at the close of the second quarter of fiscal 2018 were approximately 589,000.
  • At the close of the second quarter of fiscal year 2018, there were 576 commercial aircraft in service equipped with ViaSat’s in-flight internet system, and we expect to install our system on approximately 830 additional aircraft under existing contracts.
  • Key airline customer highlights:
    • EL AL Israel Airlines selected ViaSat as its in-flight internet partner of choice for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
    • Announced today, ViaSat and JetBlue expanded their relationship. In the new agreement, ViaSat will serve as the direct in-flight internet service provider to the airline, upgrading JetBlue aircraft to the latest ViaSat hardware, which will provide access to the expanded coverage and capacity of ViaSat’s next-generation ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms.

Fiscal-year-to-date, Satellite Services segment revenues, operating profit and Adjusted EBITDA were lower compared to the same period last year. This loss reflected the $13.2 million year-over-year impact to revenues and operating profit due to the completion of payments under the SS/L settlement agreement in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, plus costs associated with the preparation for the ViaSat-2 service launch and strong commercial in-flight connectivity service ramp, both of which are expected to occur in the second half of fiscal year 2018.

Commercial Networks
In the second quarter of fiscal year 2018, ViaSat’s Commercial Networks segment activities continued to be heavily focused on R&D investment in the Company’s ultra-high capacity ViaSat-3 class satellite constellation and in ramping its commercial airline programs, which included new spend for Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) and line-fit programs. This investment activity resulted in a 45% increase in R&D expenses compared to the prior year period. Quarterly revenues were down 14% compared to the same period last year, primarily as a result of lower fixed terminal sales for Australia’s nbn™ satellite broadband service, partially offset by delivery of the first next-generation in-flight connectivity systems in September 2017. Finally, the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 included investments to meet demand for accelerating mobile terminal deliveries. As a result, segment operating losses were higher and Adjusted EBITDA was lower for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 as compared to the same period last year. Highlights for the quarter include:

  • The ViaSat-2 satellite orbit raising is on schedule, and in-orbit testing and the subsequent on-orbit handover from Boeing are expected to be completed before the end of calendar year 2017.
  • ViaSat completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) milestones for the ViaSat-3 class spacecraft. ViaSat and Boeing are now proceeding with full construction, integration and testing of the first two ViaSat-3 class satellites.
  • Initial next-generation mobile terminals have shipped and have been installed on customer aircraft, marking a major commercial in-flight milestone for the Company.
  • Announced earlier this week, ViaSat signed a €68 million Public Private Partnership between its wholly-owned subsidiary ViaSat Antenna Systems S.A. and the European Space Agency (ESA), to develop and productize key components of the ViaSat-3 class satellite communications system. The partnership is co-funded by ESA with the support of European Union member states, ViaSat and other organizations within the European space and communications industries.

Fiscal-year-to-date, Commercial Networks segment revenues were lower, operating loss was higher and Adjusted EBITDA was lower compared to the same period last year, reflecting the same year-over-year impacts and investment trends seen in the second quarter of fiscal year 2018.

Government Systems
ViaSat’s Government Systems segment revenues for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 were 7% higher year-over-year, equaling $189.2 million. This growth was achieved in large part due to increased demand for ViaSat’s tactical data link products, government mobility platforms and secure networking products, which all address critical challenges in a rapidly changing macro defense environment. Operating profit increased to $34.2 million, an 18% increase year-over-year, and quarterly Adjusted EBITDA hit a new high of $51.5 million, up 15% compared to the prior year period. Operating profit and revenue growth continue to be driven by strong demand for ViaSat’s unique Non-Developmental Item (NDI) products initiated under Company-funded R&D programs in prior periods, alongside expanding demand for advanced government mobile broadband solutions. Highlights for the quarter include:

  • Fiscal-year-to-date segment contract awards equaled $430.5 million, reflecting a 1.2 to 1 book-to-bill ratio, and a strong segment backlog of $689.0 million, driving total Company backlog to $1.1 billion.
  • ViaSat announced key awards:
    • Royal Canadian Navy deployed ViaSat’s end-to-end Link 16 communications system on its Halifax-class frigates
    • U.S. Government awarded the option for ViaSat to provide global in-flight connectivity services on U.S. Government Senior Leader aircraft
    • Northrop Grumman Australia selected ViaSat to deliver next-generation satellite communications equipment for the Australian Defence Force
    • ViaSat was awarded a new cybersecurity software contract to protect mobile devices at the battlefield’s tactical edge
  • ViaSat achieved the following key milestones:
    • ViaSat received a U.S. Department of Defense AIMS Certification for its VRG-1000 Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) flight environment generator
    • ViaSat’s Small Tactical Terminal (STT) became the first Link 16 radio to successfully pass live radio frequency testing for the Canadian Army’s Air Space Coordination Centre Modernization Project

On a fiscal-year-to-date basis, ViaSat’s Government Systems segment also reflected record performance, with revenue growth of 15% to $371.8 million year-over-year amidst a competitive defense sector. Record operating profit increased 42% year-over-year to $66.8 million, generating record Adjusted EBITDA of $100.7 million, a 30% increase over the same period last year.

Conference Call
ViaSat will host a conference call to discuss the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 results.  Details follow:

DATE/TIME:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

DIAL-IN: 

(877) 640-9809 in the U.S.; (914) 495-8528 international

WEBCAST: 

investors.viasat.com.

REPLAY: 

Available from 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 8 until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 9 by dialing (855) 859-2056 for U.S. callers and (404) 537-3406 for international callers; conference ID 7478959.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements that refer to opportunities, growth and outlook for fiscal year 2018 and beyond; satellite construction and launch activities, including the orbit raising, orbital placement, in-orbit testing and entry into service of the ViaSat-2 satellite and the timing thereof; the performance and benefits of our ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 class satellites; the expected completion, capacity, service, coverage, service speeds, availability and other features of our satellites, and the timing, cost, economics and other benefits associated therewith; the development and performance of equipment and hardware for the ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 class satellite platforms, the timing thereof and the benefits associated therewith; international expansion plans; the realization of in-flight connectivity investments; and the roll-out, ramp-up and uptake of products and services by, and services offered by, our airline partners as well as our commercial networks and government systems customers. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: the failure of the ViaSat-2 satellite to successfully complete orbit raising, orbital placement or in-orbit testing; our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 class satellites; unexpected expenses related to our satellite projects; our ability to successfully implement our business plan for our broadband satellite services on our anticipated timeline or at all; risks associated with the construction, launch and operation of our satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance; our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of our strategic partnership arrangement with Eutelsat; our ability to successfully develop, introduce and sell new technologies, products and services; the number of purchase orders that are submitted and accepted for the installation of in-flight connectivity systems with respect to aircraft under contract; audits by the U.S. government; changes in the global business environment and economic conditions; delays in approving U.S. government budgets and cuts in government defense expenditures; our reliance on U.S. government contracts, and on a small number of contracts which account for a significant percentage of our revenues; reduced demand for products and services as a result of continued constraints on capital spending by customers; changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key customers or suppliers; our reliance on a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply our products; increased competition; introduction of new technologies and other factors affecting the communications and defense industries generally; the effect of adverse regulatory changes on our ability to sell products and services; our level of indebtedness and ability to comply with applicable debt covenants; our involvement in litigation, including intellectual property claims and litigation to protect our proprietary technology; and our dependence on a limited number of key employees. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in our SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.

About ViaSat
ViaSat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) keeps the world connected. As a global broadband services and technology company, ViaSat ensures consumers, businesses, governments and military personnel have communications access – anywhere – whether on the ground or in-flight. The Company’s innovations in designing highest-capacity satellites and secure ground infrastructure and terminal technologies coupled with its international network of managed Wi-Fi hotspots enable ViaSat to deliver a best available network that extends the reach and accessibility of broadband internet service, globally. For more information, visit: www.viasat.com, or follow ViaSat on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or YouTube.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information
To supplement ViaSat’s consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), ViaSat uses non-GAAP net income (loss) attributable to ViaSat Inc. and Adjusted EBITDA, measures ViaSat believes are appropriate to enhance an overall understanding of ViaSat’s past financial performance and prospects for the future. We believe the non-GAAP results provide useful information to both management and investors by excluding specific expenses that we believe are not indicative of our core operating results. In addition, since we have historically reported non-GAAP results to the investment community, we believe the inclusion of non-GAAP numbers provides consistency in our financial reporting and facilitates comparisons to the Company’s historical operating results. Further, these non-GAAP results are among the primary indicators that management uses as a basis for evaluating the operating performance of our segments, allocating resources to such segments, planning and forecasting in future periods. The presentation of this additional information is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. A reconciliation of specific adjustments to GAAP results is provided in the tables below.

Copyright © 2017 ViaSat, Inc. All rights reserved. ViaSat, and the ViaSat logo, are registered trademarks of ViaSat, Inc. All other product or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations

(Unaudited)

(In thousands, except per share data)

 

Three months ended 

 

Six months ended

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

Revenues:

Product revenues

$ 181,783

$  187,235

$  347,901

$ 347,911

Service revenues

211,291

211,923

425,217

414,377

Total revenues

393,074

399,158

773,118

762,288

Operating expenses:

Cost of product revenues

133,850

136,825

256,495

257,505

Cost of service revenues

135,412

134,241

273,263

261,823

Selling, general and administrative

90,084

77,224

179,257

156,624

Independent research and development

46,268

30,177

91,333

55,354

Amortization of acquired intangible assets

3,320

2,277

6,580

4,790

(Loss) income from operations

(15,860)

18,414

(33,810)

26,192

Interest (expense) income, net

(20)

(4,079)

17

(8,890)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

(10,217)

(10,217)

(Loss) income before income taxes 

(26,097)

14,335

(44,010)

17,302

Benefit from (provision for) income taxes

11,464

(3,596)

20,644

(4,406)

Equity in income of unconsolidated affiliate, net

741

228

Net (loss) income

(13,892)

10,739

(23,138)

12,896

Less: net (loss) income attributable to noncontrolling interests, net of tax

(203)

(280)

(410)

22

Net (loss) income attributable to ViaSat Inc. 

$  (13,689)

$ 11,019

$  (22,728)

$ 12,874

Diluted net (loss) income per share attributable to ViaSat Inc. common stockholders

$  (0.24)

$ 0.22

$  (0.39)

$ 0.26

Diluted common equivalent shares

58,229

50,533

58,039

50,393

AN ITEMIZED RECONCILIATION BETWEEN NET INCOME (LOSS) ATTRIBUTABLE TO VIASAT INC.

ON A GAAP BASIS AND NON-GAAP BASIS IS AS FOLLOWS:

(In thousands, except per share data)

 

Three months ended 

 

Six months ended

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

GAAP net (loss) income attributable to ViaSat Inc.

$  (13,689)

$  11,019

$  (22,728)

$ 12,874

Amortization of acquired intangible assets

3,320

2,277

6,580

4,790

Stock-based compensation expense

15,983

12,657

31,490

25,418

Loss on extinguishment of debt

10,217

10,217

Income tax effect (1)

(10,592)

(5,631)

(17,809)

(11,470)

Non-GAAP net income attributable to ViaSat Inc.

$  5,239

$ 20,322

$ 7,750

$  31,612

Non-GAAP diluted net income per share attributable to ViaSat Inc. common stockholders

$ 0.09

$ 0.40

$ 0.13

$  0.63

Diluted common equivalent shares

58,229

50,533

58,039

50,393

(1)The income tax effect is calculated using the tax rate applicable for the non-GAAP adjustments.

AN ITEMIZED RECONCILIATION BETWEEN NET INCOME (LOSS) ATTRIBUTABLE TO VIASAT INC.

AND ADJUSTED EBITDA IS AS FOLLOWS:

(In thousands)

 

Three months ended 

 

Six months ended

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2016

GAAP net (loss) income attributable to ViaSat Inc.

$  (13,689)

$ 11,019

$ (22,728)

$ 12,874

(Benefit from) provision for income taxes

(11,464)

3,596

(20,644)

4,406

Interest expense (income), net

20

4,079

(17)

8,890

Depreciation and amortization

60,874

61,822

124,809

121,820

Stock-based compensation expense

15,983

12,657

31,490

25,418

Loss on extinguishment of debt

10,217

10,217

Adjusted EBITDA

$ 61,941

$ 93,173

$ 123,127

$ 173,408

AN ITEMIZED RECONCILIATION BETWEEN SEGMENT OPERATING PROFIT (LOSS) BEFORE

CORPORATE AND AMORTIZATION OF ACQUIRED INTANGIBLE ASSETS AND ADJUSTED EBITDA IS AS FOLLOWS:

(In thousands)

Three months ended September 30, 2017 

Three months ended September 30, 2016

Satellite Services

Commercial
Networks

Government
Systems

Total

Satellite Services

Commercial
Networks

Government Systems

Total

Segment operating profit (loss) before corporate and amortization of acquired intangible assets

$ 12,616

$  (59,377)

$ 34,221

$(12,540)

$ 32,550

$ (40,868)

$  29,009

$ 20,691

Depreciation(2)

35,307

6,729

8,795

50,831

35,908

6,234

8,627

50,769

Stock-based compensation expense

3,816

6,109

6,058

15,983

2,423

5,184

5,050

12,657

Other amortization

2,502

1,573

2,648

6,723

2,986

3,824

1,966

8,776

Equity in income of unconsolidated affiliate, net

741

741

Noncontrolling interests

436

(233)

203

280

     (3)

280

Adjusted EBITDA 

$ 55,418

$  (44,966)

$  51,489

$ 61,941

$ 73,867

$ (25,626)

$ 44,932

     (3)

$ 93,173

Six months ended September 30, 2017 

Six months ended September 30, 2016

Satellite Services

Commercial
Networks

Government
Systems

Total

Satellite Services

Commercial
Networks

Government
Systems

Total

Segment operating profit (loss) before corporate and amortization of acquired intangible assets

$ 31,459

$  (125,502)

$ 66,813

$(27,230)

$ 63,417

$ (79,399)

$ 46,964

$ 30,982

Depreciation(2)

70,944

13,255

17,460

101,659

71,248

12,026

17,267

100,541

Stock-based compensation expense

7,448

12,080

11,962

31,490

5,231

10,265

9,922

25,418

Other amortization

6,546

5,161

4,863

16,570

5,908

7,280

3,301

16,489

Equity in income of unconsolidated affiliate, net

228

228

Noncontrolling interests

813

(403)

410

(22)

     (3)

(22)

Adjusted EBITDA 

$117,438

$ (95,006)

$ 100,695

$123,127

$145,804

$  (49,828)

$ 77,432

     (3)

$173,408

(2) Depreciation expenses not specifically recorded in a particular segment have been allocated based on other indirect allocable costs, which management believes is a reasonable method. 

(3) Government Systems segment Adjusted EBITDA for the three and six months ended September 30, 2016 has been adjusted to exclude $0.3 million of income and approximately $0.1 million of loss, respectively, attributable to noncontrolling interest, net of tax

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

(Unaudited)

(In thousands)

As of

As of

As of

As of

Assets

September 30, 2017

March 31, 2017

Liabilities and Equity

September 30, 2017

March 31, 2017

Current assets:

 Current liabilities: 

Cash and cash equivalents

$ 242,708

$ 130,098

 Accounts payable 

$ 101,052

$ 100,270

Accounts receivable, net

251,879

263,721

 Accrued liabilities 

207,000

224,959

Inventories

181,399

163,201

 Current portion of long-term debt 

22,945

288

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

72,389

57,836

 Total current liabilities 

330,997

325,517

Total current assets

748,375

614,856

 Senior notes 

690,270

575,380

 Other long-term debt 

306,202

273,103

 Other liabilities 

112,979

42,722

 Total liabilities 

1,440,448

1,216,722

Property, equipment and satellites, net

1,740,368

1,648,878

Other acquired intangible assets, net

36,796

41,677

 Total ViaSat Inc. stockholders’ equity 

1,844,841

1,734,618

Goodwill

120,592

119,876

 Noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries 

2,932

3,313

Other assets

642,090

529,366

 Total equity 

1,847,773

1,737,931

Total assets

$ 3,288,221

$  2,954,653

 Total liabilities and equity 

$ 3,288,221

$ 2,954,653

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/viasat-announces-second-quarter-fiscal-year-2018-results-300552309.html

SOURCE ViaSat, Inc.

New Directors appointed to the Board of Eutelsat Communications

New Directors appointed to the Board of Eutelsat Communications

Paris, 8 November 2017 – The Ordinary and Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting of Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) today approved the appointment of four new directors: Dominique D’Hinnin, Paul-François Fournier, Esther Gaide and Didier Leroy. Their mandates will be for a term of four years up to the date of the Ordinary General Meeting to approve the financial statements for the Financial Year ending 30 June 2021.

These appointments follow the non-renewal of the mandate of Bertrand Mabille and the resignation of Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, as well as that of Michel de Rosen, whose term as Chairman of the Board of Directors ended today.

Dominique D’Hinnin spent much of his career at the Lagardère Group where he was Director of Internal Audit before being appointed Financial Director of Hachette Livre, Executive Vice President of Grolier Inc., Chief Financial Officer of Lagardère and finally co-manager until 2016. Until today’s Shareholders’ Meeting, he represented the Fonds Stratégique de Participations (FSP) on Eutelsat’s Board of Directors. Agnès Audier has replaced Dominique D’Hinnin as the representative of the Fonds Stratégique de Participations.

Esther Gaide is Chief Financial Officer of the Technicolor Group. She was previously Deputy Chief Financial Officer and HR Director of Havas Group for five years, after holding various financial positions within the Bolloré Group.

Paul-François Fournier is currently Director of Innovation and Member of the Executive Committee of the Banque Publique d’Investissement(Bpifrance) after having spent nearly 20 years at Orange where he held various positions, first in the Enterprise segment, subsequently at Wanadoo and finally as Head of the Orange Technocentre.

Didier Leroy is a recognised expert in the automotive industry. He began his career at Renault where he held various positions before joining Toyota, where he is now Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Corporation.

At the end of the General Meeting, the new Board met and appointed Dominique d’Hinnin as Chairman.

Speaking as the new Chairman, Dominique d’Hinnin said: “I am honoured to become Chairman of the Board of Eutelsat and to succeed Michel de Rosen in this role. Eutelsat has become a global player in the satellite industry under his Chairmanship. He has impressed his mark on the Group and I thank him warmly for his accomplishments on behalf of all Board members. I am also delighted to continue my mission alongside Rodolphe Belmer and the teams at Eutelsat who are fully committed to the Group’s development and to achieving the objectives set out in the strategic plan.”

The Board is now made up of twelve members, 42% of whom are women (five out of twelve) and 67% of whom are independent directors (eight out of twelve). It is composed as follows:

  • Dominique D’Hinnin, Chairman*
  • Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer
  • Lord Birt, Vice Chairman*
  • Bpifrance Participations (formerly FSI) represented by Stéphanie Frachet
  • FSP represented by Agnès Audier*
  • Jean d’Arthuys
  • Ana Garcia Fau*
  • Paul François Fournier
  • Esther Gaide*
  • Didier Leroy*
  • Ross McInnes*
  • Carole Piwnica*

* Independent Directors

The Combined General Meeting also approved all the other resolutions, including the approval of the accounts, the dividend for the 2016-17 Financial Year, (€1.21 per share, paid on 23 November 2017), executive compensation and financial resolutions.


About Eutelsat Communications

Founded in 1977, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world’s leading satellite operators. With a global fleet of satellites and associated ground infrastructure, Eutelsat enables clients across Video, Data, Government, Fixed and Mobile Broadband markets to communicate effectively to their customers, irrespective of their location. Over 6,600 television channels operated by leading media groups are broadcast by Eutelsat to one billion viewers equipped for DTH reception or connected to terrestrial networks. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat assembles 1,000 men and women from 32 countries who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of service.

Eutelsat Communications is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ticker: ETL).

For more about Eutelsat go to www.eutelsat.com

Press
Vanessa O’Connor Tel: + 33 1 53 98 37 91 voconnor@eutelsat.com
Marie-Sophie Ecuer Tel: + 33 1 53 98 37 91 mecuer@eutelsat.com

Investors and analysts
Joanna Darlington Tel. : +33 1 53 98 35 30 jdarlington@eutelsat.com
Cédric Pugni Tel. : +33 1 53 98 35 30 cpugni@eutelsat.com


Follow us at:

Eutelsat on Twitter  Eutelsat on Facebook  Eutelsat on LinkedIn  Eutelsat on Youtube  Eutelsat on Flickr  Google+

Call for Proposals Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition 2018

Call for Proposals Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition 2018

Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition logo

8 November 2017

ESA Education is inviting university student teams to submit experiment proposals to be performed on human subjects on the Short Arm Human Centrifuge. 

STATUS: OPEN. ESA Education is accepting proposals.

DEADLINE:29th December 2017 23:59pm CET.

The 2018 programme seeks to receive applications that will test a question (hypothesis) that can be addressed whilst either lying supine and/or performing exercises whilst being spun at 1Gz and 1.5Gz vs. control measurements at Earth’s gravity without centrifugation. The exercises proposed are focussed on the lower body like e.g. squats, hops or calf raises and there is the possibility for you to propose one, within the boundary conditions defined in the documents section of the Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition website. 

Teams interested in participating in the Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition 2018 programme should submit an accurately completed Experiment Proposal  document detailing the description of the experiments that they intend to perform. Experiments are required to be a key part of master or PhD theses, or relevant to the curriculum being studied in the case of Bachelor students. 

Student teams with ideas for experiments should carefully about the programme on the Spin Your Thesis! Human Edition webpages and in particular the process of application and eligibility as well as the specific hardware requirements and 2018 study design.

ESA strongly believes in diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace. Student applying to this call should also strive to implement these principles when forming their teams. The proposals shall also clarify how the student teams intend to cope with a possible turn-over, in order to replace team members who might decide to leave the project. Eventually, teams of 4 (or more) university students from ESA member states* will be chosen later this year to take part in this unique opportunity.

The students chosen to take part in the SYT-HE programme have the chance to develop important skills that enhance their academic studies and prepare them for careers in industry and academia. These include transferable skills such project management, problem solving, and working in international teams.

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Exercises for the SYT-HE18 campaign

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Let’s clear the air: DigitalGlobe Atmospheric Compensation (AComp), part 2

Since publishing my first blog post on DigitalGlobe Atmospheric Compensation (or AComp), I’ve received a number of questions about the details of our proprietary technique. The improvement DigitalGlobe AComp makes in imagery is clear to see. What’s less obvious, however, is how we achieve a level of improvement that other providers of Earth imagery can’t match. In this blog post, I’ll cover some of the technical details that make DigitalGlobe’s AComp the industry standard.

Methods of compensating for negative atmospheric effects have been around for some time. Different atmospheric compensation tools use different pixel-transformation methodologies to achieve the correction, resulting in a wide range in the quality of the images processed and the solutions they empower. Pretty much every imagery provider has its own method, and of course each one claims that its approach is the best. Let’s put those claims to the test.

Types of Atmospheric Compensation
There are three common methods in the marketplace today.

  • Top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance performs a normalization for solar energy. TOA normalizes the pixels values to the 0.0-1.0 range to reduce variability between images. Because the information needed to convert digital numbers (DN) to TOA reflectance values is known, this transformation is very fast and fully automated. The main limitations of TOA reflectance are the remaining effects of Rayleigh scattering (which results in bluish images), aerosol absorption and scattering phenomena (which result in non-uniform, decreased image visibility).
  • Rayleigh-only reflectance accounts for the systematic properties of the atmosphere by removing the Rayleigh scattering component (a result of the interaction of sunlight with molecules in the atmosphere) from imagery. Again, the transformation is very fast and fully automated. In cases of very low aerosol loads, Rayleigh-only reflectance produces images that are less blue than TOA reflectance, but the effects of haze variability remain visible.
  • Surface reflectance compensates for atmospheric absorption and scattering phenomena on a pixel-by-pixel basis. It approximates what would be measured by a sensor held just above the Earth surface, without any alterations from the atmosphere. Of these three choices, surface reflectance provides the very best visual experience—which is why it’s the method we use.

Figure 1 shows how reflected sunlight is converted and stored as digital number values. The fundamental problem with DNs is that the satellite measures not just the reflected light, but light wave scattering from haze, water vapor and particulates.

Figure 1: Schematic representation of nonphysical and physical quantities.

The sunlight measured by satellites is proportional to the top of the atmosphere (TOA). In addition, sunlight reflected by the Earth’s surface will be impacted by the atmosphere. As a result, DN counts are unique to the sensor, atmospheric conditions at the time of capture, and the very specific operational setting selected for the acquisition. Because this has a very dramatic impact on machine-learning algorithms, it is always preferable to process raw images to remove atmospheric affects and allow for more accurate analysis.

Different Methods, Different Results
Here’s a sequence of images that really shows the difference between methods. Figures 2-5 illustrate the three reflectance products in a time-series over Hanoi, Vietnam. The images were acquired by WorldView-2 between 2010 and 2013 with different atmospheric conditions.

Figure 2: Hanoi, Vietnam. WorldView-2 acquired on February 9, 2010. Average visibility = 14.4 km.

Figure 3: Hanoi, Vietnam. WorldView-2 acquired on December 27, 2010. Average visibility = 14.9 km.

Figure 4: Hanoi, Vietnam. WorldView-2 acquired on April 28, 2012. Average visibility = 8.6 km.

Figure 5: Hanoi, Vietnam. WorldView-2 acquired on December 3, 2013. Average visibility = 12.7 km.

The TOA reflectance images look bluer than both Rayleigh-only and surface reflectance. There’s also not much consistency to true values from date to date, making seamless mosaicking nearly impossible. The Rayleigh-only reflectance images appear less blue than TOA reflectance, but colors are still not vivid since they are greatly attenuated by haze (limiting, for example, the stability of luminosity/contrast). Again, there is little consistency across dates. Only surface reflectance offers vivid, true colors across dates and atmospheric conditions.

Accuracy Matters
To perform accurate surface-reflectance correction, you need to do a pixel-based approach that normalizes the values by using the atmospheric (i.e., aerosols) information derived from the collection itself, guaranteeing the most accurate compensation. Using secondary atmospheric data not collected at the same moment of the imagery will provide inaccurate atmospheric measurements that will impact the quality of the compensated image. Only DigitalGlobe uses a true pixel-based surface reflectance approach that normalizes values by using actual atmospheric information derived from the original collection.

DigitalGlobe’s AComp capability is not limited to our own imagery. It can also be applied to third-party data captured by Sentinel-2, Landsat-8 and others. Figure 6 illustrates another comparison between TOA, Rayleigh-only and surface reflectance in a Sentinel-2A image acquired on May 22, 2016 over northwest Italy, a region where hazy conditions are common. Yet again, only the surface-reflectance transformation produces a uniform, vibrant image.

Figure 6: Northwest Italy. Sentinel-2A acquired on May 22, 2016. Average visibility = 33.8 km.

To really illustrate this point, Figure 7 shows what you get when you combine the whole Landsat-8 archive with AComp to produce a seamless, cloud-free mosaic of the entire world.

Figure 7: Surface reflectance mosaic derived from AComp-ed Landsat-8 images.

Empowering Solutions with Precision
Why does AComp matter? It’s more than just making prettier pictures. The accurate analysis of satellite images depends upon the ability to distinguish between relevant and non-relevant features on the Earth’s surface through time. Many of the solutions we make possible involve deep learning applications, large-scale mosaicking and change-detection mapping—all of which require precise data to avoid rework. When asked how to minimize the likelihood of processing issues, I generally advocate the use of atmospherically compensated satellite data over raw data.

DigitalGlobe’s proprietary AComp methodology is a comprehensive solution that’s unmatched in the industry. No other provider uses a pixel-based approach that incorporates real atmospheric data instead of “best guesses.” This capability aligns with DigitalGlobe’s mission to be the indispensable source of geospatial data, providing customers with the most exacting, mission-critical information available about our changing planet.

Want to learn more? Visit our AComp page for a deeper dive and to download more samples.

Ten years of exploring hypergravity with ESA’s centrifuge

Large Diameter Centrifuge

Ten years of exploring hypergravity with ESA’s centrifuge

8 November 2017

After 14 million revolutions, ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge is about to mark its 10th birthday. The 8 m-diameter four-arm centrifuge gives researchers access to a range of hypergravity up to 20 times Earth gravity for weeks or months at a time.

At its fastest, the centrifuge rotates at up to 67 revs per minute, with its six gondolas placed at different points along its arms weighing in at 130 kg, and each capable of accommodating 80 kg of payload. Multiply those combined figures by 20 g and it adds up to an equivalent mass of 24 tonnes.

“The centrifuge’s surrounding walls and bulletproof glass wouldn’t protect us if one of those gondolas ever spun off,” explains Jack van Loon of the centrifuge team. “The glass is only there in case something like a nut or screwdriver gets left on the mechanism by accident.

“Of course, we have a strict maintenance cycle, checking on vibration and looking out for anything wrong with the motors, gearing and brakes, with visual checks made before each run.

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In a spin

“Additionally, the centrifuge rests on a seismic block of heavy concrete, making sure its running doesn’t interfere with sensitive instruments in other nearby ESA labs.”

Based within a scifi-style white dome, the centrifuge has been a place of pilgrimage for European researchers for the last decade, including student experimenters on regular Spin Your Thesis campaigns.

Plasma arc in hypergravity

Jack adds: “We have some internal ESA testing – for instance to simulate static g loads experienced on some foreign launchers for key satellite systems  – as well as a lot of academic teams, especially in the life and physical sciences, plus commercial experiments.”

Future internal studies will be looking at the behaviour of heat pipes and reactions wheels, used for satellite thermal and attitude control, respectively.

A lot of factors turn out to shift along with gravity: bubble sizes change, convection currents accelerate and alloys form in novel ways. Electrical plasmas alter and test animals lose fat mass.

All the computers and associated equipment used in experiments also need checking, because their performance might be degraded too: computers may fail to cool down, standard microscope light sources have been known to flicker. 

Experiment in gondola

“Traditionally, scientists have taken the value of gravity for granted as a rigid, fixed number,” adds Jack. “But it isn’t: we’re able to manipulate and modulate the g term within an equation, which offers a lot of new approaches.

“For many years the scientific community maintained a central focus on microgravity, with the partial gravity of the Moon and Mars emerging as an interest in the recent years. But that’s a very human-centric approach, looking only at the planetary bodies people can inhabit.

“With this centrifuge, research teams can find out how systems respond across the entire spectrum of gravity, gaining a range of results they can use to validate models, observe the general direction of changes to varying gravity levels, then extrapolate higher or lower as needed.”

Researchers outside centrifuge

ESA decided to build the centrifuge to enlarge the array of research infrastructure it could offer the European research community, with the encouragement of the European Low Gravity Research Association and financial backing from the Dutch government.

ESA’s Life and Physical Sciences Instrumentation Laboratory had a long tradition of building small centrifuges flown during space missions, typically offering a 1 g inflight control for microgravity experiments. Designing the centrifuge meant scaling up this approach, with engineering performed by Portuguese machining company Zeugma. 

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Spin Your Thesis! 2016 – Achilles team

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Eutelsat and Sigfox Foundation join forces to protect rhinos through “Now Rhinos Speak” initiative

  • “Now Rhinos Speak” project run by Sigfox Foundation to attach GPS sensors to 3,000 rhinos and monitor nature reserves
  • Eutelsat providing satellite capacity to collect data retrieved from sensors
  • Staff in national parks and game reserves equipped for improved tracking of rhinos in fight against poaching

Cape Town, Paris, 8 November 2017 – Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and Sigfox Foundation today announced a partnership at AfricaCom 2017 on the “Now Rhinos Speak” project for the protection of the endangered rhinoceros population.

Using Sigfox’s very low-speed network, the Sigfox Foundation has designed and implemented a remote tracking solution for rhinos that uses GPS sensors fitted in the horn of each animal to send positioning data to a secure on-line platform via Eutelsat satellite resources. Three times a day, wardens, vets and specialists in game parks can access readouts of the movements of the animals. This precise data allows them to improve protection against poaching and understanding of an endangered species. With the help of Eutelsat’s satellite resources the Sigfox Foundation aims to fit 3,000 rhinos over a three-year period to track movements.

Prior to officialising the partnership, Eutelsat and Sigfox Foundation have collaborated since November 2016 on an initial operation in southern Africa connecting approximately ten animals. Three base stations of Sigfox’s low-speed IoT network have been connected to the secure platform using Eutelsat’s smartLNB satellite service that extends terrestrial IoT networks anywhere. The collaboration improved the identification of areas of surveillance and refined allocation of resources for protection on the ground.

                                               Sigfox’s secure online platform for rhino tracking

Marion Moreau, President of the Sigfox Foundation: “The partnership agreed between Eutelsat and the Sigfox Foundation for the protection of rhinos is an invaluable opportunity to gain a better understanding of an endangered species and be part of the effort to protect them.Thanks to the support of Eutelsat, we can give rhinos a voice every day, wherever they are.”

Nicolas Baravalle, Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa region at Eutelsat: “We are proud to support the Sigfox Foundation in this critical project for the protection of endangered species in Africa. Through this partnership the use of satellite capacity really comes into its own, enabling us to connect remote points in an environment that will never be served by terrestrial networks.”

This first step will be followed by a monitoring solution for game parks, using sensors that can give a voice to the territory and detect unauthorised intrusions. A team of ten developers-engineers are working closely with a rhinoceros conservation committee in Africa to this end.

About The Sigfox Foundation

The Sigfox Foundation wants to give a voice to vulnerable populations, using the Sigfox network and connected low powered sensors. With the conviction that the “Internet of Things” is detecting weak signals, we deploy in field solutions to prevent from danger, and involve the global Sigfox Ecosystem to protect lives. Sigfox Foundation has secured a team of 45 climate researchers in Antarctica in 2015, and is fully involved since August 2016 to protect endangered wild rhinos in Africa.

More info: www.sigfoxfoundation.org

Twitter: @SigfoxNation

Contact:

Marion Moreau, General Manager of Sigfox Foundation

marion.moreau@sigfox.org

+ 33 6 60 95 43 79

About Eutelsat Communications

Founded in 1977, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world’s leading satellite operators. With a global fleet of satellites and associated ground infrastructure, Eutelsat enables clients across Video, Data, Government, Fixed and Mobile Broadband markets to communicate effectively to their customers, irrespective of their location. Over 6,600 television channels operated by leading media groups are broadcast by Eutelsat to one billion viewers equipped for DTH reception or connected to terrestrial networks. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat assembles 1,000 men and women from 32 countries who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of service.

Eutelsat Communications is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ticker: ETL).

For more about Eutelsat go to www.eutelsat.com

Press
Vanessa O’Connor Tel: + 33 1 53 98 37 91 voconnor@eutelsat.com
Marie-Sophie Ecuer Tel: + 33 1 53 98 37 91 mecuer@eutelsat.com


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