The SATELLITE 2012 Conference is going on this week in Washington, DC. Jeff Foust sat in on some sessions today and posted updates on Twitter at @jeff_foust. He covered panels by launch providers and the four major satellite operators.
Launch Vehicle Providers Panel
- Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX announces they have an April 30 launch date for their next Dragon mission to ISS; berth May 3.
- Shotwell: they have almost an instantaneous launch window that day; launch opportunities only every 3 days.
- Shotwell: will have 1st upgraded Falcon 9 (needed for comm’l sat launches) at VAFB by December, launch “shortly thereafter”
China Great Wall Industry Corporation
- Gao Ruofei of China Great Wall Industry Corp says China planning 20-21 launches this year, up from a record 19 in 2011.
- Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace: planning a minimum of 2 Vega launches a year for the next 5 years.
- Sea Launch planning upgrades to the Zenit-3SL that will increase capacity to 6400 kg and then 6700 kg to GTO.
- 1st Cyclone-4 launch from Alcântara site in Brazil scheduled for end of 2013; launch site construction in progress.
- Cyclone Space says Cyclone-4 is lowest priced” rocket with “meaningful” GTO payload. But how meaningful is 1700 kg?
Satellite Operators Panel (Eutelsat, Intelsat, SES, Telesat)
- Eutelsat’s Michel de Rosen on hosted payloads: lets you share more resources, but lose some flexibility. It’s like a marriage
- Dave McGlade, Intelsat: still believe there are opportunities in satellite servicing even though ended deal with MDA.
- CEO panelists say they’re happy with launch services from Arianespace and ILS, but looking for competition to lower prices.
- All four specifically mentioned SpaceX, wiched [sic] them luck and hoped they’ll become a player in commercial satellite launch.