Tag Archives: satellite

Stofiel Aerospace at 2016 CES



stofiel_aerospace_bannerBrian Stofiel, CEO of Stofiel Aerospace talks about launch services for micro/nano satellites.

Traditional launch services are extremely expensive. The Stofiel Aerospace concept is to launch a 30 pound payload from a rocket from a balloon at 100,000 feet.

They are working with governments to come up with a low earth orbit space that will allow small payload, rapid deployment satellites.

The system they are planning will be able to launch within a couple of hours.

These are short-duration satellites that will only remain in orbit for about two weeks before de-orbiting.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Support my CES 2018 Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgeek30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgeek99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Donate to the Show: Support this podcast

Using PlayOn with DirecTV



PlayOn has been around for several years now, but for most people it has remained on the edge. However, the app has managed to become more prominent and insinuate itself into more places. It can work with almost any DLNA-capable device and also works with other popular  hardware like Roku and Google TV. Since DirecTV’s HR line of DVR’s are DLNA-capable I decided to give it a shot.

There are a few things you need to take care of before getting started. First and foremost, you need to make sure your DVR is connected to your home network — mine is hardwired thanks to an ethernet jack I installed behind the media cabinet and network switch that feeds, not only the DVR, but the HTPC, Netgear NeoTV and Blue-Ray player.

Now you will need to install the PlayOn server on a computer on your home network. The free version contains home media access, Pandora, YouTube and HBO Go (subject to your  subscription). The paid service contains about 60 additional channels and costs $19.99 per year.

Enable the “My Media” feature and then point it to the folders where your media — pictures, video and music — is stored. It may take a bit of time to catalog everything.

Now, on your DirecTV DVR click the “Menu” button, browse to “Extras”, click “Music & Pictures” and you will find a list of the available channels and files from your PlayOn server.

Under many of the stations you will find sub-headings, including subsidiary channels like NBC Sports under NBC. While it work great with a DirecTV DVR, it really is more for those who are looking to cut the cord and PlayOn with a Google TV box may just be the way to go.


Troubling Satellite Gap



Whenever a major storm like Sandy develops, one of the tools that are used by scientist to follow and predict the storm’s path are the polar satellites. These satellites fly pole to pole, crossing the equator in the afternoon. The data that these satellites provide allow scientists to more accurately predict the path of the storm up to 5 days ahead. This can make it easier to prepare for disaster and get the relief to where it is needed.

There is a growing problem though these satellites are past their life expectancy and their replacements the J. P. S. S will not be ready until 2017. This will leave at least a year gap in coverage. This will make it more difficult to predict the path of a major storm. If the information coming from these satellites had not been available during the 2010 blizzard studies show that forecasters would have under estimated the storms power by half. The gap between the two system according to independent studies is a result of mismanagement, lack of funds and delays at NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association,)

Right now there is an army of utility trucks headed toward various locations on the East coast. Without these satellites and the information they provide it would have been more difficult for agencies to know where to send these trucks, possibly delaying the recovery by days. As the number of storms and their power seems to be increasing the data these satellites provide become more and more important.  We can not prevent natural disasters, but with the proper information we can limit their effect and get the relief where it is needed and that is where these satellites come in.


DeLorme inReach Two-Way Satellite Communicator



DeLorme LogoAndy talks to Jim from DeLorme about the new inReach two-way satellite communicator, perfect for those really out of the way places.

The DeLorme inReach is a tracking and communication device that uses a satellite radio link to transmit text and GPS location data, rather than the mobile phone network. Owners can communicate via text message from anywhere on the planet, not just those areas with mobile phone coverage, and it’s ideal for hikers and extreme sports enthusiasts who might have an emergency far from a phone signal (or simply want to reassure family that they’re ok.)

The inReach has two modes of operation, one where you use the control unit directly, the other where an Android smartphone app talks to the control unit via Bluetooth. The app is needed for two-way text messaging, mainly as the control unit doesn’t have a keyboard, but there is a dedicated SOS button on the control unit for emergencies. Other smartphones may be supported later.

The inReach costs $250 and a monthly subscription is required for service priced at $9.95 per month. The units are available now.

The inReach is impact-resistant, waterproof, floats and weighs 8oz. Battery life is 60 hours on a pair of lithium AAs. Overall, it’s an ideal emergency backup device but please note, gadgets like this are not a substitute for proper planning, preparation and equipment. Always tell someone your plan and expected return time.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

Support my CES 2018 Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgeek30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgeek99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Donate to the Show: Support this podcast

ViaSat exede 12 Mb/s Satellite Broadband Pricing



ViaSat LogoIn a follow up to our earlier story on ViaSat and NRTC, ViaSat have announced their new 12 Mb/s satellite broadband service, exede. The high speed service will launch on 16 January beginning at $50 per month, offering 12 Mb/s down and 3 Mb/s up, using the new ViaSat-1 satellite.

The exede service will be welcomed by rural communities that have been unable to get high speed Internet connections because of the lack of infrastructure and the distances involved. Satellite broadband overcomes these issues to offer a “feels like fiber” experience.

With our new exede broadband service, customers across the United States will have a way to get exceptional speed whether they live in a city, suburbs or a more rural area,” said Tom Moore, senior VP of ViaSat.  “Our new exede service speeds make us very competitive with both wireless home broadband service as well as legacy DSL and many cable services.

The exede residential broadband packages all feature the same high speed but with higher data allowances at each price point. 

exede12 Services

Up to 12 Mbps downloads
and up to 3 Mbps uploads

Data Allowance (monthly)

7.5 GB

15 GB

25 GB

Package Price (monthly)

$49.99

$79.99

$129.99

Overall, this looks like a great new service for people who were poorly served in the past, but users will have to watch out for those data limits.


NRTC Offers ViaSat Satellite Broadband



ViaSat LogoThe National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative has partnered with ViaSat to offer NRTC members faster 12 Mb/s satellite broadband through ViaSat’s WildBlue service. The NRTC represents the telecommunications and information technology interests of around 1500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 US states.

The new ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite was launched back in October and includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet. Capable of 140 Gb/s, this one single satellite has more capacity that all of the other North American satellites put together.

NRTC’s electric and telephone members were the first distributors of WildBlue service, and they remain committed to ensuring that rural Americans have access to robust broadband,” said Tim Bryan, NRTC CEO.  “The enhanced satellite broadband service will make significant contributions to the communities we serve, so we are very happy to continue our relationship with ViaSat and offer the new service.”

Pricing wasn’t announced, but current WildBlue customers pay between $50 and $80 per month depending on service.  Outside of ViaSat-1’s coverage area, the NRTC will also offer 5 Mb/s broadband service through a range of delivery mechanisms. Based on figures from WildBlue, between 10 and 20 million American households are unable to get broadband through DSL or cable and for them, fast satellite broadband at a reasonable price will be warmly welcomed.

Todd and his team will try to get a demo of the satellite service at next week’s CES.


The Modern Space Race



The Institute of Engineering and Technology’s monthly magazine always has plenty of tech articles and this month is no exception with a look at the different approaches to space flight being adopted by the US and Russia in Gateway to the Stars.

In the US, privateers are pushing forwards with the new Spaceport America in New Mexico, while the Russians continue with the Soviet-era Baikonur Cosmodrome. The pictures of the new spaceport under construction and Virgin Galactic craft contrast sharply with the utility of Baikonur. Obviously the sites are aiming at different markets, one consumer-led into sub-oribital flight, the other for ballistic launches, typically satellites and cargo runs to the ISS.

Picture courtesy of Virgin Galactic. The new spaceport terminal is the building under construction in the foreground.

The article also has some great trivia. Did you know that the nearest settlement to Spaceport America is called “Truth or Consequences” or that Baikonur Cosmodrome is actually 300 km from Baykonur so as to mislead the West? Or that the launch countdown to zero can be credited to Fritz Lang’s 1929 film “The Woman in the Moon”?