Advanced Television

EchoStar faces S-band deadline

June 10, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Denver-based EchoStar is facing an ITU obligation on S-band implementation which has to commence by August 10th. Two nano-satellites, designed to operate in S-band and launched for EchoStar, have failed to reach orbit.

The ITU obligation actually expired in April but an extension was made until August to permit EchoStar to launch and ‘bring into use’ its S-band frequencies. However, a third nano-satellite also built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems for EchoStar, is being prepared for launch by the end of June.

Irvine, California-based Tyvak, has enjoyed plenty of success in building small cubesats but suffered post-launch failures with its two EchoStar craft which had failures in changing their altitudes and orbital inclination after launch.

Tyvak is reportedly using a different propulsion system on its third EchoStar craft.

The ITU-granted licences for S-band give EchoStar global rights to the spectrum which is especially useful for Internet of Things customers and given that the rights extend to terrestrial as well as orbital usage makes it doubly valuable. And the prospects are immense. EchoStar bought Helios Wire back in October 2019 and the asset included Sirion Global. Sirion has global rights to 30 MHz of capacity and is said to be enough spectrum to handle at least 5 billion units which could range from low-cost home automation and security to – it is claimed – even 8K streaming video.

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