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YIR: Intelsat General
by Kay Sears, President

2008: One of the most important accomplishments for Intelsat General has been the broadening our thinking from a “bandwidth only” perspective to much more of a solutions-oriented mindset. We started to look more deeply at the government’s mission, and to more fully align our capabilities and expertise to meet those challenges, as well as to develop a best-solutions approach to those challenges. I think we went a long way in 2008 to build a trusted relationship with our partners and our customers, a deeper relationship, which will carry us in 2009 toward the fulfillment of more complex service offerings such as customized network solutions and hosted payloads.

Since moving up to the position of Company president last June, I have learned that we are very much intertwined with our customers’ successes, that the components of the network that we provide and the support are critical, and that our success is their success and vice versa. I was able to see across the different departments, not just in sales and marketing, but in engineering, program management, satellite design and execution. It confirmed my belief that a trusted relationship with the DoD and our commercial partners is required to support the warfighter and critical end users.

We believe the concept of hosted payloads is a game-changing product for the Department of Defense and other agencies. As the pioneers in the hosted payload business, we spent the first year educating and spreading the message that hosted payloads are an economical and efficient alternative to solve difficult requirements and to augment the military’s own satellite network.

That education campaign continues, but we have succeeded this year in developing some important advocates for this concept and this product. We also began an interactive dialog with our satellite-manufacturing partners, such as Boeing, Orbital Sciences, and Space Systems/Loral, to further the integration options for hosting payloads on commercial buses. We challenged them to develop a standard interface that would ease the integration time and risk for a hosted payload, and would allow us to add a hosted payload at different stages of a satellite build.

We have also reached out to sensor manufacturers and the scientific community to utilize hosted payloads to test critical technology and components in space and to fly much-needed earth observing instruments that have been bumped off other satellites’ programs. We’ve seen the government issue RFPs and RFIs to either study or to buy hosted payloads, so while the work continues, we think we have made tremendous progress over the last year.

One of the hosted payload programs our Company has been working on is the DoD’s Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD), which involves an Internet Router in Space (IRIS). IRIS is on schedule and on budget and will be launched on the IS-14 satellite in the second quarter of 2009. All systems are green. The 90-day JCTD will start shortly after in-orbit testing and will prove the advantages of the Internet routing in space. We expect to measure network-throughput enhancement and the IP-gain factor. After that 90-day period, we will have a great set of data to share with the military and commercial network providers to show what routing can do for communications. After the test period, we will get additional government and commercial users on the system and determine how it runs on live networks.

Several months ago, we reached an arrangement to provide X-band capacity on Paradigm satellites for U.S. users. The Paradigm contract and other third-party offerings reflect the solutions approach we are taking to meeting the challenges of our customers. We have customers who trust us to not only provide Intelsat bandwidth, but also provide the best solution no matter who owns the satellite. Relationships with companies like Paradigm give us more tools in our toolbox to solve our customers’ problems that sometimes cannot be accomplished on an Intelsat satellite, but could be at a frequency like X-band from Paradigm or perhaps some other bandwidth from another operator. We will continue to form these strategic relationships that bring value and additional capabilities and expand what option we can provide to our customers. We need to be ready with a broad array of solutions to offer the customer and in 2008 we have been successful at demonstrating that capability.

It may seem that Intelsat General is moving away from being a bandwidth provider to becoming an integrator — it’s not integration as much as being a solutions’ provider. That’s because we are keeping to our core strength, which is having an infrastructure in the space segment with teleports and a ground network that connects those space components. Those components are part of an integrated solution that we understand. If we can’t provide what a customer needs, we will work with partners who can.

2009: We have a three-pronged vision for our company. First, we want to be a trusted partner with the U.S. government, which we believe is fundamentally different than just providing services. Such a relationship allows us to invest in core infrastructure like satellites, teleports, and ground systems in an effort to serve them in the future. That’s a two-way relationship we are expecting there; our investment relies heavily on their commitment.

Secondly, we want to be solutions-driven, and will focus on aligning our capabilities and expertise to meet the Government’s mission and our commercial customer’s requirements. We will leverage our own assets, as well as those of key partners to deliver on this solutions approach.

The third component of our vision is to provide hosted payloads, which leverage our build and launch cycles, and gives the DoD and the U.S. government the ability to add new on-orbit capability with every satellite we launch. It is a very customized, cost-effective solution and it provides the DoD options outside of new satellite programs to solve problems. Being a trusted partner and a solutions provider, and offering hosted payloads as a unique capability are the three components of our long-term strategy.

About the author
Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General is responsible for implementing the Company’s strategic and operational plans and for the overall mission of providing a range of sustainable, cost-effective and secure communications solutions to government and civilian customers. She has more than 20 years of experience in the satellite communications industry including extensive experience in rapid response solutions for the US Government, both Military and Civilian agencies. Ms. Sears is an industry spokesperson for how commercial satellites can be utilized by the military to solve mission-critical needs and she has worked over the past several years to advance the commercial / DoD partnership. Previously, she helped launch Government services business units at both G2 Satellite Solutions and Verestar. Ms. Sears has also held sales and product development positions with Intelsat and Comsat World Systems. Ms. Sears has a Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Richmond. Ms. Sears is currently serving on the SATCON Advisory Board and is on the Board of Directors for Women in Aerospace.

About the company
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Intelsat General Corporation (IGC) is a leading global provider of fixed and mobile commercial satellite services. Our mission is to provide a range of sustainable, cost-effective and secure communications solutions to Military, U.S. Federal, State and Local Governments, NATO members, and to the contractors and integrators that support them. From remote military outposts, disaster recovery sites and US embassies, to health organizations and homeland security, IGC provides highly responsive and rapidly deployable services that allow our customers to expand their communications flexibly, reliably and reach anywhere their operations may take them. Leveraging our global fleet of 52 satellites, 8 teleports and terrestrial fiber infrastructure, our services connect customers to every corner of the earth. With built-in redundancy, back-up features, encrypted satellite routers and other devices, our clients can count on Intelsat General for mission-critical and routine communications.