Intelsat General Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intelsat Ltd., announced that it has achieved a number of key milestones with the satellite payload that will demonstrate Internet routing in space (IRIS) for the US military.
Intelsat General is teamed with Cisco Systems and SEAKR Engineering Inc. to create the payload for IS-14, the satellite being built for Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral, which is planned for launch in the second quarter of 2009 aboard an Atlas V rocket. The satellite will be placed in geostationary orbit at 45 degrees West longitude with coverage of Europe, Africa and the Americas.
IRIS is a FY’07 Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) with the Department of Defense (DoD). It is a three-year program that allows the DoD to collaborate with Intelsat General and the company’s industry team to demonstrate and assess the utility of the IRIS capability.
Don Brown, vice president of Intelsat General, said that construction of the satellite is moving forward at a pace that will allow completion more than a month ahead of its planned delivery date.
“The IRIS project is a great example of our ability to bring new technology and capabilities to the warfighter rapidly,” Brown said. “We are going to deliver an IP router to space as a hosted payload in less than three years from the time the project was first approved.”
Brown said that the IRIS payload has passed its critical design review (CDR) and interfaces have been verified for initial assembly and integration with the spacecraft bus. Additionally, the payload converters, necessary to convert from RF to baseband, are in final acceptance testing. During the next three months, IRIS will undergo functional and thermal vacuum testing.
Representing the next generation of space-based communications, IRIS will serve as a computer processor in the sky, merging communications being received on various frequency bands and transmitting them to multiple users based on data instructions embedded in the uplink. The IRIS payload will support network services for voice, video and data communications, enabling US military units and allied forces to communicate with one another using Internet protocol and existing ground equipment.