The Clipper (Kliper) vehicle, under design by Russia’s Energia, has not yet found a customer. Clipper may become a follow-on to the Soyuz vehicle, and has attracted interest from the European Space Agency (ESA) for ISS access. In 2006, Anatoly Perminov, the director of Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), said the agency planned to start construction of the vehicle in 2012.
NASA announced SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler as the winners of the COTS competition in August 2006. The goal of the competition is to develop commercial delivery services for the International Space Station (ISS), distributing research and development funds to be combined with private capital.
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From Sidebar — “Satellite imagery sales were helped along by increasing tensions in Afghanistan and then Iraq. In time, foreign purchases and major contracts for data (ClearView and NextView) from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) brought growth and a measure of stability to the data market. The acquisition of Space Imaging by ORBIMAGE [now known as GeoEye] has also further stabilized the industry.”
From a sidebar — The geographical reach of VSAT technology was a prime reason why Bob Evans Farms deployed a 481-site network. The national restaurant chain teamed with Spacenet to link its retail stores and corporate headquarters to an always-on IP VSAT service. And the network was up and running in five weeks. The company looked into frame relay, DSL and ISDN service options, but chose a VSAT network because it was the only technology that could reach all locations and was the most cost-effective.
“Despite the strong barriers to entry that prevail in the industry, some daring entrepreneurs are nevertheless attempting to challenge incumbents. The entry of low-cost launchers such as the Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) Falcon-1 and Falcon-5, offered at USD 6 million and USD 12 million respectively, may…”
Satellites also provide mobile telephony services. Satellite mobile telephony enables regional to near-global coverage depending on the satellite or constellation, using handsets that communicate directly with a satellite. Mobile satellite telephone service is provided by satellite constellations in LEO, such as Iridium and Globalstar, and by satellites in GEO, such as Inmarsat, Thuraya, and ACeS. These services are provided by satellites primarily using the L-band. Satellites providing mobile phone and data services often are referred to as mobile satellite service (MSS) satellites.