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Space


Israel and Satellite Communication Systems



Although by the end of 1994 Israel had launched only two small experimental LEO satellites, the country was preparing to launch its first GEO spacecraft in 1995 on board an Ariane vehicle. Developed by Israel Aircraft Industries with assistance from DASA and Alcatel Espace, the 500-kg-class AMOS (Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite) will carry 7 Ku-band transpenders (plus two spares) for Eurasian communications services.

The Amos-1 geostationary satellite, located at 4 degrees West, began operations in 1996. It was built by Israel Aircraft Industries and uses seven Ku-band transponders, primarily for direct-to-home television broadcasting, TV distribution and VSAT services for customers in the Middle East and in Central Europe. Spacecom Ltd. is the exclusive marketer and service provider of Amos-1 services.

A second satellite, the Gurwin-II TechSAT, was launched in July 1998. This experimental satellite was designed, manufactured and is controlled by The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The Gurwin-II TechSAT provides communications, remote sensing and research services.

In July 2000, a licensed DBS provider began serving the public. Its digital television broadcasts include a basic package of about 20 channels, as well as supplementary packages and pay-per-view channels. Meeting local content obligations was one of the conditions of receiving the license.

With a promised $80 million cash injection every year for the five years 20110-2015, its lucrative defense and communications industries as a solid base, and a new satellite research accord with NASA, Israel is looking to space as its newest high-tech business frontier. Capitalizing on its defense, communications and IT industry, Israel plans on kick starting a civilian space industry. The country already boasts a $5 billion defense industry. The 25 Israeli firms in the defense business, which include industry leaders such as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit and Rafael, are very interested in the country's new national space program, supported by the Netanyahu government and President Shimon Peres. For Israel, the development of space technologies - the country currently exports a mere $800 million in sales each year - is intertwined with its well-developed defense, communications and IT industries, and may be the only channel for its long-term financial sustainability.

Gilat’s innovative VSAT network solutions are designed to serve both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of tactical and logistical command and control requirements. Founded by a group of award-winning lsrael Defense Forces engineers, Gilat is a leading provider of satellite communications solutions based on VSAT technology. Gilat provides end-to end enterprise networking, telephony and military/government solutions to customers in more than 85 countries on six continents, with more than 750,000 VSATs shipped worldwide.

Ayecka Communication Systems specializes in developing hardware for the satellite communications market, and has succeeded in offering better-performing products at lower than market prices. The U.S. patent registered by the company affords it a significant technological advantage. When the idea of a complete communications system was raised internally, the company’s directors understood that they would need a partner in the software field. “An international partner seemed like a good idea,” says Baruch Kagan, CEO.

Ayecka Communication Systems approached MATIMOP, who introduced them to Indian company NMSWorks Software, and supervised the correspondence. “MATIMOP accorded a business framework, helped us find a partner and even assisted us in obtaining project funding from the Chief Scientist,” says Kagan. Indian company NMSWorks Software provides software solutions to complement the hardware manufactured by Ayecka Communication Systems. The complementary technologies created an Israeli-Indian synergy and clear division of labor. After waiting for an answer from Indian government officials, the project received approval and was set in motion.

India is a vast country, and a lack of communication systems exists in many parts of the country. “Satellite communications could prove to be a good solution.” Kagan very much appreciates Israeli technology, but is aware of the limitations of the Israeli market and the benefits of breaking into international markets. “For Israeli companies international collaboration promises a very big advantage. The market in Israel is very small and bigger business opportunities can be found elsewhere around the globe. We are unable to change the fact that in many places around the world people prefer local companies. That’s why collaboration is important.”




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