The Space Race

I have to thank my friend and relation Chris Benson for putting this unique package of videos together. I just quote from what he sent me: “I just watched a 2005 BBC documentary on the Space Race. I thought it was superb – I thought I knew all of that stuff, but I didn’t – […]

Login Problem Corrected

Some of you might have encountered a MySatelliteSpy Member Login problem of late. Well, it’s been fixed! Logging in via the Forum has been fine, but any member logging in using the normal Login form elsewhere on the website will have hit “ERROR – Incorrect Password”. Those who reset their password will have seen the […]

Wake Up Rosetta

On Monday morning 20th January 2014 at 11:00am Central European Time (10:00am GMT) a snoozing spacecraft will be woken up nearly 1 Billion kilometres from Earth. It’s needed a long sleep, because it will have a lot of (literally) ground-breaking work to do. It’s an interesting alarm call. ESA would have to send the wake-up […]

Thwart Hackers and Eavesdroppers – Get a Strong VPN

Virtual Firewall

Recent news stories about the possible interception and logging of people’s emails and internet activities have made Hacking and Eavesdropping very hot topics indeed. In a way, that’s a good thing because the majority of people have no idea just how prevalent hacking and interception already is. Not necessarily by Governments, but by the many […]

See the Sirius FM-4 Satellite at The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

The SiriusXM Satellite at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

One of the first satellites designed to provide space-based digital radio service to consumers in the United States and Canada was donated by SiriusXM Radio and Space Systems/Loral to the Smithsonian. The Sirius FM-4 broadcasting satellite was built as a flight-ready back-up for a constellation of three satellites developed by SiriusXM and manufactured by Space […]

What is 4G? Do you know?

It’s not often that I stray into the broader world of telecommunications, but I was so impressed with this article by Mark Gregory in “The Conversation” that I wanted to share it in its entirety. For those of you who want a peek behind the ‘4G’ acronym without being sucked into a morass of technical […]

Loss of the OTS 1 Satellite

NASA Camera Frame 1

This is a sorry tale of how four years’ work was destroyed in 54 seconds. Some say that the number thirteen is unlucky and on 13th September 1977, exactly 35 years ago today, this proved to be the case for me and the whole team that developed the OTS satellite. Here’s how things played out. […]

50 Years of Satellite Communications

It’s not often that I publish two blog posts in quick succession, but this is an exception. Only a couple of weeks ago on July 10th 2012 I posted “The Birth of Satellite Communications” on the anniversary of the launch of Telstar, the world’s first commercial communications satellite. That blog post was subsequently published in […]

Olympic Games 2012 – Powered by Satellites

London 2012 Olympic Games Stadium

Without satellites, the Olympics wouldn’t be what they are … Only a lucky few million people will actually attend the London 2012 Olympic Games, whereas billions of people all over the world will feel part of the event as a result of the immediacy of live television. The following 4 minute video produced by the […]

50 Years Ago Today – The Birth of Satellite Communications

The Telstar Satellite

10th July 1962 marked the birth of satellite communications. Exactly 50 years ago today the Telstar satellite commenced its journey into space from Cape Canaveral and became the first ever active commercial communications satellite. It carried the first live trans-Atlantic TV broadcasts. These days, satellite launches are commonplace and polar orbits, MEO orbits, Molniya orbits, […]

7 MINUTES OF TERROR

Seven minutes of terror when the Mars Curiosity (MSL) rover undertakes its planned descent to the Martian surface … Team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover’s final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars Now that’s what I call systems engineering!

Vega Launch – Europe’s Newest Satellite Launcher

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at livestream.com Tomorrow, 13th February 2012 will see the launch of Europe’s newest satellite launch vehicle, Vega, from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Spaceport at Kourou, weather permitting. This first test flight Vega launch will carry 9 payloads – seven Cubesat satellites plus two Italian Space Agency satellites. The […]

Radar Wars

Radar Wars

Not my usual sort of post, but this just had to be shared. Believe me, this could well be true. I could recount some similar, real situations – but then they’d have to shoot me! Attribution: I always like to acknowledge, reference and attribute things which I put into posts, if possible. On researching this […]

Young Australian of the Year – Marita Cheng, Engineering Visionary

Marita Cheng - Engineering Visionary

The prime minister of Australia has just announced the “Australian of the Year” awards on the eve of Australia Day, 26th January. The Young Australian of the Year 2012 is Marita Cheng, who has been hailed as an engineering visionary. GO ENGINEERS! GO WOMEN ENGINEERS! NATION BUILDERS! Here’s an extract from the website of the […]

Year of the Dragon – 龙年

龙年 Year of the Dragon

龙年吉祥! 新的一年祝全世界人民好运连连生活美满! Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! I hope that this new year will bring good luck to all people in the world. I don’t speak or write Chinese, so I sincerely hope that the above Chinese text correctly conveys my meaning. If it is wrong in any way then please leave a […]

WGS-4 Military Communications Satellite Launch

ULA Launch of Boeing WGS-4 Satellite

Boeing has received the first on-orbit signals from the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite it is delivering to the U.S. Air Force. The signals indicate that WGS-4, the first in the Block II series, is healthy and ready to begin orbital manoeuvres and operational testing. Further detailed information can be found on Boeing’s website […]

The Ultimate Seismograph + 97th Anniversary of Avezzano Earthquake

OTS In Orbit - Artist's Impression

This is not only a true story, but also is timed to mark the 97th Anniversary of the devastating earthquake which destroyed Avezzano on 13th January 1915, resulting in a massive loss of life. Have you ever been in an earthquake? I have, once, and it’s scary. Not a powerful earthquake, admittedly, and most California […]

How to Survive an Earthquake – The Triangle of Life

Every year there are hundreds, if not thousands of earthquakes but the only ones to make the headlines are those that impact significantly on us humans. 2011 was a bad year for such events – I don’t need to name them as they will all flash into your mind as you read this. For a […]

Santa Claus – An Engineer’s Perspective

Someone sent me this in an email quite a few years ago. It’s a gem! I don’t know where it originated or who holds the copyright, but with apologies and grateful thanks to the copyright holder … Here it is: There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa […]

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Season's Greetings

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it’s difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my lawyer last night, and on advice I wish to say the following: DEFINITIONS “The Wisher” – Me. “The Wishee” – You. […]

Watch the VLA Antennas Dance

TimeScapes 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo. When I saw this short time-lapse video I was just blown away! Twenty seven 25 metre antennas of the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico dancing in unison – and to music. Thanks so much to Brigitte Bailleul (@Brigitte_Ba on Twitter)

New Asia-Pacific Editor for SatMagazine + MilsatMagazine

Well, I guess the time has arrived for me to come in from the cold and own up to who I really am! I’m Dr Bob Gough, managing director of Carrick Communications Ltd, and I’ve just been appointed as the Asia-Pacific Editor for SatMagazine and MilsatMagazine. These are published monthly by the long-established Satnews Publishers, […]

Good News for Goonhilly, Space Science & Cornwall

I love being able to report good news and I heard some very good news yesterday. So much so that I think I’ve upset all my Twitter followers by bombarding them with tweets – I apologise! (a quick “Thank You” to @DocLorraine, @DrLucyRogers and @stewartwardby for responding so quickly). What was so good that it […]

Watch the Mars Science Lab (MSL) Launch Here

Goonhilly – Yesterday, Today + Tomorrow

November 2011 SatMagazine Cover

Having been involved one way and another with the Goonhilly satellite earth station for some 35 years, imagine my delight at being asked by Satnews Publishers to write an Insight Feature about it for their monthly SatMagazine. I viewed this as a real honour, since Satnews Publishers is a long-established and arguably the market-leading source […]

Watch Dramatic NASA NPP Launch

Prior to presenting the launch video itself, the following video link gives a real, behind the scenes look at the launcher integration and final launch preparations. Viewing this 6 minute video will put the launch itself into perspective => NPP Launch Preparations Right, the “quick” version of the launch itself: NASA’s National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental […]

LA Confidential – X-Band & Artichokes

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles

I’m the sort of person who likes to plan, but despite my best intentions life always seems to be event-driven. Such is the case today, which is why I’m writing this. Let me explain: I’m on Linkedin and am a member of some 30+ Groups relating to satellite communications. Being a helpful sort of guy […]

Soyuz Launches 2 Galileo Satellites Today

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at livestream.com Watch the launch preparations at Kourou, the successful launch,

Help Save Goonhilly Earth Station Complex

Photo courtesy of and copyright Ian Jones, 2011

Everybody’s heard of Goonhilly, haven’t they? No? I’m amazed, so here’s the story of a piece of UK National and technological heritage and why it desperately needs your support right now. There’s an urgent petition to the UK Government which needs to be considered and, if agreed with, then signed by all people who do […]

Welcome to the New Satellite Spy Website

Satellite Spy

Welcome to Satellite Spy’s new website at www.satellitespy.net. For previous followers of the blog when it was located on Blogger – Congratulations! You’ve found its new home. I’m still fighting a few glitches with the new site, not the least of which is that the Landing page is wrong, coupled with the fact that currently […]

Oh Deer – The MX Missile, a Flying Coffin and the Twin Towers

Manhattan Skyline With World Trade Centre

The anniversary of the atrocity committed against the USA has triggered memories of a day some 30 years ago which culminated in a picture-perfect flight into NYC’s La Guardia airport, the approach being down the Hudson River with a sharp turn to port across Manhattan onto the final approach. A stunning afternoon view of Manhattan […]

Deepest, Darkest Borneo

It might be a week or so before my next post as I’m about to depart from the connected world for a bit. Internet availability in Borneo is expected to be patchy – that’s why they’ll benefit from more satellite communications. If I manage to survive the jungle, the mosquitoes, leeches, snakes,spiders and the occasional […]

First and Last Launches of the Space Shuttle

Well spotted. The internal photo isn’t a picture of the Space Shuttle. It’s the European Space Agency‘s (ESA) first astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, inside the ESA Spacelab D1 in the Shuttle’s cargo bay (both pictures are courtesy of and copyright ©NASA). I’m writing this piece now because today is to be the very last flight of […]

Following and Commenting

From 1st October 2011 the specifics of the next four paragraphs in italics no longer apply, following the move to this new www.satellitespy.net website. The rest do – because I can’t change history! [A couple of people have had questions about following and posting comments on the blog. If you want to follow, then click […]

Prologue : Satellite Spy’s First Blog Post

How do you start a blog that you know will go on for years? My answer: Dive in at the deep end! This is the book I’ve wanted to write for years, but organising a book, spending months getting everything organised and in the right order is just plain boring. When, if ever, it’s finished […]