U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. The hearing will examine commercial satellite services and next-generation satellite services affecting consumers.
- Ms. Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX
- Mr. Mark Dankberg, Chief Executive Officer, ViaSat
- Mr. Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat
- Mr. Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWeb
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman John Thune
Communications satellites are essential links in our globally connected world. They bounce television signals all over the planet and provide voice communications and internet access in remote areas. And in a sign of satellites’ resiliency and reliabilty, first responders and others in disaster areas – like Florida after Hurricane Irma and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria – rely on satellite systems as their lifeline when other communication systems are down.
The next generation of satellite-based communications systems holds even more promise. Large constellations of satellites may provide broadband communications that rival their terrestrial counterparts and make access to affordable broadband internet a reality in the rural areas that terrestrial networks don’t reach. Other constellations promise imaging services that could advance key Earth and climate science initiatives. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Much of this new interest and investment in space is coming from the private sector. In fact, some have begun to call this the second great Space Age. And, as it was for the first great Space Age, an epicenter is once again forming on the Space Coast of Florida. As I have said before – as goes Cape Canaveral, so goes the commercial launch business. And thanks in no small part to the efforts of some of the companies we have here today, and to our commitment to an ambitious civil and national security space program, the Cape is coming alive.
The space industry has brought millions of dollars of investment to Florida, along with thousands of jobs and other economic benefits. For years I’ve been working with the FAA, NASA, the Air Force, and our colleagues here in Congress to pave the way for a dramatic increase in commercial space activity at the Cape, and now we are seeing that come to fruition.
As a matter of fact, earlier this month, General Monteith, the commander of the 45th Space Wing, told me they now have the capability to support two launches from the Cape in a single day. Over the coming years, those launches will deliver thousands of new satellites into orbit, cargo and crews to the International Space Station, and eventually new technologies like in-space manufacturing. And on top of all of that, we are building the vehicles that will return humanity to deep space, and, folks, we are going to Mars.
So, suffice to say this is an exciting time, and frankly a critical time, for our space program and for the space sector as a whole. That is why it is such an important time to make sure our space agency is led by an experienced and competent professional. The agency has not faced this critical of an inflection point since the Apollo program. If we stumble now, the impacts on our civil, commercial, and national space capabilities could be felt for decades to come.
I would like to thank our witnesses for being here today and I look forward to discussing how we can work together to bring about this new Space Age.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Stephen SpenglerChief Executive OfficerIntelsat
Mr. Greg WylerFounder and Executive ChairmanOneWeb
Mr. Mark DankbergChief Executive OfficerViaSat
Ms. Patricia CooperVice President of Satellite Government AffairsSpaceX