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Tag Archives: satellite

Prepare to Blast Off! ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Fund Campaign to Send TARDIS to Space

TARDIS Orbit

Doctor Who’s TARDIS is a space and time traveling machine, and now it’s finally headed to outer space. TARDIS is no stranger to actual space travel in the fictional world, but it’s just a decorated blue telephone box with a very notable look here on Earth. Legions of Doctor Who fans want to change that, though, as they have raised enough funds to send a TARDIS-shaped satellite into Earth’s orbit.

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SPOT Connect Gives Your Smartphone Satellite Access

It’s all well and good that you’re the adventurous type, likely at any time to be found camping in the Amazons, spelunking in the Yucatan or trekking in the Himalayas, but bringing your phone with you on those adventures might just be more dead weight in your backpack. Cellular reception is not universal. Satellite phones are notoriously expensive, so maybe the SPOT Connect can be a good compromise.

Simply pair your smartphone with SPOT Connect, and get connected to a global satellite network that lets you send messages and GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere on the planet. Update Twitter and Facebook. Send email and text messages. Request non-emergency help from professional service providers. And in the case of a critical emergency, send an SOS message requesting emergency assistance.

You’re limited to 41 characters at a time for custom messages, and you can save a 120 character predefined message. Not a whole lot, but should be enough for quick updates. More important than letting your buddies in on which caves in Namibia offer the most guano/sq.ft. coverage is the fact that you can transmit your coordinates to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) in case of emergency. That right there is reason enough to spend the $169 that the device costs. Plus the $99 yearly for the subscription to the service.

It works with iPhone and Android devices.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearPatrol ]

Suffering From AT&T Reception Woes? Maybe You Should Consider Their New TerreStar Genus Dual-Mode Cellular/Satellite Smartphone

TerreStar Genus (Images courtesy AT&T and UofM)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s kind of like swatting a mosquito with a brick, but if you’re sick and tired of reception issues with AT&T you might want to look into their new TerreStar Genus satellite smartphone. On the plus side you’ll have coverage literally anywhere in the United States with a direct view of the sky, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and surrounding waters, but that big advantage is kind of overshadowed by a long list of cons. For starters you’ll have to give up your iPhone or other smartphone of choice for a ‘plump’ $799 Windows Mobile 6.5 device, and if that price tag wasn’t enough of a sticker shock, the service plans will be.

The TerreStar Genus doesn’t require a contract surprisingly, but according to SkunkPost.com it does require a regular AT&T voice and data plan, plus an extra $25/month to have access to the satellite service. And then whenever you do make a satellite call you’ll be charged an additional 65cents/minute. But the satellite service offers data too so you don’t necessarily have to ever make a call, just don’t think you’re cheating the system since data costs a whopping $5 per megabyte! I mean the phone might save your life one day if you’re ever lost in the wilderness, but who wants to come home to that cellphone bill?

[ PR – TerreStar Genus™ Dual-Mode Cellular/Satellite Smartphone Now Available from AT&T ] VIA [ SkunkPost.com ]

Solara Field Tracker 2100 GPS With Satellite Text Messaging

Solara Field Tracker 2100 (Image courtesy Solara)
By Andrew Liszewski

Looking for a GPS device that can take a licking and keep on tick… err, tracking a satellite signal? Well look no further than the pocket-unfriendly Solara Field Tracker 2100. The electronics and durable housing allow it to operate in a temperature range of -40C to +65C, and that includes the color LCD display which has been tested to -42C. If dropped in water less than 2 meters in depth you’ve got about an hour to remove it before any damage will occur, and it should keep functioning fine up to altitudes of 40,000 feet.

Best of all though, the FT 2100 connects to the Iridium satellite network allowing you to send and receive text messages, custom or pre-defined, no matter where you are on Earth. Sure, it’s only got enough storage to keep the last 10 messages received, but something tells me if I was trapped on a mountain I’d happily overlook that limitation. $880 plus $29.99/month with a 3-year contract for text messaging privileges.

[ Solara Field Tracker 2100 ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Dish Network Announces New Nationwide HD Channels

dishnetworkdvr

By Shane McGlaun

I have been feeding on a steady stream of HD TV and movies for years now and I can’t stand to watch SD programs. It would really suck to have to go back to SD programs and thankfully, DirecTV has all the channels I like to watch in HD.

The HD lineup was the reason I chose DirecTV over Dish Network for my new house. Dish Network is trying to improve its HD offerings though and has just introduced seven new national HD channels. I wonder if that means they got that satellite that failed to reach orbit correctly last year repaired.

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Google’s New Satellite Takes Its First Picture

By Jonathan Kimak

Last week the GeoEye-1 satellite, which is co-owned/sponsored by Google, took a photo(above) of the Kutztown University campus in Pennsylvania. The satellite is primarily funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency(NGA) with Google being the second largest funder.

The satellite is able to take pictures at a resolution of 41cm which is close enough to zoom in on the home plate of a baseball diamond. Google is only allowed to receive photos that are a maximum of 50cm resolution due to government restrictions. The NGA will receive their photos at a 43cm resolution.

Even with restrictions the satellite will provide Google Earth and Google Maps with the best pictures yet.

Right now the GeoEye-1 is undergoing calibration to ensure it achieves maximum resolution.

VIA [ Wired Blog ]