by Christine Hansen for MDBizMedia
Since Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon in 1969, America’s exploration of the unknown has continued to grow, and Maryland’s space and satellite industry has been paving the way. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Facility, for example, has called Maryland home for more than 50 years. The Hubble Telescope was built, serviced and rebuilt in Maryland.
Space activity spending accounted for $262 billion in 2009 according to the Space Foundation’s The Space Report. In Maryland, the space and satellite industry accounts for 15,061 jobs and $1.6 billion in wages. It’s no wonder that sixteen of the nation’s top 25 aerospace industry manufacturing and service companies are located in Maryland and are developing and applying new technologies to combat global climate change and strengthen the defense of our nation.
Integral Systems, NASDAQ:ISYS, a satellite communications solutions company based in Columbia, delivers data and information from space and terrestrial-based platforms into networks for military, government and commercial satellite and aerospace customers. The company has 230 employees and reported $44.5 million in revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2011, an increase of 17.9% compared to the first quarter of 2010. The company recently won a $4.1 million contract to upgrade NOAA Polar Ground System.
“We have been a proud Maryland incorporated and headquartered company for over 28 years now. We see Maryland as a leader in the high-tech industry,” Katy Herr, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Integral Systems said. “I don’t think there is more of a high-tech industry than the space industry. Between Goddard and our other civilian intelligence agencies, there is a strong government presence in Maryland. We are a leader in cyber security and there is a strong connection between cyber and space. We see that continuing in the future.”
Intelsat, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland provides fixed and mobile commercial satellite services, serving industry and government sectors across the globe. The company has a global fleet of 50 satellites and 8 teleports and terrestrial fiber infrastructure. Intelsat strives to ensure that their clients save time and money. Last year, the company was awarded the Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) in Transponded Services and Subscription Services, making it possible for the US government to lease competitively priced services from satellite operations, where they previously had limited options.
The company also pioneered the Hosted Payload arena, a partnership between private companies and government entities which allows government entities to plan and implement space missions on shorter cycles and for less money. Intelsat sold a hosted payload to the Australian Defence Ministry – which is expected to be activated early next year – saving them over $150 million – compared to the amount they would spend building their own military satellite system.
The 2009 Space report broadly defines the space industry to include satellite communications and computer services companies – many of which could play an integral role in positioning Maryland as a leader in the industry.
Tony Bardo, Assistant Vice President of Government Solutions for Hughes, NASDAQ:HUGH, a broadband satellite network and services company believes that Maryland can be positioned as a leader if public and private companies continue to work with existing industry leaders and deliver citizens mobile access to critical government applications and services. Headquartered in Germantown, MD, the company employs over 1,500 Marylanders and has annual revenue of over $1 billion.
“Increased adoption of improving speeds from the satellite industry can deliver broadband throughout the state far sooner than waiting for terrestrial build-outs, which many rural communities will not see,” Bardo said. “Last year, Hughes was awarded a national grant of $58.7 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide affordable broadband to consumers throughout the U.S. Maryland can demonstrate further leadership in this industry by adopting satellite technologies to complement its terrestrial network to achieve communications diversity and resiliency – to continue to serve the public in the event of emergencies.”
Maryland companies like Integral Systems, Hughes and Intelsat will get the chance to showcase their high-tech capabilities this week at Satellite 2011, a conference that convenes thousands of satellite professionals from across the country to Washington, DC. Tomorrow, DBED Secretary Christian Johansson will preview findings from the recently conducted space industry economic analysis at a business breakfast hosted by the department. Philip E. Ardanuy, president of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable, will also outline the organization’s key initiatives and the 2011 agenda. Twenty-two Maryland companies will participate in the exhibition including DRS Defense Solutions, GE – Satellite, GMV Space Systems Inc., and Saft America Inc.