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Issue 15
issue pic Betsy Tillman Kulick
Mobile Satellite Users Association (MSUA) Newsletter editor and Corporate Secretary

Betsy has spent more than thirty years in the communications satellite industry, writing on either fixed or mobile satellite policy and industry issues. She has authored or co-authored numerous market reports, including one of the few reports focused exclusively on Inmarsat published in 1994. Since 1991, she has edited the Mobile Satellite Users Association newsletter, Link, and continues to support the Association. She is also a business analyst, working as a government contractor, supporting the Department of Homeland Security on a network used for critical infrastructure protection.

1) How did you get started in the satellite business?

I have always been interested in the challenges posed by technology to social policy. In the early 1970s, the potential of satellite communications for improving conditions on earth was being actively explored by several far-seeing developing countries, namely Brazil and Indonesia. Having spent a year in Brazil as a high school student, and seen first-hand the enormous challenges Brazil faced in trying to promote economic development, I was immediately interested in how satellite communications could contribute to that end. I spent much of my time in college and then graduate school using each course I took to leverage a growing interest in satellite communications and development. Imagine my delight when in 1979, I was hired by (Andrea Maleter) to work in policy at the Communications Satellite Corp.(COMSAT), helping develop and implement US policy and interests in Intelsat.

2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?

I worked at COMSAT until 1985; the last day I was there I assisted in a small way to support the delivery of very heavy, large but "mobile" satellite terminals to Mexico City after it suffered a huge earthquake. That sparked an interest in mobile satellite communications that I've been in ever since. I've observed, analyzed, and written about, the evolution of mobile terminals from suitcase-sized electronics to the current handheld wonders. I wrote early studies on mobile satellite industry potential, co-authored market studies on the low earth orbiting proposals and have been fascinated by the industry ever since.

3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?

There have been many incredible events in the space industry over the past thirty years, but keeping to my own area of expertise, I have to say I continue to believe that Iridium's ground breaking approach to mobile satellites, in terms of the concept of the network, the way it manufactured low earth orbiting satellites and its approach to handsets, was one of the most amazing paradigm shifts I observed. While ultimately there were financial challenges with the approach (see below), Iridium, and Globalstar and the other little LEO companies galvanized the industry, leading to the creation of numerous smaller distributors and jobs; stimulating the development of a dynamic mobile satellite market than existed before their advent; and benefiting users by bringing more options, at more competitive prices, to the market for mobile satellite communications.

4) What was the greatest obstacle?

Staying with the above-referenced example, the greatest obstacle turned out to be market realities: terrestrial cellular built out much faster than the mobile satellite industry could develop, and that resulted in much publicized bankruptcies.

5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?

My part of the "industry" is the commercial mobile satellite sector and I see consolidation among the companies, and miniaturization and increased power and capabilities for the terminals, giving users heretofore unlimited capabilities.

6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?

Follow your interests. It may not be easy, but it wouldn't be worthwhile if it didn't take some effort. My parents are still amazed that their daughter has managed to make an income following what appeared to them to be an odd interest in outer space. In fact, I am too!


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Issue No. 15:
Women in Space

Spring 2009

General Editor Introduction

From the Guest Editor

Audrey Allison, Dir., Frequency Management Services, Boeing Shared Services Group

Anita Antenucci, Managing Dir. Houlihan Lokey's Aerospace-Defense-Government

Dr. Wanda M. Austin Pres. & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Julie Bannerman, Gen.Counsel, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Sharri Berg, Senior V.P., News Operations, Fox News

Leslie Blaker, DataPath, Inc.

Yvonne Brill, Consultant, Satellite Tech. & Space Propulsion Systems

Michelle Bryan, Senior V.P., Human Resources, Intelsat

Dr. Angie Bukley, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering

Catherine Chang, General Counsel & Asst. Company Secretary, AsiaSat

Sabrina Cubbon, Gen. Manager, Marketing, AsiaSat

Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Engineering Section, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Chris Ehrenbard, Dir., Broadcast Distribution, CBS

Mary Ann Elliot, Chairman of the Board, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Inc.

Celeste Ford, Founder & CEO, Stellar Solutions, Inc.

Mary Frost, former CEO, GlobeCast America

Eilene Galloway, NASA Pioneer

Carmen González-Sanfeliu, V.P., Latin America & Caribbean, Intelsat

Dawn Harms, V.P., Marketing & Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Ellen Hoff, Pres., W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C.

Polly Rash Hollis, Satellite Industry Professional

Britt Horncastle, Satellite Consultant

Susan Irwin, Pres., Irwin Communications, Inc.

Barbara Jaffe, Senior V.P., Advanced Technology and Operations, HBO

Christine King, Deputy V.P., Technical Services & Engineering, Lockheed Martin

Betsy Kulick, Newsletter Editor & Corporate Secretary, Mobile Satellite Users Association

Penelope Longbottom, Founder & Pres., Longbottom Communications

Joanne Maguire, Exec. V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Andrea Maléter, Technical Dir., Futron Corporation

Joan T. Mancuso, Founder & Executive, Broadband International LLC

Dolores Martos, V.P., Sales for Latin America & Caribbean, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Brig. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko, Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, L.A. Air Force Base

Eileen McGowan, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Intelsat

Olwen Morgan, Development Engineer

Bridget Neville, V.P. & Gen. Manager, Satellite Engineering & Operations, Sirius XM Radio

Christine Paape, V.P., Space Explorers, Inc.

Rhonda Parson, Manager, Occasional-Use Sales & Traffic Division, EchoStar Satellite Services

Maj. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Deputy Dir., National Reconnaissance Office

Jane Petro, Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director

Dr. Nongluck Phinainitisart, D.Eng., Pres., Thaicom PLC

Mary Quagliotti, Retired Major General, Army

Radhika Ramachandran, Ph.D., Counsellor (SPACE) & Technical Liaison Officer

Veena Rawat, Pres., Communications Research Centre, Canada

Joslyn Read, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Walda Roseman, Founder & CEO, CompassRose International, Inc.

Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT

Jacqueline Schenkel, Founder, Schenkel & Associates, LLC

Kay Sears, Pres., Intelsat General

Gwynne Shotwell, Pres., SpaceX

Marcia Smith, Pres., Space Technology Policy Group, LLC

Pascale Sourisse, Gen. Manager, Land & Joint Systems Division, Thales

Andy Steinem, CEO, Dahl-Morrow International

Nicole P. Stott, Astronaut, NASA

Bambi Taskarelli, Voice/Data Engineer, NBCU

Leslie Taylor, Strategic Planning Division Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Synette Tom, Marketing Dir., Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, Satellite Communications Consultant

Diane Tryneski, Senior V.P., Broadcast & Studio Operations, HBO

Diane VanBeber, V.P., Investor Relations, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Intelsat

Barbara Warren, Systems Analyst, International Telecommunication Union

Zhang Yan, Gen. Manager, CITICSat and Chief Rep., Asiasat

UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: Astronomy Blog

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