SILICON VALLEY IS LOOKING UP by Scott Budman
We got a rare tour of the floor (while wearing the aforementioned safety suits) where the satellites are made, and the view from the ground is spectacular. Check it out: www.qik.com/budman
Through the decades, Loral has, fairly quietly, made a name for itself building gigantic satellites, each one costing as much as $300 million. The manufacturing wing is currently filled to capacity, as customers want more satellites — because their customers want more broadband, satellite TV, and so on. You’ve probably heard about the struggles faced by most media companies this year. But the company that helps make the media happen? That would be Loral, and it’s done fine. Never busier, with a stock price that has tripled over the last twelve months.
When it comes to weather, Loral works with NASA to construct satellites for the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration (NOAA). This is also steady work, and Loral just retired one of its weather satellites after 12 years of service. As the technology they use improves, the pictures you see on your screen improves along with it.
So, the next time you see a meteorologist telling you what he sees in his or her weather computer, just know that he or she had to look skyward first.
[For more Silicon Valley reports from Scott Budman, please visit www.nbcbayarea.com]