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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

TECHNOLOGY — SpaceDev, Wireless Future Build Satellite Transponder

Klickback.com Signs With MemberWorks to Distribute Client Rewards

Stay tuned for a new space radio being developed by Poway-based SpaceDev, Inc. and Wireless Future, Inc. of San Diego.

This is not a radio that will broadcast Martian rock.

It is a next-generation, miniaturized, low-cost STDN-compatible transponder for government and commercial lunar and earth-orbiting missions. STDN is NASA’s worldwide Space Tracking and Data Network.

The transponder is intended to be used in typical telemetry, tracking and control operations of orbiting satellites.

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“When you send a message to it, it sends it back around to you and you can measure how long the message took round trip. That helps you with navigation,” explained Jim Benson, CEO of SpaceDev, which was launched in 1997 as the world’s first commercial space exploration and development company.

The transponder, which will be manufactured by Wireless Future, can also be used for a variety of other missions, including SpaceDev’s proposed live, streaming video lunar entertainment and science orbiter, and for the firm’s planned commercial near-earth asteroid exploration missions.

Benson said since the transponder’s power can be increased, it can be used for other missions, like the ones being explored by SpaceDev and the Boeing Co. The two companies recently teamed up to investigate a variety of small, low-cost, deep-space mission initiatives.

“When you’re very close to the earth, you’re only a couple hundred miles straight up,” Benson said. “You need a very low wattage to transmit and receive when you’re flying directly overhead. However, when it gets farther, let’s say to the moon, you’re going to need more power.”

Benson said the transponder won’t be hard to market.

“The product is in a category that is in high demand,” he said. “This is something that many earth-orbiting satellites need in order to communicate with the earth. So it’s not creating a product and having to create a niche. The market is already there.”

The first transponder will fly on CHIPSat, the first mission of NASA’s low-cost University-Class Explorer (UNEX) series. CHIPSat, which is being developed by SpaceDev and UC Berkeley, will be launched for its one-year mission on a Boeing Delta 2 rocket in early 2002.

The micro spacecraft will carry one science instrument, the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer, or CHIPS.

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Cyber Cash: Show me the money! San Diego-based Klickback.com has signed a three-year agreement with MemberWorks to distribute up to $200 million iRewards to MemberWorks’ 6 million customers.

Klickback.com’s iRewards are like frequent flier miles or electronic Green Stamps. One iReward equals $1. iRewards, which are collected, can be redeemed instantly for any of the 250,000 brand-name products, gift certificates and travel at Klickback.com.

Klickback.com is a business-to-business outsourced service provider that develops online rewards programs for businesses that usually have a large customer base.

The Connecticut-based MemberWorks designs consumer benefits programs that offer services and savings in health care, personal finance, insurance, travel, entertainment, computing, fashion and personal security.

Besides MemberWorks, other Klickback.com customers include Metrocall, Inc. and First World Communications.

“We help our customers increase their profits by making their customers more loyal by implementing a rewards program,” Klickback.com’s founder and chief executive Chad Carpenter said.

“Once their customers are there, we allow them to earn more rewards by shopping at 80 of our affiliate sites such as Toys R Us, Brooks Brothers and Lands’ End.

Carpenter said teaming with companies like MemberWorks gives Klickback.com access to more potential customers.

“By forming strategic alliances with companies with large customer bases we can have millions of members for Klickback.com in a short period of time,” he said, adding the rewards market is worth $10 billion.

Klickback.com’s competitors, which focus on offline companies , Netcentives, Inc. and MyPoints.com , both have market caps of at least $1 billion.

Bits & Bytes: San Diego’s latest Internet IPO success story comes from Websense, Inc., a provider of Internet surveillance software. Shares of Websense more than doubled in value on March 28 after the firm’s $72 million IPO. The firm’s shares rose 165 percent, opening at $18 and closing around $47 by the end of the day. Websense has more than 19 million shares outstanding after the IPO, giving it a market cap of $907 million. Ensemble Communications Inc., which supplies next-generation broadband wireless access equipment, has netted $25 million in venture financing. The money will be used to increase staff, facilities and marketing efforts toward the commercial launch of Ensemble’s innovative Fiberless system later this year. Fore! TheGolfer.com, the local, Internet-based golf reservation network, has partnered with GoBizGo.com to provide complete E-commerce services for golf courses that are members of TheGolfer.com. GoBizGo.com’s services are provided by NetObjects, Inc., a leading provider of E-business software, solutions and E-services for small businesses and enterprises. And, finally, for all you lounge lizards. It was amazing to see and feel the energy buzzing around at the March 24 iLounge event, which showcased San Diego’s hottest Internet companies. If you missed it, here are some notable quotables from the event:

“Everything on the Internet is commodity. Content is no longer king.” , Michael Robertson, co-founder and CEO of MP3.com.

“There has never been a better time for entrepreneurs.” , Carrie Stone, venture partner for Enterprise Partners, a La Jolla-based venture capital firm.

“People who start these Internet companies and want to get rich are in it for the wrong reason. I’m rich and I’m still working. This Internet revolution, I just love it. I want my grandkids to say, ‘My granddaddy was there.'” , Blaise Barrelet, founder and chairman of San Diego-based WebSideStory, which has found success with its Web tracking tools.

“San Diego is more than a sweet little town with a panda named Hua Mei. On the super-virtual highway, we are driving the bus.” , Anthony Bollotta, emcee of the iLounge event and president of Bollotta & Associates, an entertainment and production company in San Diego.

Cool tech story ideas can be sent to asiedsma@sdbj.com.


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