Momentus founder Kokorich resigns under U.S. regulatory pressure, Dawn Harms named interim CEO

PARIS — Startup satellite last-mile carrier Momentus Inc., which is moving forward with an IPO via an investment from Stable Road Acquisition Corp. (SRAC), has accepted the resignation of its CEO, Mikhail Kokorich, and appointed former Chief Revenue Officer Dawn Harms as interim CEO.
The decision came as it became clear to SRAC that keeping Kokorich at his post was roadblock to clearing U.S. government national security and foreign-ownership concerns.
Kokorich, a Russian national who has been seeking asylum in the United States . . .
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Speedcast exiting Chapter 11 with $500M in equity after Centerbridge wins ownership battle with Black Diamond

PARIS — Mobile satellite services provider Speedcast International Ltd. is expected to exit Chapter 11 by mid-March following the Jan. 22 approval of a restructuring plan by its bankruptcy court.
The ruling was made possible by a December settlement between Speedcast’s two largest creditors — Centerbridge Partners L.P. and Black Diamond Capital Management — both of which wanted to purchase Speedcast.
After a months-long series of maneuvers that delayed Speedcast’s exit from Chapter 11, it was Centerbridge that emerged the winner . . .
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ESA modifies Galileo ground segment after outages, prepares Galileo launches and 2nd generation satellite contracts

PARIS — Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network is preparing to launch the last 12 first-generation satellites, sign contracts with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space for 12 second-generation spacecraft — which look nothing like their predecessors — while it grapples with a ground segment that has caused two outages, in July 2019 and December 2020.
At the same time, the network management is gradually transitioning to the European Union Agency for the Space Program, which will take on more responsibility alongside Galileo’s . . .
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Viasat: Military IFC to be bigger than commercial; SpaceX Starlink is burning capital unsustainably

PARIS — Viasat Inc. said providing satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) to military aircraft will be at least as large a market as commercial airline fleets, and perhaps larger, as the company enters the largely untapped market of providing broadband links over the Pacific.
The broader military market including airborne and naval platforms equipped with Viasat-built multi-band terminals may top the list of Viasat’s ambitions for its Viasat-3 network of three satellites in geostationary orbit ringing the globe.
The company is positioning itself to . . .
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OneWeb raises $400M in equity from SoftBank and Hughes

PARIS — Satellite-broadband provider OneWeb raised $350 million in new equity from its previous lead investor, SoftBank Group Corp., and $50 million from ground-segment hardware provider Hughes Network Systems, bringing total financing to $1.4 billion — about $800 million short of what it needs to complete its first-generation constellation.
London-based OneWeb emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November under the co-ownership of the British government and India’s Bharti Global telecom operator. Each promised $500 million.


Finally, a coherent European launcher reply to the Why-aren’t-you-like-Elon question

PARIS — Elon Musk was as much a part of the background music of young European aerospace engineers’ school years as Green Day or Coldplay.
Now in the business, they’re confronting the fact that maybe a European SpaceX is not possible, or even desirable, depending on how one looks at industrial policy.
But understanding that doesn’t mean they’re not on the defensive at every space policy conference in Europe, just like their elders, when faced with the inevitable Why-can’t-you-be-like-Elon . . .
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European Commission outlines flexibility of 7-year, $18.25B budget, and Britain’s return to Copernicus

PARIS — The European Commission has reserved the right to move funding between programs in its 2021-2027 budget but details about how that could occur remain unclear.
The Commission has also penciled in a figure of 18% as the expected contribution of Britain to the Copernicus environment-monitoring program pending final negotiations on precise terms and conditions.
An 18% investment by the U.K. would be equivalent to 975.78 million euros ($1.2 billion) for Copernicus over the seven-year budget period.