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SpaceX Formosat-5 launch shows ongoing launch-market inefficiencies

LOGAN, Utah — The scheduled Aug. 24 launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a single 475-kilogram satellite into a 720-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit is a spectacular waste of rocket capacity that casts an unflattering light on the lack of flexibility of the launch-services and...

NASA to smallsat/cubesat community: Great potential, needs work

LOGAN, Utah — A NASA effort to combine the low-cost/high-speed benefits of the commercial cubesat/smallsat industry with the reliability requirements of high-value missions illustrates how far the cubesat industry still needs to go, according to a NASA official leading the effort. Michael Johnson,...

Interview: Avio CEO Giulio Ranzo

PARIS — Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher, which recently conducted its 10th successful launch in 10 attempts, does not have the history of India’s PSLV or Russia’s Soyuz in launching small satellites. But Vega’s prime contractor, Avio SpA, thinks its moment is coming as small-satellite...

Inmarsat says its 5th GX satellite beats ViaSat-3 on bandwidth economics

PONTE VEDRA, Florida — Mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat on Aug. 3 said its recently ordered fifth Global Xpress Ka-band satellite offers the bandwidth economics of ViaSat Inc.’s terabit-per-second ViaSat-3 for a total cost of $200 million including launch. Under construction by Thales...

Interview: Opher Doron, general manager, IAI space division

PONTE VEDRA, Florida — The Aug. 1 launch by Europe’s Vega rocket of two satellites — one a high-resolution optical satellite for the Italian Defense Ministry, the other a French-Israeli environmental-science spacecraft — offers a once-in-a-generation showcase for IAI, the prime contractors for...

Interview: SkyVision CEO Ori Watermann

PARIS — Will SkyVision be a carnivore in the jungle of satellite service providers or one of those disappearing in a consolidating market? Time will tell. UK-based SkyVision, created in 2000, was purchased in 2016 by Spadina House AG, which previously had purchased Signalhorn, a managed...

Intelsat firm on capex despite debt, and on aero Ku-band despite Ka- growth

LONDON — Satellite fleet operator Intelsat on July 27 said it is proceeding with a 10% annual increase in satellite capacity between 2017 and 2019 despite debt-service obligations that consume 40% of its gross revenue. The company also swatted away concerns that its decision not to deploy Ka-band...

Latest funding round values SpaceX at $21.2 billion, up 76% since 2015

LONDON — Launch-service provider SpaceX’s most recent Series H round of funding raised $351 million and valued the company at $21.2 billion — a 76% increase from the previous Series G funding in January 2015, which totaled $1 billion and valued SpaceX at $12 billion. SpaceX stock...

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SpaceX cuts flight-to-reflight time for Falcon 9 first stage

PARIS — Launch-service provider SpaceX has cut by more than half the time it takes to recover, refurbish and re-fly its Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage after just two campaigns and expects further substantial time savings as it gains more experience, a SpaceX official...

Intelsat reduces revenue, EBITDA forecast for 2017, trims capex plans

Intelsat is banking on its Epic Ku-band HTS satellites to open new markets with lower per-megahertz prices. But it’s taking longer than expected for the new demand to compensate for revenue declines in its ongoing business. Credit: Intelsat PARIS — Satellite...