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With dual Ku-/Ka-band aero terminal qualification, Gilat looks to Air Esurfing & China market

PARIS — Satellite broadband hardware and services provider Gilat Satellite Networks said the qualification of its dual Ku-/Ka-band aero terminal is likely to have its most immediate impact in China, where the company is already partnered with local IFC/IFE provider Air Esurfing. Air Esurfing has concluded agreements with several Chinese airlines. Gilat has already provided the ground segment for...

Thales Alenia Space partners with France’s ONERA aerospace lab for HAPS, optical comms, radiation hardening

PARIS — Satellite prime contractor Thales Alenia Space signed a cooperation agreement with French aerospace-research lab ONERA, saying public-private relationships like this that enabled it to best Viasat to win a high-throughput-satellite contract with fleet operator Eutelsat. Under the terms of the five-year agreement, the two organizations will work on five areas that Thales Alenia Space...

EchoStar transfixed by industry M&A options; Hughes division expands in Central, South America

LONDON — EchoStar Corp. has long been poised to use the imagination of its owner, Charlie Ergen, and the cash generated by its Hughes Network Systems division to do something big. Judging from its quarterly financial statements and its statements to investors, it’s still poised: — EchoStar management still seems dazzled by the array of acquisition targets, and unable to select any of them for...

SpaceX wants regulators to OK lower-orbit, all-Ku-band deployment for 1,584 satellites

LONDON — SpaceX has asked U.S. regulators to allow the company to modify its Starlink satellite broadband constellation to operate a first generation of satellites at lower orbit, using only Ku-band, while developing dual Ku-/Ka-band antennas for future satellites. The company said the new orbital architecture would allow it “to begin populating a new orbital shell before the end of 2019,”...

SES faces fleet operator, manufacturer headwinds in software-defined-satellite push

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Satellite fleet operators say the industry is nearing a point where fully software-defined satellites are within reach but that they would require a leap of faith on the part of satellite builders and the endorsement of their competitors. Everyone appears to agree on the end point: Fleet operators ordering small bunches of satellites that are virtually identical and...

Viasat files $188M insurance claim for satellite antenna defect that it says won’t affect aero, government businesses

PARIS — Satellite broadband hardware and service provider Viasat Inc. said the two defective Ka-band antennas on the Viasat-2 satellite will have the biggest effect on the core consumer-broadband market and reinforce the company’s priority of favoring fewer high-paying customers over an expanding subscriber base. Viasat said it had filed a $188 million claim for the antenna defect with the...

Thales UK delivers 1st electric-propulsion module for new-generation telecom satellites

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Thales Alenia Space’s satellite electric-propulsion facility was inaugurated two years ago and is now ready to deliver its first flight model, which will be integrated into Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite to provide broadband to sub-Saharan Africa, with capacity also over Europe. Konnect, scheduled for launch in late 2019, is also the first of the Neo-class satellites...

Eutelsat says its core video business is solid, asks market to look past US military contract loss

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat said it has increased prices for video markets in the Middle East and that prices in its Russian and African markets are also holding firm. As it has in the past, the company sought to distinguish its video business from peers SES and Intelsat, saying it is less exposed to the sagging U.S. satellite video market. Video accounts for two-thirds of...

Iridium asks the FCC to put the satellite-MSS ATC story out of its misery

PARIS — In a petition that will stimulate as much interest in Europe as in the United States, mobile satellite services (MSS) operator Iridium Communications is asking U.S. regulators to scrap regulations allowing MSS companies to operate ground-based networks to boost coverage and signal strength. Called Ancillary Terrestrial Components (ATCs) in the United States and Complementary Ground...

SES mobility, military business shows robust growth. Video, even in emerging markets, is ‘challenging’

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES gave more evidence that its data-centric business remains in growth mode, with mobility customers and the U.S. military fueling double-digit revenue increases. Government revenue for the nine months ending Sept. 30 was up 21%. Mobility applications, led by in-flight-connectivity service providers, was up 32.6% for the same period. The fixed data business,...

Lasercom terminal builder Mynaric says constellation MoU will lead to 1,000-unit order

PARIS — Startup laser communications terminal manufacturer Mynaric’s cryptic Oct. 24 announcement that it had signed an MoU for a LEO satellite constellation that needs “upwards of 1,000” units was vague enough to leave doubt as to whether it was a key event. It’s an MoU, not a contract. The customer is not named, nor is the application. But Mynaric shares are traded on the Frankfurt...

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