Category: Ground Segment

After O3b and OneWeb, Brian Holz starts Mangata Networks. Prime market: MNOs. Capex: Pay as you go

PARIS — Brian Holz was on the ground floor, alongside Greg Wyler, of the O3b medium-Earth-orbit (MEO) broadband constellation and, again with Wyler, of the OneWeb Global low-Earth-orbit (LEO) project.
That experience earned him a reputation that has helped him get seed financing from Intellectual Ventures for the Holz-designed Mangata Networks constellation of MEO and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) satellites.
Another broadband constellation when at least three networks — SpaceX’s Starlink, post-bankruptcy OneWeb,

UK-India conference on satcom opportunities reads by candlelight in the midday sun

PARIS — The U.K. Department for International Trade held a Sept. 22 webinar on “Opportunities in the Indian Satcom Market” and chose to light candles in a darkened room rather than raise the window blinds and let the sunshine in.
That was the impression given by a 70-minute session that, against all odds, failed to mention the biggest UK-India satcom opportunity in history, which is the purchase of the bankrupt OneWeb Global Ltd. by the British government and India’s Bharti Global.

Round 3 of UK Parliament quest to understand government OneWeb purchase ends with no answers

PARIS — The British Parliament continued its investigation into the government’s purchase of the bankrupt OneWeb Global Ltd. startup broadband satellite constellation but made no visible progress on assessing the investment’s reasoning or ultimate value.
The Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee instead used a Sept. 17 hearing on OneWeb to explore general questions of the value of space-sector investment, OneWeb’s eventual role in providing secure positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services and the problems of space traffic management and debris . . .
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BlackSky: A data-analytics platform that just happens to own a satellite manufacturer

UPDATE Sept. 24: BlackSky said it is under contract with the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit to develop a third-generation BlackSky system that will have a 50-centimeter ground resolution and carry a short-wave-infrared (SWIR) payload. The Gen-3 satellite design has completed a preliminary design review, as part of the contract, for the U.S. Army Tactical GeoInt (TACGEO) program.
BlackSky said all Gen-3 satellites would have 50-centimeter resolution and SWIR and will orbit in the same altitude as the current-generation spacecraft, which have 80- to 100 . . .
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Investors still bullish on early-stage startups; LEO broadband business still debated, but 3 are coming

PARIS — The Covid-19 pandemic has not diminished investor enthusiasm for investors the space sector, especially early-stage investors in see or A-rounds, according to data compiled by the Seraphim Space Fund.
The surprising trend, which unlike other space-investment snapshots excludes big-ticket investment in companies like SpaceX or OneWeb Global Ltd., is based on funding rounds through June 30. But Seraphim Chief Executive Mark Boggett said data from Q3 2020, while still preliminary, appears to show record investment levels.
The . . .
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Gilat: A poor Q2 as expected; trial vs Comtech over takeover termination to start in October

PARIS — Satellite networking hardware and service provider Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. reported an operating loss for the three months ending June 30 on a 35.8% drop in revenue compared to a year ago.
Israel-based Gilat, whose dispute with Comtech Telecommunications Corp. over Comtech’s termination of a takeover agreement goes to trial in October, blamed continued effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for the quarterly results.
Gilat Interim Chief Executive Adi Sfadia said orders were postponed or delayed but that in recent weeks . . .
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Intelsat creditors OK purchase of Gogo’s Commercial Aviation business; bankruptcy court approval expected Aug. 31

CARSAC DE GURSON, France — The court handling satellite fleet operator Intelsat’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy is expected to approve the company’s request to purchase aero-connectivity provider Gogo Inc.’s Commercial Aviation division, industry officials said.
Intelsat has received the blessing of its principal creditors, who have agreed to augment the $1-billion Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing they made available to the company when it filed for Chapter 11 production in mid-May.
Given these circumstances, it is all but certain that the . . .
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Sunil Mittal: Bharti’s $500 million OneWeb investment based on < 50-millisecond latency to consumer terminals

CARSAC DE GURSON, France — Indian telecom magnate Sunil Bharti Mittal partially answered the question of what he thinks he’s getting for his $500 million investment in the OneWeb Global Ltd. global satellite broadband startup: latency low enough for interactive gaming and automated vehicles.
With an identical $500-million commitment from the British government, OneWeb is expected to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the end of the year. The British government has a host of strategic/national autonomy reasons for wanting OneWeb.
It’s less . . .
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Buying at the sound of cannon: Viasat raises $575 million and sees ‘a ton’ of M&A opportunities

PARIS — Broadband hardware and services provider Viasat Inc. reported a sharp drop in aero-connectivity revenue for the three months ending June 30, as expected, but grew its consumer broadband subscriber revenue and suggested it would use its $575 million in new debt and equity for targeted acquisitions in a time of turbulent markets.
Viasat said the Covid-19 pandemic ultimately may permit the company to gain market share from service providers whose companies are dependent on in-flight-connectivity (IFC) service provision. Viasat’s portfolio of consumer broadband, commercial networks . . .
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Charlie Ergen on EchoStar/Dish 5G synergies, S-band global IoT ambitions and GEO satellites’ broadband subsidy worry

PARIS — Charlie Ergen, the chairman of EchoStar Corp. and Dish Network, has never been easy to read. He still isn’t.
He expresses real doubt about satellite consumer broadband’s future in the United States but recognizes that EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems, a satellite broadband company, is EchoStar’s main source of income and room to grow in the United States and elsewhere.
He has purchased billions in radio spectrum rights in the United States that may never pay off. He is . . .
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