Category: Ground Segment

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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With $6M second-round Primo Space-led funding, Leaf Space can complete global ground station deployment

PARIS — Italian ground-segment-as-a-service startup Leaf Space’s latest funding round of 5 million euros ($6.1 million) gives it all the cash it needs to complete its global network of 12 ground stations around the world by the end of 2020, Chief Executive Jonata Puglia said.
Milan-based Leaf has now raised 10 million euros. The latest round included a 2-million-euro investment from Primo Space, a new space-directed venture fund owned by Primoglio SGR.  The remaining 3 million euros was . . .
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With EU worries about its SpaceX Starlink deal in background, Microsoft Azure explains its satellite play

PARIS — European government officials recently said the partnership between Microsoft Azure and SpaceX Starlink is one reason the European Union needs its own global broadband constellation tethered to a European data distribution network.
These same officials either did not know or chose not to mention that before Azure teamed up with SpaceX Starlink, it had concluded a deep relationship with Luxembourg-based SES Networks’s O3b mPower constellation, to launch starting this year.
Other Azure partners include the KSat of . . .
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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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Kymeta questions SpaceX Starlink antenna cost, and warns GEO satellite operators on pricing

PARIS — The biggest questions surrounding SpaceX’s Starlink consumer broadband network relate to its ability to secure landing rights around the world, nation by nation, and the real cost of its system — especially its electronically steered phased-array antenna.
Satellite broadband hardware and service provider Hughes Network Systems has estimated that the Starlink antenna costs SpaceX between $1,000 and $1,500:
On Jan. 19, mobile satellite electronically steered, flat-panel manufacturer Kymeta . . .
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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.

EU Commission’s broadband constellation meets industry reservations about co-investment

PARIS — The European Commission is saddling its proposed broadband satellite constellation with so many missions and deadlines that one European industry official suspected the commission may be trying to scuttle its own initiative.
A kinder interpretation is that the Commission is wrestling with a new and difficult project and still testing ideas to see which catch on with prospective government and industry investors.
Whatever the motivation, a series of briefings Jan. 12-13 featuring industry concerns about the constellation’s business case and the Commission’s piling . . .
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CNES President Le Gall: Behind today’s ‘private sector’ successes, in US and in Europe, is government support

PARIS — The French space agency, CNES, will have $3.3 billion to work with in 2021 following a slight increase in its conventional annual budget, after accounting for debt repayment, and a $448 million share of France’s Covid pandemic Recovery Plan.
It’s hard to argue with CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall’s declaration that the French government has demonstrated its belief in space technology as a vector for strategic autonomy and economic stimulus — even when much of the rest of the French economy has been laid . . .
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Delta Air Lines, reducing Gogo exposure, to outfit 300+ narrow-body aircraft with Viasat in-flight connectivity

PARIS — Delta Air Lines selected Viasat Inc.’s Ka-band in-flight-connectivity service for 300 narrow-body jets that will be in service starting this summer, with an option to add more planes to the deal.
It was the latest in a series of steps by the U.S.-based airline to move away from its Gogo Inc. 2Ku system and toward what Delta said is the higher-performance Viasat Ka-band as Delta eyes a future free-Wi-Fi policy.
Delta . . .
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