Category: Launch 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,

OneWeb bankruptcy court OKs additional $235 million in DIP financing for space, ground network

PARIS — The court handling OneWeb Global Ltd.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy approved an additional $235 million in Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) loans to maintain continuity in satellite production and continue work on OneWeb’s ground segment, its eventual user terminals and other expenses.
The Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is expected to approve OneWeb’s latest restructuring plan in early October, but regulatory approval of the company’s purchase, by the British government and India’s Bharti Global, could take an additional month . . .
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Arianespace dodges a bullet in OneWeb Chapter 11 contract review; many other OneWeb creditors do not

PARIS — OneWeb Global Ltd. is rejecting only two of the 18 launches for which it was under contract with Europe’s Arianespace launch-service provider as part of OneWeb’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy contract review, with the launches to occur between December of this year and the end of 2022.
OneWeb’s decision removes what had been a nightmare scenario for Arianespace, which is using Russian Soyuz rockets to launch 34-36 OneWeb broadband satellites at a time into low Earth orbit.
Before OneWeb’s . . .
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HyImpulse conducts motor test, Rocket Factory Augsburg announces customer: German Mini-Launcher race heats up

Jörn Spurmann of Rocket Factory Augsburg. Credit: Luxembourg Space Forum video
PARIS — German smallsat launch vehicle startup HyImpulse Technologies GmbH said the successful test-firing of its hybrid rocket motor gives it an advance in race among three German companies to develop a commercial vehicle with government seed financing.
The company said its 75kN motor is the biggest hybrid rocket engine ever built and tested in Europe.
The results, HyImpulse said in a post-test statement “confirms that the rocket propellants based on Paraffin/LOx achieve . . .
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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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Rocket builder Avio: Covid is opening up M&A possibilities; that’s what our share buyback is all about

PARIS — European rocket builder Avio SpA reported an 11% decline in revenue but increased profit for the six months ending June 30 compared to a year ago as the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to delay work with its supply chain and focus on its own, higher-margin activities.
Avio Chief Executive Giulio Ranzo said the company’s forecast for the coming months is highly sensitive to Covid evolutions, which in 2020 shut down Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport.
Covid’s effects are also . . .
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Virgin Orbit hires LionTree, Perella Weinberg to find investor for strategic transaction

PARIS — Commercial small-satellite launch service startup Virgin Orbit LLC has hired two investment banks to help search for investors for what looks like a strategic transaction.
Virgin Orbit  placed a notice on its website’s investor page saying it had hired LionTree Advisors LLC and Perella Weinberg Partners LP.
Prospective investors that have been approved by Virgin Orbit are invited to peruse data in a password-protected area fo the site that presents details of the company’s current status and future . . .
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Arianespace, China Great Wall, SpaceX: Here’s what we’ve done in 2020, and what we plan to do

PARIS — The three most active commercial launch companies — Arianespace, China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) and SpaceX — discussed the effects of Covid-19 on their business, their near-term launch plans and whether the market for large geostationary-orbit satellites is rebounding.
Their remarks were recorded Sept. 3 and broadcast Sept. 8 on the website of the organizer, the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC).
Takeaways from the discussion:
— SpaceX says it’s . . .
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China and LEO broadband: Lots of financing and development activity, but what’s the business case?

PARIS — China’s Galaxy Space said its 200-kilogram proof-of-concept satellite launched in January has demonstrated throughput of more than 1 gigabit per second for each of its 16 Ka-band user beams.
The satellite, called Galaxy-1 or Yinhe-1, was launched aboard an Expace Kuaizhou-1A rocket mobile platform, operating from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, into a 660-kilometer orbit. It is intended as the first of several hundred satellites for a low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation.

10 years after leaving, Turkey returns to 31 East; 31-year-life Turksat 5A to launch this year; Ka-band 5B set for 2021

PARIS — Ten years after it vacated its 31 degrees East orbital slot with the retirement of its Turksat 1C satellite, Turksat, Turkey's government-owned satellite operator, is returning to the now-crowded location with the Turksat 5A Ku-band satellite.
How much leeway it will have with respect to neighboring satellite operators — Arabsat, Eutelsat, Avanti and SES are all within half a degree — is unclear. Turksat officials agreed it will not be easy to carve out enough space for Turksat 5A’s . . .
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