Category: Mobility

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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China’s CMMB wants to retain L-band slot at 21 deg E, says it has Saudi investment for new satellites

PARIS — A Chinese company developing an L-band satellite business for connected cars in China wants to add Europe, Africa and the Middle East to its coverage by placing an aging satellite at an orbital slot that is about to expire.
CMMB Vision Holdings Ltd., which several years ago thought it had purchased a large Boeing-built spacecraft for its China business only to have the deal frozen because of U.S. technology transfer concerns, has since signed an MoU with China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) to build . . .
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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.

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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Smallsat builders want one type of vertical integration. Many prospective customers still prefer another

PARIS — In theory, a startup company planning a satellite constellation for, say, IoT service and dependent on venture-capital funding should jump at the chance to outsource satellite production so it can focus on its core service business.
But that’s not happening in the commercial smallsat world, and that may ultimately pose a problem for the industrial supply chain that has grown up to serve the sector.
It’s not just smallsat pioneers, and now large constellation operators, Planet and Spire Global, whose in . . .
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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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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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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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