Category: Mobility

Maxar’s Sirius XM Satellite costs rise as Sirius declares SXM-7 a total loss

PARIS — Maxar Technologies reported a 46% increase in Q4 revenue in its Space Infrastructure satellite-building division, led by six new geostationary-orbit communications satellites for fleet operator Intelsat.
But the division barely broke even for the year as it absorbed increased costs associated with two flagship commercial programs: Sirius XM Holdings’s SXM-7 and SXM-8 direct-broadcast radio satellites, and Hughes Network Systems’s Jupiter-3 Ka-band broadband.
Maxar’s issues with Sirius XM are not over. After absorbing . . .
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Munich prosecutor dismisses OHB claims vs Airbus in case related to freeze of $1.8-billion EU Galileo contract

PARIS — The Munich Public Prosecutor’s office dismissed, for lack of evidence, an OHB SE criminal action alleging theft of trade secrets that benefited competitor Airbus Defence and Space, a complaint that is related to the freezing of a $1.8 billion European Commission contract for second-generation Galileo satellites.
The prosecutor’s decision, which industry officials said OHB is appealing, is part of a year-long conflict between OHB and one or more of its former employees, whom OHB alleged transferred confidential information to . . .
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SES in 2020: Video down 8%, but pricing stable; Networks to return co to growth in 2023; US C-band clearing on track

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES told investors that its declining Video business would stabilize in the coming years and that the company would return to growth in 2023 on the back of its growing Networks division business with fixed-data, mobility and government customers.
The spearhead of the Networks growth is the coming SES-17 geostationary-orbit satellite and 11 O3b mPower spacecraft to join the existing O3b fleet in medium-Earth orbit. The mPower satellites have more than 5,000 beams each, compared to 10 for the current first-generation . . .
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EU NewSpace to European Commission: Please give us a chance in contract bids

PARIS — Twenty-six mainly German NewSpace companies are pressuring the European Commission to open its contract bidding to space startups to give them a chance to prove themselves.
In a Feb. 24 letter to European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the companies — satellite constellation operator startups, satellite component builders and small-launcher developers — said the Commission’s criteria for allowing bids for large programs automatically excludes NewSpace startups.
In addition, they said the European Payload Policy appears to exclude any launch-service providers other than Arianespace . . .
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Ovzon reports sharp revenue, operating profit decline in 2020; Ovzon-3 satellite to launch late this year

PARIS — Government/NGO satellite bandwidth provider Ovzon AB reported a 37 drop in revenue ini 2020 compared to 2019 as well as an operating loss that the company blamed on the Covid pandemic’s effects on sales and marketing, and lower sales to the U.S. Defense Department.
Ovzon’s U.S. DoD contracts in 2020 were for shorter durations and totaled $10.8 million, compared to $18 million in 2019. In addition to this $7.2 million gap, Ovzon was stranded with unsold capacity that cost about $2 . . .
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Gilat: We’re in MEO (SES mPower), LEO (looks like OneWeb via Hughes) and GEO (China Satcom); awaiting aero recovery

PARIS — Satellite ground hardware provide Gilat Satellite Networks spent much of 2020 cutting staff and other costs and coping with the free-fall in its in-flight-connectivity (IFC) business as the Covid pandemic grounded planes.
If there was ever a year to have a planned merger unilaterally cancelled by a counter-party, 2020 was it: Comtech Telecommunications Corp.’s decision to scrap the merger resulted in a $70 million cash payment to Gilat.

EchoStar/Hughes has issues with satellites large & small; Hughes increased revenue, EBITDA despite U.S. capacity shortage

PARIS — EchoStar Corp.’s two divisions, Hughes Network Services and EchoStar Satellite Services (ESS), reported satellite setbacks.
Hughes’s 500-Gbps Jupiter 3 broadband satellite, badly needed to give Hughes capacity to expand its U.S. consumer broadband service, was delayed again by manufacturer Maxar Technologies, to H2 2022.
EchoStar Global, part of ESS, launched two cubesats in 2020 and needed only one to “bring into use” the S-band frequencies it has reserved, through the former Sirion Global . . .
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EU identifies potential funding for broadband constellation, wants EU-US agreement on protecting critical tech

PARIS — The European Commission identified, for the first time, the potential sources of Commission funding for a proposed constellation of satellites to provide universal broadband access and secure government communications using quantum encryption.
No new monies have been committed beyond the 7.1 million euros ($8.6 million) awarded to a nine-company consortium to come up with a design and a proposed business model, with its first conclusions due in April and a final report due at the end of the year: https://bit . . .
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French president proposes single Euro micro-launcher program, backs EU Commission broadband constellation

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron, breaking with years of French policy, said Europe needs its own small-satellite launcher but that the competing development programs in multiple European nations should merge into a single program.
Macron did not quite say that the program needed to be under French leadership, but said Europe’s Guiana Space Center, on French territory on the northeast coast of South America, was “a jewel, and the envy of many.”
In Feb. 18 remarks at the headquarters of the French space agency, CNES,

Geospatial imagery/analytics provider BlackSky, with $22M in 2020 revenue, sees SPAC-accelerated path to $546M in 2025

PARIS— Not all SPACs are alike. That’s the message geospatial imaging and data-analytics provider BlackSky Holdings Inc. wants to pass to investors on its proposed merger with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. and eventual listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The publicly traded BlackSky is expected to have a pro-forma quit value of about $1.5 billion, with $450 million in cash from the transaction — enough to accelerate the company’s satellite-deployment and software development plans.
BlackSky and Osprey . . .
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