Category: Satellite Operators

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.

EU government-backed OTB Ventures starts space fund with $30M investment in SAR satellite operator Iceye

PARIS — A venture-capital investor focusing on Central and Eastern Europe has launched a space-investment fund backed by European governments with a $30 million investment in commercial radar Earth observation startup Iceye of Finland.
The funding is part of Iceye’s $87 million Series C funding around, which the company said was larger than planned, bringing Iceye’s total funding to $152 million.
OTB Ventures’s new space fund, OTB Space Program I, is backed by the European Investment Fund

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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With 6 Intelsat satellites, Maxar’s once-moribund Palo Alto division is revived; next up, NRO EnhancedView competition

PARIS — Satellite builder and geospatial analytics provider Maxar Technologies, whose commercial satellite business seemed on life support less than a year ago, did not run the table with Intelsat’s recent orders but came close.
In addition to the IS-40e satellite ordered earlier this year from Intelsat, Maxar won five of the seven satellites Intelsat is building under a deadline set by the U.S.  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repack C-band spectrum use in the United States.
It was a . . .
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Geospatial imagery provider UrtheCast, in bankruptcy, gets $1M DIP funding & still sees a future constellation

PARIS — Geospatial imagery and analytics provider UrtheCast Corp. expects to sell both core and non-core assets as part of its Canadian bankruptcy procedure, equivalent to the U.S. Chapter 11, but is holding on to its long-held ambition of financing its radar and optical satellite constellations.
Vancouver-based UrtheCast filed for what in Canada is called the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) on Sept. 4. Ernst & Young Inc. is the court-approved monitor for the proceedings.
The company reported debt . . .
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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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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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