Category: Satellite Operators

Canadian ground antenna builder C-Com, after a rough 2020, heads to the US equity markets

PARIS — Satellite ground antenna builder C-Com Satellite Systems of Canada began trading on the U.S. OTCQB Venture Market on April 6 in search of a wider investor pool and increased liquidity compared to what’s available in Canada.
The company, already traded on the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange, is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2020, when revenue dropped 53% after a large decline in its Asian business that C-Com attributed to the Covid pandemic and the declines in the oil and gas sector . . .
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Satellite lasercom builder Mynaric, its 2020 revenue scuttled by German government’s China export ban, plans U.S. IPO

UPDATE April 9: This story was updated to include additional comment from Mynaric.
PARIS — German laser communications terminal manufacturer Mynaric AG, which is pinning much of its near-term market prospects on the U.S. Defense Department, plans to ask shareholders for a capital raise to fund a public stock offering in the United States.
Mynaric, which is still a startup with little revenue, already trades on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange but wants to ride the wave of interest in space-based technologies among U.S. investors . . .
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For OneWeb and SpaceX Starlink, a competition for the favors of the U.S. military

PARIS — Broadband LEO satellite constellation operators OneWeb and SpaceX Starlink, both counting on the U.S. military as a major customer, are looking to decisions by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Defense Department this year as an indication of how well each of them is positioned.
The FCC is weighing whether to accept a modification to SpaceX Starlink’s license to allow all 4,400 Starlink satellites to operate from around 550 kilometers. the original license was 1,100 . . .
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Incoming head of French space agency, CNES: Top priority is the challenge from Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba

PARIS — The incoming new president of the French space agency, CNES, passed his examination by the French legislature, surmounting criticism of his “atypical” background as a researcher and mathematician with stints at IBM and France’s CNRS research center, with no experience in the space sector.
Given his professional history, including a Master of Science and a doctorate in computer science, it was not surprising that Philippe Baptiste said his highest priority at CNES would be to confront the challenge posed by Amazon, Microsoft . . .
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SpaceX has reduced production cost of Starlink phased-array terminals by > 50%, to <$1,500, Shotwwell says

PARIS — The SpaceX Starlink broadband satellite service began beta testing in October 2020 with user terminals that cost $3,000 and has since been brought down production cost to less than $1,500, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said.
Shotwell’s remarks, made April 6 during the Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum, answers one of many business-model issues surrounding Starlink, which Shotwell said now counts 1,320 of its 260-kilogram Version 1.0 satellites in orbit.
The Starlink beta testing asks users to pay . . .
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Satellite ground antenna manufacturers Intellian, ThinKom say constellations will cause systemic stresses

PARIS — ThinKom and Intellian, two successful satellite ground antenna manufacturers whose business will profit from constellations of low-orbiting satellites, warned of the threat of signal interference and collision risk with so much traffic in such close quarters.
They also said that the goal of building consumer antennas for $300 or less will remain elusive given the demands placed on this hardware to avoid signal interference.
“Antenna components by themselves are declining in cost because you are producing in massive scales now because a LEO . . .
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Are micro-launchers condemned to get bigger or fail? It looks that way, says Arianespace

PARIS — What’s a micro launch vehicle? It’s a medium-lift rocket that hasn’t yet been mugged by market realities that force it to become larger.
That’s the opinion of launch-service provider Arianespace Chief Executive  Stephane Israel, whose company has to confront the issue starting right now.
Arianespace is the sole operator at Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport, situated on French territory on the northeast coast of South America. The center is now trying to attract one or more micro . . .
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India Satcom Industry Association, taking arms against a sea of regulations, has the government’s sympathies

PARIS — India has inaugurated the Satcom Industry Association- India (SIA-India) industry association with words of encouragement from government officials who acknowledged that India’s regulatory thicket still presents a formidable challenge.
You know you’ve got headwinds when government officials sympathize with how tough you’re job will be given the regulatory environment, particularly for broadband deployment.
“It is heartening to see the new-wave companies and private organizations venturing into the business of satellite communication,” said V.K. Saraswat, a member of the government’s . . .
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Cart before the horse: SpaceX Starlink solicitation in India without a license draws protest from broadband forum

PARIS — Nineteen years after its founding, SpaceX continues to show enough brass to outfit a marching band. We’ll see how it plays in India, the world’s largest potentially addressable satellite broadband market.
For the past several weeks, SpaceX Starlink has been advertising in India, and on its own website, that its consumer broadband network, Starlink, is coming imminently to India for beta testing.
It invites prospective Indian subscribers to lay down $99, or about 7,250 Indian rupees, as a refundable deposit. This . . .
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Relativity Space, Rocket Lab, Astra: 3 well-funded smallsat launchers with different ideas on the market

PARIS — Three cash-rich U.S. small-satellite launch providers look at the same market and see different things, starting with the basics, like demand.
“We’ll begin monthly launch operations in the fours quarter of this year and our objective is to begin daily space operations by 2025,” said Chris Kemp, founder and chief executive of Astra, about to go public in a SPAC deal with Holicity Inc. that values the company at $2.1 billion: