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NATO gives itself 12 months for $1.2-billion satellite MoU with Britain, France, Italy, US

LONDON — The NATO alliance expects by late 2019 to complete an MoU with Britain, France, Italy and the United States for about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to provide 15  years of SHF-, UHF- and EHF-band satellite capacity starting in 2020. The purchase is part of an overall NATO package of 1.5 billion euros that will include an extensive upgrade of NATO’s satellite ground segment and...

SES faces fleet operator, manufacturer headwinds in software-defined-satellite push

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Satellite fleet operators say the industry is nearing a point where fully software-defined satellites are within reach but that they would require a leap of faith on the part of satellite builders and the endorsement of their competitors. Everyone appears to agree on the end point: Fleet operators ordering small bunches of satellites that are virtually identical and...

Iridium asks the FCC to put the satellite-MSS ATC story out of its misery

PARIS — In a petition that will stimulate as much interest in Europe as in the United States, mobile satellite services (MSS) operator Iridium Communications is asking U.S. regulators to scrap regulations allowing MSS companies to operate ground-based networks to boost coverage and signal strength. Called Ancillary Terrestrial Components (ATCs) in the United States and Complementary Ground...

Allied Minds: Raytheon investment in satellite-SigInt Hawkeye 360, Boeing in BridgeSat validate startups’ promise

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Patent-mining investment company Allied Minds said two of its space-technology startups — radio signals-intelligence satellite operator Hawkeye 360 and optical satellite ground station network operator BridgeSat — have secured major support from Raytheon and Boeing, respectively, giving Allied Minds an exit path. Hawkeye 360 and BridgeSat are both nearing first revenue....

Comtech: $20-million satellite Earth station deal signals market acceptance of V-band

PARIS— Satellite ground equipment provider Comtech Telecommunications said both its commercial and government product lines are now firing on all cylinders and that the company is investing to keep its edge in V-band high-throughput-satellite (HTS) applications. V-band satellite systems have been a subject of testing for several years in the United States, Europe and India and elsewhere, but...

Spire doesn’t want to shed its hardware-building heritage, but does want to monetize it

LOGAN, Utah — As satellite fleet operator Spire Global has grown its business and diversified its portfolio into three separate data-service businesses, it might be expected the company would divest itself of its hardware-manufacturing side. Instead, Spire wants to keep it in-house, but monetize the capacity by offering it to other companies. Instead of focusing exclusively on the higher-margin...

Astro Digital reduces planned constellation by maximizing use of Europe’s Sentinels & Landsat 8 satellites

LOGAN, Utah — Startup Earth imaging constellation operator Astro Digital has scaled back plans for its Landmapper BC satellite constellation, concluding that by cross-calibrating with the U.S. Landsat 8 satellite and Europe’s twin Sentinel 2 spacecraft, the company can provide the same temporal resolution with five Landmapper BC satellites instead of the planned 10. Astro Digital Chief Executive...

Satellite- and debris-tracking startup LeoLabs closes $13M Series A round

PARIS — Space-traffic-monitoring startup LeoLabs has closed a $13-million Series A financing round led by WERU Investment and Airbus Ventures that will be used to enlarge its current two-site network of ground radars to monitor low Earth orbit. California-based LeoLabs, formed in 2016 as a spinout of SRI International, which was an investor in LeoLabs’ earlier seed round, is building a business...

Interview: Goonhilly Earth Station CEO Ian Jones says revenue ramp starts right now

FARNBOROUGH, England — Ian Jones leased the dilapidated Goonhilly antenna site from BT in 2011 with the not-obvious idea of making a new business out of it. In 2014 he purchased the site and its infrastructure to form Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd., upgraded the facility and negotiated an unusual contract using UK government money transferred through the European Space Agency (ESA) for a deep...

Satellite IoT startup Astrocast orders GomSpace propulsion units, awaits SpaceX/Spaceflight, PSLV launches

FARNBOROUGH, England — Startup satellite Internet of Things (IoT) constellation operator Astrocast of Switzerland contracted with smallsat manufacturer GomSpace of Denmark and Sweden for 10 cold-gas propulsion units for Astrotech’s 3u cubesats, confirming Astrotech’s progress toward deployment. The contract, valued at 450,000 euros ($528,000), follows an earlier contract for the same technology...

Interview: Audacy CEO Ralph Ewig

PARIS — Audacy’s June 6 operating license from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already had the effect of triggering a $4 million financing, in the form of equity-secured debt, from Horizon Technology Finance. That brings Audacy financing to far to $11.1 million, with backers including Fidelity Investments’ Eight Roads Ventures, InnoSpring Seed Fund, Metatron Global and...

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