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Brexit debate gets rough, invokes UK secure satnav service that could beat Galileo PRS to market

PARIS— The British Defence Secretary on May 21 reiterated that the government is investigating whether it should build its own positioning, navigation and timing satellite constellation in competition with Europe’s Galileo and ultimately the U.S. GPS network. The statement by Gavin Williamson comes in the wake of a UK Parliamentary hearing on the subject at which representatives of Airbus...

Eutelsat on refusing ViaSat broadband deal: Breaking up is hard to do, but has advantages

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on May 14 gave a detailed explanation for why it’s turning away from a partnership with ViaSat Inc. on a ViaSat-provided terabit-per-second ViaSat-3 satellite over Europe. But it left several questions unanswered. Eutelsat Chief Executive Rodolphe Belmer said the company’s decision to order the 500-Gbps Konnect VHTS satellite from Thales Alenia Space of...

Hotel California? Not at all, says Space Angels. Space-sector equity exits have been successful

PARIS — Nine years after angel and venture-capital investors began taking a serious interest in the space sector, it’s time for some of them to think of exiting their positions. How’s that working out? Very well indeed, said Space Angels Chief Executive Chad Anderson, whose combination angel/VC fund tracks private space investment since 2009. “When you get to exit? No kidding: The average exit...

Interview: Isotropic CEO John Finney

WASHINGTON — With visions of millions of satellite Earth stations for connected vehicles, broadband connectivity and 5G roll-out dancing in its head, the commercial satellite sector is waiting for antenna designers to deliver. Form factor, unit cost at both low- and high-volume production, durability — none of these has yet been proven among those working on electronically steered antennas,...

Satellite mega constellations: Great and powerful Oz, or let’s look behind the curtain?

WASHINGTON — Much of the commercial space industry is spellbound by the promise of thousands of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit in the next few years, a multibillion-dollar investment that would be a dream come true for satellite component makers, launch-service providers — and the financial-services industry too. At the Satellite 2018 conference and exhibition here March 12-15, industry...

Belgian court gives ViaSat, Eutelsat tactical victory vs Inmarsat, but not much of one

WASHINGTON — A Belgian court has thrown a small lifeline to ViaSat and Eutelsat in their battle to keep alive a protest against Inmarsat’s deployment of an air-to-ground network for in-flight connectivity in Europe. In a March 13 ruling, the Belgian Market Court struck down a June 2016 decision by the Belgian Posts and Telecommunications Institute (IBPT) that OK’d the deployment of the network...

VC space tech investment grew in 2017 out of the glare of the biggest deals

WASHINGTON — Venture-capital investment in space technology companies, startups or otherwise, remained strong in 2017 with evidence that non-U.S. investors are now joining the party. There have been few exits to date, which several attendees at the Satellite 2018 conference here March 11-14 said is a worry. Others disagreed, saying many VCs have longer-term time horizons and are willing to give...

Kratos sees HTS GEO satellite spot beams, and multiplies by 10 for LEO smallsat market

PARIS — Kratos Defense and Security Solutions said the increased use of very small satellites for government and commercial applications means more network intelligence will be put on the ground, where Kratos awaits. Most of Kratos’s business is with government customers, and its showcase satellite contracts are with the big U.S. military systems — Wideband Global Satcom (WGS), Mobile User...

NOAA to smallsat operators: ‘Got an Earth imager? Come get a license, we’re free & quick(er)’

Key takeaways from NOAA’s presentations at Smallsat Symposium: — NOAA now much better at keeping to 120-day license approval after falling behind with flood of New Space satellite systems in recent years. — In 2011, it had 20 licensees; now it’s about 70. Licensed satellites in orbit now total around 200; by late 2018 that will be around 780. — The fact that Hawkeye 360’s RF mapping...

Kratos: Satellite communications is big winner in 2018 U.S. defense budget

PARIS — Satellite communications is among the most-favored categories in the U.S. Defense Department budget proposal as the U.S. repositions its military spending away from asymmetric threats, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions Chief Executive Eric M. DeMarco said. The uplift in military satcom spending, combined with Kratos’ position in tactical and target drones, is one of the reasons...

With airborne background, Mynaric adapts laser communications to LEO satellite constellations

PARIS — Startup laser communications technology provider Mynaric AG’s recent IPO in Germany grossed 27 million euros ($32 million), which will be invested in expanding staff and production facilities to prepare for LEO broadband satellite constellations. Mynaric, whose technology origins are with the German Aerospace Center, DLR, has established an office in the United States and expects to...

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