Subscribe to Space Intel Report

Subscribe now for the most in-depth coverage of the space industry delivered to your inbox.

ESA’s launch director: The commercial market presents the biggest challenge to Europe’s launch-service model since 2002

PARIS — Daniel Neuenschwander, director of space transportation at the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA), is not one for dramatic declarations. So when he says that the 40-year model Europe has used to develop rockets is facing its greatest crises since a 2002 Ariane 5 failure came close to ending the program, it’s worth noting. What Neuenschwander knows is this: Europe’s Ariane program has...

Arianespace says geostationary-orbit satellite market hit bottom in 2018, will rebound in 2019

PARIS — The Arianespace launch consortium reported revenue of 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in 2018, flat from 2017, and a 16% decline in its backlog reflected the continued decline in the market for launching large geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites. That decline, which has already caused one large satellite builder — Maxar Technologies’ SSL — to prepare to quit the market,...

Sky and Space Global: We’ll make back payment to GomSpace & keep satellite constellation on schedule

PARIS — Startup satellite IoT/M2M constellation operator Sky and Space Global Ltd. said it would make a past-due payment to its satellite prime contractor within weeks to prevent its 200-satellite constellation from slipping too far behind schedule. The company, registered in the United Kingdom, with shares traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, has signed multiple memoranda of understanding...

Public equities are savaged, but SpaceX valuation continues upward

PARIS — The rapid decline in public equity markets in recent weeks apparently has not quenched investor thirst for shares in SpaceX, although what they’re investing in — a rocket builder or a global satellite-internet service — is difficult to discern. SpaceX has raised some $2.7 billion in 18 funding rounds since 2002, the latest being a $500-million Series J that was led by Scottish investment...

Europe’s launch sector faces the music in 2019, and it’s not a happy tune

CARBONDALE, Colorado — Europe’s independent access to space, whose viability relies on winning a large share of a healthy, competitive global commercial launch market, has never been as severely challenged as it will be in 2019. On the demand side, the market for launching large satellites into geostationary-transfer orbit is in a three-year slump. It typically takes two years or more from the...

Soyuz/Fregat rocket carries 2 Russian Earth observation satellites and 26 ride-share smallsats into separate orbits

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Russia’s Soyuz-2.1a/Fregat rocket gave fresh proof of its viability for the fast-growing cubesat market on Dec. 27 with the launch of 26 ride-share satellites into two separate orbits from Russia’s new, commercially oriented Vostochny Cosmodrome. All 28 satellites were reported healthy in orbit and sending signals. The ride-share customers included Planet,...

EU Council approves draft 7-year space budget with no major changes; negotiations to begin with Parliament

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – The European Union’s proposed seven-year space budget moved a step closer to approval on Dec. 19, clearing a European Council review and moving to formal draft regulation status. The council did not adopt a European Parliament proposal that the new Govsatcom and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programs be given bigger budgets than the original European Commission...

France launches 1st of three next-generation optical/infrared reconnaissance satellites

PARIS – French defense officials hope the successful Dec. 19 launch of a French optical and infrared reconnaissance satellite will help defend their proposed military space budget of 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) between 2019 and 2025 against budget pressures. But they have lost their illusions about whether a unified European military space program will see the day anytime soon, even with...

After 10 years, and now Swedish, Ovzon is poised to purchase its own broadband satellite

UPDATE Dec. 27:  CARBONDALE, Colorado: Ovzon AB’s board of directors has fully guaranteed the issuance of new preferential-rights shares to raise gross proceeds of 750 million Swedish krona ($82 million) to finance the equity portion of its Ovzon-3 satellite. The rights were sold at 29.7 krona per share, a 30.6% discount from where the shares traded on Dec. 21. Formal subscriptions will...

Interview: Vector Chief Executive Jim Cantrell

LUXEMBOURG — By some counts there are nearly 100 small-satellite launch vehicles in development around the world, including a remarkable number that, to date, have received no government funding or the promise of it. To say that only a few will survive is a truism, whatever your smallsat forecasts, and it’s impossible to predict who they’ll be. But some of them have rounded up sufficient...

ESA Director-General: Agency needs a financial-aid strategy for Ariane 6 rocket builders

PARIS — The European Space Agency is actively looking for ways to direct additional financial support to the Ariane 6 heavy-lift rocket’s industrial manufacturers as part of a deal tied to belt-tightening measures by those companies, ESA Director-General Jan Woerner said. Woerner said no decision had been made on the form and amount of the assistance, but he said the issue is too urgent to wait...

Space Intel Report on Twitter