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Compare & contrast: Commercial satellite radar startups Capella Space and Iceye

PARIS — Capella Space of the United States and Iceye of Finland are venture-capital-funded startups building constellations of radar satellites for government and commercial customers worldwide — assuming there are enough of them to close a business plan. It’s risky, and while both companies have raised sufficient capital to start launching their constellations, both have also been hit square in...

Viasat selects ULA Atlas 5 to launch one of three Viasat-3 satellites

PARIS — Viasat Inc. selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch a Viasat-3 broadband satellite into geostationary orbit sometime between 2020 and 2022 aboard a ULA Atlas 5 in its 551 configuration, the vehicle’s largest variant, Viasat and ULA announced Sept. 10. It was ULA’s first commercial deal since Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services handed over Atlas 5 commercial sales...

Interview: Smallsat electric propulsion provider Exotrail CEO David Henri

PARIS — France’s Exotrail is the latest addition to the group of startups that have raised financing to design electric propulsion for small satellites. All are betting that the no-propulsion Planet and Spire smallsat models will gradually give way to slightly larger satellites, in more-precise orbits, that will require propulsion for in-orbit maneuvering. Exotrail has raised 4 million euros...

M2M/IoT satellite startup Sky and Space Global says cash now sufficient for coming year

PARIS — Startup satellite narrowband M2M/IoT service provider Sky and Space Global (SAS) reported a narrower net loss in the 12 months ending June 30 compared to the previous year and said that a previous stock issue had raised sufficient cash to cover expenses for the coming 12 months. The company, registered in Britain and traded on the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX), is in a race to line up...

IoT startup Kepler seeks bids to launch up to 15 satellites of 12-15 kg each in 2020

PARIS — Startup IoT/M2M satellite constellation operator Kepler Communications is looking for a launch-service provider to place up to 15 satellites, each weighing 12-15 kilograms, into a 520- to 600-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit in 2020. Toronto-based Kepler issued a request for information from prospective launch providers and would prefer to launches to mitigate risk but is willing to...

ESA’s Aeolus wind-measurement satellite: 16 years in the making. Was it worth it? TBD

CENTER HARBOR, New Hampshire — Children born when design began on Europe’s Aeolus global wind-velocity-measuring satellite are now preparing for university — a 16-year lapse of time. Can any such mission be worth the wait? Aeolus, launched Aug. 22 aboard a European Vega rocket — the vehicle is now 12 out of 12 since introduction in 2012 — set no record for development duration. NASA’s James Webb...

Radar Earth observation startup Iceye books 2018/19 launches with aggregator ECM

CENTER HARBOR, New Hampshire — Startup commercial radar satellite services provider Iceye of Finland, which has raised $53 million in two funding rounds backed by venture capital, has booked launches of two spacecraft with Germany’s ECM Launch Services, the two companies announced Aug. 22. The companies said the launches would occur sometime between the second half of 2018 and late 2019. Iceye...

China’s privately financed One Space launch-service provider closes $44M Series B round

SOUTHAMPTON, New York — Chinese launch-service provider One Space, which is building a small-satellite launch vehicle apparently on the strength of private investment, has closed a Series B financing round with 300 million Chinese yuan ($44 million) from five investors. The round, which brings to nearly 800 million yuan the amount of funding raised by One Star since 2016, was led by CICC Jiatai...

OHB reports double-digit revenue, EBITDA growth, starts winding down Ariane 5

LOGAN, Utah— Satellite and rocket-hardware builder OHB SE has begun looking at M&A opportunities, including services companies, as it positions itself for a possible drop in revenue from its Ariane rocket-component business and seeks to maintain its growth. Bremen, Germany-based OHB would appear to be at a crossroads in its business. Its major program, Europe’s Galileo positioning,...

Count ’em: 101 new commercial smallsat-dedicated launch vehicles in development

LOGAN, Utah — An annual survey of dedicated small-satellite launch vehicles has found 101 of them in some form of design or development, with at least 34 having demonstrated more than just a PowerPoint slide. The survey, performed since 2015 by Carlos Niederstrasser of Northrop Grumman, makes no pretense of exactitude and does not kick any tires to determine project credibility. Niederstasser...

Nanoracks sees new commercial interest in NREP ISS external platform

LOGAN, Utah – After several years of in-orbit operation, commercial interest in the NanoRacks external payload platform flying aboard the international space station (ISS) is finally picking up steam. “We are getting quite a few commercial companies now, startups that want to get that spaceflight heritage,” Conor Brown, NanoRacks External Payload manager, said of the company’s NREP platform....

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