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Rocket-builder Avio: Revenue, EBITDA, backlog all up in H1 2017

PARIS — Rocket builder Avio SpA reported increased revenue and profit for the first six months of 2017 on the strength of the continued success of the Ariane 5 and Vega rockets. Colleferro, Italy-based Avio, which is prime contractor for the Vega small-satellite launch vehicle, said its backlog also increased following 300 million euros ($342 million) in orders for Vega rockets and Avio-built...

APT Satellite, weathering bandwidth glut, reports flat revenue, higher EBITDA

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. reported flat revenue and profit for the first six months of 2017, with a dip in its fleet’s fill rate and continued downward pressure on bandwidth prices. The company said it concluded a second tranche of investment in APT Mobile Satcom Ltd., a Chinese-owned company planning a fleet of three or four mobile Ku-/Ka-band mobile...

US Air Force seeks smallsat owner, launch provider help to avoid orbital chaos

LOGAN, Utah — First the good news: The agency with the world’s most extensive network of ground- and space-based tracking assets is mandated to offer — free of charge — a satellite identification, tracking and collision-avoidance service to anyone — North Korea included — who owns, operates or launches a spacecraft. It’s a role that is becoming more important with the planned launch of thousands...

Activist investor Wyser-Pratte to OHB: Feudal barony, or major commercial player?

WHITEFISH, Montana — An activist U.S. investor in satellite and rocket-component builder OHB SE of Germany wants a shakeup to assure an independent board of directors and a more-aggressive growth strategy. The investor also wants OHB to consider acquiring rocket builder Avio SpA of Italy, prime contractor of Europe’s Vega rocket, which the investor says “must be kept, by all means, out of the...

SpaceX Formosat-5 launch shows ongoing launch-market inefficiencies

LOGAN, Utah — The scheduled Aug. 24 launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a single 475-kilogram satellite into a 720-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit is a spectacular waste of rocket capacity that casts an unflattering light on the lack of flexibility of the launch-services and small-satellite sectors. The launch, carrying Taiwan’s Formosat-5 Earth observation satellite, comes at a time...

Latest funding round values SpaceX at $21.2 billion, up 76% since 2015

LONDON — Launch-service provider SpaceX’s most recent Series H round of funding raised $351 million and valued the company at $21.2 billion — a 76% increase from the previous Series G funding in January 2015, which totaled $1 billion and valued SpaceX at $12 billion. SpaceX stock is privately traded and its transactions were published by Equidate, an online service that allows...

Interview: Denis V. Lyskov, director-general, Glavkosmos & chairman, GK Launch Services

PARIS — The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, early this year gave Glavkosmos rights to sell Soyuz rocket launches from Russia’s Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny spaceports. But it’s not quite exclusive: the French-Russian Starsem, some 20 years old, continues to have Soyuz marketing rights as well. Can two organizations continue to compete to sell the same product? For now, yes, according to...

Launch prices for smallsats on India’s PSLV rocket may be coming down

PARIS — The commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) charged about $28,500 per kilogram to launch 29 cubesats aboard its PSLV rocket on June 23, a price that appears to reflect a drop compared to previous missions. There is no such thing as a “standard” price for launches, even for large geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites, for which an average per-kilogram...

50 small satellites seeking launch this year will not find a ride, UK’s Catapult says

PARIS — As many as 50 small satellites awaiting launch this year will remain grounded because of a lack of suitable launch-service options, and many that find a launch will end up in less-than-ideal operating orbits, according to Britain’s Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd. But in what may be a confirmation of markets’ tendency to overreact, the Catapult’s survey found more than 50...

UK’s Orbital Access wins ESA two-stage-to-orbit study contract

PARIS — Orbital Access Ltd. of Britain, which is designing a small-satellite launcher that would lift off from a horizontal runway under the belly of a modified jet airliner, has won a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to carry the project to system definition before a preliminary design review. The four-month contract is valued at 200,000 British pounds ($257,000). Orbital Access...

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