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With dual Ku-/Ka-band aero terminal qualification, Gilat looks to Air Esurfing & China market

PARIS — Satellite broadband hardware and services provider Gilat Satellite Networks said the qualification of its dual Ku-/Ka-band aero terminal is likely to have its most immediate impact in China, where the company is already partnered with local IFC/IFE provider Air Esurfing. Air Esurfing has concluded agreements with several Chinese airlines. Gilat has already provided the ground segment for...

Thales Alenia Space partners with France’s ONERA aerospace lab for HAPS, optical comms, radiation hardening

PARIS — Satellite prime contractor Thales Alenia Space signed a cooperation agreement with French aerospace-research lab ONERA, saying public-private relationships like this that enabled it to best Viasat to win a high-throughput-satellite contract with fleet operator Eutelsat. Under the terms of the five-year agreement, the two organizations will work on five areas that Thales Alenia Space...

Cubesat constellation operator Spire offers to launch 20 customer payloads in 12 months for $12 million

PARIS — Cubesat constellation operator Spire, which is trying to develop its satellite-manufacturing know-how into a separate profit center, is offering to launch 20 payloads on 20 satellites in 12 months or less for 10 million euros ($11.6 million). Spire Chief Executive Peter Platzer, offering Amazon Web Services as a parallel, said payload customers could benefit from Spire’s large sunk cost...

Cubesat builder GomSpace forecasts rapid growth despite cash issues with customer Sky and Space Global

PARIS — Cubesat builder GomSpace reaffirmed its ambitious five-year revenue target but said its nearer-term goals have been upset by the liquidity challenges of its largest customer, Sky and Space Global (SAS). Denmark-based GomSpace said it had slowed work on the SAS constellation starting last summer following SAS’s nonpayment of past-due bills. GomSpace told investors it still believed in the...

EchoStar transfixed by industry M&A options; Hughes division expands in Central, South America

LONDON — EchoStar Corp. has long been poised to use the imagination of its owner, Charlie Ergen, and the cash generated by its Hughes Network Systems division to do something big. Judging from its quarterly financial statements and its statements to investors, it’s still poised: — EchoStar management still seems dazzled by the array of acquisition targets, and unable to select any of them for...

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...

SpaceX wants regulators to OK lower-orbit, all-Ku-band deployment for 1,584 satellites

LONDON — SpaceX has asked U.S. regulators to allow the company to modify its Starlink satellite broadband constellation to operate a first generation of satellites at lower orbit, using only Ku-band, while developing dual Ku-/Ka-band antennas for future satellites. The company said the new orbital architecture would allow it “to begin populating a new orbital shell before the end of 2019,”...

British military seeks satellite orbital-slot solution ahead of ITU meeting

LONDON — The British Ministry of Defence, already struggling with how to proceed on its next-generation Skynet 6 satellite constellation, has a near-term challenge in protecting access to orbital slots that it has no intention of maintaining with its own spacecraft. British officials are scrambling to come up with a solution before the World Radiocommunication Conference in 12 months, WRC-19,...

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...

Viasat files $188M insurance claim for satellite antenna defect that it says won’t affect aero, government businesses

PARIS — Satellite broadband hardware and service provider Viasat Inc. said the two defective Ka-band antennas on the Viasat-2 satellite will have the biggest effect on the core consumer-broadband market and reinforce the company’s priority of favoring fewer high-paying customers over an expanding subscriber base. Viasat said it had filed a $188 million claim for the antenna defect with the...

Telesat says Telstar 19V already > 50% full, proposes new metric for fleet utilization

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Satellite fleet operator Telesat said pre-launch sales of its Telstar 19 Vantage satellite capacity to broadband service providers helped put the satellite’s fill rate past 50% just weeks after its entry into service. The major broadband customers for Telstar 19, which entered service in August, are Hughes Network Systems, which has leased the capacity for its Latin...

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