TOKYO — Startup broadband satellite constellation provider LeoSat expects to receive confirmation from fleet operator Sky Perfect JSat of an investment to enable LeoSat to complete its $100 million financing round, LeoSat Chief Executive Mark Rigolle said Oct. 11.

Rigolle said LeoSat believes the JSat commitment will unblock other investors, who have said they would prefer to enter LeoSat’s equity behind an initial investment by an established company like JSat, which is a major satellite fleet operator. “We hope to get the round closed early next year,” he said.

Rigolle is a former chief financial officer of fleet operator SES and former chief executive of the now SES-owned O3b Ka-band constellation of medium-Earth-orbit satellites. He said that as was the case for SES and O3b, getting landing rights around the world will be a long process at LeoSat.

“We are standing on the shoulders of O3b” in terms of testing Ka-band satellite delivery to enterprise customers, Rigolle said. And like O3b, the march toward access in those nations LeoSat deems important will not be easy or quick.

Addressing the APSCC 2017 conference here, Rigolle said LeoSat’s rights to Ka-band spectrum at the International Telecommunication Union are second only to Telesat Canada’s.

Like Telesat, LeoSat is seeking landing rights in the United States and is one of 11 non-geostationary-orbit systems seeking a license at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is expected to approve a yet-undefined number of NGSO systems in early 2018.

Beyond the United States, “market access is going to be a big challenge — for everybody,” Rigolle said of LeoSat and the other NGSO systems planning global coverage.

LeoSat’s inter-satellite links in principle should allow the company to dispense with the installation of gateway Earth stations. But regulatory requirements may supersede technical requirements in this case, as many national regulators want a semblance of control of access to the signals being used in their territories.

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Peter B. de Selding
Peter B. de Selding
Peter de Selding is a Co-Founder and editor for SpaceIntelReport.com. He started SpaceIntelReport in 2017 after 26 years as the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews where he covered the commercial satellite, launch and the international space businesses. He is widely considered the preeminent reporter in the space industry and is a must read for space executives. Follow Peter @pbdes