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DigitalGlobe: US government exercises option, WorldView-4 draws commercial customers

PARIS — Geospatial imagery provider DigitalGlobe on July 20 said it would be spending no more than $600 million to build and launch its WorldView-Legion high-resolution optical Earth observation spacecraft, which recently have been contracted with the satellite-building unit of MDA Corp. of Canada. MDA’s planned purchase of DigitalGlobe is now facing review by the U.S. Committee on Foreign...

German Heinrich Hertz satellite shows military reluctance to expand commercial satcom

PARIS — The German government’s decision to contract for a new telecommunications satellite is the latest example of governments’ continued reluctance to outsource satellite telecommunications to the private sector. It will also likely mean reduced purchases of commercial satellite services as the German Armed Force, or Bundeswehr, moves more of its requirements to the government-owned Heinrich...

District court dismisses Orbital ATK protest of DARPA satellite-servicing program

Updated with Orbital ATK, DARPA statements on court ruling PARIS — A U.S. District Court dismissed Orbital ATK’s lawsuit against a U.S. government effort to develop an in-orbit robotic servicing vehicle with contractor Space Systems/Loral (SSL), saying the court has no standing to challenge an agency program. In its July 12 decision, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia...

Interview: Speedcast CEO P.J. Beylier

Updated on July 13: PARIS — Speedcast International has been a go-to company for mergers and acquisitions in the satellite services industry in recent years, its latest being the purchase of Harris CapRock. The company says its increased size is a prime reason its EBITDA margin has grown from 11% in 2011 to 19% in 2016. Industry consensus is that there are still too many service providers,...

French BPIFAE export-credit agency gives Globalstar until Oct. 30 to find $114 million

PARIS — Mobile satellite services provider Globalstar Inc. has agreed to seek a strategic investor or find some other source of cash as part of the latest agreement it reached with its creditors, led by the French government, Globalstar said July 7. In exchange for loosening debt covenant deadlines, Globalstar committed to still-stricter spending limits, including limits on capital spending to...

Sky and Space Global: Constellations need relief on regulatory filing, insurance costs

UPDATE July 17: Sky and Space Global said its three Diamond satellites have successfully demonstrated their RF intersatellite links at up to 2 Mega Symbols per second, in what the company said is a first for nanosatellites. Commercial service from these first three satellites will start “within a few weeks” following more in-orbit testing. PARIS — Startup narrowband satellite...

Shortseller Kerrisdale turns harsh gaze on ViaSat, consumer satellite broadband

PARIS — A well-known Wall Street short seller has mounted a sustained attack on satellite broadband provider ViaSat Inc., saying ViaSat has inflated its consumer-broadband results with non-bandwidth-related add-ons that mask the real story. In a report on ViaSat that reads like a prosecution brief, Kerrisdale Capital largely bypasses ViaSat’s defense and aeronautical businesses to focus on its...

SES re-establishes communications with AMC-9; pieces of satellite appear to have broken off

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES said it had re-established contact with its AMC-9 satellite on July 1, two days after receiving word that the U.S. Air Force was tracking at least two objects that likely were piece of the satellite in the same orbit. AMC-9, which stopped responding to commands on June 17, has been slowly turning on itself and drifting westward along the geostationary arc...

SES: Happily Malthusian on launch services, favors salami on satellites

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES will continue to go after some of its customers’ customers, pit launch-service providers against each other as new vehicles crowd the market and push satellite builders to further cut costs with a cookie-cutter production model, company officials said. While its share of the total satellite bandwidth market has slipped along with that of the other major...

Ariane 5 launch for Inmarsat, Hellas Sat, ISRO returns Arianespace to pre-strike schedule

PARIS — Europe’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket on June 28 successfully placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary-transfer orbit in the rocket’s 80th consecutive success since 2003. More importantly, the launch — the fourth Ariane 5 in 2017 and the seventh mission for launch-service provider Arianespace — puts Arianespace back on its originally planned schedule for 12 launch...

Interview: ViaSat President and COO Richard A. Baldridge

Key takeaways: — ViaSat-2 has completed its chemical burn, now on electric. All OK, it will reach GEO slot in October. You’ve likely never seen a detailed photo of ViaSat-2 and won’t now. — 2 ViaSat-3 satellite payloads & platforms are progressing on schedule and on budget at ViaSat and Boeing. —ViaSat wants Eutelstat ViaSat-3 partnership but concedes political headwind and will go it alone...

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