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Canada’s UrtheCast secures high-cost loan for revenue-generating acquisition, but cash challenges remain

PARIS — Canadian satellite geospatial imagery and services provider UrtheCast Corp. said it had secured a one-year, $12 million term loan to finance debt payments and a downpayment on the purchase of GeoSys Technology Holding from Land O’Lakes. The loan, from Bolzano Investments and 1112099 B.C. Ltd., carries a 14% interest rate a one-time finance fee of $180,000 to be paid to Bolzano. In...

PocketQube pioneer Alba Orbital, in breakthrough export order, sells 2 satellites to U.S.-based Stara Space

PARIS — Alba Orbital of Scotland, in its first export, has sold two 750-gram PocketQube satellites to startup Stara Space of the United States, which is designing a communications constellation for secure data transfers with inter-satellite links. The launch, on a yet-undisclosed rocket, is scheduled for late this year on a flight-proven rocket, Alba said. The launch will carry five other...

After ride-shares on India’s PSLV & SpaceX, IoT startup Hiber books a dedicated Vector launch

PARIS — Satellite-based IIoT/M2M startup Hiber of the Netherlands has booked a dedicated launch this year on Vector’s Vector-R rocket, to operate from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska. After waiting out long launch delays, Hiber launched two satellites in quick succession as part of ride-share packages on India’s PSLV rocket in November and the SpaceX/Spaceflight Inc.-organized smallsat...

French smallsat champion Nexeya adds Airbus to partnership ranks that include Thales Alenia Space, CNES

PARIS — Nexeya, which has been chosen by the French government to be a poster child for French NewSpace startups, has signed a partnership agreement with Airbus Defense and Space under which Airbus will be prime contractor and systems integrator for commercial smallsat constellations that would use Nexeya’s platform. The agreement, signed by Airbus Space chief Nicolas Chamussy and Nexeya...

Forced by Brexit, Inmarsat moves satellite/ground airline connectivity business to Luxembourg

PARIS — Mobile satellite services operator Inmarsat of London is moving its subsidiary responsible for the ground- and satellite-based European Aviation Network (EAN) business to Luxembourg as a result of Brexit. Inmarsat is one of two companies — EchoStar Mobile is the other — that received European Commission licenses to operate an S-band mobile satellite service to cover European Union...

Arianespace says geostationary-orbit satellite market hit bottom in 2018, will rebound in 2019

PARIS — The Arianespace launch consortium reported revenue of 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in 2018, flat from 2017, and a 16% decline in its backlog reflected the continued decline in the market for launching large geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites. That decline, which has already caused one large satellite builder — Maxar Technologies’ SSL — to prepare to quit the market,...

Sky and Space Global: We’ll make back payment to GomSpace & keep satellite constellation on schedule

PARIS — Startup satellite IoT/M2M constellation operator Sky and Space Global Ltd. said it would make a past-due payment to its satellite prime contractor within weeks to prevent its 200-satellite constellation from slipping too far behind schedule. The company, registered in the United Kingdom, with shares traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, has signed multiple memoranda of understanding...

Loss of WorldView-4 satellite is one too many worries for Maxar investors

PARIS — Maxar Technologies felt the effects of a triple whammy on Jan. 7 when its stock sank by 31.5% after news that its DigitalGlobe division had lost the use of one of its prime satellites after an on-board component failure. Shares were down sharply in early pre-market trading Jan. 8 on the New York Stock Exchange. The satellite, WorldView-4, cost its former owner GeoEye, more than $800...

U.S. broadband survey finds Hughes outperforms competitors in beating promised performance

CARBONDALE, Colorado — A survey of fixed broadband service in the United States found that satellite-broadband provider Hughes Network Systems consistently outperformed other DSL, fiber, cable and satellite providers in surpassing its promised throughput speeds. The survey also found that the blended performance of Hughes and direct satellite-broadband competitor Viasat Inc. matched DSL internet...

Satellite aircraft-tracking startup Aireon secures debt package, makes Iridium payment

UPDATE JAN. 16, 2019: Aireon disclosed that the credit facility it secured in December totals $200 million and was provided by a group of investor funds led by Deutsche Bank. The company said the financing would enable Aireon to repay the $200 million in hosting fees it owes Iridium Communications. Aireon made a late-December payment, based on the Deutsche Bank facility, in December totaling $35...

Hoist with its own petard: Iridium says fuel tank in California walnut grove likely from its satellite

PARIS — Iridium Communications Chief Executive Matt Desch, an active proponent of measures to mitigate the accumulation of orbital debris, since October has had a first-hand look at the unpredictability of constellation management. That’s when a titanium fuel tank likely from Iridium’s SV-70 satellite launched 20 years ago fell into a California walnut grove. It was apparently the first time an...

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