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Interview: Chris Larmour, CEO, British launch-service startup Orbex

FARNBOROUGH, England — Vertical launch-vehicle startup Orbex has been in “No Comment” mode for three years and on July 16 lifted the veil on a fully made-in-UK rocket — no ITAR issues here — using propane fuel and 30 million pounds ($40 million) in investment from UK and European government agencies and two large venture-capital companies, among others. The company also announced a new investor,...

Gogo says open-bar airline contract terms are ending, IFC consolidation is coming

PARIS — In-flight-connectivity (IFC) provider Gogo Inc. said the contract model it pioneered a decade ago is a lousy business it will no longer pursue, and that it would cease trying to lure airlines with open-bar terms that have sent much of the IFC sector into a tailspin. After two months of thinking about what survival looks like, Gogo said it would immediately put into place a series of...

Space Data Center 2.0, powered by ComSpOC: There’s safety in our numbers
Sponsored by Analytical Graphics Inc

FCC likes Intelsat-SES-Intel C-band-sharing idea, but maybe not its original version

PARIS — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s decision to pursue proposals to open 500 MHz of now satellite-only C-band spectrum for future terrestrial wireless 5G had the now-predictable effect of causing a big jump in Intelsat and, to a lesser degree, SES stock. But comments of two FCC commissioners suggest that while the U.S. regulator looks favorably on the combined...

Greylock Partners doubles down on satellite propulsion startup Apollo Fusion with $10M

PARIS — Startup plasma-electric satellite thruster Apollo Fusion has secured $10 million in Series B financing from Greylock Partners’ Reid Hoffman, who was also lead investor in the company’s $8-million Series A. Mountain View, Calif.-based Apollo said that the fresh capital, addition to advance orders from at least one unnamed customer, will allow it to double its manufacturing capability and...

Hispasat joins Sky Perfect JSat as investor in satellite B2B broadband startup LeoSat

PARIS — Startup enterprise-grade broadband satellite network operator LeoSat has spent the past year circling the globe looking for a companion investor to Sky Perfect JSat of Japan, which made an initial equity investment in May 2017. On July 10, LeoSat announced that fleet operator Hispasat of Spain would join JSat as an equal partner and investor, with an equal investment. Industry officials...

Gilat and Telesat to test Gilat modems on Telesat’s LEO demonstration satellite

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Telesat and satellite ground hardware and services provider Gilat will test Gilat’s modem on Telesat’s Phase-1 LEO demonstration satellite using funds provided by the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF), the companies announced July 9. The agreement apparently is not a confirmation that Gilat Satellite Networks will be a prime...

MDA: We’re as Canadian as ever — employment, technology, IP, taxes — within U.S.-based Maxar

PARIS — Canada’s MDA Corp. purchased U.S. satellite builder SSL and U.S. geospatial-imaging company DigitalGlobe and relocated its corporate HQ to the United States in a straightforward application of Sutton’s law: Because that’s where the money is. The corporate ensemble, Maxar Technologies, now has a broader base of business — U.S.-based Radiant Solutions is the most-recent addition — and more...

OneWeb designer makes business case for satellite constellation debris removal

UPDATE July 7: This story was updated to include OneWeb’s comments. PARIS — The industrial prime contractor for the 900-satellite OneWeb constellation has developed an orbital debris-mitigation plan that marries satellite constellation operators’ short-term economic interests with the longer-term goal of good orbital citizenship. “There is a business case for an affordable ADR [active...

EchoStar abandons Inmarsat bid after Inmarsat rejection, but reserves right to return

  UPDATE: EchoStar let the July 6 deadline slip by without making a formal bid for Inmarsat, but said it could return to the table even before the six-month regulatory no-bid period if a third party were to go after Inmarsat or if Inmarsat’s management changed its mind about EchoStar’s offer. Here is EchoStar’s statement, issued about an hour before the 5 p.m. UK time deadline:...

Interview: Methera Global Communications CEO Chris McIntosh

SINGAPORE — At least a dozen satellite companies are pursuing the difficult-to-tap market of providing broadband access to the 4 billion people who don’t have it. Most are proposing to use hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit, or large geostationary-orbit satellites that each cover a third of the planet. Methera Global Communications of Britain, which has received initial design grants from...

‘Minimally crazy:’ European VC explains investment in launch-service startup PLD Space

  PARIS — Angel and venture-capital enthusiasm for the space sector has rippled outward from the United States and is now taking effect in Europe and Asia. Whether it’s herd mentality or a prescient view of successful business models, most of these investors have steered clear of hardware to focus on services. And most of the hardware investors are sticking as close as possible to the service...

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