Antenna developer NXT Comm’s assets up for sale

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TAMPA, Fla. — Satellite antenna developer NXT Communications Corp.’s equipment, property, and other collateral are being auctioned off amid production delays that have left L3Harris Technologies in the lurch.

Three-year-old NXT Comm secured a deal last year with the defense contractor to deliver electronically steered antennas (ESAs) in the first quarter of 2022 to support U.S. Department of Defense warfighters.

L3Harris has received only an engineering model antenna from NXT Comm, according to L3Harris director of global public relations Paul Swiergosz.

“To date we have not received the production prototype, but this prototype is not tied to any active commitments or contracts L3Harris has with its customers,” he said.

“While we continue to work with NXT Comm, we are prudently exploring other sources for ESAs moving forward.”

In an April 7 blog post update, Georgia-based NXT Comm said it expected to bring its antenna “into production later this year.” 

However, component shortages, supply chain delays, and rocky financial markets have made life difficult for antenna developers racing to meet demand from incoming constellations in low Earth orbit (LEO).

NXT Comm owes $2 million in secured debt to family-owned investment firm Western Pioneer, which will lead an auction of the startup’s assets Nov. 18.

Western Pioneer president and NXT Comm board member Larry Soriano said the auction is part of a “private recapitalization” that aims to bring more investment into the company. 

The investment firm intends to keep the business running if it wins the auction and takes over NXT Comm’s assets, which also include intellectual property.

In the meantime, NXT Comm’s “focus continues to be on developing flat panel antenna solutions,” Soriano said via email.

He declined to comment further.

NXT Comm announced plans to test its multi-orbit, flat panel with a Eutelsat satellite in 2020 after opening a production facility in Cherokee County, Georgia.

It is competing in a crowded market where other startups have secured significant investments to develop their own flat-panel antennas. 

All.Space (formerly Isotropic Systems) has plans to release its first commercial satellite terminal later this year, and Kymeta is also working on expanding its antennas to the market for multi-orbit connectivity solutions. Each has raised more than $100 million for their plans.

Satixfy, which provides antennas and other satellite communications equipment, became a public company Oct. 28 to accelerate its expansion. 

Its shares soared more than 40% to $29.39 after completing their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange Oct. 28, although they have since fallen just over 66% to close at $9.97 Nov. 9.