Ariane 5 launch on July 28 • Teledyne logs OneWeb revenue dip
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Arianespace’s first launch since the pandemic began is scheduled for July 28. An Ariane 5 rocket carrying three spacecraft is set to launch from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, between 5:29 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Eastern. The rocket will carry the Galaxy-30 satellite for Intelsat stacked atop Northrop Grumman’s second Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-2, in its upper berth. Ariane 5’s lower berth will house the BSAT-4b satellite for Japanese operator BSAT, separated from the other payloads by a protective case. The rocket, built by ArianeGroup, has an increased payload capacity by 85 kilograms, one of the last upgrades to the Ariane 5 before its replacement by the next-generation Ariane 6 in 2021. [Arianespace]
Teledyne Technologies reported a $6 million drop in defense and space electronics revenue that it blamed on OneWeb, the megaconstellation startup that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March. Teledyne said July 22 that the operating income for its Aerospace and Defense Electronics division, which includes space, was $17.5 million for the second quarter of 2020, down 54.7% from the same period last year because of lower sales and “severance and facility consolidation costs.” A weak commercial aviation market also contributed to the decline, the company said. Overall, Teledyne reported $743.3 million in second quarter 2020 net sales, down 4.9% from 2019. Teledyne supplies satellite components for OneWeb Satellites, the manufacturer of the OneWeb constellation, under a $95 million contract received in 2018. [Teledyne]
The coronavirus continues to weigh down Canadian antenna supplier C-Com’s financial performance, but has not discouraged the company from paying dividends to shareholders. C-Com reported a loss of 466,930 Canadian dollars ($347,608) on revenues of 1,061,665 Canadian dollars for the quarter ended May 31. That’s in contrast to 2,566,595 Canadian dollars in revenue and a net after tax profit of $267,342 in the second quarter of 2019. C-Com President and CEO Leslie Klein said the company continued to experience a slowdown that “grew beyond Asia to the US and other areas impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” He said recent increased business has “triggered the need for our engineering and testing teams to return to a full workweek.” C-Com paid 477,000 Canadian dollars in dividends during this second quarter, and continues to work on a flat panel antenna. [C-Com]
The European Commission announced a space budget Tuesday nearly 20% lower than originally proposed. The budget provides 13.2 billion euros ($15.2 billion) for EU space programs over the next seven years, significantly below an original proposal for 16 billion euros. The budget cut for space came as part of extensive four-day negotiations in Brussels over a 1.8-trillion-euro budget for the entire European Union that included a pandemic economic recovery package. Nearly all of the budget will go to the Galileo and Copernicus satellite programs, with a small fraction left for the GovSatCom secure communications program and a space situational awareness initiative. [SpaceNews]
The government of Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation, has signed a five-year agreement with Kacific for satellite broadband. The government has agreed to use all the available capacity in a high-throughput beam on the Kacific-1 satellite positioned over Tuvalu’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Kacific will connect agencies, businesses, and communities across Tuvalu’s nine islands, providing satellite capacity, 60 very small aperture terminals, 40 outdoor Wi-Fi hot spots, three maritime antennas and 11 antennas for cellular backhaul services. [Kacific]
SpaceX launched a South Korean military communications satellite Monday. The Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern and deployed the ANASIS-2 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit about a half-hour later. ANASIS-2 was built by Airbus Defence and Space as part of an offset obligation related to a $7 billion sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets to South Korea in 2014. The rocket’s first stage was first flown on the Demo-2 commercial crew mission, and the turnaround between launches was the shortest to date for SpaceX. The company also said it successfully caught both halves of the rocket’s payload fairing using nets attached to ships downrange from the launch site. [SpaceNews]
Airbus Defence and Space and Avanti Communications teamed with antenna supplier GetSat and networking solutions company GRC to provide secure mobile satcom to an undisclosed U.K. customer. Avanti will supply Ka-band capacity from its satellite fleet, which will link with GetSat Microsat terminals for voice and data, the companies said. Airbus and GRC partnered to deliver hardware, training and 24/7 support services. [Avanti]
There is a major coronavirus outbreak in the city of Baikonur, home to the famous spaceport. Local officials said there has been a major increase in cases, overwhelming the city’s hospital. While the official death toll in the city of 40,000 is 30, the actual number of people who died of COVID-19 may be several times higher. The outbreak has not halted work at the nearby spaceport, including a Progress cargo spacecraft launch scheduled for Thursday. [Moscow Times]
Spaceflight Inc.’s upcoming Sherpa-FX orbital transfer vehicle will use Tethers Unlimited’s Terminator Tape to speed its reentry after deploying satellites in low Earth orbit. Sherpa-FX will carry the notebook-sized package, which contains a 70-meter strip of conductive tape designed to increase atmospheric drag, speeding the vehicle’s demise. Sherpa-FX is scheduled to launch no earlier than December on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. [GeekWire]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.