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Ex-Im Bank Puts $1.2 Billion Behind Two Satellite Projects

IBIZA, Spain — The U.S. Export-Import Bank has approved direct loans and loan guarantees for satellite telecommunications projects in Australia and Mexico, bringing to nearly $1.3 billion the bank’s satellite-sector financing so far in fiscal 2012 and equaling the total for all of 2011, the bank said.

In a July 31 announcement, the Ex-Im Bank said it had approved a direct loan of $281 million to a subsidiary of NewSat of Australia, a startup satellite operator whose Jabiru-1 satellite is under construction by Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Jabiru-1 will carry a mixed Ka- and Ku-band payload and is scheduled for launch in 2014. The project will support 250 jobs at Lockheed Martin plants in California and Pennsylvania, the bank said.

Ex-Im also agreed to guarantee a loan by Morgan Chase & Co. to the Mexican government’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation for the MexSat project to provide fixed and mobile links in Mexico.

The guarantee, totaling $922 million, will finance Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems’ production of two large L-band mobile communications satellites based on Boeing’s 702 HP platform. Boeing also will provide a satellite operations center and related ground infrastructure.

The Ex-Im Bank said 400 Boeing employees will work directly on MexSat.

The same guarantee covers the construction of a third, smaller satellite that Boeing subcontracted to Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. This satellite will carry a C- and Ku-band payload. Its construction will provide work for 80 Orbital employees.

Ex-Im said hundreds of additional jobs will be created among equipment suppliers to both Boeing and Orbital.

Peter B. de Selding

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.