FIRST UP Satcom | Arabsat refutes World Cup piracy involvement • Court lifts ban on Telebras-Viasat deal • Spanish MoD to buy two satellites
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Arabsat says its satellites were not used by pirate broadcasters to illegally air World Cup matches. The Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based fleet operator said seven independent satellite communications experts verified that beoutQ, the organization accused by Qatar-based beIN Sports of pirating World Cup content, did not broadcast over Arabsat frequencies. “Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” chief executive Khalid Balkheyour said. BeIN Sports held 2018 World Cup broadcast rights for the Middle East and North Africa, but is blocked in Saudi Arabia, which imposed a trade and diplomatic boycott on Qatar last year. [Reuters]
Brazil’s Supreme Court lifted a suspension of Telebras’ contract with Viasat to use capacity on the Brazilian SGDC satellite. Two Brazilian companies, Via Directa and Rede Tiradentes, had filed a Federal Court lawsuit in opposition to the contract, halting Viasat’s use of the satellite. Telebras owns the SGDC satellite, and signed an agreement in February to let Viasat use a large portion of the satellite’s non-military capacity. [Metropoles]
Spain’s Ministry of Defense approved the procurement of two new telecommunications satellites, Spainsat NG 1 and 2, as part of a 5-billion-euro investment in new technologies, including helicopters and a submarine program. Spain intends to buy the new satellites, which have an estimated budget of 800 million euros, by the end of the year. The new satellites will succeed Spainsat and Xtar-Eur, both of which launched more than 10 years ago. [Infoespacial]
Bank Rakyat Indonesia, a state-owned bank and the largest bank in Indonesia, has selected Hughes Network Systems’ Jupiter System to provide services over BRIsat, its satellite covering Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Hughes’ Jupiter ground infrastructure will provide Bank BRI with an “enterprise grade” wide-area network to connect tens of thousands of sites with 99.9 percent availability, according to Hughes. “Bank BRI is looking forward to working with Hughes to connect our Bank BRI sites and more than 50 million customers throughout Indonesia,” said Meiditomo Sutyarjoko, head of Bank BRI’s Satellite and Terrestrial Division. Bank BRI launched the SSL-built BRIsat in June 2016, becoming the first bank in the world to operates its own satellite. [SpaceTech Asia]
Russia is preparing to ramp up production of its Angara rocket. Dmitry Rogozin, new head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, said that “serial production” of the rocket should begin by 2022 or 2023 at a factory in the city of Omsk. Rogozin said that he expected the Proton launch vehicle to end service by 2025, citing “restrictions” posed on the use of one of the toxic propellants used by that rocket. [TASS]
Inmarsat’s next high-throughput satellite GX-5 will use ground infrastructure from iDirect to enable broadband services. IDirect will supply its Velocity platform, which includes a hub, operating software, a network management system and other equipment. Under construction by Thales Alenia Space, GX-5 is expected to launch next year and enter service in 2020. Inmarsat’s terminals will enable switching between the four GX satellites already in orbit and the higher capacity GX-5 satellite. [iDirect]
A solid rocket motor that will be used on two next-generation European rockets passed a key test Monday. The P120C motor, the largest monolithic carbon-fiber solid rocket motor in the world, performed a 135-second static-fire test Monday in French Guiana, ESA and the companies involved said. The motor will be used in the first stage of the Vega C small launch vehicle and in strap-on boosters for the Ariane 6. Two more such tests are planned before the booster is qualified for flight. [SpaceNews]
Atlas Space Operations says it will provide telemetry, commanding and data support for BlackSky’s upcoming constellation of remote sensing satellites. Atlas plans to use new ground stations in Guam and Japan to support the service. The first four of a planned 60 satellites are scheduled to launch next year. [GeekWire]
Maxar announced Monday it will acquire Canadian space technology company Neptec Design Group Ltd. for $32 million. Neptec makes sensors and electro-mechanical systems for various space applications, including the International Space Station and ESA’s upcoming ExoMars rover. Maxar said it sees applications for Neptec’s technology for its on-orbit servicing plans as well as NASA’s proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. Neptec will be folded into Maxar’s Canadian-based MDA business. [SpaceNews]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.