FIRST UP Satcom | Globalstar scraps FiberLight merger • Intelsat finds new Ariane 5 co-passenger
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Globalstar called off a merger orchestrated by owner Thermo Capital that would have combined the satellite operator with a Thermo Capital-owned landline company. The $1.65 billion arrangement was initially expected to close this quarter. Globalstar said there are no termination fees resulting from the canceled deal. Jay Monroe, chief executive of Globalstar and head of Thermo Capital, had been in a dispute with Jason Mudrick, a hedge fund manager with shares in Globalstar, over the merger. Mudrick secretly recorded a meeting with Monroe and used the tape in a July 3 trial in an effort to prove Monroe engineered a bad deal that overvalues assets he controls. [Seeking Alpha/Bloomberg]
Intelsat will use one of its own satellites as a co-passenger for an Ariane 5 mission it originally was sharing with the Indian space agency. The launch of the Intelsat-38/Azerspace-2 condosat, originally planned for May, will now launch in September with Horizons-3e, a joint venture satellite between Intelsat and Sky Perfect JSAT. The Indian space agency ISRO withdrew its GSAT-11 satellite in April to review its health. The Intelsat satellites bring coverage over Europe, Africa and Asia, with Horizons-3e bringing Asia-Pacific capacity that extends Intelsat’s high-throughput “Epic” coverage from regional to global. [Intelsat]
Nigerian telecom service providers say the nation’s state-run satellite operator has prices that are uncompetitive with other satellite operators. The president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria said NigComSat has long had a challenge with capacity prices, leading companies to use foreign satellites instead. NigComSat-1R, the operator’s only satellite, has been in orbit since December 2011. Danasabe Hosea, a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, voiced concern that NigComSat-1R is underutilized, and said mandating the satellite’s use could save the country money. China EXIM Bank and China Great Wall Industry Corp. are financing the full $550 million NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 procurement, according to Nigerian Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu. The two satellites will provide backup services for NigComSat-1R. [New Telegraph]
India’s decision to postpone the launch of a communications satellite earlier this year could prove costly. The Indian space agency ISRO postponed the launch of the GSAT-11 satellite on an Ariane 5 that was scheduled for May in order to ship the satellite back to India for inspections, which turned up no issues with the spacecraft. Arianespace has reportedly notified ISRO that it will reschedule the GSAT-11 satellite only if the agency provides at least partial payment for the future launch of two other satellites, GSAT-30 and 31, by Aug. 15. ISRO is seeking additional government funding to pay for those launches. [The New Indian Express]
Peter Jackson, the former CEO of AsiaSat, has resigned from his role as a non-executive director at the company. AsiaSat said Jackson’s departure is due to “other personal commitments” and that he had no disagreements with the board of directors. Jackson additionally left his roles as a member of AsiaSat’s remuneration and compliance committees. “The Board would like to express its gratitude to Mr. Jackson for his outstanding contributions to the Company during his tenure of service,” AsiaSat said. [AsiaSat]
British fleet operator Avanti demonstrated an 8.5 Mbps link with a moving vehicle using a terminal from Israeli antenna supplier GetSAT. The test showed the ability to stream live HD-quality video or other data traffic with the terminal over Avanti’s Hylas-2 Ka-band satellite. Avanti installed a GetSAT Microhub modem at the operator’s Cyprus gateway to support the demo. The companies said they will seek to further develop “satellite on the move” capabilities for military and government users. [Avanti]
Maxar Technologies is setting up a new smallsat division even as it downsizes satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral. In an earnings call, Maxar CEO Howard Lance said the company had set up a new facility in San Jose, California, devoted to work on smallsats weighing between 100 and about 500 kilograms for both commercial and U.S. government customers. Maxar’s SSL division is consolidating its footprint in nearby Palo Alto, moving out of some leased buildings and laying off an unspecified number of people, citing a downturn in the GEO satellite market. Lance said he does not see “much in the way of a market recovery for GEO.” Maxar reported a net loss of $18.6 million in the second quarter, compared to a net profit of $19.3 million in the second quarter of 2017. [SpaceNews]
Satellite operator SES sees a shift in revenues from video to data services over the next few years. The company said that it anticipates that video services, which constitute 68 percent of the company’s current revenues, will drop to less than 60 percent by 2020, with data services rising from 32 to more than 40 percent. In a recent earnings call, SES CEO Steve Collar said development of its next-generation mPower satellite system was going well after a recently completed preliminary design review with manufacturer Boeing. [SpaceNews]
Satellite Internet-of-Things startup Fleet completed its mission control center in South Australia in preparation for the launch of its first two satellites. The control center and accompanying ground station will run 24 hours a day, enabling Fleet to receive data from Centauri 1 and 2 — the company’s first cubesats. The satellites are launching this year, one on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and another on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Fleet hopes to eventually have a constellation of 100 cubesats, providing connectivity in agriculture, mining, maritime and other industries. Italian startup Leaf Space built the ground station. [Business Insider Australia]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.