FIRST UP Satcom | ISRO launches Ku-band satellite • SpaceX raising $500 million • SES closes 400 million euro loan
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India successfully launched a military communications satellite early Dec. 19. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark 2 rocket lifted off on schedule at 5:40 a.m. Eastern and deployed the GSAT-7A satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit 19 minutes later. The 2,250-kilogram satellite will provide Ku-band communications services for the Indian Air Force. [The Hindu]
SpaceX is raising another $500 million from both new and existing investors. The new funding round would value the company at $30.5 billion, a new high, according to those working on the round. Baillie Gifford & Co., a Scottish money management company, is believed to be a new investor in SpaceX in this round, joining existing shareholders. The funding round could be closed by the end of the year. [Wall Street Journal]
SES closed a 400 million euro ($457 million) loan that keeps the company fully funded out to 2020. The company said Dec. 19 that the new loan will go towards general corporate purposes and refinancing existing debt maturities, including a $500 million bond that matures this March. BNP Paribas, ING Bank, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen jointly arranged the transaction. [SES]
Australia-based Speedcast has completed its purchase of U.S. satellite communications company Globecomm for $134 million. Speedcast expects the acquisition, first announced in August, to generate $15 million in annual cost synergies within 18 months through “footprint rationalisation,” better procurement, an improved network and other means. PJ Beylier, Speedcast’s CEO, said the acquisition “fits perfectly with Speedcast’s strategy to build competitive advantages based on scale, reach and unique capabilities.” Globecomm will strengthen Speedcast’s presence in government, maritime and enterprise connectivity, he said, while bringing expertise to growth areas such as media services and the Internet of Things. [Speedcast]
Virgin Orbit is in talks to perform satellite launches from the island of Guam. The operator of the island’s international airport says it’s working with Virgin Orbit to allow the company’s air-launch system to operate from there. Those discussions have been ongoing since April, but became public Monday when Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo announced the airport authority was conducting feasibility studies on supporting launch operations. Virgin Orbit has previously mentioned interest in a Pacific launch site to support launches to low inclinations. [Pacific Daily News]
Satellite operator Globalstar said it will issue $60 million in stock to shareholders through a public offering. The stock offering results from a settlement agreement with Mudrick Capital Management LP and Warlander Asset Management, shareholders who had objected to how Globalstar leadership ran the company. Through the deal, Mudrick, Warlander and Globalstar’s controlling shareholder Thermo Funding 2 LLC agreed to purchase a pro rata share of the offering. Globalstar is required through the settlement to add two minority directors as well as an independent board member to its board of directors. The company is also required to form a strategic review committee to consider financing options. [The New Orleans Advocate]
Television broadcaster beIN Media Group is transferring from Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat to Eutelsat. “The switch of satellites provides an increase in platform security and control, and improved resilience overall,” beIN said in a message to subscribers. Most set-top-boxes will automatically reconfigure, beIN said, but customers will need to make sure their boxes do by Dec. 31 to avoid interruptions. [BroadbandTVNews]
U.K.-based communications technology provider Celestia Technologies Group received a contract from the European Space Agency to develop electronically steered ground stations. The 8 million euro ($9.1 million) contract supports a three-year program meant to produce Ka-band ground systems for large satellite constellations. The electronically steered ground stations would be able to track and connect with multiple satellites simultaneously, enabling one ground station to do the job of several parabolic dish ground stations. The U.K. Space Agency is helping to fund the program. [Celestia]
Yahsat and Hughes have officially launched a joint venture that was first announced in September. The company is marketing satellite broadband as “YahClick, powered by Hughes,” using capacity on Yahsat’s Al Yah-2 and -3 satellites, and Hughes ground segment technology including its Jupiter platform and Hughes Operating and Business Support System. Yahsat CEO Masood M. Sharif Mahmood is serving as chair of a five-person board of directors, with Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes, serving as a board director. Yahsat and Hughes said their joint venture provides direct-to-premise connectivity services to homes, offices and other facilities, community hotspots and cellular backhaul and carrier solutions for mobile network operators. [EchoStar]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.