Hispasat buyer secures 500M euro credit line • ESA, Polish firms study rocket tech • CETel buys UK teleport operator
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Hispasat’s buyer Red Eléctrica Corporación has secured a 500 million euro ($564.7 million) credit line intended to partly finance its purchase of the Spanish satellite operator. Red Eléctrica said the credit line, formalized June 12, is available for five years with the possibility of extension to seven years. The Spanish power company announced plans in February to buy Abertis’ 89.7 percent stake in Hispasat for 949 million euros. Red Eléctrica said a banking syndicate comprising four financial institutions, all with a presence in Spain, are participating in the credit line. [Red Eléctrica]
The European Space Agency and a team of Polish companies signed a contract last week to study rocket fuel injectors that use green propellant. The new rocket parts could have multiple applications, including use in kick stages, micro-launcher upper stages and reusability demonstration platforms. The Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation in Poland will serve as the prime contractor for new injector and engine control valves as part of ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Program, the agency said June 11. Polish space hardware provider Astronika is responsible for valve control parts and overall control methods, and Jakusz SpaceTech is tasked with providing high-grade hydrogen peroxide as the oxidizer for the tests. [ESA]
German teleport operator CETel has purchased another teleport operator, Cobbett Hill Earth Station, in the United Kingdom. The acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed, grows CETel’s maritime communications business and expands the company’s services into television broadcasting. Cobbett Hill operates more than 25 antennas with active operations on 13 satellites. Located 25 miles from London on land previously used by the British Ministry of Defence, Cobbett Hill’s location has rights to install an unlimited number of antennas on its 200-acre site. [CETel]
A newly launched Russian communications satellite is using a backup propulsion system to raise its orbit. Yamal-601, built by Thales Alenia Space for Gazprom Space Systems, launched on a Proton last month into a geostationary transfer orbit. The spacecraft was to use its main engine to move into its final geostationary orbit, but Gazprom said a burn by that engine June 1 ended early when its attitude drifted. The spacecraft will instead use a set of smaller thrusters to raise its orbit, which the companies said will not reduce its 15-year lifetime. [Spaceflight Now]
Satellite capacity sales will double in revenue from 2018 to 2028, with most of that growth coming from data-centric services instead of television broadcasting, according to a new report from Northern Sky Research. By 2028, two thirds of capacity-generated revenue will come from high-throughput satellite capacity for broadband and data connectivity, compared to only one third from traditional fixed satellite services capacity used mainly for television broadcasting. NSR said television broadcasting continues to be an industry cash cow, but faces a $1.8 billion decline by 2028, indicating a “dire need to transition the satellite business into a more data-centric model where large volumes and low prices ignite growth.” [NSR]
Viasat has partnered with an Aboriginal not-for-profit science and technology company in Australia to build a ground station for communications services with remote sensing satellites. The California company will work with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) to build the station in Alice Springs, Australia as part of Viasat’s Real-Time Earth project. CfAT will own the facility through a commercial subsidiary called CfAT Satellite Enterprises Pty Ltd, and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), a government body that will help finance and advise the project. Viasat’s Real-Time Earth system will have space and ground elements to bring low latency connectivity for remote sensing satellites mainly in low Earth orbit. The company has established other ground stations in the Americas and Europe. [Viasat]
Smallsat developer ÅAC Clyde raised $9 million as the company expands.The company said Monday it raised the money from both new and existing investors. That funding will be used to support company expansion, including hiring. ÅAC Clyde currently employs around 100 people, and expects to hire 40 to 50 more people across its Sweden, Scotland and England locations by the end of the year. [SpaceNews]
Small launch vehicle developer Relativity announced Tuesday it will establish a rocket factory at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The company will lease a 220,000-square-foot building at the center and convert it into a factory that will ultimately produce 12 to 24 of its Terran 1 rockets a year. The company is receiving support from the Mississippi Development Authority, an economic development agency, and plans to invest $59 million in the factory. Relativity chose the site in part because it already does engine testing at Stennis. The company says it remains on schedule for a first launch of its rocket in late 2020. [SpaceNews]
British satellite operator Avanti signed a five-year master distributor agreement with voice and data service provider mgi global services. Through the agreement, mgi will provide broadband in South Sudan, Chad and Angola using Avanti’s Ka-band Hylas-4 satellite. Managing Partner Ilija Reymond said the company has a site activated with Avanti connectivity, and plans to expand its service portfolio through the partnership. [Avanti]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.