HTS supply climbing high • Astrocast gains investor • NanoAvionics expanding in U.S.
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The supply of high-throughput satellite capacity is projected to increase twelvefold by 2024 from where it was in 2019, according to a new report by research firm Euroconsult. Broadband megaconstellations from SpaceX and OneWeb are major contributors to that increase as both companies place large numbers of high-throughput satellites in low Earth orbit. Euroconsult estimates $15 billion will be spent on broadband constellations outside of geostationary orbit through the end of 2024. The research firm projects $85 billion in global HTS revenues from 2019 to 2028. [Euroconsult]
Astrocast, a company developing a constellation of 100 cubesats for Internet of Things connectivity, received a strategic investment of undisclosed value from Marine Instruments, a company specialized in building buoys. Marine Instruments will be able to connect its buoys in all weather conditions using L-band connectivity from Astrocast, according to the satellite startup. Astrocast has booked launches for 30 of its 100 satellites with Spaceflight, and has satellites launching this year and in 2021. [Astrocast]
Lithuanian cubesat builder NanoAvionics has opened a second facility in the U.S. The office, located in Columbia, Illinois, benefits from nearby universities and a low cost of living, according to the company. NanoAvionics’ first U.S. facility is at the Midland Air and Space Port where its parent company AST & Science is based. NanoAvionics said it recently received a contract from a U.S. customer for two 6U cubesats, reinforcing the need for a larger U.S. presence. [NanoAvionics]
Swedish company Ovzon is providing satellite broadband to the Italian army and Italy’s Civil Protection Department to aid response efforts to the coronavirus. Ovzon said its satellite connectivity is mainly being used for video conferencing between personnel in “red zones” in Northern Italy and the headquarters of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Rome. The Italian government introduced nationwide travel restrictions March 9 as coronavirus cases passed 9,000, with deaths linked to the virus numbered at 463. [Ovzon/CNN]
Satellite operators are worried that launch companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX may become competitors. Executives from SES and Eutelsat said at the Satellite 2020 conference Tuesday they are watching as SpaceX deploys its own Starlink constellation of broadband satellites, which could make SpaceX one of their competitors. Blue Origin could also become a competitor if it launches Amazon’s Kuiper broadband constellation, as Blue Origin is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. A Blue Origin executive said later at the conference that Blue Origin is not guaranteed to launch Amazon’s constellation and will have to compete for that business. [SpaceNews]
The first Proton launch of the year will be delayed by up to two months. Khrunichev says that problems with components on the rocket require them to be replaced, but didn’t state which components are affected or what the problems with them were. That launch, carrying the Express-80 and Express-103 communications satellites for the Russian Satellite Communications Company, had been scheduled for March 31 but will likely be delayed to late May. [TASS]
It may be the beginning of the end of DirecTV as a satellite broadcaster. AT&T says it is no longer actively marketing the direct-to-home satellite TV service broadly, but will continue selling it in rural areas. AT&T is instead focusing on its streaming service, AT&T TV, despite some initial poor reviews of it. Some analysts speculate that DirecTV could be sold or shut down when its deal to carry NFL games expires in two years. [USA Today]
SpaceX has doubled the size of its next funding round. The company is now seeking to raise $500 million in an ongoing private financing round versus $250 million from earlier reports. The company raised $1.33 billion in three rounds last year in order to finance work on its Starlink satellite system and Starship next-generation launch vehicle. [CNBC]
SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.