Sea Launch platform to leave California • Hispasat boosts Red Eléctrica’s financials

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Sea Launch’s mobile Odyssey launchpad was loaded onto a cargo ship, the Xin Guang Hua, for transport from California. The 46,000-ton launchpad, last used in 2014, is expected to arrive near Vladivostok, Russia, in March. Russian aviation company S7 Group completed its purchase of Sea Launch in 2018. [Gazettes/TASS/@MXSOCAL]

EchoStar, Khosla Ventures and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler have invested an additional $24 million into Tarana Wireless, a California startup developing technology for long-distance wireless links. Tarana said the funds will help further a demonstration network in Silicon Valley that links multiple locations up to 15 kilometers away using a single transmitter, many without direct line of sight. Tarana said investors have committed to provide another $36 million in equity investment through October. [Tarana Wireless]

Spanish power company Red Eléctrica says its acquisition of Hispasat is boosting earnings. Red Eléctrica reported a profit of 718 million euros ($780.1 million) on 2 billion euros in 2019 revenue, up 3% from the year prior. Hispasat contributed 33 million euros to Red Electrica’s 1.58 billion euros in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The Hispasat acquisition closed in October and added 200 people to Red Electrica’s head count, which numbered 2,056 employees at the end of 2019. [Red Eléctrica]

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General Atomics used a ground-based observatory to test an optical laser link with a geostationary satellite. The test demonstrated how Tesat-Spacecom’s LCT 135 laser terminal could connect drones with 300 times the capacity of traditional radio-frequency links. General Atomics said the test was a “critical step” toward equipping aircraft with high-bandwidth communications that avoid jamming or detection by adversaries. [FlightGlobal]

Lockheed Martin will acquire the satellite technology assets of Vector after no competing bids were submitted. Lawyers handling the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Vector said Monday they received no qualifying bids for the GalacticSky technology by a Feb. 21 deadline, and thus Lockheed would acquire them with its “stalking horse” bid of $4.25 million. One startup, NewSpace Networks, had proposed bidding on the assets, but a court turned down a request to extend the bidding deadline so it could so more due diligence. Vector filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. [SpaceNews]

Dutch antenna company Celestia received a 2.5 million-pound ($3.2 million) grant to develop a flat-panel antenna that can link aircraft to satellite Wi-Fi. Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency, provided the grant, which is expected to generate 18 jobs in Scotland. Celestia’s UK subsidiary said it will initially set up shop at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, while it identifies a permanent Scottish location. Celestia said its flat-panel antenna will use phased array technology, enabling links between satellites in different orbits. [Celestia]

Australia’s emerging launch industry says there are a number of ways the Australian government can support them. At a recent conference, companies developing launch vehicles and commercial spaceports said the government can help streamline the regulatory process as well as commit to buying Australian services in much the same way the U.S. government procures launches from domestic companies. They also suggested a “national pathfinder mission” like a smallsat lunar orbiter could help promote the country’s overall space industry. [SpaceNews]

Eutelsat Communications has selected Satellite Mediaport Services (SMS Teleport) to provide backup broadcast services. SMS Teleport, located in Rugby, U.K., will ensure 24/7 broadcasting from the Eutelsat 8 West B satellite to viewers in the Middle East and Northern Africa. SMS Teleport is connected through multiple fiber links to Eutelsat’s Rambouillet teleport in Paris, which provides the primary link to Eutelsat 8 West B. [DigitalTVEurope]

SpaceX is raising an additional $250 million. The round, expected to close next month, would value the company at $36 billion, up from $33.3 billion is its prior round last year. The company did not comment on the funding round or how it will use the money. The company has several capital-intensive projects underway, including its Starlink satellite constellation and Starship next-generation launch system, which will likely require far more than $250 million this year to continue. [CNBC]