A U.S. bankruptcy court has given the administrators of Australian satellite operator NewSat Ltd. until Aug. 1 to conclude an agreement with satellite fleet operator Measat of Malaysia to purchase NewSat’s contract with launch-service provider Arianespace of Europe.
To no one’s surprise, congressional critics of the U.S. Export-Import Bank have seized on the opportunity afforded by the bankruptcy of startup Australian satellite operator NewSat to hammer the institution, which faces a July 1 shutdown unless lawmakers act to keep it open.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank insists it may yet recover part of its more than $100 million loss following the bankruptcy of customer NewSat Ltd. and NewSat’s subsequent rejection of its satellite construction contract with Lockheed Martin.
Satellite operators are expressing concern that the U.S. Export-Import Bank and France’s Coface might reduce their support for the satellite industry in light of the failure of start-up satellite operator NewSat of Australia.
A U.S. bankruptcy court’s May 22 decision to allow Lockheed Martin to cancel a satellite construction contract with a near-penniless customer — startup satellite operator NewSat of Australia — has handed the U.S. and French export-credit agencies their first satellite industry failure.
Startup satellite operator NewSat Ltd. of Australia on April 16 filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors, with its executive team stripped of control and bankruptcy managers immediately asking for a restraining order against NewSat’s creditors.