A SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying an Indonesian communications satellite, an Israeli lunar lander and a U.S. Air Force smallsat launched Feb. 21 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Indonesian communications satellite that is SpaceX’s primary payload for its second Falcon 9 launch this year overcame a change of manufacturers and the loss of a U.S. Ex-Im Bank loan to reach the launch pad.
James Vedda, analyst at Aerospace Corp., said the RSGS setback should not be read “as an indictment of satellite servicing.”
Swedish startup Ovzon, which in October bought a Falcon Heavy launch from SpaceX, has now purchased a satellite for that mission from Maxar Technologies’ Space Systems Loral division.
Maxar Technologies plans to significantly reduce its capital expenditures after completing construction of its next-generation WorldView Legion constellation so that the company can focus on curbing its $3 billion debt load.
With four more of its satellites launched between July 22 and Sept. 25, Space Systems Loral now has more than 1,000 additively manufactured parts in orbit on 15 spacecraft.
Maxar Technologies executives said selling the company’s struggling geostationary satellite manufacturing business is now the most likely path it will take to break free from a business that is operating at a loss.
Israeli satellite operator Spacecom said Sept. 25 that it has terminated contracts awarded earlier this spring to manufacturer Space Systems Loral and launch provider SpaceX for Amos-8, a telecommunications satellite the Israeli government said Sept. 3 would be built in Israel instead.
One of the two commercial GEO satellite contracts Space Systems Loral announced this year now appears in doubt following Israel's announcement that Amos-8 will be built domestically.
As satellite manufacturers grapple with what increasingly looks like a permanent decline in the number of commercial geostationary communications satellites purchased worldwide, one offered hope that a partial rebound will ensue in the coming years.
SSL, a company known for building communications satellites and spacecraft systems, will help the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center define its next generation of protected military communications, the Maxar Technologies company announced Aug. 16.
In the coming years, defense and intelligence agencies will rely on small satellites to enhance the capabilities of large government-owned and -operated spacecraft.
Maxar Technologies is setting up a new organization focused solely on small satellites while continuing to downsize its geostationary satellite manufacturing business at Space Systems Loral.