Swarm hopes to have 150 SpaceBee satellites in orbit by mid-2020. Credit: Swarm


Teledyne, one of the first component suppliers to announce an agreement with OneWeb, is considering a $40 million pre-tax charge to its financial performance because of OneWeb’s bankruptcy. Teledyne said April 6 it may establish a reserve for accounts receivable and inventory related to OneWeb, which launched 74 of a planned 648 satellites before filing for bankruptcy. Teledyne received a $95 million contract to provide signal converters and filter assemblies to OneWeb Satellites, the manufacturer of OneWeb’s constellation. [Teledyne]

Smallsat internet-of-things startup Swarm has received all the regulatory approvals it needs to start service in the United States later this year. The company’s FCC license covers 1 million user devices so Swarm’s tiny SpaceBEE satellites can link to customers. Swarm also has market access in Germany, Sweden, the U.K., New Zealand, Antarctica and over international waters. Swarm anticipates having 30 gateway ground stations installed by the end of the summer to enable services from a constellation that could eventually number 150 satellites. So far the company has ground stations in the U.S., the U.K., Antarctica, New Zealand, and the Azores archipelago. [Swarm]

German startup Blackwave completed a seven-figure financing round to further develop carbon fiber reinforced plastic for industries including space and automotive manufacturing. Professor Rudolf Schwarz, owner of IABG, a company that conducts pre-launch spacecraft testing, participated in the Series B round, joining CK Venture Capital GmbH and previous investors Ceravis and Unger Capital Management. Blackwave counts Airbus, the European Space Agency, MT Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Porsche among its customers. The startup said it will use the funds to increase its staff of 16 and to increase production. [Blackwave]


Government and military demand for satellite capacity may rise because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Northern Sky Research. Like the U.S.’s 2008 troop surge in the Middle East, governments are allocating satcom resources to fight, only this time against a disease. NSR said the coronavirus appears to be shifting, but not lowering, demand for satcom among military users. Satcom demand for traveling dignitaries is lower, but demand for telemedicine and response coordination is up, the firm said. A poll among satellite and space companies showed mixed opinions on whether government and military demand will trend higher or lower over the next 12 months. Companies were most optimistic about consumer broadband and cellular backhaul seeing demand increases, while satcom demand for aviation, maritime and other mobility markets is expected to see notable declines. [NSR]

Low Earth orbit constellation company SAS Global has filed for bankruptcy protection in Australia. The company, which is traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, said it entered “voluntary administration,” a bankruptcy-like procedure that gives the company an opportunity to restructure and avoid liquidation. The company raised $29.1 million, and was seeking to raise $14.2 million more, to deploy an initial constellation of eight smallsats to provide communications services. [SpaceNews]

SpaceX is preparing to launch another set of its Starlink broadband satellites on April 16, despite coronavirus-induced delays for customer missions. The Falcon 9 launch is set to occur from pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Two other Falcon 9 launches, a March 30 mission carrying Argentina’s Saocom-1B radar satellite, and an April 29 launch of a U.S. Space Force GPS-3 satellite, were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cape Canaveral’s military-run Eastern Range remains open, however. [Spaceflight Now]

Egyptian satellite operator NileSat accepted new ground infrastructure for television broadcasting at its Giza ground station. Hiltron Communications installed an L-band-over-fiber integrated downlink system to back up receive-only antennas. The system includes a motorized 3.7-meter antenna, an antenna control unit, RF-over-fiber links from RF Design, plus a power unit and L-band switch from ETL. [IBC]

Australian startup Myriota announced it raised $19.3 million to build out a satellite constellation for internet of things services. Australian investors Hostplus and Main Sequence Ventures led Myriota’s Series B round, with participation from several other investors, including Boeing HorizonX and In-Q-Tel. The company has three cubesats under construction, and announced last week it is buying four small satellites, along with spectrum licenses and ground stations, from Canadian ship-tracking company exactEarth. Myriota plans to ultimately have a constellation of at least 25 satellites to provide connectivity for IoT devices. [SpaceNews]

SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...