Worldwide: Satellite And Space Projects News - March 2015

Last Updated: 24 March 2015
Article by John Worthy

Avanti Communications share issue: Avanti Communications raised £60.6 million through the sale of new shares on 5 February 2015 and saw its share price jump 18 pence (8%) to 244p. The company is scheduled to launch its third satellite – HYLAS 4 – in 2017. HYLAS 4 will serve new markets in Africa, and also provide expansion capacity for existing customers in areas of Europe and Africa covered by HYLAS 1 & 2.

Turksat selects Hughes Europe: Hughes Europe has agreed a deal to provide communications satellite operator Turksat with Hughes Europe's Jupiter high-throughput ground system. Turksat will deploy the Jupiter ground system to provide high-speed Ka-band satellite services following the launch of the Turksat 4B satellite in early 2016.

Inmarsat Global Xpress launch: Inmarsat announced that its second Global Xpress satellite launched successfully on Sunday 1 February 2015 (12:31 GMT) from Kazakhstan. The satellite is expected to reach its final geostationary orbit by the end of March 2015, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of April 2015. Once operational, the satellite will deliver high speed broadband services in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region.

IXV test mission: The European Space Agency announced on 11 February 2015 the successful completion of a test mission by its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). The test mission is an important milestone in plans for Europe to acquire its own re-entry capability. Data collated from the test mission will inform research and development for future European re-entry vehicles, including under the ESA-approved "PRIDE" programme (Programme for Reusable In-Orbit Demonstrator for Europe).

UK Spaceport: Following its public consultation last year on the criteria for determining the location of a future UK spaceport, the UK government announced on 3 March 2015 that it has now narrowed the number of shortlisted sites from eight to six. The shortlisted sites are Campbeltown Airport in Argyll, Scotland; Glasgow Prestwick Airport; Llanbedr Airfield in Snowdonia, Wales; Newquay Cornwall Airport; RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland; and Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The government's aim is for the spaceport to be operational by 2018.

Google - SpaceX: Google's investment in SpaceX earlier this year amounted to US$900m, according to Google's recent filing with the U.S, Securities and Exchange Commission. SpaceX announced in January 2015 that it had raised US$1bn from Google and Fidelity collectively, giving the companies between them a stake of just under 10% in SpaceX.

Intelsat and Azercosmos: Intelsat and Azercosmos have signed a strategic agreement for the joint design and development of a new satellite - Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 – to be positioned at 45° East. For Intelsat, the new satellite will replace its existing Intelsat 12 and will provide DTH services across central and eastern Europe and Asia, and network and government applications in Africa. Azercosmos will gain a second telecommunications satellite giving it increased coverage and capabilities, particularly for broadcast and media applications.

Virgin Galactic: Virgin Galactic has opened a new facility in Long Beach California for the design and manufacture of its small satellite launch vehicle. LauncherOne is a new two-stage orbital vehicle for the launch of small satellites. It is expected that LauncherOne will be capable of delivering up to 225 kg to a Low Earth Orbit or 120 kg to a high-altitude Sun-Synchronous Orbit, for a price of less than $10M.

Satellite sector predictions: Advanced Television.com reported on Northern Sky Research's (NSK) recent growth predictions for the satellite sector (24 February 2015). NSK anticipates that over the next 10 years, more than 1800 new satellites will be ordered and launched globally, generating US$300bn.

EDRS satellite given go-ahead: The European Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space confirmed on 30 January their partnership to complete the European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) Programme. This decision gives the green light for the construction of the EDRS-C satellite, also known as Hylas 3.

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