United States: Space Business Review - December 2012 "Top-Ten" Issue


#1 – All-Electric Satellites Take Charge

Electric propulsion satellites - a new trend? Asia Broadcast Satellite Holdings Ltd. and Satélites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. jointly procured from Boeing a total of 4 new 702 SP satellites, featuring an all-electric xenon-ion propulsion system, and SES S.A. and the European Space Agency (ESA) formed a partnership to develop a European all-electric propulsion satellite platform, with OHBSystem AG serving as prime contractor.

#2 – Launch Services Ups and Downs

24 commercial satellite launch missions: Arianespace rolled on: ASTRA 2F, EchoStar XVII, EUTELSAT 21B, Galileo IOV-1 (2 satellites), GSAT-10, HYLAS 2, Intelsat 20, JCSAT-13, Mexsat Bicentenario, MSG-3, Skynet 5D, Star One C3 and VINASAT-2; China Great Wall Industry Corporation: Chinasat 12/SupremeSAT 1 and VesselSat 2; ILS International Launch Services: EchoStar XVI, Intelsat 22, Intelsat 23, Nimiq 6, SES-4 and SES-5, then suspended Proton Breeze- M missions to improve industrial quality control; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. assumed full H2-B launch operations; Sea Launch AG resumed operations with the launches of Eutelsat 70B and Intelsat 21; and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. added commercial customers to its burgeoning Falcon 9 manifest.

#3 – Whither ATC?

Seeking time to resolve its spectrum use, in May, LightSquared Inc. filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In December, the Federal Communications Commission granted DISH Network L.L.C. authority to use S-band spectrum holdings originally intended for satellite use for a terrestrial wireless network instead. Will integrated satellite and terrestrial mobile broadband blossom in 2013?

#4 – Imaging Eye-to-Eye

DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined in a stock and cash transaction valued at roughly $900m. Motivated in part by U.S. Department of Defense spending cuts, the merger was intended to result in greater revenue certainty and lower capital expenditures.

#5 – Space Systems/Loral Finds a Suitor

MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) acquired Space Systems/Loral, Inc. in a transaction valued at approximately $1.1b, transforming MDA into a commercially-focused global communications company and affording it an important foothold in the U.S. market.

#6 – Broadband Ku- or Ka-? HTS?

Avanti Communications announced its HYLAS 3 Ka-band payload; Hughes launched EchoStar® XVII with JUPITER Ka-band High- Throughput technology; Intelsat announced its new EpicNG platform with innovative multiband, spot beam and frequency reuse technology; Inmarsat's Global Xpress marched on; NBN Co. Limited procured 2 satellites for its planned broadband service to rural and remote areas of Australia.

#7 – Public Equity To Be Continued . . .

Intelsat filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange to raise roughly $1.75b, NewSat Ltd. prepared for new equity funding and Telesat Canada passed on the opportunity to go public. What's next in 2013?

#8 – Hosted Payloads Evolve 2

012 witnessed significant growth for hosted payloads. NASA and ESA took steps to further develop hosted payloads with commercial partners; Intelsat-22 was launched with a UHF communications payload for the Australian Defence Force; NAV CANADA and Iridium Communications Inc. established the Aireon LLC joint venture to support air traffic management globally; and the U.S. Air Force will be requesting funding in 2013 for a follow-on to CHIRP.

#9 – 2012 Commercial Satellite Orders

Boeing: ABS-3A, Intelsat 29e, Satmex 7, SES-9 and two other satellites (for ABS/Satmex); EADS Astrium: Express AM4R and Express AM7; Israel Aerospace Industries: AMOS-6; Orbital Sciences: Amazonas 4A and 4B; Space Systems/Loral: NBN Co 1A and 1B; and Thales Alenia Space: EUTELSAT 8WB.

#10 – Global Positioning Goes Global

Global competitors to the GPS system took major steps forward in 2012: OHB-System AG was selected to build 8 additional satellites (14 satellites under construction) for the Galileo constellation; China launched commercial and public services across the Asia-Pacific region on its Beidou system, which is expected to provide global coverage by 2020; and Russia pressed forward with further development of its GLONASS system.

Plus – Breaking News – ITAR Reform

On Dec. 21st the U.S. Congress approved ITAR reform legislation authorizing the President to determine export jurisdiction for satellites and related components – stay tuned for additional details in January.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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