United States: Space Business Review March 2016


On March 29, Intelsat S.A. (Intelsat), through its indirect subsidiary Intelsat Jackson Holdings S.A. (Intelsat Jackson), placed $1.25b aggregate principal amount of 8% senior secured notes due 2024 at an offering price of 100%. Intelsat plans to use the net proceeds from the notes for general corporate purposes. The notes are guaranteed by Intelsat Jackson's direct owner, Intelsat (Luxembourg) S.A., and certain subsidiaries and secured by a first priority security interest in substantially all existing and future assets of Intelsat Jackson and the subsidiary guarantors, and the shares held in Intelsat Jackson by its direct owner.


March 5 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. successfully launched the SES-9 satellite for SES S.A. on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Manufactured by Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc., SES-9 is equipped with 57 Ku-band transponders to serve video, enterprise, mobility and government customers across East Asia and South Asia, including Indonesia and the Philippines. SES-9 will replace the NSS-11 satellite at the 108.2°E orbital position, where it will be co-located with the SES-7 satellite.

March 9 – Arianespace S.A. successfully launched the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite for Eutelsat Communications S.A. on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Manufactured by Space Systems Loral based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform, EUTELSAT 65 West A is equipped with 24 Ku-, 24 Ka- and 15 C-band transponders to provide DTH, corporate connectivity, video and broadband services to users in Latin America and Brazil from the 65°W orbital location.


On March 15, Thuraya Telecommunications Company (Thuraya) announced a dedicated Machine-to-Machine (M2M) service and new terminal that, through a partnership with ViaSat, Inc. (ViaSat), will also operate on ViaSat's MSS network, thereby expanding Thuraya's coverage area to include North America for the first time.


A new report by Northern Sky Research projects that non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites will contribute $175b in revenue to launch services providers and satellite manufacturers over the course of the next 10 years, accounting for more than half of the $285b of total industry revenue expected over the same period.


On March 22, Eutelsat Communications S.A. (Eutelsat) announced that it selected Space Systems Loral to manufacture the all-electric EUTELSAT 7C satellite based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform. EUTELSAT 7C will be equipped with 44 Ku-band transponders and will be used primarily to provide broadcast services to customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2018, EUTELSAT 7C will be co-located with the EUTELSAT 7B satellite to afford enhanced flexibility and connectivity at the 7°E orbital location, freeing up the EUTELSAT 7A satellite for transfer to another position.


March 7 – ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS) announced that it was selected by Inmarsat plc (Inmarsat) to launch, using an ILS Proton launch vehicle, an unspecified Inmarsat satellite, which industry observers expect to be EuropaSat/Hellas Sat 3. Inmarsat co-owns the satellite with the Arab Satellite Communications Organization and it is currently being manufactured by Thales Alenia Space. Inmarsat originally selected Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to launch EuropaSat/Hellas Sat 3 on a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, but the Falcon Heavy's inaugural flight has been delayed. ILS previously performed launch services for each of the three satellites that comprise Inmarsat's global high-speed mobile broadband network known as Global Xpress. In related news, Inmarsat announced on March 3 that it elected to launch in 2016 a fourth Global Xpress satellite originally procured from Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. as a spare.

March 22 –Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced that it was selected by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre to launch the Hope spacecraft for the Emirates Mars Mission on an H-IIA launch vehicle. Scheduled for launch in the summer of 2020, and expected to arrive at Mars in 2021, Hope will be used to collect data on Mars' atmosphere and climate.


On March 7, Gogo Inc. announced a major long-term agreement with Intelsat S.A. (Intelsat) for shared GEO/LEO capacity leveraging Intelsat's EpicNG GEO satellites and OneWeb, Ltd.'s planned LEO satellites to support Gogo Inc.'s next generation in-flight connectivity technology.

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