United States: Space Business Review - September 2016


On September 27, CJSC S7 Group (S7), Russia's largest private aviation holding company, signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Sea Launch AG (Sea Launch), including its Sea Launch Commander and Odyssey vessels, from OAO S. P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia for approximately $150m. S7 hopes to position Sea Launch to resume performance of launch services using the Zenit- 3SL launch vehicle by late 2018. The acquisition remains subject to government regulatory approvals in several countries, including the United States and Russia.


On August 31, Inmarsat plc (Inmarsat) closed a $650m offering of 3.875% convertible notes due 2023, the net proceeds of which will be applied, in part, to fund the $390m repurchase of its $287.7m outstanding 1.75% convertible notes due 2017. On September 22, Inmarsat, through wholly-owned subsidiary Inmarsat Finance plc, closed a $400m offering of 6.5% senior notes due 2024, the net proceeds of which will be used, in part, to repay the remaining $107m due under a 2010 loan from EIB for Alphasat, an L-band satellite shared by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency and manufactured under a public private partnership with Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space.


September 12Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. announced that it was selected by Global IP Cayman (Global IP), a recently established satellite operator, to manufacture the GiSAT satellite based on the 702 satellite platform. GiSAT will feature a new digital payload that affords increased capacity and the ability to reconfigure the satellite's onboard processor, enabling higher data rates and greater flexibility for Global IP's customers.

September 12SES S.A. (SES) announced that it selected Thales Alenia Space (Thales) to manufacture the SES-17 satellite based on an all-electric version of the NEO satellite platform. Expected to be launched in 2020, SES-17 will provide aeronautical connectivity and other mobility services to users across the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean. In a related development, SES and Thales announced that they are partnering to develop a Ka-band HTS in-flight connectivity service called FlytLIVE, which is planned to debut in 2017.


On September 1, a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Falcon 9 launch vehicle exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during fueling for a standard static fire test, resulting in destruction of the Falcon 9 and its payload, the AMOS-6 satellite, which was scheduled to be launched for Space-Communication Ltd. (Spacecom) on September 3. Preliminary investigation findings identified a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank. Spacecom stated that it is entitled to receive either $50m or replacement launch services from SpaceX, along with approximately $200m in insurance proceeds from Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of AMOS-6.


On September 15, Arianespace S.A. successfully launched the PerúSAT-1 satellite for CONIDA, the Peruvian space agency, and the SkySat-4, -5, -6 and -7 micro-satellites for Terra Bella, a Google company, using the Vega launch vehicle in its first fully commercial mission. PerúSAT-1 was manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space based on the AstroBus-S satellite platform and is Peru's first Earth observation satellite. The SkySat satellites were designed by Terra Bella and manufactured by Space Systems Loral and will enable sub-meter 3D mapping of the Earth.


August 30SES S.A. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced that they reached an agreement to launch the SES-10 satellite on the first commercial previously-flown Falcon 9 mission, in Q4 2016. Manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space based on its E3000 satellite platform, SES 10-will provide DTH broadcasting, enterprise and mobility services to customers in Latin America from the 67°W orbital position.

September 13The Indian Space Research Organisation announced that it selected Arianespace S.A. to launch the GSAT-11 satellite on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle in 2017. GSAT-11 will provide communications services to the Indian subcontinent and nearby islands.

September 13Virgin Galactic, LLC announced that it was selected by Sky and Space Global (UK) Ltd (SSG) to perform four dedicated LauncherOne launch services beginning in 2018 to launch up to 200 nano-satellites for SSG's first generation constellation.

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