SES, Intelsat Asking Lawmakers to RethinkÂ Launch Ban on China, India
The world’s two largest commercial satellite fleet operators, Intelsat and SES, have joined forces to try to persuade Washington policymakers that China and India should be permitted to launch U.S. commercial satellites, according to officials from both companies.
The two companies have secured the full support, if not the active involvement, of the largest U.S. builder of commercial telecommunications spacecraft, Space Systems/Loral, said Patrick DeWitt, Loral’s president.
The three companies believe their businesses risk severe launch-supply bottlenecks in a market that, if the struggling Sea Launch Co. does not recover from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, would be reduced essentially to two main vehicles: Europe’s Ariane 5 and Russia’s Proton.
“There are really only two U.S. rockets â€” the Delta vehicle, which is not available for commercial launches, and the Atlas, which uses a Russian engine as its main stage,” said Kalpak Gude, deputy general counsel of Washington-based, Bermuda-headquartered Intelsat. “Sea Launch is Russian and Ukrainian. So our first effort is just to get people to understand what the situation is now: This is an industry that has been left to [Europe] and to the Russians.”
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