EXIM Approves $80.7 Million to Support SpaceX Launch Services and U.S.-Brokered Insurance for Hispasat Satellite

First EXIM Satellite-related Deal Since 2015, Counters Foreign Competition

WASHINGTON (EXIM PR) – The Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) unanimously approved $80.7 million in EXIM financing to support launch services by SpaceX and also U.S.-brokered launch and initial in-orbit insurance for Hispasat Canarias S.L.U., a subsidiary of Hispasat, S.A., of Spain. These EXIM-supported services will help Hispasat to deploy a new satellite, Amazonas Nexus. The EXIM financing, which may take the form of a direct loan or a loan guarantee, is estimated to support approximately 500 American jobs in California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia.

The transaction is the first EXIM financing of a satellite-related export since 2015, before EXIM was forced to pause board-approved transactions for several years due to the lack of a board quorum. Today’s announcement marks an important step in EXIM’s re-emergence following the agency’s historic seven-year reauthorization by Congress in 2019. EXIM’s support is needed for this transaction to provide long-term financing for Hispasat that was unavailable from commercial lenders. EXIM’s support also counters potential export credit agency support for a French launch-services competitor, Arianespace.

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Telespazio at Head of ESA Consortium to Study Communication and Navigation Services for the Moon

  • The international consortium includes satellite operators, manufacturing and service companies, SMEs, universities and research centres
  • The services will rely on satellites and terrestrial stations to support space exploration and the development of the “Lunar Economy”
  • “Communications and positioning are essential for the sustainable presence of men and women on the Moon and for beneficial effects on life on Earth,” says CEO Luigi Pasquali

ROME (Telespazio PR) — Leveraging on the satellite communication and navigation services that are common on Earth, European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a contract to a consortium led by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), in the role of large mission integrator, to study how to design an equivalent infrastructure and service around the Moon.

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European Space and Digital Players to Study Development of EU’s Satellite-based Connectivity System

BRUSSELS, 23 December 2020 (Airbus PR) — The European Commission has selected a consortium of European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, telco operators and launch service providers to study the design, development and launch of a European-owned space-based communication system.

The study will assess the feasibility of a new initiative aiming to strengthen European digital sovereignty and provide secure connectivity for citizens, commercial enterprises and public institutions as well as providing global coverage for rural and ‘not-spot’ areas. Complementing Copernicus and Galileo, this new EU flagship programme, once given the green light, would fully exploit the synergies of the technological potential akin to the Digital and Space industries. The contract value of the year-long feasibility study amounts to € 7.1 million.

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PLD Space, HISPASAT Collaborate in Compatibility Analysis of Satellites Aboard MIURA 5 Rocket

Spain’s PLD Space, Miura 5 microlauncher (formerly Arion 2) aims to provide dedicated launches for an emerging small satellites market in 2021.
 (Credit: PLD Space)
  • Both companies have agreed to work together to explore the possible terms and conditions that can validate PLD Space as a launch services provider.
  • PLD Space is a Spanish company that develops launch technologies to provide commercial orbital and suborbital access services dedicated to small payloads and small satellites.
  • HISPASAT will help to define the technical conditions that satellites must meet to be integrated and launched on board MIURA 5.

ELCHE, Spain, March 3, 1920 (PLD Space PR) — The Spanish companies HISPASAT, satellite telecommunications operator, and PLD Space have signed an agreement today in Madrid with the intention of working together on defining the technical features and analysing compatibility to launch services on board MIURA 5.

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Thales Alenia Space to Build Amazonas Nexus From Hispasat

Amazonas Nexus satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia) Space/Briot
  • The Spanish operator kicks off its new mission Amazonas Nexus, devoted to the mobility and connectivity markets, marking the start of a new generation of satellites with an innovative architecture and higher capacity.
  • The new satellite, embarks a new generation Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), a technological breakthrough that substantially increases the flexibility of the satellite, allowing its adaptation to eventual changes in the customer’s demand.
  • Amazonas Nexus, which will have an important participation of the Spanish aerospace industry, is scheduled for launch at the end of 2022 and has an expected lifetime of 15 years.

Madrid, January 10, 2020  – HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite telecommunications operator, has awarded to Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), the construction of the Amazonas Nexus satellite, which will replace and expand the  capacities of Amazonas 2 satellite, in orbit at 61º West. The contract has been signed today in Madrid, with Thales Alenia Space winning the award against an international field of competitors.

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LeoSat Folds After Failing to Find Required Funding

SpaceNews reports that LeoSat, a company that planned to deliver high-speed Internet using as many as 108 satellites, has folded due to lack of investment.

Mark Rigolle, CEO of LeoSat, told SpaceNews Nov. 13 that the company laid off all 13 employees — himself included — in August after its earlier investors decided not to fund the company any longer. 

LeoSat was anticipating that Spanish satellite operator Hispasat and Sky Perfect Jsat of Japan would complete LeoSat’s $50 million Series A after each made initial investments — Jsat in 2017, Hispasat in 2018 — but neither did. 

Rigolle said management changes at both companies this year prompted a reversal of their previous intent to invest further in the low-Earth-orbit broadband venture within months of each other, if not less. 

“I couldn’t have dreamt up a worse scenario,” Rigolle said. “This is like SoftBank suddenly saying to OneWeb ‘you’re not getting any more money,’ or Jeff Bezos saying in two years time, ‘no, bad idea, I’m not funding [Kuiper] anymore. It’s a 180-degree turn.”