Eutelsat expands ViaSat links
‘Elephant in the Room’: No likely losses from Sky’s OTT plans
Eutelsat had a good day on Feb 8 when it released its half-yearly results. It seems investors took the view that even gentle progress by the operator was worth rewarding with an 8% positive bump in its share price. The big news was Eutelsat’s even closer link with Mark Dankberg’s ViaSat. A year ago, Eutelsat said ViaSat would be buying in to its broadband business and paying €132.5m ($148m) for a 50% stake and which included Eutelsat’s KA-SAT broadband satellite. Some observers at the time breathed a sigh of relief that Eutelsat had nicely minimised its less than stellar business and handing over the business to ViaSat which were better placed to exploit the technology.
Feb 8 saw Eutelsat confirm that it would be taking a 51% stake in one of the upcoming ViaSat-3 satellites (there will be two, one for the Asia market, and the other covering Europe/MENA). Dankberg’s EMEA craft and which, when in orbit, will handle up to 1Tb per data/second. Eutelsat will pay $331.5m of the $650m cost of the second ViaSat-3 satellite, which CEO Rodolphe Belmer said the company will meet without raising its €420m ($447.5m) capex guidance. The €132.5m which ViaSat agreed to pay for 49% of KA-SAT will help fund Eutelsat’s investment in ViaSat-3.
SpaceX “logjam” hits launch clients
A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to launch Feb 18/19 carrying a routine NASA cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But the long delays since a Sept 1st explosion on one of its Falcon 9 rockets is creating headaches for some of its commercial customers. SpaceX’s senior executives have repeatedly said they will soon be carrying out launches every two weeks, but that cannot happen until repairs to Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral – where the explosion destroyed most of the necessary infrastructure – are fully completed.
The ISS launch takes place from Launch Pad 39A, and coincidentally where almost all of the Apollo missions and 24 Space Shuttle missions were carried out. SpaceX has leased the site from NASA for 20 years.
However, extreme delays are now occurring. For example, Iridium, already much delayed, was expecting to see a batch of 10 of its Iridium NEXT satellites launched in mid-April to a Low Earth Orbit. That launch date has slipped to mid-June, according to a statement to investors made on Feb 15.