The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.

There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

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Eutelsat and OneWeb Sign MOU on Merger

  • Eutelsat and key OneWeb shareholders [1] sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a view to combining Eutelsat and OneWeb in an all-share transaction.
  • Eutelsat shareholders and OneWeb shareholders [2] would each hold 50% of the Eutelsat shares
  • Compelling financial profile with:
    • Potential for double-digit revenue and EBITDA CAGR over the medium to long term;
    • Eutelsat’s strong cash flow generation providing visibility and funding to support continued expansion into the LEO market through OneWeb’s next generation of satellites;
    • Over €1.5bn potential incremental value-creation after tax (net of implementation costs) stemming from revenue, capex and cost synergies.
  • Balanced board and governance structure, to include Eutelsat’s Chairman and its CEO, OneWeb’s Chairman, and a significant number of independent directors proposed by Eutelsat and OneWeb’s shareholders, at Extraordinary General Meeting.
  • Fully backed by a strong set of strategic shareholders of both entities, including Bpifrance and Fonds Stratégique de Participations who have undertaken to vote in favour of the transaction-related resolutions at this EGM, subject to usual conditions. CMA CGM, a shareholder of Eutelsat, is also supporting the combination.
  • Representing a transformational transaction, built on the strong foundations established in April 2021 with Eutelsat’s initial investment in OneWeb, this combination creates a global leader uniquely positioned to capture the Connectivity market with complementary GEO/LEO [3] offering.
  • Combined entity strongly positioned to address the fast-growing global Connectivity market.
  • The transaction values OneWeb at $3.4bn implying a value of €12 per Eutelsat share (including the dividend, before synergies).
  • Eutelsat to propose a €0.93 per share dividend with a scrip option in respect of FY 2021-22 at its upcoming AGM. Such dividend will not impact the exchange ratio.
  • Eutelsat will continue to be listed on Euronext Paris and apply for admission to standard listing on the London Stock Exchange.


PARIS, LONDON, 26 July 2022 (Eutelsat/OneWeb PR)
 – Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and key OneWeb shareholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the objective of creating a leading global player in Connectivity through the combination of both companies in an all-share transaction. Eutelsat will combine its 36-strong fleet of GEO satellites with OneWeb’s constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit satellites, of which 428 are currently in orbit.

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Eutelsat Communications Confirms Negotiations with OneWeb on Merger

PARIS (Eutelsat Communications PR) — Following recent market rumors, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) confirms that it has engaged in discussions with its co-shareholders in OneWeb regarding a potential all-share combination to create a global leader in Connectivity with complementary GEO/LEO activities.

The combined entity would be the first multi-orbit satellite operator offering integrated GEO and LEO solutions and would be uniquely positioned to address a booming ~$16bn (2030) Satellite Connectivity market. OneWeb is one of the two only global LEO networks and has experienced strong momentum over recent months, with service expected to be fully deployed in 2023.

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Viasat Receives Stockholder Approval for Proposed Acquisition of Inmarsat

CARLSBAD, Calif., June 21, 2022 (Viasat PR) — Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today that, at its Special Meeting of Stockholders, it received the necessary stockholder approvals for the proposed acquisition of Inmarsat. Viasat continues to expect the transaction to close in the second half of calendar year 2022, subject to the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

The combined company will create a leading global communications innovator with enhanced scale and scope to affordably, securely, and reliably connect the world. Viasat believes the strategic combination will increase the pace of innovation to help drive new and better services for customers, broaden opportunities for employees, and provide a foundation for significant positive free cash flow.

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SpaceX Completes Hat Trick with 3 Launches in 36 Hours

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX completed a hat trick over the weekend with three satellite launches from different coasts in 36 hours.

Elon Musk’s company wrapped up a busy weekend when a Falcon 9 booster launched the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:27 a.m. EDT.

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SpaceX Conducts Second Launch in Less Than 24 Hours, Third Scheduled for Sunday Morning

SpaceX conducted its second launch in less than 24 hours on Saturday morning when a Falcon 9 carried a German reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The rocket lifted off at 7:19 a.m. PDT (10:19 a.m. EDT) with the Airbus-built SARah synthetic aperture radar satellite for the German military from a fog-shrouded launch pad. SpaceX ended its webcast early prior to satellite deployment at the request of the customer.

The Falcon 9’s first stage booster, launching for the third time, touched down at Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg. It was SpaceX’s 125th recovery of an orbital class booster.

It was the second Falcon 9 flight in just over 22 hours. On Friday, SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:08 p.m. EDT (9:08 a.m. PDT).

It was a record 13th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and now 10 Starlink missions. The stage landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX will wrap up a busy weekend on Sunday morning with a Falcon 9 launch of the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite at 12:27 a.m. EDT (04:27 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will be the 26th launch of the year for SpaceX.

You can watch the live launch webcast for the launch starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

SpaceX Plans 3 Launches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday From Opposite Coasts

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on May 14, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has launches planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the East and West coasts.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 53 Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:08 p.m. EDT (16:08 UTC). The launch window is instantaneous. A backup launch window is Saturday at 11:47 a.m. EDT (15:47 UTC).

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and nine Starlink missions. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

On Saturday, a Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the Airbus-built SARah synthetic aperture radar satellite for the German military from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch window opens at approximately 7:00 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT, 14:00 UTC). The Falcon 9’s first stage booster will return to Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg.

On Sunday, a Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite at 12:27 a.m. EDT (04:27 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

You can watch the live launch webcast for each launch starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

AST SpaceMobile Announces Summer Launch Date of BlueWalker 3 for Direct-to-Cell Phone Connectivity Testing

The BlueWalker 3 test satellite is scheduled for launch into low Earth orbit the week of August 15th from Cape Canaveral, FL

AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite is 693 square feet in size, designed to generate power from space and deliver cellular broadband directly to your phone. (Image Credit: Business Wire)

MIDLAND, Texas (AST SpaceMobile, Inc. PR)AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (“AST SpaceMobile”) (NASDAQ: ASTS), the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has confirmed it plans to launch its BlueWalker 3 test satellite from Cape Canaveral, FL during the week of August 15, 2022.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NILESAT Communications Satellite

NILESAT 301 (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

CANNES, France, June 9, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – The NILESAT 301 communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) for the Egyptian operator NILESAT was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral launch pad, Florida (USA), on board of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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Study Assesses the Use of Several C-Band Sub-frequencies by Satellite Networks

Credit: Euroconsult

Leading global strategy consulting and market intelligence firm, Euroconsult, has warned that future satellite capacity for global communication and television services could become more restricted by the end of the decade.

Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama, Sydney, 7th June (Euroconsult PR) – A new report has explored the current and future supply and use of the extended C-Band, the planned C-Band and the 7025-7075 Mhz Band for satellite services (available in full on the Euroconsult website). It has considered for each band the uplink and downlink frequencies, including the frequency bands 3400-3700 and 6425-6725 MHz (‘extended C-band’), 4500-4800 and 6725-7025 MHz (‘planned C-band’) and 7025-7075 MHz.

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Omnispace Announces Strategic Agreement with NCINGA to Collaborate on Development of 5G NTN Based Solutions

Omnispace is collaborating with NCINGA, one of leading IT and telecom solution providers operating in South Asia and the South Pacific, to develop and deliver ubiquitous 5G, direct-to-device mobile communications. (Image Credit: Omnispace)

TYSONS, Va. and SINGAPORE (Omnispace PR) — Omnispace, the company redefining mobile connectivity for the 21st century, today announced that it is collaborating with NCINGA PTE LTD., one of leading IT and telecom solution providers operating in South Asia and the South Pacific. Omnispace will develop and deliver ubiquitous 5G, direct-to-device mobile communications, from its global satellite network to several NCINGA markets including the Fiji Islands, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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Viasat Selected to Deliver Real-Time, Near-Earth Communications for NASA’s Communications Services Project

New Real-Time Earth Space Relay Service Will Provide Resilient, Flexible and Scalable Communications Links for Optimized Data Transfer of LEO Space Missions

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Viasat Inc. PR) — Viasat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT) a global communications company, today announced it was selected on April 20th by NASA to support its Communications Services Project (CSP), which seeks to accelerate the development of near-Earth communications by partnering with commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) providers. Aligned to the CSP objectives, Viasat is developing a space relay capability that will leverage its upcoming ViaSat-3 global satellite constellation, with a newly developed terminal that will enable on-demand and cost-effective communications services for LEO spacecraft anywhere and at any time in their global orbit.

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SpaceX Launches 40 Satellites into Space

Falcon9 Transporter-4 launch. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by David Bullock
Staff Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., April 1, 2022 — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 payloads as part of the company’s Transporter-4 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

The rocket launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at 12:24 p.m. EDT. The mission manifest included the first satellite orbited by Pixxel of India, Kleos Space’s Patrol Mission, and 12 Spacebee communications satellites. A list of payloads is below.

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Satellites Around the Moon Come Another Step Closer

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is going to the Moon – in collaboration with its international partners – and seeks to build a lasting lunar link to enable sustainable space exploration.

The agency has now evaluated initial ideas to create a network of lunar telecommunications and navigation satellites.

Creating a commercial telecommunications and navigation service for the Moon will allow many of the dozens of planned lunar missions to share the same infrastructure to communicate with Earth, as well as to find their way on the lunar surface.

The service is needed because the planned missions are becoming regular trips to Earth’s natural satellite rather than one-off expeditions.

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Omnispace and Nelco Announce Strategic Partnership

TYSONS, VA., UNITED STATES and MUMBAI, INDIA, March 23, 2022 (Omnispace/Nelco Ltd. PR) – Omnispace, the company reinventing mobile communications, and Nelco Limited, a TATA Group company and a leading satellite communication service provider in India, today announced a strategic cooperation agreement to enable and distribute 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN), direct-to-device satellite services. The collaborative effort will expand the reach of 5G using satellite communication throughout India and South Asia.

Nelco provides satcom services to enterprise customers for business-critical applications across many industry segments, including Aero IFC and Maritime communication. This strategic agreement with Omnispace will focus on enabling the use of 5G direct-to-device communications using, Omnispace’s global NGSO satellite network across various market segments. The Omnispace network will deliver IoT-based solutions and a seamless mobile connectivity experience beyond the boundaries of existing mobile networks.

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