#1 – SPACE ACCESS DEVELOPMENTS
Orbital launches first paid Cygnus vehicle to ISS, experiences subsequent Antares failure; Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency selects Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to develop new H-III launch vehicle; MHI to upgrade H-IIA and H-IIB; SpaceX records twelfth consecutive successful launch, Texas invests $15m in a new private launch site for SpaceX near Brownsville; Proton fails, marking sixth failure since 2010 but resumes commercial services with Astra 2G; Khrunichev announces successful inaugural flight of Angara 1.2; ESA member states agree to finance Ariane 6; ULA invests in new Blue Origin engine for Atlas 5; NASA awards Commercial Crew contracts valued at $6.8b to Boeing and SpaceX; SpaceShipTwo crashes during a test flight but Virgin Galactic vows to stay the course.
#2 – SPACE M&A MARCHES ON
Eutelsat completes $831m acquisition of Satmex; EchoStar acquires Solaris from SES and Eutelsat; Orbital and ATK announce $5b merger of Orbital with ATK’s aerospace and defense divisions; ORBCOMM acquires Euroscan Holdings and SkyWave Mobile Communications; AT&T acquires DIRECTV in a $67.1b transaction; Lockheed Martin acquires Astrotech Space Operations; Google acquires Skybox Imaging for $500m; a Carlyle Group fund agrees to buy General Electric’s stake in AsiaSat for $483m.
#3 – CONSTELLATIONS
Skybox Imaging selects Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to manufacture 13 earth observation satellites; SpaceX launches 6 new generation M2M satellites for ORBCOMM; Arianespace launches second and third batches of 4 O3b Networks satellites; WorldVu reportedly planning for several hundred Ku-band satellites.
#4 – EXPORT CREDIT REMAINS STRONG
Satellite industry becomes fastest growing of U.S. Ex-Im Bank’s credit sectors, with growth from $50m to $1b in loans per year since 2010; Export Credit Agency of Russia announces plans to actively support ILS; and Export Development Canada provides €123m in financing to Hispasat for procurement of Hispasat 1F.
#5 – DISPUTES SETTLE DOWN
Eutelsat and SES settle their dispute over the 28.5°E orbital location; Loral and ViaSat settle the patent infringement and breach of contract claims under lawsuits brought by ViaSat.
#6 – IMAGING RESOLUTIONS
U.S. government authorizes sale of higher resolution satellite imagery per DigitalGlobe’s (DG) request; DG’s WorldView-3 is launched offering 31 cm panchromatic resolution; HySpec IQ places first commercial order of Boeing 502 Phoenix; Azercosmos and Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus) form long-term partnership for commercial remote sensing, beginning with sale of Spot 7 to Azercosmos; Kazakhstan’s KazEOSat-1 satellite is launched.
#7 – STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
ARABSAT and Inmarsat join forces to procure ARABSAT satellite with Inmarsat S-band payload; Airbus and Safran create joint venture to manage development of Ariane 6; Hughes Network Systems do Brasil contracts with Eutelsat do Brasil for broadband services in Brazil; Eutelsat and Spacecom announce cross- commercialization of capacity in Africa.
#8 – NATIONAL PRIDE IN SPACE
Bangladesh continues with development of a national communications satellite; Myanmar announces plans for its first satellite; Argentina’s first home-grown communications satellite, ARSAT-1, is launched; Afghanistan Ministry of Communications and Information Technology contracts with Eutelsat for AFGHANSAT 1.
#9 –LAUNCH SERVICES
Arianespace: ABS-2, Amazonas 4A, ARSAT-1, ASTRA 5B, DIRECTV-14, GSAT-16, Intelsat 30, MEASAT-3b, Optus 10, 8 O3b satellites; ILS: Astra 2G, TURKSAT-4A; Indian Space Research Organisation: GSAT-14, SPOT 7; ISC Kosmotras: 33 various smallsats; Lockheed Martin: WorldView-3; Russian Federal: Express-AT1, Express-AT2, Express-AM6; SpaceX: AsiaSat 8, AsiaSat 6/THAICOM 7, THAICOM 6, 6 satellites for ORBCOMM; Sea Launch: EUTELSAT 3B.
#10 – COMMERCIAL SATELLITE ORDERS
Airbus: EUTELSAT 172B, SES-10, SES-12; Ball Aerospace: system for Laser Light Comm.; Boeing: Intelsat 35e EpicNG, two HySpec IQ satellites; China Great Wall: APSTAR-10; Dauria Aerospace: two satellites for Aniara SpaceCom; MELCO: Es’hail 2; Orbital: HYLAS 4, THAICOM 8; SSL: Amazonas 5, BRIsat, Bulgaria Sat-1, EchoStar XXIII, Hispasat 1F, Intelsat 36, JCSAT- 15, JCSAT-16, PSN VI, 13 Skybox satellites; Thales Alenia Space: Inmarsat-S EuropaSat/ Hellas-Sat 3, Koreasat-7, Telkom-3S, Yamal-601.