Relativity Concludes Major Series C Round
On October 1, Relativity Space Inc. (Relativity) announced that it raised $140m through a Series C investment round led by new investors Bond and Tribe Capital, with participation from existing investors Playground Global, Y Combinator, Social Capital, Mark Cuban and other individual investors, bringing to $185m the total amount of capital raised by the company to date. According to Relativity, the new funding will enable the company to complete development of its Terran 1 launch vehicle and commence commercial operations in early 2021.
October M&A Round-Up
October 25 - EchoStar Corporation announced that its subsidiary EchoStar Global L.L.C. acquired Helios Wire Corporation, a Canadian satellite IoT connectivity provider that holds global S-band MSS spectrum rights.
October 25 - Virgin Galactic LLC and Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. announced the consummation of their merger. On October 28, shares of the company resulting from the transaction, named Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc., began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, reflecting a total valuation of $2.3b and establishing the world's first publicly traded commercial human spaceflight business.
October ITU and FCC Activity Highlights
October 15 - It was reported that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), acting on behalf of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), submitted 20 filings to the International Telecommunication Union, each for 1,500 satellites, for SpaceX's planned Starlink LEO broadband constellation, indicating plans to scale the constellation well beyond the 12,000 satellites already approved by the FCC.
October 17 - Swarm Technologies, Inc. received FCC approval for its planned 150-satellite LEO MSS constellation.
October 28 - The C-Band Alliance consisting of SES S.A. (SES), Intelsat S.A. (Intelsat) and Telesat Canada proposed to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to clear an additional 100 MHz of C-band spectrum, including a 20-MHz guard band to protect against interference, producing a total of 300 MHz to be cleared in support of 5G wireless deployment in the United States. Clearance of the spectrum is expected to cost the group $2.5-3.5b, including costs to procure and launch four new C-band satellites for each of SES and Intelsat.
Telesat Closes $550m Notes Offering
On October 11, Telesat Canada (Telesat) announced that it closed an offering of $550m in aggregate principal amount of 6.5% senior notes due 2027. Telesat used the net proceeds from the offering to redeem its $500m aggregate principal amount outstanding of 8.875% senior notes due 2024.
Eutelsat Selects Thales for EUTELSAT 10B
On October 29, Eutelsat Communications S.A. announced that it selected Thales Alenia Space to manufacture the all-electric EUTELSAT 10B satellite based on the Spacebus NEO satellite platform. Scheduled for launch in 2022, EUTELSAT 10B will provide mobile connectivity services from 10E.
October Launch Missions and Orders
October 7 - Kepler Communications Inc. contracted with Innovative Space Logistics B.V. for launch of the first two satellites for its 140-satellite LEO data services constellation by JSC GK Launch Services on a Soyuz-2 launch vehicle in 2020.
October 9 - ILS International Launch Services Inc. (ILS) launched the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite for Eutelsat Communications S.A. (Eutelsat) and the Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) for SpaceLogistics LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation (Northrop), on a Proton launch vehicle, marking ILS' first mission since 2017 and the first Proton mission to launch two commercial satellites. Both satellites were manufactured by Northrop. MEV-1 will provide satellite life-extension services to client satellites in geosynchronous orbit, beginning with the Intelsat 901 satellite of Intelsat S.A.; EUTELSAT 5 West B will serve as a replacement satellite for services currently provided by the EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite at 5W. On October 24, Eutelsat announced that it is investigating an anomaly affecting one of EUTELSAT 5 West B's two solar arrays.
October 17 - Rocket Lab Ltd. successfully launched the Palisade cubesat for Astro Digital US Inc. (Astro Digital) on an Electron launch vehicle. Astro Digital plans to use the satellite to demonstrate its Corvus satellite platform.
October 30 - Astrocast S.A. (Astrocast) announced that it selected D-Orbit SRL (D-Orbit) to arrange the launch of ten of its nanosatellites by Arianespace S.A. in 2022. The satellites will form the equatorial plane one of eight planes planned for Astrocast's LEO IOT constellation.