Our latest digest of recent news in the satellite and space projects sector.
Latest award for the Fieldfisher Satellite and Space Projects group: We are proud to announce that Fieldfisher has won the 2018 Global Award for Excellence in Space Law from Corporate LiveWire. This prestigious award reflects our top flight work supporting some of the most exciting businesses across the space sector in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. These awards are based on voting across 32 countries, with over 18,000 votes cast by subscribers who wished to recognise the value of companies and individuals who have excelled in their fields.
John Worthy, Head of the Satellite and Space Projects group at Fieldfisher commented: "We are really delighted to receive this award, which reflects the strengths of the team and the quality of work we have been doing in advising space businesses, from global operators to new entrants, in their strategic and business critical transactions. At a time when the space sector is changing rapidly and offering many opportunities for new business models and new players, we are honoured to see our service highlighted in this way."
LeoSat / Signalhorn: LeoSat Enterprises has entered into an agreement with German communications network provider, Signalhorn. LeoSat is building a constellation of 108 LEO satellites, interconnected through optical links, that it predicts will provide faster high-throughput than existing satellite systems.
Telesat sale: Speculation continues as to whether Loral will manage to achieve a strategic sale of its 62.7% stake in Telesat. The majority of voting rights in Telesat are held by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) and Loral and PSP have disagreed over the transaction, with Loral suggesting that it might assert legal claims against PSP if an agreement can't be reached
Avanti restructuring: Shareholders of Avanti Communications gave their approval for the group's planned restructuring on 25 April 2018. 1,999,676,704 exchange shares were admitted for trading on AIM on 26 April 2018. The company still needs to raise additional funds of at least US$50 million and to secure US$40 million infrequently recurring revenue in pipeline by 30 June 2018 to avoid going into administration.
Brexit and Galileo: The European Commission has said that the UK's role in the Galileo project will have to be "readjusted" post-Brexit once the UK becomes a "third country" in relation to the EU27. Business Secretary Greg Clark has said that the UK's preference is to continue to play a full part in Galileo but that if this is not possible, the UK may consider launching its own alternative rival system.
UK wins Copernicus contracts: The European Space Agency announced on 25 April 2018 that the UK has secured contracts together worth more than 12m Euros for future work in the Copernicus programme. Airbus UK and Thales Alenia Space are among the suppliers to benefit including contracts for two missions, Land Surface Temperature and the Polar Microwave Imaging. The ESA made the announcement shortly before the launch of the Sentinel-3B satellite, which features systems built in the UK.
Q1 2018 space sector investment: According to a recent report from space sector managed fund provider Space Angels, over US$1 billion in non-government equity investments went to commercial space companies in the first quarter of 2018. Around half of that equity investment is attributable to a US$500 million investment in SpaceX led by Fidelity Investments.
Inmarsat: Inmarsat and the ESA have signed a contract for the development of satellite communication services for next generation air traffic management in European airspace. The contract is part of the Iris programme, which is providing satcoms technology for the Single European Skies ATM Research programme (SESAR). Iris will enable aircraft to be pinpointed in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time allowing more efficient management of air traffic, and pilot-controller communications will move from voice to data. Commercial roll-out is planned from 2020.