Satellite & Space Project News - June 2017 (1) | Fieldfisher
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Satellite & Space Project News - June 2017 (1)

John Worthy


United Kingdom

Our latest digest of recent news in the satellite and space projects sector.


JSAT Corporation is to make a strategic investment in LeoSat Enterprises, it was announced 11 May.  Start-up LeoSat is working with Thales Alenia Space to develop, manufacture and launch a constellation of up to 108 Ka-band low-earth-orbit, high-throughput communications satellites.  The amount of JSAT's investment has not been disclosed, but it makes JSAT the first investor in LeoSat's Series A round of funding.  LeoSat's planned first launch is scheduled for 2019.

Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK reported its Q1 2017 financial results on 11 May 2017.   The company has booked approximately $1,640m in new firm and option orders in Q1 2017, as well as around $410m in option exercises under existing contracts.


As a result of the listing of Italian rocket manufacturer, Avio, on the Borsa stock exchange in Milan on 10 April 2017, the company has gone on to raise €60m, according to a report in  Around 68% of the Avio shares are now trading on the Milan stock exchange.

3D-printed satellite parts

Thales Alenia Space has now sent into orbit 79 metal parts and 350 polymer tube supports for chemical propulsion systems made by 3D printing.  The company first began using 3D-printed parts in April 2015, when aluminum antenna supports where sent into orbit on the TurkmenAlem MonacoSat satellite.  Since then, all of the company's telecommunications satellites have used lightweight 3D-printed antenna supports and reflector fittings.  Thales Alenia Space plans to move to 3D-printing of larger parts, such as dual antenna supports for a new telecom satellite.

ViaSat to modernise ground infrastructure

ViaSat intends to update its ground infrastructure for ViaSat-2, which launched on 1 June 2017, and for ViaSat 3.  The update will see both an increase in the number of gateways – from 20 for ViaSat-1 to 45 for ViaSat-2, to hundreds for ViaSat-3 – as well as the use of smaller antennae, allowing more flexibility as to whether the gateway can be located.


Eutelsat is considering creating a fleet of Quantum satellites.  The Quantum is a "smart" satellite that can be re-configured in-orbit.  One Quantum class satellite is currently being manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space and will use a geostationary satellite platform supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). Eutelsat is considering increasing its order to create a fleet of three Quantum satellites.

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