Intelsat is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is restructuring itself. On June 9th, it gained bankruptcy court approval to access a $1 billion loan under ‘debtor in possession’ rules and post-petition financing, as is being reported by journalist Chris Forrester at the Advanced Television infosite.
Judge Keith Phillips granted Intelsat immediate access to $500 million (out of the $1 billion) in order to keep its day-to-day operations going (working capital). Approval also came for Intelsat’s C-band frequency clearing and relocation scheme. The $1 billion borrowing will be handled by Intelsat Jackson, one of the operator’s sister businesses. The cash comes from Credit Suisse (via its Cayman Islands branch).
Intelsat entered Chapter 11 on May 13th and is being ‘fast tracked’ for reconstruction. Intelsat is looking to cut its significant debts and financial borrowings by about half. It is also proceeding with the C-band clearances required by the FCC and thus qualify for some $5 billion in incentive payments from the FCC.
The court’s final hearing into the bankruptcy is set for June 30th.
Also posted at the Advanced Television infosite — Elon Musk’s SpaceX is normally focused on launching satellites into orbit, plus a couple of astronauts now and again. But now he is targeting his all-new ‘Starship’ super-rocket, and flights carrying up to 100 people.
Musk’s Starship is the vehicle which he wants to use to get missions to the Moon, and eventually Mars. He says getting the craft ready is now the “top SpaceX priority” and that staff needed to accelerate progress dramatically and immediately.
“Please consider the top SpaceX priority (apart from anything that could reduce Dragon return risk) to be Starship,” Musk wrote in the email to staff.
Up until now, SpaceX has used its core Falcon 9 rocket in ever-more powerful ‘Super Heavy’ versions and to date there have been some 85 missions, with most of their booster stages re-landing after launch either onto firm ground or one of Musk’s floating barges.
However, Musk’s plan is to use the giant Starship (aka the ‘Big Falcon Rocket’ or BFR) on a totally reusable basis and landing and refueling in the same way that an aircraft is used.
However, there are problems. Of the four prototypes built so far, each has had a somewhat catastrophic and often explosive end. None have flown. Each version has performed better than the previous iteration, but – as with a May 29th engine test – ended up as a fireball.
To date, Musk’s team of 8,000 engineers have been focused on launching batches of 60 ‘Starlink’ broadband satellites, or the Crew Dragon capsule which took two astronauts to the International Space Station a few days ago. Now that those tasks are more routine, Musk is switching much of SpaceX’s focus to his South-east Texas facility of Boca Chica, on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, where the Starship is being developed.
Starship Version 5 is now being prepared, although Starship 6 and 7 are also under construction.
Will there be further setbacks? Probably, but Musk’s record in achieving his goals is superb.
One point worth noting is that Musk’s Starlink broadband satellites are now capable of handling 5 trillion bytes (5TB) of data on a daily basis. The system is already contracted to handle traffic for the US Army. Musk certainly does get things done….