There’s to be a hearing at Intelsat’s bankruptcy court tomorrow (April 27th) where the judge will hear motions, including those from SES which is looking for the court to compel Intelsat to release more documents (and to hear the related Intelsat replies). The SES requests are firmly denied by Intelsat.
However, the court was informed on April 23rd that the two contesting parties had continued to meet and confer “and have substantially narrowed their disputes regarding this motion” and had agreed “in principle” to mediation to assist in resolving disputes over the release of document which Intelsat claims are privileged insofar that many are letters and communications from Intelsat’s legal advisors.
Intelsat told the court that it believes that the April 27th hearing also will be a status update on the parties’ agreements and the path forward.
Intelsat continues to accuse SES of resorting to “overblown rhetoric” in its argument. SES has claimed 12,322 privileged documents and Intelsat 15,381.
Intelsat, in its motion to deny SES its application for more documents to be released, says that the argument – at its heart – is simply a contract dispute over a core 31-page contract. “If SES had a case, it would not need over 230,000 documents and testimony from nearly 20 witnesses to try to prove that [we] breached a 31-page contract,” stated Intelsat, and alleges that SES “wants additional discovery that it hopes will support its weak contractual case.”
Finally, Intelsat is objecting to the SES motion for the court to compel Intelsat’s CTO Bruno Fromont to be re-interviewed under deposition. Intelsat says that Fromont’s deposition extended beyond the regulatory seven hours “and then some” and that SES at the end of the deposition were happy with the time given and answers supplied and “had no further questions.”
Seems as though Elon Musk is getting closer to winning FCC approval to fly some of his Starlink LEO satellites at even lower heights. Acting FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has asked her board colleagues to formally vote on the plan, having herself endorsed the idea.
SpaceX is already licensed to operate 1,584 of its Starlink satellites at between 540-570 kms (335-354 miles) above the Earth. Musk has asked the FCC to approve a scheme to fly an additional 2,824 satellites at that same height.
If the FCC approves the move, it would mean that Starlink would be operating just below the heights already granted to Jeff Bezos and his Project Kuiper LEO fleet.
Project Kuiper – along with Telesat, Viasat and OneWeb – are objecting to the move, with Viasat claiming in an interview with the FCC that to grant approval would be akin to “a bomb going off” because of the risk of collision.
SpaceX’s Starlink officials say that the lower orbits mean extra safety and easier de-orbiting and speedier atmospheric burn-up for failed satellites.
SpaceX is reported to be planning its next launch of Starlink satellites on April 28th, when another 60 will be orbited, taking the overall total of working craft above 1,400.
Carlyle Group is considering exiting their investment in Hong Kong-based AsiaSat. Carlyle has a 50 percent stake in AsiaSat, and Bloomberg reports there has already been expressions of interest in the stake and the value of the investment sale could reach several hundred million dollars.
Carlyle bought its stake from General Electric back in 2015 for some $483 million. The company’s fellow investor in AsiaSat is Chinese investment group CITIC.