Ovzon taps in SpaceX for delayed debut satellite
TAMPA, Fla. — Ovzon said Feb. 3 the launch of its first satellite has been pushed out by at least another five months after manufacturing delays forced it to swap out Arianespace for SpaceX.
The Swedish broadband provider had hoped to piggyback Ovzon 3 on one of Arianespace’s last few Ariane 5 rockets between December and February, after missing out on a slot earlier in 2022 because of Maxar Technologies’ supply chain issues.
At around 1,500 kilograms, Ovzon 3 is smaller than traditional GEO communications satellites and could have joined an Ariane 5 with one or even two existing passengers.
However, Maxar has run into additional delays to finalize the satellite, Ovzon said in a news release, and Arianespace was unable to accommodate the schedule change.
Shifting to a SpaceX Falcon 9 means Ovzon 3 is now looking at a launch between July and September this year from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
While Ovzon does not expect the delay to impact its current business commitments, the company said it is set to increase the overall cost of the project by about $25 million.
“While we are clearly disappointed in the continued delays in production of the satellite, we remain perfectly confident with the market demand of Ovzon 3,” Ovzon CEO Per Norén said in a statement, pointing to “increasing demand from current and new customers” for the geostationary satellite.
Ovzon said it has enlarged an existing $60 million loan facility by $5 million to help cover increasing costs.
Several major shareholders are also interested in taking part in a 200 million Swedish krona ($19 million) share sale, according to the company.
Maxar’s delays in delivering the Jupiter 3 broadband satellite to EchoStar recently led to a multi-million dollar compensation package for the U.S. operator.
Ovzon currently provides broadband services by leasing capacity from other satellite operators.
Alongside the delay announcement, the company published preliminary financial results for the three months to the end of December.
The results show net sales for the fourth quarter of 2022 increased to 101 million Swedish krona, compared with 73 million Swedish krona for the corresponding period in 2021.
The company also recorded an operating loss of nine million Swedish krona for the quarter, an improvement on the 29 million Swedish krona loss posted for the period last year.
“We renewed contracts with our core customers, won contracts with new customers and expanded into new geographical markets,” Norén said.
The company plans to publish its full financial report for the quarter Feb. 21.