Hylas 1 “well on target”

Hylas 1, owned by Avanti Communications, was launched on Nov 29 into orbit aboard an Arianespace rocket. Avanti’s CEO David Williams says he is confident that his company’s three-year plan to fill the craft is on schedule, and that a second Hylas will be launched in 2012. There could also be a third satellite ordered. Guaranteed pre-sales amount to some 25% of the craft’s capacity.

“We are currently conducting a process to procure at least one more satellite, possibly two,” says Williams. “We have some potential customers that are interested in the resulting bandwidth, and we are in the process putting together a deal with pre-sales customers to support efficient financing,” he told journalists.

Hylas 1 is a Ka-band craft, not likely to be used for broadcasting, but targeting commercial broadband users. While stressing that Avanti is very much risk-averse Williams explained that it takes much the same amount of work to arrange financing for two [new] satellites as for one. “We are not going to jump into something just because there is a moment of liquidity. As it happens, the debt markets appreciate the great benefits of a satellite business model. It is a relatively light investment compared to the cash it generates.”

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