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Measat in race to buy Ariane launch slot

An Australian satellite operator is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But NewSat has key rights on a satellite launch from Arianespace.  Now a Delaware Bankruptcy judge has ordered that the launch rights be sold to Measat – by August 1st.

The decision comes after the Bankruptcy Court had allowed extra time for a sale to be negotiated between NewSat and Measat, but it seems the judge in the case is getting tired of delays, and wants the matter finalised. The judge’s Aug 1 cut-off date was made on July 15th, but seemingly no deal has yet been concluded.

NewSat has already had to give up on its single most valuable asset, the almost completed Jaibiru-1 satellite. Under the terms of the build contract with Lockheed Martin, despite spending $193 million on the satellite, the asset is now the property of Lockheed Martin. The Court has heard that the craft needs about $78 million more to complete.

Trade mag Space News has reported that the US Export-Import Bank believes that it will recover some $100 million of the cash it loaned NewSat might be recoverable.

The situation is made more complex by Arianespace saying that contracts that existed between it and the Australian business had no place being decided in a Delaware courtroom.  Arianespace also says that it has no space on any of its rockets until 2017, whatever the Court might rule.

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