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The crisis facing America’s satellite construction industry seems to be growing ever-more serious. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin claim to have lost direct orders for new satellites because of their inability to obtain supporting finance from the US Export-Import Bank. The bank has had its operations curtailed by the US government.
Now Washington-based Orbital ATK (the former Orbital Sciences), says it has also lost out on a satellite contract (for an Azerbaijan craft) because it no longer had access to Ex-Im Bank’s financing.
The contract, according to an Orbital staffer speaking on a Washington Space Business panel on Sept 21, is now going to Canada-based MDA Corp because the Canadian business can obtain local financing.
Bermuda and Hong Kong-based ABS also told the meeting that it has four new satellites planned, and none of them are likely to be built by US businesses unless export financing can be put in place.
The US Export-Import Bank has financed 19 satellite and launch deals since 2009, worth more than $5 billion, and helped support around 10,000 jobs in the US industry.