Delegates to the Satellite Innovation conference in Mountain View, California, heard speakers agree that there was probably enough customer demand for two and perhaps three of the proposed satellite mega-constellations to be built. However, and strong stressed, by panelists were the challenges raised by financing demands.
Nick Flitterman, co-founder of London-based Portland Advisors, for example, argued that while some cash would be forthcoming from Private Equity funds, there would be a shortfall which will have to be made up by debt funding. Proposed constellations with confirmed orders and contracts in place for capacity would clearly find it easier to raise cash.
Portland’s past client base included O3b, Azercosmos, Spacecom/Amos and Skybox Imaging. Portland won the ‘European Telecom’s Deal of the Year’ for its work on O3b’s financings.
Flitterman admitted there was a race to get to market, and as yet it was unclear as to what sort of capacity discounts might be offered to potential clients to win those contracts.