Boeing says it has cancelled an order from China for a geostationary satellite (a HS-702 version). Boeing blames “default for non-payment” according to reports.
However, other reports say that the contract had previously been approved by the US Commerce Department, despite the Chinese connections.
The proposed project, called Global IP and its Gisat-1 craft, is designed to provide connectivity to Africa in general and specifically sub-Saharan countries. However, the project is mired in complications given that China has allegedly funnelled around $175 million to the project via an intermediate company based in the Virgin Islands. Global IP has its HQ office in the Cayman Islands.
The cash, according to the Wall Street Journal, comes from a subsidiary company of China Orient Asset Management, called Bronzelink. China Orient is allegedly owned by China’s Ministry of Finance, while Bronzelink is owned by a Hong Kong businessman.
China is barred from buying US technology, and the production of the satellite has surprised many US officials. Boeing said in a written statement it “undertakes rigorous measures to comply with US export regulations and protect national interests.”
The satellite itself is nearing completion, and would be ready for ground-based testing shortly. Global IP had booked a launch with SpaceX (with a launch date of “Q4/2018”).
Two co-founders of Global IP, Emil Youssefzadeh and Umar Javed resigned when they became aware of China’s involvement. Other senior industry figures, including Bahram Pourmand (a former EVP at Hughes Network Systems), Nagib Chanine (Yahsat), John Troy (TVG Capital Partners), William Wade (AsiaSat), are listed on Global IP’s web-site as being involved in the business. However, the web-site seems not to have been updated recently.