Rivada wants ITU to relax BIU milestone
September 16, 2022
Rivada Space Networks, with offices in the US, Germany and Ireland and licensed by Lichtenstein, is asking the ITU regulator to give it more time to launch its laser-linked satellites into orbit.
Currently, Rivada is obliged to launch 10 per cent of its planned 600 low Earth orbiting satellites by September 2023. Shareholder disputes at Rivada have not helped its situation.
The problem for Rivada is that the ITU’s Radio Regulations Board firmly rejected its request in July.
Now, Rivada is asking its Lichtenstein licence regulator to submit a fresh application to the ITU and using its arguments as ‘force majeure’, Covid, shortage of components and perhaps even confusion because its previous application was made in conjunction with other would-be satellite operators.
Also this time Rivada will be helped by a recent hiring in the form of highly-regarded Ann Vandenbroucke, formerly at Avanti and Inmarsat to provide some legal muscle as its Chief Regulatory Officer.
Riwada is asking that the ITU relax its first obligation (for September 2023) and an assurance that other ‘Bringing Into Use’ obligations will be fulfilled. That would mean, if approved, that Rivada would have 50 per cent of its fleet in orbit by June 2026.
The operator will award its satellite build contracts by year-end, and will likely be for that initial 300 craft.
The project is valued at “several billion dollars” according to reports. Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal) is a shareholder. Rivada has also hired Mark Rigolle, formerly of SES, Orb and more recently Kacific as its COO and acting CFO.