Advanced Television

EchoStar wants hundreds of new satellites

May 10, 2023

EchoStar is sitting on a war chest of $1.7 billion in cash, and wants to invest in an expanded fleet of wide-band satellites to augment its existing 28-craft fleet of Lyra narrowband satellites.

The news emerged in EchoStar’s post-result analyst call when CEO Hamid Akhavan said: “We are in the design and engineering phase of a larger system which we expect to come into service just a couple of years after [existing Lyra satellite system]. We have not disclosed timing, or the specifics. It is still in development. You should expect that in the second half of this decade, we will have a 5G wideband service based on a new, much larger constellation that we are working on. These are hundreds of satellites of large size [with] material revenues from 2027.”

EchoStar owns Hughes Network System and the discussion revealed that its giant Jupiter 3 satellite, itself capable of handling 500 Gb/s of capacity, has been delayed from an anticipated launch in April or May. The satellite will be delivered from Maxar Technologies facility in June but then must await a launch slot on a SpaceX rocket. Maxar is paying monthly penalties to EchoStar because of the production delays.

Akhavan said he expected the Jupiter 3 launch to happen in August and then be in service by the end of the year.

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