In the meantime, increasingly aggressive export financing on both sides of the Atlantic is prompting established and emerging fleet operators alike to pair U.S.-built satellite developments with launches on European Ariane 5 rockets. And Australian start-up operator NewSat just finalized more than $400 million in export-credit financing for its $661 million Jabiru-1 project, one of Australia's first privately owned commercial satellites (see related article, page 48).
NewSat Chief Executive Adrian Ballintine says satellite prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems was instrumental in helping secure $268 million in Ex-Im Bank financing for construction of the nearly 6,000-kg (13,225-lb.) telecom satellite.
Another $116 million has been guaranteed by Coface with help from European launch services consortium Arianespace, which plans to loft Jabiru-1 on an Ariane 5 ECA heavy-lift rocket in 2015.
The Ex-Im Bank says the transaction will directly support 250 aerospace-sector jobs at Lockheed's manufacturing facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Newtown, Pa., and is expected to indirectly support more than 650 jobs among the company's U.S. suppliers.
Wiss says the dramatic increase in U.S. Ex-Im Bank financing for satellites and satellite-related equipment fits nicely with President Barack Obama's mandate in 2010 to double exports from the U.S. to $2 trillion by 2015.
“U.S. Ex-Im Bank's availability of financing, when commercial bank financing is less available at competitive rates, has been attractive to the satellite industry,” she says.