Adieu GE-23, Bonjour Eutelsat 172A

Back in 2007, SES and GE worked out a deal that included GE getting back into the satellite operator business. Well, not really an operator — just an owner of an orbiting spacecraft. They called it “GE Satellite” and continued to employ a bunch of people who were selling it. To make that deal work, GE had to have title of the asset (the GE-23 spacecraft) for five years.

Did you do the math? It’s been five years all right. Earlier today, news came out that Eutelsat was buying the asset from GE Capital, which never bothered to list it as part of their many businesses since they knew it was only a matter of time before it went away.

Good day at the office for GE Capital (again) in getting a bunch of cash and good for Eutelsat for getting an asset and an orbital slot over the Pacific Ocean Region (POR). One of the key customers is the U.S. government and Connexion by Boeing, which is still around to provide satcom services to airliners such as Air Force One. Other than that, there’s not much on that bird.

The 20 channels available in the Ku-band is divided among five beams, which was good for the Boeing service, but not really all that workable for standard satellite customers. It was not an easy sell — except for GE Capital.

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