Archive for the ‘Space Business’ Category

Russia: Failure is Always An Option

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The inaugural launch of a Soyuz-2.1a from the ridiculously corrupt Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur Oblast was to be something big. Putin made the trip to view it and, naturally, it failed. Well, not completely: it was scrubbed after the computers took over, roughly at the T-90-second mark.

It’s a good thing the computers are doing their job, because Russians aren’t capable. Without the contribution of Ukraine’s Yuzhmash, they’ll probably continue to be the primary exporter of failure. Together with being a state sponsor of terrorism worldwide, they give the term “embrace failure” new meaning.

Second attempt will be later today. If that fails, Russian rocket scientists will start disappearing. Putin confirmed somebody’s going to jail already.

The Man from Y.E.A.R. — Yukos, Eutelsat, Arianespace and Roscosmos

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Путін Хуйло.

Remember that $50 billion arbitration award to Yukos? Well, as with any judgement award, the tougher next step is actually getting paid. If you expect Russia to simply write a checks to a former Yukos shareholders, then go fly a kite.

They threatened to start seizing assets outside of Russia, so Putin’s commanding everything they own get a diplomatic property plate slapped on it. Afterwards, many buildings in Paris became part of the Russian consulate.

So now we find a couple of asset seizures from two Paris-based entities: Eutelsat and Arianespace. The Eutelsat assets seized were related to 15-year lease on the Express AT2 spacecraft, which launched in 2014, at $400 million. The Arianespace assets are related to rocket launch service, likely related to Soyuz launchers out of Kourou, and worth $300 million.

Would you be surprised if Luxembourg was next on the list?

Not at all, given Gazprom’s involvement with SES S.A.

Here’s the story by Michael D. Goldhaber, in American Lawyer (subscription)…

The Russian social contract rests on a tacit agreement between the businessmen and politicians not to talk about their mutual corruption. In Russia’s desperation to roll back history’s biggest arbitration award, this bargain is breaking down.

In July 2014, arbitrators ordered Russia to pay 
$50 billion to the oligarchs from whom it seized Yukos Oil Co. At a Feb. 8 hearing to set aside this award, Russian counsel Albert Jan van den Berg told the Hague District Court: “If we want to talk about the reality of this case, we have to go back to … the disintegration of the Soviet Union.… A handful of oligarchs were robbing state-owned companies blind.” On April 20, a Dutch court will decide whether “you stole it first” is a valid defense.

In the “loans for shares” program of 1995-1996, Russia allowed a larger group of oligarchs to transfer control of a dozen major companies to themselves in exchange for loans to help Boris Yeltsin balance his budget and thwart the Communists’ return to power. Russia chose Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Bank Menatep to hold the initial Yukos auction and share tender. Two Menatep affiliates submitted the only bids. The winner bought 33 percent of Yukos in exchange for $159.5 million, committed to invest $200 million in the company and won the right to lend the state $159 million secured by another 45 percent of Yukos.

When Russia defaulted on that loan, Menatep organized a new auction, with two Menatep affiliates again emerging as the only bidders. One bought the secured shares for $160.1 million. Menatep’s total commitment was $518.6 million. By the next year, Yukos was publicly valued at $6 billion. Other crown jewels of the Russian economy that were privatized in this creative manner include Lukoil, Mechel, Norilsk Nickel and Sibneft.

Putin tolerated Khodorkovsky until he publicly questioned the integrity of another state oil deal in 2003, as we described in our ongoing coverage.Then prosecutors tested a long list of pretexts for hounding Yukos into liquidation. They never even considered going after Yukos for rigging a state auction, because that remained business as usual. Indeed, the state would recover Yukos’ main asset in 2004 by means of—you guessed it—a rigged auction.

As the 10th anniversary of Yeltsin’s “loans for shares” approached in 2005, the Duma passed a law at Putin’s urging that cut the statute of limitations for challenging a privatization. At that moment, a legal accounting seemed unlikely either for the oligarchs stealing Yukos, or for the government stealing it back.

But before Russia dismantled Yukos, the Menatep oligarchs had passed their shares to corporate shells based in jurisdictions that signed an investment treaty with Russia known as the Energy Charter Treaty. “It looks like someone mapping the Ebola virus,” a Russian counsel says of their tangled legal structure. In 2005, three offshore affiliates of Group Menatep (now GML Ltd.) filed claims for expropriation.

With Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton defending the arbitration, Russia argued only in passing that “loans for shares” sullied the oligarchs’ hands. The arbitrators, in their 1,888-point ruling of 2014, dismissed the argument in one formalistic point. Russia had failed to adequately connect Bank Menatep’s allegedly illegal “loans for shares” scheme with the claimants’ “investment” in Russia, they concluded, because the claimant entities were separate from Bank Menatep and its oligarchs. The reasoning of paragraph 1370 struck us as the award’s weak link immediately. The arbitrators didn’t back up their assertion of corporate separateness. And they never tested the alleged illegality.

Now, Russia’s only recourse is in the Netherlands. (The day before the 2014 award, a Russian missile killed 193 Dutch citizens over the Ukraine.) At first, in January 2015, Russia told the Dutch court that “legal infirmities surrounding Yukos’ founding” were not a basis for a set-aside. Then White & Case took over Russia’s case from Cleary. With White & Case’s guidance, Russia is making “loans for shares” central to its enforcement defense in Washington, D.C., France, England, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Russia only raised “loans for shares” in Dutch court early this year. Even though it had confiscated Yukos’ share registry in 2003, Russia presented the evidence as newly discovered because “the code was not cracked until October 2015.”

Yukos’ counsel, Shearman & Sterling’s Emmanuel Gaillard, teases Russian intelligence: “It took the FSB 12 years to crack a code? This is very disappointing.”

Russia argues in its Dutch challenge that the arbitrators lacked jurisdiction because the Energy Charter Treaty does not extend a nation’s consent to arbitrate toward investors who make an illegal investment. (Russia also renews its arguments that it never ratified the treaty and that the claimants are Russian nationals, among other things.) For all the same reasons, Russia contends that the usual exception to sovereign immunity for confirming an arbitral award doesn’t apply.

As a legal matter, the Yukos camp counters that Energy Charter jurisdiction is predicated on claimants’ status as “investors,” rather than their investment’s legality. Anyhow, they say, Russia clearly waived its “loans for shares” objection.

As a factual matter, the oligarchs say that Russia knew full well that Menatep lay behind the bid for Yukos—just as the arbitrators knew full well that Menatep lay behind the arbitration. Given the dire state of Yukos and Russia in 1995, and a ban on foreign bids, they say a half-billion-dollar commitment was nothing to sneeze at.At the end of the day, the oligarchs argue that “loans for shares” were legal because they were organized, overseen, monitored and later ratified by Russia.

The Global Lawyer accepts that the Russian “sale of the century” was an open secret, and a disgrace. We’ll let the Dutch courts assess its legality. Meanwhile the cat and mouse game begins. On Dec. 17, a Paris court declined to suspend enforcement of the Yukos award pending appeal.

Gaillard complains that “Russia is busy slapping diplomatic plaques after the fact on every piece of property it owns in Western Europe.” Russia persuaded Belgium to enact a “Yukos Law,” requiring that a judge preauthorize asset attachment. It pressured Belgian diplomats and French police to block local functionaries from taking inventory at buildings the oligarchs seized. Most ominously, Russia warned in a July 15 diplomatic note that it will consider any American enforcement as grounds for retaliation against U.S. citizens and businesses.

Even so, the oligarchs have provisionally seized close to $1 billion in assets in France—including $400 million owed by Eutelsat to the Russian Satellite Communications Co. for satellite capacity and $300 million owed by Arianespace to Roscosmos for rocket launchers. One billion down, says Shearman. Forty-nine billion to go, says White & Case.

Putin’s “Mafia in Space” Episode

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Did Russia’s boss of bosses just bully his way through space? Reports of Russian FSB-owned spacecraft Luch/Olymp-K1 being moved to Intelsat 901’s 18.1-deg. West orbital location came to light earlier this month in a detailed report by Brian Weeden in The Space Review. Since Putin owns them, the Russian story — typically full of lies — was parroted by the BBC as “U.S. anxiety.”

Not true.

Was the old KGB club looking to intercept the Palestine Al Yawm feed? Probably not.

The spacecraft is being portrayed as a data-relay Luch payload, but it has much more — including special laser capabilities. It is a military spacecraft with multiple missions, including RPO, destroying space assets and providing satcom links to the Russian navy.

If the Luch/Olymp spacecraft came with 10 km of Intelsat’s, that’s cause for concern. Putin and his criminal state doesn’t care about anyone or any entity, and the Russians are testing the world order to see whether anyone’s able to respond with force.

Facebook, Ka-band and Africa

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Using state of the art satellite technology, Eutelsat and Facebook will each deploy Internet services designed to relieve pent-up demand for connectivity from the many users in Africa beyond range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks. Satellite networks are well suited to economically connecting people in low to medium density population areas and the high throughput satellite architecture of AMOS-6 is expected to contribute to additional gains in cost efficiency.

That quote is not from a press release issued in 1999. It’s from Eutelsat’s announcement of a partnership with Facebook on 5 October 2015, leasing Ka-band capacity on Spacecom’s forthcoming spacecraft. In 1999, satellite was seen as the “leapfrog” technology, intended to bypass old wireline or tower-based schemes to get the Internet out to the people of Africa. Although “good for data” Ka-band payloads were not widely available back then, the same disadvantages are still lingering:

  1. the high cost of space segment
  2. customer premises equipment is not cheap
  3. latency will always be an issue

Unless Facebook dollars subsidize the first two costs, we’ll only need to deal with physics.

The RF signal to and from the geosynchronous spacecraft will always require a 1/4-second to complete, then add a little bit of time to get the content, then another 1/4-second to serve it up. We’re not getting into video or any rich media — just the basics. Fine. People without any connection will be happy with whatever they get. High-throughput or not, you get what’s allocated to you.

Let’s consider reliability. First, there’s the issue of a reliable electric supply. Do we have enough of that in Sub-Saharan Africa? Next, there’s the signal itself. Even with a good link budget, and backing-off on the data rate a bit, you’re dealing with a considerable amount of rainy conditions for wider areas, so you can expect the signal to fade or experience complete outages during the rainy season.

Considering satcom’s promise hasn’t been kept for so many years, true “leapfrogging” is happening everywhere. In Rwanda, for example, 4G LTE is being built out and it kills any comparison to satcom alternatives using geo satellites. Using LEOs from O3b Networks works well, but somebody stills has to make the economics work.

So good luck to to Facebook and their internet.org effort.

I Rip Your Head Off, Comrade

Monday, October 5th, 2015

What’s does “the soviet system” mean to you? Not much: it’s just one fuck-up after another.

You’ll recall the billion-dollar project to build a new Cosmodrome in Vostochny, where corruption, poor design and execution have been met with threats from the criminals in the Kremlin. Think they’re back on track?

Think again.

Seems the pride of the Russian space program’s future, the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle will not fit. So much for getting one up from Vostochny by December, bitches. The Moscow Times story from Friday has the details…

The cutting-edge facility was meant be ready for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets in December, but an unidentified space agency official told the TASS news agency late Thursday that the rocket would not fit inside the assembly building where its parts are stacked and tested before launch.

The building “has been designed for a different modification of the Soyuz rocket,” the source said, according to news website Medusa, which picked up the story from TASS.

The quote could not be found on TASS, a state-owned news agency on Friday. TASS’s report instead quoted a spokesperson for the Center for Ground-based Space Infrastructure (TsENKI) – a federal space agency organ tasked the managing with Vostochny cosmodrome.

“Work with the rocket at the integration and testing complex now can not be conducted because the facility is not ready,” the spokesperson said in the report. “There are still imperfections in the construction.”

Good thing Putin has Syria to obscure any bad news coming from within Russia.

Two Launches in One Day!

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Both Atlas V and Ariane 5 rockets went up recently. Both were equipped with rocketcams, but the weather was better at The Cape than in Kourou, so the Atlas launch’s lookback was really cool.


Ukrainian Engines Help Vega Launch

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Regardless of the final outcome regarding Sea-Launch and Boeing’s mess (Boeing Co. et al. v. KB Yuzhnoye et al., case number 13-cv-00730, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California), Ukrainian rocket engines are a good alternative to Russian RD-180’s.

The Arianespace Vega launch yesterday (#VV05) was powered by Yuzhnoye’s RD-843 engines, which are good for LEO/sun-synch orbits and earth observation missions. Their technical reliability — combined with Ukrainian honesty — makes them viable alternatives. In fact, they should be encouraged to join the ESA, too!


LightSquared’s Lawyer Dollars

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Sure, it all makes sense now.

LightSquared had a plan to use frequencies for mobile services. That turned into a fight with the GPS industry. They fucked with the farmers, too.

Just before they filed for bankruptcy protection, they paid Dennis Hastert’s lobbying firm $200,000 to keep an eye on GPS legislation. And the science behind the interference issue was real.

All this seems like a waste of money, right? Think again and bring the bankruptcy fees. Case Number 1:12-bk-12080 got their exit financing approved on 2 June 2015, so the end is near. The FCC is asking for comment on the available frequencies.

Who’s involved in this bankruptcy? These are the entities for Reston, VA-based LightSquared:

LightSquared Inc.
LightSquared
Investors Holdings Inc.
One Dot Four Corp.
One Dot Six Corp.
SkyTerra Rollup LLC
SkyTerra Rollup Sub LLC
SkyTerra Investors LLC
TMI Communications Delaware, Limited Partnership
LightSquared GP Inc.
LightSquared LP
ATC Technologies, LLC
LightSquared Corp.
LightSquared Finance Co.
LightSquared Network LLC
LightSquared Inc. of Virginia
LightSquared Subsidiary LLC
Lightsquared Bermuda Ltd.
SkyTerra Holdings (Canada) Inc.
SkyTerra (Canada) Inc.
One Dot Six TVCC Corp.

Are we counting the “lawyer dollars” now? More, please. Here are the people on the other side of the table…

Creditor
ACE American Insurance Company and other members of the ACE group of companies
Represented by:
Karel S. Karpe, KarpeLaw

Creditor
APA Properties No. 10, LP
Represented by:
Patrick J. Potter, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Creditor
ASM Capital IV, L.P.
Represented by:
Douglas Wolfe, ASM Capital, LP

Creditor
ASM Capital, L.P.
Represented by:
Douglas Wolfe, ASM Capital, LP

Unknown
AT&T Corp.
Represented by:
David A. Rosenzweig, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Creditor
Ad Hoc Group of LightSquared LP Lenders
Represented by:
Glenn M. Kurtz, White & Case, LLP
Julia M Winters, White & Case LLP

Unknown
Ad Hoc Preferred LP Group
Represented by:

Creditor
Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc.
Represented by:
Alyse M. Aruch, McCarter & English

Unknown
Donna Pelligrini Alderman
Represented by:
Joel M Melendez, Molo Lamken LLP

Financial Advisor
Alvarez & Marsal North America, LLC
Represented by:
Karen Gartenberg, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Unknown
BDC Parkridge LLC
Represented by:
Anthony D. Boccanfuso, Arnold & Porter

Stockholder
Blue Line DZM Corp.
Represented by:
Paul Nii-Amar Amamoo, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
David M. Friedman, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP

Creditor
Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc.
Represented by:
Todd J. Rosen, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Bradley Schneider, Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP

Creditor
Cates Strategy Group, LLC
Represented by:
Leon S. Jones, Jones & Walden, LLC

Interested Party
Centaurus Capital LP
Represented by:
Jeffrey S. Sabin, Venable LLP

Claims and Noticing Agent
Kurtzman Carson Consultants LLC, Claims Agent
Represented by:

Unknown
Clerks Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Represented by:
Creditor
Raymond Coburn
Represented by:

Creditor
Comerica Bank
Represented by:
Ronald Scott Beacher, Pryor Cashman LLP
Conrad Chiu, Pryor Cashman LLP

Unknown
Covington & Burling LLP
Represented by:
Ronald A. Hewitt, Covington & Burling LLP

Unknown
Crown Castle USA Inc.
Represented by:
Leslie Ann Berkoff, Moritt, Hock & Hamroff, LLP

Creditor
DACA VI LLC
Represented by:

Unknown
DISH NETWORK CORPORATION
Represented by:
Brian D. Glueckstein, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Attorney
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Represented by:
Gregg M. Galardi, DLA Piper LLP (US)

Creditor
Dallas County
Represented by:
Elizabeth Weller, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP

Creditor
Debt Acquisition Co of America V, LLC
Represented by:

Interested Party
Deere & Company
Represented by:
Philip Le B. Douglas, Jones Day

Attorney
Dentons Canada LLP
Represented by:
Karen Gartenberg, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Unknown
Dickstein Shapiro LLP
Represented by:
Shaya M. Berger, Dickstein Shapiro, LLP

Mediator
Robert D. Drain
Represented by:

Interested Party
Charles W. Ergen
Represented by:
James C. Dugan, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Other Prof.
Ernst & Young LLP
Represented by:
Karen Gartenberg, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Lars A. Peterson, Foley & Lardner LLP
John A. Simon, Foley & Lardner LLP

Unknown
FCDB LSQ LLC
Represented by:

Creditor
Fortress Credit Investments I Ltd., Fortress Credit Investments II Ltd., Fortress Credit Funding IV LP, Fortress Credit Opportunities I LP, Worden Master Fund LP, Worden Master Fund II LP, Drawbridge
Represented by:

Unknown
Fortress Investment Group LLC
Represented by:
Kristopher M. Hansen, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Other Prof.
Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
Represented by: Interested Party
Garmin International, Inc.
Represented by:
Philip Le B. Douglas, Jones Day
Paul Bartholomew Green, Jones Day

Unknown
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Represented by:
Michael A. Rosenthal, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Stockholder
HGW US Holding Company, L.P.
Represented by:
Paul Nii-Amar Amamoo, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
David M. Friedman, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP

Stockholder
Harbinger Capital Partners LLC
Represented by:
Paul Nii-Amar Amamoo, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
Daniel A. Fliman, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
David M. Friedman, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP

Unknown
Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, et al.
Represented by:
Ronit J. Berkovich, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Debra A. Dandeneau, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP

Stockholder
Harbinger Capital Partners SP, Inc.
Represented by:
Paul Nii-Amar Amamoo, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
David M. Friedman, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP

Unknown
Intelsat Corporation
Represented by:
Stephen B. Selbst, Herrick, Feinstein LLP

Interested Party
Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund
Represented by:
Michael S. Etkin, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Cassandra M. Porter, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Unknown
STEPHEN KETCHUM
Represented by:
Charles E. Bachman, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Peter M. Friedman, O’MELVENY & MYERS LLP

Attorney
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Represented by:
Paul M. Basta, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

Christopher Marcus, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Joshua Sussberg, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Unknown
Kurtzman Carson Consultants LLC
Represented by: Interested Party
L-Band Acquisition, LLC
Represented by:
Brian D. Glueckstein, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Rachel C. Strickland, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Unknown
Latham & Watkins LLP
Represented by:

Debtor
LightSquared Inc.
Represented by:
Matthew Scott Barr, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
Paul M. Basta, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
Karen Gartenberg, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Christopher Marcus, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Alan Stone, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP
Mitchell S. Bigel, Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A.

Creditor
Liquidity Solutions, Inc.
Represented by: Unknown
MAST Capital Management LLC
Represented by:
Philip Dublin, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP
Lawrence S. Robbins, Robbins Russell Englert Orseck Untereiner

Interested Party
Melody Business Finance, LLC
Represented by: Attorney
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Represented by:
Matthew Scott Barr, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy

Creditor
Missouri Department of Revenue
Represented by:
Steven A. Ginther, Missouri Department of Revenue

Financial Advisor
Moelis & Company LLC
Represented by:
Karen Gartenberg, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Unknown
New York State Department of Labor
Represented by:

Creditor
One Beacon Street Limited Partnership
Represented by:
Douglas B. Rosner, Goulston & Storrs, P.C.

Creditor
Oracle America, Inc.
Represented by:
Shawn M. Christianson, Buchalter Nemer Fields & Younger
Amish R. Doshi, Magnozzi & Kye

Creditor
James Paull, IV
Represented by:
Lawrence A. Katz, Leach Travell Britt PC

Creditor
Jay Paull, IV
Represented by:
Lawrence A. Katz, Leach Travell Britt PC

Creditor
John Paull
Represented by:
Lawrence A. Katz, Leach Travell Britt PC

Unknown
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Represented by:
Bruce D. Jacobs, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Brandon Johnson, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Matthew J Oliver, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Patrick J. Potter, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Dania Slim, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Unknown
Providence TMT Special Situations Fund LP and TMT Debt Opportunity Fund II LP, investment funds managed by affiliates of Providence Equity Partners LLC (collectively, the “Providence Funds”)
Represented by:
Emanuel C. Grillo, Baker Botts L.L.P.

Creditor
SBA Structures Inc. and SBA Towers III LLC
Represented by:
Lucian Murley, Saul Ewing LLP

Interested Party
SIG Holdings, Inc.
Represented by:
Nicholas E. Baker, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Sandeep Qusba, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Interested Party
SP Special Opportunities, LLC
Represented by:
James C. Dugan, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Tariq Mundiya, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Rachel C. Strickland, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Interested Party
Lili Schad
Represented by:
Scott D. Cousins, Bayard, P.A.
Kevin D. Galbraith, Zamansky & Associates LLC
Jacob H. Zamansky, Zamansky & Associates, LLC

Unknown
Sandeep Singh
Represented by:

Unknown
Solus Alternative Asset Management LP
Represented by:
Malek Schiffrin LLP, Malek Schiffrin LLP

Interested Party
Sound Point Capital Management, L.P.
Represented by:
Charles E. Bachman, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Peter M. Friedman, O’MELVENY & MYERS LLP

Unknown
Special Committee of the Board of Directors of LightSquared Inc. and LightSquared GP Inc.
Represented by:
Paul M. Basta, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
Joshua Sussberg, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Interested Party
TR Capital Management, LLC
Represented by: Creditor
Tennessee Department of Revenue
Represented by:
Marvin E. Clements, Jr., Office of the Tennessee Attorney General

Unknown
The Law Office of John T. Whelan, LLC
Represented by:
John T. Whelan, The Law Office of John T. Whelan LLC

Interested Party
The U.S. GPS Industry Council
Represented by:
Philip Le B. Douglas, Jones Day

Interested Party
Trimble Navigation Ltd.
Represented by:
Philip Le B. Douglas, Jones Day

Unknown
U.S. Bank National Association
Represented by:
Philip Dublin, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP

John W. Weiss, Alston & Bird LLP

Creditor
UBS AG
Represented by:
Adam J. Goldberg, Latham & Watkins, LLP
David S. Heller, Latham & Watkins

U.S. Trustee
United States Trustee
Represented by:
Susan D. Golden, Office of United States Trustee SDNY

Unknown
United States of America on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission
Represented by:
Alicia M. Simmons, U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDNY

Creditor
Universal Service Administrative Company
Represented by:
Michael L. Schein, Vedder Price, P.C.

Unknown
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Represented by:
Debra A. Dandeneau, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP

Interested Party
Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB
Represented by:
Darren T. Azman, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Unknown
Wilmington Trust, National Association
Represented by:
David S Forsh, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP


EELV ♥ SpaceX

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

greavesGreat news! The U.S. Air Force has certified SpaceX for national security space missions.

This milestone is the culmination of a significant two-year effort on the part of the Air Force and SpaceX to execute the certification process and reintroduce competition into the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The Air Force invested more than $60 million and 150 people in the certification effort which encompassed 125 certification criteria, including more than 2,800 discrete tasks, 3 certification flight demonstrations, verifying 160 payload interface requirements, 21 major subsystem reviews and 700 audits in order to establish the technical baseline from which the Air Force will make future flight worthiness determinations for launch.

Yes, it’s important to have competition in the marketplace. It’s more important to be rid of our reliance on Russian RD-180 engines.

Suck it, Putin.


Putin: “I Fucking Hate Science”

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Chalk up another loss for space/launch insurance underwriters. A Proton/Briz M launch’s 3rd stage failed and lost MexSat-1 (a.k.a. Centenario) — a huge Boeing 702 intended for mobile and fixed services (L- and Ku-band).

What happened? Anatoly Zak gives the best, most-qualified explanation. Probably fuel line problems.

Add this to a Soyuz launch anomaly earlier this month and you would think this may be a pattern. Is it technical or is it systemic? Probably both.

One could argue there’s a lack of enthusiasm and a brain-drain of top Ukrainian engineering talent in the Russian space business. Or it could be the return of the “old Soviet work ethic,” where nobody really cares. People get promoted to positions of authority without really being qualified, just so they can be “controlled” by others at the Kremlin. That’s what I think is happening.

It goes back more than 10 years, around the time Putin started going after complete control of Russia. In 2006, Mario Lemme’s Space Transport Inc. was created to take control of International Launch Services, the joint venture created to market Proton and Atlas launches. Since then, the market for commercial launches has changed (thank you, SpaceX), but the prices for launch services has gone up. But the technical success helps further development of non-commercial and space-exploration systems. With the world still dependent on getting humans to/from the ISS using the Soyuz launcher, we’re in a spot of trouble.

Meanwhile, how are we to substitute our supply source for RD-180 engines? We need to make this a priority. Rather, the big boys in the U.S. are more concerned about corporate headcount (read about the “mothers day massacre”).

Science likes to explain things with facts. Political views tend to use some facts. But outright liars and social manipulators such as Putin and his fellow KGB remnants don’t get along with any facts they don’t like. They just want control. Control of people, money and probably access to space from Russian territory (hence the pressure to build Vostochny).

Succeeding in space will further popularize Putin in Russia and that’s what he’s after. Fuck science: Russia’s space industry is failing due to “moral issues,” according to Rogozin.