SSN, composed of former members of ABS, has decided to start manufacturing satellites weighing 600-1700 kg. It has a contract as well, stated Tom Choi of SSN. He founded ABS during 2005 and had to step down from the CEO office during 2017. He later began working and designing small GEO sat platforms, as per a press release. Simpson, the current Saturn CEO was also ABS CEO for the most part of 2018 and a few months in 2017. ABS’s ex-CTO Betaharon is also Saturn’s current CTO.
Choi stated that currently, Saturn has a low headcount of about 10 people. It intends to control overhead costs and keep them as low as possible. Saturn has an army of consultants and subcontractors who can build every element of their spacecraft as required.
Saturn has access to payload integration facility in Colorado. Another facility to build spacecraft chassis was also available in California. Over 95% of satellite components were sourced from the US. Saturn is currently targeting countries that require satellites, yet need an efficient solution.
San Francisco’s Astranis, Hong Kong’s GapSat and Sweden’s Ovzon have plans for launching their smallsats during 2020-21. Astranis will manufacture and handle its satellites. GapSat and Ovzon bought theirs from TO and Maxa Tech. Argentine manufacturer INVAP & Turkey’s Aerospace formed GSATCOM Space Tech, focused on building smallsats.
Saturn stated that its satellites would be 70-80% cheaper than their counterparts and have a cost/gigabit below $1 million for high spot beam satellites of throughput nature. Euroconsult deems satellites below that threshold to be cost-effective.
A nationsat can have 20-80 GB/s capacity. Saturn will manufacture 2 such sats, and slowly raise the number to 6. It’s first sat is set for delivery and launch in 2020. Saturn’s 1st contract has a valuation of over $60 million. AIE owns Saturn, with the former focused on wireless tech via its subsidiaries. While they don’t overlap as of now, it’s possible down the road.
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