The export credit funding—which in a decade ago was a significant aspect of satellite industry business proposals, has now widely faded from the market since private financing become more affordable and accessible. The ECAs (export credit agencies) such as the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. played an important role in finance development of private satellites during the first half of the decade, mainly for systems that thrashed to win financing lacking the promises that such agencies provide. Tom Fitzpatrick—Chief Financial Officer of Iridium—while discussing the firm’s Iridium Next effort of worth $3 Billion during a panel conversation at the conference said, “The undertaking flat out cannot have been attained without export credit finance.”
The firm’s finances at the moment it started Iridium Next were not strong adequately, he stated, to support extra conventional private funding. The build-up of the Iridium Next satellites through Thales Alenia Space was supported by the French export credit agency—Coface which is now called Bpifrance Assurance Export. Several other satellite operators shifted to export credit funding from Ex-IM across the U.S. and similar agencies in other nations. The firms sought out export credit agencies as it was tough for them to fetch money elsewhere. Wim Steenbakkers—Global Chief of Satellite and Technology Finance at ING Bank—said, “ECAs stepped in at a period when there was restricted liquidity presented in the market.”
On a similar note, recently, SpaceX was in the news as its new ride-sharing liftoffs are set to strengthen the small-satellite industry. SpaceX’s intends for more often and regularly planned ride-sharing launches would unleash new development in the small-satellite industry, inducing cheaper and easier rollouts for new communication systems, experts stated. Recently, SpaceX published a plan of 30 rocket lifts off for small satellites amid 2020–2021.