Boy, who would be a launch services provider right now? At World Satellite Business Week in Paris, CEOs of most of the top operators took pot shots at the costs to launch satellites. Complaints about launch services costs was one of the highlights of the main “Global Satellite Operators in a Changing World Panel.” One senior executive said afterward that he would love it if launch service providers had the same margins as some of the FSS operators.
Best presentation of the day: Tracy Mehr, managing director of Credit Suisse, who gave an in-depth account of the trials and tribulations of ProtoStar’s efforts to obtain funding. The stories of Candidate Father’s (ProtoStar CEO Philip Father) campaign trying to gain capital and the comparison to the U.S. presidential election and Obama and McCain campaign to gain votes was fantastic. Mehr’s presentation was a rare breed — fun to listen too but also highly informative and well thought out. Underneath the humor, what came out of that presentation was how difficult it is to gain financing. While ProtoStar potentially has a great growth story, access to funding proved much more difficult than Father imagined.
Wallets are tightening, and while the message may have been the satellite industry is in good shape (there, I said it again) to survive any credit crunch, gaining access to crucial funding seems to have got just a whole lot harder.