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Hughes Jupiter-3 Now Expected to Launch in the First Half 2023

By Rachel Jewett | August 4, 2022

Rendition of EchoStar24/Jupiter 3 satellite. Photo: SSL.

Launch for Hughes Network Systems Jupiter-3 satellite is now expected to launch in the first half of 2023. The satellite has been delayed multiple times, and was most recently expected in the first quarter of 2023. Hughes did not give more specifics as to the timing during the first half of the year. 

The company said the satellite continues to progress with manufacturer Maxar Technologies and vacuum chamber testing is going well. President Pradman Kaul said the company is gaining more confidence that the satellite will meet this schedule and he expects it to enter service in the first half of 2023 as well.

Hughes’ broadband business continues to shed subscribers. The company reported in its second quarter financial report that it has 1,346,000 broadband subscribers at the end of the quarter, a decline of 60,000 from March 31, 2022. The company said capacity limitations require Hughes to balance capacity with subscribers levels where there is high bandwidth demand, and there are increased competitive pressures. 

Kaul said that the company is losing some subscribers to competition, namely Starlink, SpaceX’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation.

“The biggest threat right now clearly, is Starlink,” he said. “They can address the latency issue. We are losing some subscribers to Starlink and we have been working hard to try to come up with solutions to compete on this latency issue.”

Hughes is preparing to rollout a service called HughesNet Fusion, that combines GEO and LTE capacity, which Kaul hopes will reduce churn from users who require faster latency. He mentioned that 70% of broadband traffic is video, which does not require faster latency.

Kaul also addressed the recent news of Eutelsat/OneWeb merger, and said he sees it as a “positive development” for Hughes. Both OneWeb and Eutelsat are customers of Hughes, and Kaul expects the company to do business with the company moving forward. “The current contracts that we have, which are significant, will continue,” Kaul said. “We are strong believers in the GEO/LEO concept. I think this merger, along with the relationships we have with them, facilitates GEO/LEO advantages.”

Hughes revenue slightly increased in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year. During parent company EchoStar’s financial report on Thursday, Hughes Network System reported $985,947 in revenue, a 1.8% increase from the same time period last year. 

Hughes makes up most of EchoStar’s revenue, and EchoStar overall reported $1 million in revenue in the first half of the year, up 1.9% from the same time last year. Net income in the first half of 2022 was $99,418.