Sat. Sep 30th, 2023
U.S. Export-Import Bank Considers $5 Billion in Satellite Industry Financing

A top official with the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced that the export credit agency is currently reviewing proposals for over $5 billion in financing for the satellite industry. Judith Pryor, the first vice president and vice chair of the board of directors of Ex-Im, made this statement at the World Satellite Business Week conference. She also mentioned that the bank is interested in supporting the industry’s new projects while remaining impartial towards specific architectures or technologies.

Pryor revealed that the bank is currently reviewing $1.3 billion in financing proposals that are likely to be approved within the year. Additionally, there are $4 billion in deals that are a little further from finalization. Although she did not provide details about the specific proposals being reviewed, Pryor mentioned that there are more than a handful under consideration.

The bank has noticed a shift in the industry towards less geostationary orbit (GEO) and more low Earth orbit (LEO) megaconstellations. Pryor stated that Ex-Im has also received proposals for Earth observation and other “new space” systems. However, the recent financings by Ex-Im have mainly been in GEO. In 2021, the bank financed the launch of a Hispasat communications satellite by SpaceX, valued at $80.7 million. In late 2022, they approved $407 million in financing for the launch of two ViaSat-3 satellites by SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.

Regarding specific technologies or companies, Pryor emphasized that the bank would remain impartial and would finance projects involving any interested buyer of U.S. exports, whether it be SpaceX or ULA. She assured that the bank has the capacity to consider additional deals with a lending cap of $135 billion and current exposure of $34 billion.

Furthermore, Pryor stated that the bank is open to considering new markets, such as orbital debris removal. If there is a viable business model and plan, Ex-Im will consider financing on-orbit elements.