WASHINGTON — Aircraft-tracking startup Aireon is borrowing $200 million through a Deutsche Bank-led group of investor funds, the company said Jan. 16.
Aireon said it signed the credit facility Dec. 21, and that it used the new funds to pay satellite operator Iridium $35 million before the end of 2018 for hosting its sensor payloads on the Iridium Next constellation.
Each of the 81 Iridium Next satellites carries an Aireon flight-tracking payload, which linked completion of Aireon’s global system to that of Iridium Next. SpaceX launched the last 10 orbital Iridium Next satellites Jan. 11, bringing the number in space to 75 (66 operational, plus nine spares). Iridium is keeping the last six satellites as ground spares.
Aireon CEO Don Thoma alluded to recently secured financing during a Jan. 3 call with reporters, but didn’t quantify the amount. “We will be making some announcements on that very shortly,” he said.
Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, said during the call that Iridium applied the $35 million it received from Aireon directly to the 1.8 billion Iridium borrowed from the French export-credit agency Coface (now BPI France Assurance Export) to help finance Iridium Next.
Last year, Iridium borrowed ...