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SpaceLink Makes Lihani Legal Chief as it Readies Satellite Plan

Jan. 19, 2021, 9:43 PM

SpaceLink Corp., a McLean, Va.-based company that plans to use satellites to improve communications between space and the ground, has hired David Lihani as its first general counsel.

Lihani joined SpaceLink on Jan. 4, bringing to the company nearly three decades of experience in space law, including international space policy and commercial regulations.

“The space lawyer, if you will, is really looking at regulatory issues, compliance issues, and of course transactional issues,” Lihani said. “I took this opportunity to be a little bit more focused on commercial satellite activities.”

SpaceLink aims to improve data transfer and communications between low Earth orbit satellites and ground stations using a “constellation” of medium Earth orbit satellites. Secure space-to-Earth communication is an increasingly important function as entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk plan to use thousands of low-Earth-orbit satellites to provide faster internet connections.

The company is a subsidiary of Australian defense and space business Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd. Electro Optic Systems created SpaceLink last year after it acquired space communications startup Audacy Corp. in May for about $7.7 million (AU$10 million).

Along with Lihani, SpaceLink announced the additions of Tony Colucci as chief strategy and commercial officer, Larry Rubin as chief operating officer, and Rob Singh as chief technology officer. Last December, the company named David Bettinger as its chief executive officer.

Lihani is the former chief legal officer for Astrolabe Enterprises Inc. He also previously worked for satellite companies SSL, a business unit of Maxar Technologies, and SES Satellites. He also had stops at Virgin Galactic and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Lihani served in the U.S. Navy as a flight officer, where he was introduced to satellite systems and space law, and he was a partner at Pierson & Burnett in Washington.

He said SpaceLink’s engineers are still developing its satellite network and plans to have both commercial and defense clients. SpaceLink’s website currently shows multiple job openings, including one listing for a vice president of U.S. Department of Defense business development.

“There’s an inherent demand to affordable access to data coming from space,” Lihani said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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