The Export Import Bank of the United States (US Exim) has extended a US$105.4mn loan to Space Communication, an Israeli aerospace company.

The loan will be used to finance the construction and launch of the Amos-6 communications satellite, which will use US-made solar arrays. The satellite is insured by the US insurance company Marsh. The Californian company SpaceX will assist with the launching of the satellite.

It’s the third time US Exim has supported a satellite launch by SpaceX. In June 2013, it helped finance the launch of two satellites, while in November 2012 it supported the purchase of two satellites from Boeing.

Satellites have become a huge area of financing for US Exim. It’s anticipated that the export credit agency will extend more than US$1bn to the sector in 2013, which will mean it has topped the billion dollar mark for three years in succession.

Speaking to GTR earlier this year, John Schuster, vice-president of structured finance at US Exim, said that the satellite sector struggles to get commercial financing and has been the victim of a skewed ratings system. He continued: “Ratings for satellites and telecoms have been fairly harsh. A number of strong performing companies in the satellite industries, with good revenues, have low ratings because of a perception of technological risk. I see what I consider to be overly harsh rating of the sector, which makes them harder on satellites. The other thing I note is the big important relationships for banks seem to be more focused on the larger sectors, say oil and gas and power and mining.”

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, says of the latest transaction: “We appreciate US Exim’s support of both SpaceX and the US space industry. With export financing for contracts like the Amos-6 mission, it helps SpaceX compete successfully with international launch service providers, bringing overseas satellite launch business and high-tech jobs back to American soil.”