Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that one of its major customers, SES of Luxembourg, has placed a firm order for its sixth STARTM communications satellite for its worldwide network. The new satellite, SES-8, will provide Ku-band communication services to India and the Southeast Asia region.
Commenting on the contract award, Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital's Senior Vice President of its communications satellite unit, said, "We are very appreciative that SES continues to rely on our STAR satellites as a mainstay in their global fleet. With three Orbital-built spacecraft already deployed in the SES fleet, along with two more currently in production for deliveries this year, the new SES-8 satellite will be the latest successful collaboration between our two companies. We will continue to work closely with the SES team to build on our solid relationship and help ensure SES meets the needs of their customers."
SES-8 will feature 33 equivalent 36 MHz transponders and will generate approximately 5.0 Kw of payload power. It will be co-located at 95 degrees East Longitude with NSS-6 and will enable SES to add capacity and new services to the market.
Mr. Rob Bednarek, President and CEO of SES WORLD SKIES, said, "SES-8 will provide an incremental 33 high-power Ku-band transponders at the well-established orbital position of 95 degrees East, which already features five DTH platforms and supports key telecom infrastructure and broadband networks across the Middle East and Asia. SES-8 is SES' sixth procurement of a STAR series spacecraft from Orbital, and we look forward to another successful mission that will provide our customers in Asia with new, state-of-the-art capacity for growth."
The SES-8 satellite is the 33rd geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) communications spacecraft ordered by Orbital customers around the world, 23 of which are in orbit and 10 of which are in design, production or awaiting launch. The company's most recent order for a GEO communications satellite came in late December, when the company was selected to supply the MEXSAT-3 spacecraft to the Mexican government under a contract with The Boeing Company.
Orbital's highly successful communications satellites are based on the company's STAR spacecraft platform, which is able to accommodate all types of commercial communications payloads. The STAR design is optimized for satellite missions requiring up to 7.5 kilowatts of payload power. In many instances, the affordable STAR satellite can be built and delivered in 24 months or less.
The STAR platform can also host separate government-sponsored payloads that take advantage of the satellite's spare mass, power and communications capacity, as well as its quick launch schedule and demonstrated record of in-orbit reliability. For example, Orbital and SES have already teamed with the U.S. Air Force to deploy the experimental Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP), built by Science Applications International Corporation (NYSE: SAI).
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