Azerspace/Africasat-1a Communications Satellite Set for Launch Aboard Ariane Rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced today that it is in final preparations for the launch of the Azerspace/Africasat-1a commercial communications satellite for Azercosmos, Open Joint Stock Company of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Designed, manufactured and tested at Orbital’s Dulles, Virginia satellite production facilities, Azerspace/Africasat-1a is scheduled to be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana on February 7, 2013.

Following its launch, the satellite will undergo in-orbit testing and verification that all subsystems are operating as planned. Once testing is complete and the spacecraft is positioned at its orbital location, day-to-day operations of Azerspace/Africasat-1a will be handed over to Azercosmos, which will continue to operate the spacecraft from its control centers in Baku and Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. These facilities were designed and built by Azercosmos to support the installation of the ground control systems provided by Orbital, including ground antennas, radio-frequency electronics, computer platforms, and the software used to command, monitor and control the Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite.

With an anticipated service life of 15 years, Azerspace/Africasat-1a is based on Orbital’s flight-proven GEOStar-2 platform. The hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite will generate approximately five kilowatts of payload power and carry 36 active transponders, providing communications services to Azerbaijan, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Azerspace/Africasat-1a will operate from an orbital location at 46 degrees East longitude through an arrangement between Azercosmos and MEASAT Satellite Systems of Malaysia, which owns the rights to the orbital slot.

“The Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite is a critical component for the Republic of Azerbaijan to expand its communications infrastructure and enhance connectivity with other parts of the world,” said Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s Senior Vice President of Communications Satellites. “This is the tenth GEOStar-2 satellite we’ve built in the last two years. We are now finishing our preparations and gearing up for a successful launch.”

Source: Orbital Sciences Corp.
Date: Feb 6, 2013