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Commercial communication satellite for mobile broadband

Orbital Sciences : 28 December, 2009  (Application Story)
Orbital and Thales will be working on a geosynchronous satellite for mobile communications for OverHorizon based on new contract for delivery in 2012
Orbital Sciences has signed a contract for a new geosynchronous (GEO) communications satellite contract with OverHorizon, with offices in the US, Sweden and Cyprus. The spacecraft will be based on Orbital’s industry-leading STAR 2 satellite platform and will carry an on-board processing payload provided by Thales Alenia Space. Both Orbital and Thales Alenia Space will share in the contract responsibilities as co-prime partners. The satellite will be delivered in early 2012. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“The OverHorizon satellite order is the third time that Orbital and Thales Alenia Space have teamed since 2006 to provide a highly reliable and technically advanced satellite for our customers. Our previous joint satellite projects include the AMC-21 spacecraft for SES, which was launched in 2008, and the Koreasat 6 satellite for KT Corporation, which is currently in the manufacturing and test phase at our Dulles, Virginia facility,” said Mr Michael Larkin, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Space Systems Group.

Mr Larkin also noted, “Over the past two weeks, Orbital has booked three new orders for our GEO communications satellite product line, including the IS-23 satellite for Intelsat and the Hylas 2 satellite for Avanti Communications. We continue to see excellent customer adoption of our reliable STAR platform from both established customers like Intelsat and new customers such as OverHorizon and Avanti.”

The OverHorizon satellite will provide a regenerative system for broadband communications services. Delivered via satellite, OverHorizon will provide its services to, from, and between small, inexpensive user terminals installed on mobile vehicles, such as cars, trucks, boats and airplanes.

Speaking on behalf of OverHorizon, Mr James Gerow, the company’s President, said, “We are very pleased to be working together with Orbital and Thales Alenia Space to provide this new satellite to meet the significant demand for true mobile broadband communication from government, media and NGO customers operating in areas with limited or no communications infrastructure. The combination of Orbital and Thales Alenia Space will provide a satellite design uniquely suited to deliver the best value in satellite services. Orbital’s STAR platform is optimized for this size and type of mission, and is ideally suited to host the innovative and high-performance payload from Thales Alenia Space.”

Mr Emmanuel Grave, Telecommunications Executive Vice-President for Thales Alenia Space, said, “As a worldwide leader in satcom payloads, Thales is proud to contribute to OverHorizon with cutting-edge payload technologies to provide efficient, regenerative and transparent capacity. This innovative flexible payload, which relies on Thales Alenia Space in-orbit heritage and proven performance, will offer OverHorizon a position to be a decisive contender in the market with a highly versatile and adaptable mission, perfectly suited to their customers’ expectation.”

Mr Grave continued his remarks, adding, “I am also very pleased to be working with Orbital and Thales Alenia on this program, which continues a successful partnership established on previous satellite programs.”

The order from OverHorizon extends Orbital’s industry-leading market share in smaller-sized GEO satellites. With the OverHorizons contract, Orbital has received orders for a total of 30 GEO communications from customers around the world since 2001. Including the OverHorizons spacecraft, Orbital currently has ten GEO satellites in various stages of design, manufacturing, testing and pre-launch preparations, and has options for three additional satellites that could be exercised in the future.
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