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Intelsat 16 satellite successfully launches to begin in-orbit testing

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Orbital Sciences
: 15 February, 2010  (New Product)
Orbital Sciences built Intelsat communications satellite lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Central Kazakhstan aboard an ILS Proton rocket launcher
Orbital Sciences has announced that the Intelsat 16 (IS-16) satellite, built by the company for Intelsat was successfully launched into orbit aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton Rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission began on February 11th, with the lift-off of the Proton space launch vehicle at 7:40 pm (Eastern Standard Time). The satellite successfully separated from the Proton rocket’s Breeze M upper stage approximately nine hours and 30 minutes after launch.

Mr Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s Senior Vice President and head of its communications satellite business unit, said, “We are very pleased with the results of the launch aboard the ILS Proton rocket, which accurately placed the IS-16 spacecraft into its intended orbit. We are now embarking on several weeks of in-orbit testing to be carried out by Intelsat and Orbital engineers. The deployment of the IS-16 satellite comes less than three months after the Orbital-built IS-15 was launched into orbit. The in-orbit check-out process for the IS-15 satellite went very smoothly and it has now been turned over to Intelsat for routine commercial operations. We expect that the early mission activities for the IS-16 program will proceed equally as well.”

Mr Richmond added, “With the launch of IS-16, we have begun an exceptionally busy schedule for 2010, which includes the delivery of four more communications satellites to customers, with three of them scheduled to be launched this year. In addition, the flurry of new contract awards at the end of 2009 plus satellites already in production will keep our satellite design and production teams very busy throughout 2010.”

Orbital designed, built and tested the IS-16 spacecraft at the company’s satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia. The satellite’s Ku-band payload expands Intelsat’s Latin America direct-to-home platform at its 58 degrees West longitude orbital position. The IS-16 satellite is expected to have a useful life of at least 15 years and is part of Intelsat’s on-going 11-satellite launch campaign, the largest in Intelsat’s history.

The IS-16 satellite is one of ten Orbital spacecraft ordered by Intelsat since 2001 that are either now in orbit or in production for upcoming launches. The other satellites are as follows:

* Galaxy 12 and 14, currently in orbit providing C-band digital video programming, high-definition television (HDTV) and other fixed satellite services to the Continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

* Galaxy 15, currently in orbit providing HDTV services similar to Galaxy 12 and 14 with an additional L-band payload to relay Global Positioning Systems navigation data to in-flight aircraft.

* Intelsat 11, a hybrid satellite currently in orbit with a C-band payload serving the continental United States, Mexico and South America, and a Ku-band payload offering direct-to-home services.

* Horizons-2, currently in orbit for a joint venture between Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT of Japan, to meet the growing demand for Ku-band communications in North America.

* Intelsat 15, a high-power Ku-band satellite providing video and data services to the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions. This newest Intelsat satellite was launched in November 2009.

* Intelsat 18, a hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite now in production to provide services to East Asia, the Pacific, French Polynesia and the United States scheduled for delivery in 2010.

* Intelsat New Dawn, a hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite now in production to provide services to Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan regions scheduled for delivery in 2010.

* Intelsat 23, a Ku- and C-band satellite that will provide communications services to the Americas, Europe and Africa. The contract for IS-23 was awarded to Orbital by Intelsat in December 2009; delivery of the spacecraft is scheduled for late 2011.

Orbital’s highly successful geosynchronous Earth orbit communications satellites are based on the company’s STAR spacecraft platform, which is able to accommodate all types of commercial communications payloads and is compatible will all major commercial launchers. The company’s STAR product line includes the STAR 2.4 platform, which is optimised for smaller satellite missions, generating up to 5.0 kW of payload power. Orbital has also designed the higher-power STAR 2.7 spacecraft, which delivers the next increment of payload power for applications between 5.0 and 7.5 kW, allowing Orbital to offer innovative and reliable satellite designs for medium-class communications applications.
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