Monday, December 21, 2009

Orbital receives contract for HYLAS 2 commercial communications satellite from Avanti

DULLES, USA: Orbital Sciences Corp. has signed a contract with London-based Avanti Communications Group plc for a new geosynchronous (GEO) communications satellite.

The spacecraft, to be named HYLAS 2, will be based on Orbital’s industry-leading STAR 2.4 satellite platform. The satellite is scheduled for delivery in early 2012. When the HYLAS 2 satellite is placed into commercial service following its launch and in-orbit testing, Avanti will more than triple the satellite capacity that it will offer with its first Ka-band satellite, HYLAS 1, which is scheduled to be launched in the first half of 2010. Specific financial terms of the contract were not disclosed; however the Export-Import Bank of the United States will provide funding for the project.

“With this most recent communications satellite order, Orbital has again demonstrated our position as the world’s leading provider of small-class GEO commercial satellites,” said Michael Larkin, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Space Systems Group.

“From the world’s largest satellite operators, including Intelsat and SES, to regional operators such as Telenor, Optus, and now Avanti, Orbital provides the highest levels of product reliability, the most comprehensive support, and the best overall value to all our customers. These same attributes are also designed into our higher-power Star 2.7 spacecraft that has evolved from our current product line and which will serve as our entry into the market for satellites that generate up to 7.5 kilowatts of payload power.”

The HYLAS 2 satellite will carry 24 active Ka-band user beams and four gateway beams, and will produce approximately 5.0 kilowatts of payload electrical power. The Ka-band spot beams will provide two-way communications services to facilitate high-speed delivery of data to end-user applications such as corporate networking, broadband Internet access, business continuity services and video distribution.

Using the HYLAS 2 spacecraft, Avanti will provide its data and video services to Northern and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In addition, the spacecraft will be equipped with a steerable spot beam, also operating at Ka-band, which can provide coverage anywhere on Earth that is visible to the satellite.

David Williams, CEO of Avanti, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Orbital to provide Avanti with our second broadband satellite, which will clearly establish Avanti as the first provider and clear leader in broadband services via Ka-band satellites throughout Europe and large portions of Africa and the Middle East. Together with our well established network of distribution partners and telecommunications service partners, we are uniquely positioned to deliver the best value of broadband services via satellite.”

The contract with Avanti for the HYLAS-2 satellite is the second order this month for Orbital’s GEO communications spacecraft. Last week, the company announced that Intelsat, S.A. had awarded it a contract for the IS-23 spacecraft, the 10th Orbital-built spacecraft that will be deployed into the Intelsat fleet.

Since 2001, customers around the world have ordered a total of 29 GEO communications satellites from Orbital. Including the order from Avanti, Orbital currently has nine 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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