Hispasat’s Amazonas-5 lands at Baikonur for September Proton launch

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WASHINGTON — A satellite that Spanish fleet operator Hispasat ordered in December 2014 largely to replace two Orbital ATK spacecraft has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a Proton launch in September.

Amazonas-5 covers for Amazonas-4A, an Orbital ATK-built satellite that lost capacity due to a power issue in early 2014, and Amazonas-4B, an Orbital ATK satellite that Hispasat cancelled following the previous anomaly. Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto, California, built the Amazonas-5 satellite.

Hispasat said in 2014 that the reduced capacity of Amazonas-4A, since renamed Amazonas-4, didn’t impact the company as severely as it could have because the satellite was meant for growth, not as a replacement. Both Amazonas 4A and Amazonas-4B were supposed to be in orbit supporting heightened broadcast demand for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, however.

For International Launch Services (ILS), Amazonas-5 will be the company’s second Proton launch of the year. Hispasat spokesperson Iñaki Latasa told SpaceNews Aug. 10 the company does not have an official launch date yet. ILS’s third and final 2017 mission, AsiaSat-9, is scheduled for Sept. 28.

Built on the SSL-1300 platform, Amazonas-5 has 24 Ku-band transponders for direct-to-home television broadcasts, and 34 Ka-band spot beams for internet connectivity services. In an Aug. 10 statement, Hispasat said the new satellite “will enable broadcasting 500 new TV channels and will be key in promoting 4K TV in the region.”

“SSL has been a very reliable manufacturing partner, and is providing us with a highly advanced satellite that will help us grow our business in Latin America,” Carlos Espinós, Hispasat’s CEO, said in the same statement.

Amazonas-5 has a design life of 15 years, and will be located at 61 degrees west. SSL is also building Hispasat’s 30W-6 satellite (previously known as Hispasat 1F), which is scheduled for a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch later this year.