PARIS — Satellite fleet operatoron June 4 announced it has sold a large chunk of Ku-band capacity on its just-launched SES-6 satellite to Brazil’s Oi S.A. for direct-to-home television broadcasting, demonstrating why SES and its competitors have made Latin America among their highest market priorities.
Luxembourg-based SES did not detail how many transponders Oi is leasing, nor for how long, but described the deal was a “significant long-term capacity agreement.”
A hint of the size of the contract was on display on the( ) Proton rocket as it lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome spaceport in Kazakhstan on June 3 for mission of 15 hours and 31 minutes; Oi’s logo was given as much prominence as the SES and ILS images on the rocket’s fairing.
“With SES-6, Oi has access to significant additional satellite capacity at the right time in order to take its pay-TV services to the next level of development,” Oi Chief Operating Officer James Meaney said in a June 4 statement, adding that much of the new capacity will be devoted to high-definition channels.
Built by Astrium Satellites of Europe, SES carries 48 Ku-band and 43 C-band transponders. It will operate from 40.5 degrees west, where it will replace the SES-owned NSS-806 satellite now there. But it is much larger than NSS-806 and will bring the equivalent of 49 new transponders to the slot to offer market expansion for SES in the Americas, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean region.
SES-6 weighed 6,100 kilograms at launch. The ILS Proton rocket and its Breeze-M upper stage dropped the satellite off in supersynchronous transfer orbit, which can offer longer in-orbit life depending on the accuracy of the launch.
For Reston, Va.-based ILS, which commercializes Proton rockets worldwide on behalf of its owner, Proton prime contractor Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, the SES-6 was the fourth liftoff in as many months since returning to flight following an upper-stage anomaly.
The company has two more launches scheduled by August — the next is SES’s Astra 2E, scheduled for July — as it returns to its long-established role as one of the world’s two major suppliers of commercial launch services along with Europe’sconsortium.