Space Systems/Loral Breaks Lockheed’s Hold on Japanese Telecom Market with JSat Win

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PARIS — Asia’s biggest satellite fleet operator, Sky Perfect JSat of Japan, on June 12 said it had selected Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) to build the C- and Ku-band JCSat-14 satellite for delivery in late 2015.

The contract breaks a long hold on the Japanese telecommunications satellite market held by Lockheed Martin, which has built the last seven Sky Perfect JSat satellites and has extended its Asian reach to Vietnam, for which it has built two spacecraft.

John Celli, president of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Space Systems/Loral, said he hopes the win will be the start of a long relationship with Tokyo-based Sky Perfect JSat, which operates a fleet of 16 satellites and is trying to grow its business through government services and a broader Asian presence.

The contract award comes at a time when Japan’s domestic satellite manufacturer, Mitsubishi Electric (Melco), has been sharpening its commercial offer with its own line of telecommunications platforms but has been unable to book a win with Japan’s major fleet operator.

Industry officials said the Sky Perfect JSat competition eliminated Lockheed Martin and Melco in an earlier down-selection and that the finals were between Space Systems/Loral and Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy.

JCSat-14 will have 26 C-band and 18 Ku-band transponders and will be able to generate 10 kilowatts of power at the end of its scheduled 15-year operating life. It will operate at 154 degrees east, where it will replace the JCSat-2A satellite. JCSat-14 apparently will not include an X-band payload, although Sky Perfect JSat has said X-band services to government customers will be a focus in the coming years.

In addition to continuing the JCSat-2A business, the new spacecraft will offer much broader coverage of Asia, including Russia, Oceana and the Pacific islands, Sky Perfect JSat said in a June 12 statement.

The Ku-band capacity will include regional beams for mobile applications including aeronautical, maritime and oil and gas producers. Sky Perfect JSat has made mobility markets a focus of its strategy for growth.

“Sky Perfect JSat is committed to expanding our international business by creating the best service and most desirable coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, while striving to expand our service portfolio in Japan,” Sky Perfect Chief Executive Shinji Takada said in a statement.