Orbital Sciences First GeoStar-3 Satellite Orders Said To Be for Avanti, Yahsat

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PARIS — Orbital Sciences Corp. has been selected by satellite fleet operators in Britain and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to build telecommunications satellites using Orbital’s new GeoStar-3 higher-power satellite frame, industry officials said.

The two satellites are the Hylas 4 spacecraft to be built for Avanti Communications of London and the Al Yah 3 satellite for Yahsat of Abu Dhabi, officials said.

One industry official said the Yahsat contract is still in final negotiations and had not been signed as of July 25. Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital has told its investors that it has booked its first two GeoStar-3 orders, but said the customers’ identities would be withheld at their request.

The Orbital orders, plus recent wins by Thales Alenia Space in Indonesia, Space Systems/Loral in Spain and Airbus Defence and Space in Europe, bring to at least 13 the number of commercial geostationary-orbiting telecommunications satellites purchased worldwide this year.

Industry officials had said that 2014 likely would see between 20 and 23 firm commercial contracts.

Yahsat said in late June that it intended to order Al Yah 3 soon, and that the manufacturer would agree to permit United Arab Emirates students “to follow the end-to-end manufacturing process” on behalf of the nation’s long-term goal to develop indigenous space expertise.

Yahsat officials have described Al Yah 3 as a high-throughput Ka-band satellite that would extend Yahsat’s coverage across Africa and, in a new market for Yahsat, South America.

“Al Yah 3 will be an all Ka-band high-throughput satellite, with a unique design that optimizes cost, capacity, coverage and flexibility,” Yahsat said in its description of the mission. “It will enable delivery of affordable broadband, directly or indirectly to over 600 million users in both continents, specifically covering more than 95% of the population in Brazil.”

Yahsat lost in a bidding earlier this year for two orbital slots over Brazil.

Avanti has said Hylas 4 would cover Europe and Africa to extend the coverage of the company’s current fleet.

 

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