BulgariaSat-1. Credit: SSL

PARIS — Pay-TV service provider Bulsatcom of Bulgaria’s Bulgaria Sat has selected Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to build a Ku-band direct-broadcast television satellite to be financed with U.S. Export-Import Bank assistance and launched by a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Falcon 9 rocket in 2016, SSL announced Sept. 8.

The satellite, BulgariaSat-1, will carry 32 Ku-band transponders for Bulgarian and Balkan markets.

>Bulgaria is the latest on a lengthening list of nations that, once considered light-years from creating their own satellite operators, are now building and launching national telecommunications satellites.

Beginning as a small phenomenon several years ago, the proliferation of national satellite operators has gathered such momentum — more than two dozen nations without a satellite five years ago have now launched one or are planning to — that the established fleet operators now view it as posing a potentially material risk to their business if not managed correctly.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.