APT To Launch Apstar 7 on China’s Long March Rocket

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong will launch its European-built Apstar 7 telecommunications satellite aboard a Chinese Long March 3B rocket under a contract with China’s launch services provider valued at $68 million, APT said Nov. 9.

In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, APT said Apstar 7, under construction by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy under a separate contract valued at 128.5 million euros ($191 million), will be launched between February 2012 and April 2012 under the contract signed with China Great Wall Industry Corp. of Beijing.

Apstar 7, expected to weigh around 4,000 kilograms at launch, will carry 28 C-band and 28 Ku-band transponders and will operate at APT’s 76.5 degrees east longitude orbital slot. It will replace the Apstar 2R satellite, which currently occupies that orbital position and was launched by a Chinese Long March vehicle in 1997.

Apstar 7 is an “ITAR-free” version of Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus product line, meaning it carries no U.S.-built parts that require U.S. State Department technology export licenses under the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations.