Astrium To Build SES-6 Sat for the Americas

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PARIS — Astrium of Europe will build the SES-6 C- and Ku-band telecommunications satellite to be launched in 2013 for coverage of the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean region under a contract announced May 18 by SES and Astrium.

SES-6, to be stationed at 319.5 degrees east longitude, will replace the NSS-806 satellite currently at that slot and expand Luxembourg-based SES’s capacity in Latin America, where SES and its competitors say demand is growing. The smaller NSS-806, which was launched in 1998 and is expected to operate until 2016, will be redeployed elsewhere.

Weighing about 6,000 kilograms at launch, SES-6 will be an Astrium Eurostar 3000 platform and is expected to carry 43 C-band and 43 Ku-band transponders to serve SES’s existing cable-television customers. The satellite will also target mobile maritime and aeronautical markets in the Atlantic region. It will be fitted with five reconfigurable Ku-band beams for mobile services, with capacity shifted among the beams as demand requires.

Astrium Chief Executive Francois Auque said the contract establishes Astrium as the “supplier of reference” for SES for the fleet operator’s operations in the Americas and in Europe. SES in November ordered four Astrium spacecraft for direct-broadcast television services over Europe in a contract valued at 523 million euros, or $645 million at current exchange rates. That contract was backed by guarantees from France’s Coface export-credit agency.

SES spokesman Yves Feltes said the SES-6 financing does not include Coface participation.