DirecTV- and Intelsat-owned Satellite Will Host Yahsat Payload
PARIS — A large Ku-band direct-broadcast television satellite under construction for satellite-broadcaster DirecTV’s Latin American division and for satellite fleet operator Intelsat will also carry a Ka-band payload built for Yahsat of the United Arab Emirates, DirecTV and Intelsat said.
In an Aug. 6 filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the two companies said Yahsat’s Ka-band payload has already been approved by UAE regulators and does not need FCC authorization.
The satellite, up to now called Intelsat 32e, will be known as Sky-B1 t by DirecTV, which will have majority ownership rights to the spacecraft even if both Intelsat and DirecTV Latin America make joint use of it. It will operate at 43.1 degrees west, a lot occupied now by two Intelsat satellites.
Intelsat 32e/Sky-B1 is under construction by Airbus Defence and Space of Europe, with a scheduled launch in early 2016 aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket. The satellite carries a 60-transponder Ku-band payload in addition to the Ka-band hosted payload, whose existence was not publicly disclosed before the FCC filing, and is designed to provide 16 kilowatts of power to the payload at the end of its 15-year service life.
Yahsat has been public about its ambitions beyond the Middle East. The company has recently won access to Brazil following a Brazilian orbital-slot auction.
DirecTV and Intelsat have a long relationship based on Intelsat’s available in-orbit frequencies and DirecTV’s need for them.
The two companies said they will share the use of the Ku-band payload in a way that permits both to launch additional capacity into the same orbital slot.
The coordination will be facilitated by the fact that DirecTV Latin America is Intelsat’s customer for the IS-11 and IS-9 satellites at 43 degrees west currently. The companies said IS-9 will be relocated or retired once Intelsat 32e/Sky-B1 is launched. IS-11 will be collocated with the new satellite.