WASHINGTON — Hughes’ latest high-throughput satellite, EchoStar 19, reached Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last week in preparation for a Dec. 16 launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket.
EchoStar, the parent company of Hughes, switched launch providers last year after it became evident that the satellite, also known as Jupiter 2, would be too large to launch as a co-passenger on an Ariane 5 rocket as originally planned.
EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 — which reached Cape Canaveral Nov. 4 — is a Ka-band satellite that will use high-throughput spot beams to provide consumer broadband under the HughesNet brand. The satellite will join EchoStar 17/Jupiter 1, launched in July 2012, and Spaceway 3, launched in 2007 — both on Ariane 5s — providing deeper coverage of North America. Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, built EchoStar 17/Jupiter 1, and Boeing Satellite Systems manufactured Spaceway 3.
Once in orbit and providing service, EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 will enable Hughes of Germantown, Maryland, to grow its currently constrained satellite consumer broadband business, which has almost completely run out of marketable capacity in North America.
“EchoStar 19 will provide us with added capacity to meet the burgeoning demand for HughesNet high-speed satellite Internet service and we look forward to next month’s launch with great anticipation,” Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes, said in a Nov. 7 press release.
Denver-based United Launch Alliance, which has performed eight launches this year, will conduct the EchoStar mission under a contract EchoStar booked through Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.
United Launch Alliance has three other missions in the queue before EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2, including the commercial launch of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView 4, slated for Nov. 11. Two other missions, the Atlas 5 launch of NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) and the Delta 4 launch of the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global Satcom 8 (WGS-8) satellite, also precede EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2.
EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 is the ninth GEO satellite Space Systems Loral has shipped this year for launch. Barring delays, the satellite manufacturer is on course to see a record 13 of its GEO spacecraft launched this year, which along with four low-Earth orbit smallsats for Google-owned Terra Bella, would bring the total number to 17 spacecraft produced and orbited by year’s end.