Hispasat Orders Two Satellites from Orbital

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TOULOUSE, France — Spanish satellite fleet operator Hispasat announced June 25 it has contracted with Orbital Sciences to build two telecommunications satellites that will be used to serve South America, with the second one employing Orbital’s new, higher-power satellite platform.

Madrid-based Hispasat said the Orbital-built Amazonas 4A will carry 28 Ku-band transponders and will be launched in early 2014 into Hispasat’s 61 degrees west longitude orbital slot to address the company’s growing Latin American market.

Amazonas 4B, whose exact payload configuration has not been determined, will use a higher-power platform and will launch in 2015, also into the 61 degrees west position.

Dulles, Va.-based Orbital has been developing a larger version of its telecommunications satellite platform to accommodate the growing demand for higher-power applications such as direct broadcast television.

The company has said the new satellite platform will provide up to 7.5 kilowatts of power to its telecommunications payload, compared with about 5 kilowatts in Orbital’s current product line.

Hispasat’s announcement said one reason for the selection of Orbital was the company’s ability to deliver satellites in less than 24 months. It is unclear when Orbital first received an Authorization to Proceed to begin ordering parts for Amazonas 4A. An early 2014 launch would suggest a delivery cycle much faster than 24 months.