A2100 satellite bus. Credit: Lockheed Martin

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Sky Perfect JSat Corp. on Feb. 3 said it had selected Lockheed Martin to build the JCSat-17 telecommunications satellite, to be equipped with an S-band antenna to assure communications continuity during disaster relief efforts.

The contract marks Lockheed Martin’s return to the Japanese winner’s circle after a loss of three JSat satellite contracts – JCSat-14, 15 and 16 – to rival Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, in 2013 and 2014.

With this latest win, Denver -based Lockheed Martin Space Systems will have built eight Sky Perfect JSat satellites, making Japan far and away the company’s largest commercial satellite market in recent years.

JCSat-17, using a Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite frame, is scheduled for launch in 2019 aboard a launch vehicle that has yet to be announced. In addition to the S-band mobile communications payload, the satellite will carry C- and Ku-band capacity, JSat said in a statement.

“We’re honored that they’ve placed their trust in us again,” Lockheed Martin Space Systems Commercial Space General Manager Carl Marchetto said in a statement. Lockheed Martin said the JCSat-17 satellite would have a flexible processor to permit JSat to concentrate capacity and power where it is needed for “disaster relief or other high-volume events.”

Lockheed Martin has said it was revamping A2100 satellite production to raise its appeal to commercial satellite fleet operators, both by lower costs and increasing on-board power. The effort’s first concrete result was the company’s two-satellite order from Arabsat of Saudi Arabia.


Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.