PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Measat Global of Malaysia on May 25 announced that its sister company, the Astro direct-broadcast television network, had agreed to lease 18 transponders aboard the Measat-3b satellite scheduled for launch in late 2013.

Astro, whose formal name is Measat Broadcast Network Systems, agreed to maintain the lease for the full 15-year operational life of Measat-3b. The lease means Measat-3b is 50 percent full some 18 months before launch, Measat Global Chairman Datuk Umar bin Haji Abu said in a statement.

Measat-3b is under construction by Astrium Satellites of Europe. It is designed to carry 48 Ku-band transponders and to operate at Measat Global’s 91.5 degrees east orbital slot alongside the smaller Measat-3 and Measat-3a spacecraft.

Measat operates four satellites at three orbital positions, and has leased a large portion of the Ku-band consumer broadband capacity aboard the IPStar/Thaicom-4 satellite operated by Thaicom of Thailand. The Measat capacity on the satellite is called Measat-5.

In addition to Measat-3b, Measat has the Africasat-1a satellite under construction and scheduled for launch late this year into the 46 degrees slot now occupied by Africasat-1. Africasat is the name of the Measat portion of these satellites’ capacity, which it shares with the government of Azerbaijan.

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