RSCC Orders Two Satellites from Reshetnev-Thales Alenia Space Team

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) has tentatively selected ISS Reshetnev of Russia and Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy to build two large multiband telecommunications satellites under a contract valued at $370 million, Moscow-based RSCC announced May 19.

The Reshetnev-Thales Alenia Space bid for Express-AM5 and Express-AM6 satellites was selected over competing bids by Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center of Russia and Astrium Satellites of Europe, and S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corp. of Russia, RSCC said.

RSCC spokeswoman Elena Polischuk said the winning team’s offer was 10 percent less expensive than that of the nearest competitor. The winning bid, according to RSCC, was 11.879 billion Russian rubles, or about $370.3 million at current exchange rates. Polischuk said the tendering process stipulates that a final contract must be signed within 90 days from the selection of the contractor. 

The Russian government-owned RSCC said it had set as a condition of the contract that the European partner in the winning bid be prepared to transfer satellite payload technology to Russia.

“The tender was an open one and any manufacturer was able to participate in it,” Polischuk said. “Nevertheless, foreign companies decided to participate in the tender in cooperation with Russian manufacturers.”

Thales Alenia Space has worked with ISS Reshetnev on numerous satellites for RSCC and the two companies are designing a new satellite platform tailored to the Russian market. Industry officials said it was unclear whether the Reshetnev-built Express 2000 or Express 4000 platform will be used for the two spacecraft. Polischuk said the Express 4000 is the likely choice, with Thales Alenia Space contributing its technology for many of the subsystems.

RSCC wants the satellites to be capable of delivering 14 kilowatts of power to their payloads, and it wants the contractors to be able to deliver the spacecraft in time for launches in 2012 aboard Russian Proton rockets. The satellites are expected to operate for 15 years in geostationary orbit.

Polischuk said Express-AM5 will carry 36 Ku-band, 30 C-band, 14 Ka-band and three L-band transponders and will operate at 140 degrees east longitude. Express-AM6 will carry 36 Ku-band, 20 Ka-band, 14 C-band and three L-band transponders and will operate at 53 degrees east.