SES Taps Orbital To Build Satellite for Indian Market

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Satellite fleet operator SES of Luxembourg has contracted with Orbital Sciences to provide an all-Ku-band satellite to be launched in early 2013 to add capacity for SES to address the fast-growing Indian market for direct-broadcast television, SES and Orbital announced Feb. 17.

SES said Feb. 18 that it expects to spend 160 million euros ($216 million), a figure that includes the satellite’s construction, launch and first year of insurance.

SES-8 will generate 5 kilowatts of power available for its payload of 33 Ku-band transponders. It will be co-located with SES’s larger NSS-6 satellite at 95 degrees east. NSS-6 is more than 95 percent filled, SES said.

SES Chief Executive Romain Bausch said all 33 SES-8 transponders could be directed through the satellite’s beam on India, which would add that many transponders to the Indian market, where NSS-6 already is being used for Indian television.

Bausch said one reason for the order from Orbital, which specializes in relatively small telecommunications satellites, is to put up new capacity at 95 degrees as quickly as possible. He said Dulles, Va.-based Orbital began work on SES-8 before the contract was signed, a measure of its confidence in picking up the order, and that this helps explain why SES is planning a launch in early 2013.

SES-8 will be the sixth Orbital satellite SES has ordered.