Telenor Selects Loral To Build Thor 7 Sat

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PARIS — Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway has selected Space Systems/Loral to build Telenor’s Thor 7 telecommunications satellite following a competitive bidding process that began with six contestants, industry officials said.

The win adds a second European regional satellite fleet operator to Loral’s customer base after Hispasat of Spain.

Loral bested Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy in the final competitive round. Both manufacturers had offered to include launch-service suppliers in their bids if Telenor preferred the satellite to be delivered in orbit.

Loral was offering to bundle a low-cost Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket, which Loral had purchased earlier this year, into its Thor 7 bid.

Thales Alenia Space was willing to make Thor 7 an ITAR-free design that could be launched on a Chinese Long March vehicle. ITAR-free means the satellite includes no U.S.-built components subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ITAR-covered components are prohibited from being exported to China.

It was unclear whether Telenor had elected to include the Falcon 9, a relatively untested vehicle, in its selection of Loral, or would decide on a launch-services supplier in a separate competition.

Telenor Satellite Broadcasting spokeswoman Natasha Keech declined June 10 to confirm Loral’s selection and added that “no contract has been signed and no contract will be signed until we have received board approval.”