PARIS — The Turksat 4A and Turksat 4B telecommunications satellites under construction by Mitsubishi Electric Co. (Melco) will be launched on( ) Proton rockets in 2013 and 2014 under a contract the two companies are scheduled to announce April 5.
Each satellite, based on Tokyo-based Melco’s DS2000 satellite platform, is expected to weigh 3,800 kilograms at launch. Reston, Va.-based ILS has said the satellites, which are far below the maximum weight that the Proton rocket can place into geostationary orbit, are likely to benefit from the extra power through a longer in-orbit service life.
ILS officials have said they are able to provide as much as 20 years or more of in-orbit life for satellites of this weight by letting the Proton rocket carry the spacecraft closer to their final destination, permitting them to save their on-board fuel.
Turksat 4A will be launched in late 2013 and operated at Turkey’s 42 degrees east orbital slot. Turksat 4B will be launched in early 2014 and operate at 50 degrees east.
The Turkish government, which owns satellite fleet operator Turksat, had said at the time of the Melco contract announcement that the two-satellite deal was valued at $571 million, including the satellites’ construction and launch.