Space Systems/Loral (SSL) has been selected to provide a communications satellite to Azercosmos, the national satellite operator of Azerbaijan. The new satellite will be called Azerspace-2, although it will also be called Intesat-38 after a strategic agreement was signed with Intelsat. The launch – on a yet-to-be-confirmed rocket – is expected to take place late in 2017.
The satellite will be located at the 45 degrees east orbital location where it will provide service in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Azerspace-2 will be Azercosmos’ second telecommunications satellite, and will expand on the current capacity of Azerspace-1.
Azerspace-1 sports 24 C-band transponders and 12 Ku-band transponders to deliver communications coverage for Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa.
Produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation, the satellite is based on Orbital’s STAR-2 platform with a designed mission life of 15 years. It was launched on an Ariane 5 launch back in 2013, alongside Amazonas-3.
Azerspace-2 will ride into space to support the growing demand for DTH, government, and network services in Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, but won’t be built on the same STAR-2 platform after SSL beat out Orbital ATK to the contract.
The Great Wall Industry Corporation of China and and France’s Airbus Defense and Space also bid and lost out to SSL.
“SSL has a long history of partnering with satellite operators,” noted John Celli, President of SSL. “We look forward to supporting Azercosmos in its collaborative project with Intelsat by building the spacecraft that will help both Azercosmos and Intelsat meet their growth objectives.”
Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38, will be designed and built at SSL’s Palo Alto plant in California.
As part of the agreement, Canada’s MDA will provide knowledge transfer cooperation related to radar Earth observation directly to Azercosmos. The satellite design is based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform that provides the flexibility for a broad range of applications and technology advances.
For Intelsat, the satellite will provide continuity of service for the Intelsat 12 satellite currently stationed at 45 degrees East, an orbital location which hosts DTH platforms for Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Asia-Pacific region.
Intelsat 38 will also provide connectivity for corporate networks and government applications in Africa. Intelsat 12 was also built by SSL and launched in 2000.
“Intelsat 38 is an example of the collaboration taking place across the satellite industry today,” added Thierry Guillemin, EVP and Chief Technology Officer of Intelsat.
“Our partnership with Azercosmos and SSL will enable us to meet the content distribution demands of viewers in Central Europe and Asia and provide corporate networks in Africa with the broadband connectivity they need to build and expand their businesses.”
No launch vehicle was confirmed at the time of the announcement, while local media reports note “issues” related to the insurance of the satellite are to be resolved by the time of its launch. The selection of the launch vehicle will play into the insurance discussion.
“This new satellite will provide Azercosmos with additional capacity for the increasing demand in the region, and will allow us to continue to bring the best service to our customers,” added Rashad Nabiyev, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Azercosmos. “We are pleased to collaborate with two world leaders in the satellite industry.”
(Images via SSL and MDA).