Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world's leading space technology companies, announced today that it is in final preparations for the launch of the Azerspace/Africasat-1a commercial communications satellite for Azercosmos, Open Joint Stock Company of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Designed, manufactured and tested at Orbital's Dulles, Virginia satellite production facilities, Azerspace/Africasat-1a is scheduled to be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana on February 7, 2013.
Following its launch, the satellite will undergo in-orbit testing and verification that all subsystems are operating as planned. Once testing is complete and the spacecraft is positioned at its orbital location, day-to-day operations of Azerspace/Africasat-1a will be handed over to Azercosmos, which will continue to operate the spacecraft from its control centers in Baku and Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. These facilities were designed and built by Azercosmos to support the installation of the ground control systems provided by Orbital, including ground antennas, radio-frequency electronics, computer platforms, and the software used to command, monitor and control the Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite.
With an anticipated service life of 15 years, Azerspace/Africasat-1a is based on Orbital's flight-proven GEOStar-2 platform. The hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite will generate approximately five kilowatts of payload power and carry 36 active transponders, providing communications services to Azerbaijan, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Azerspace/Africasat-1a will operate from an orbital location at 46 degrees East longitude through an arrangement between Azercosmos and MEASAT Satellite Systems of Malaysia, which owns the rights to the orbital slot.
"The Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite is a critical component for the Republic of Azerbaijan to expand its communications infrastructure and enhance connectivity with other parts of the world," said Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital's Senior Vice President of Communications Satellites. "This is the tenth GEOStar-2 satellite we've built in the last two years. We are now finishing our preparations and gearing up for a successful launch."
Orbital's customer for the Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite is the Azercosmos Open Joint Stock Company of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Incorporated in 2010, Azercosmos is the premier satellite operator in both Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region. It will provide satellite-delivered communications services and highly reliable satellite platforms to broadcasting, broadband, and government customers with the launch of Azerspace/Africasat-1a and other forthcoming satellite projects. Click here to learn more.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.