Space Commerce

Orbital-Built Amazonas 4A Commercial Communications Satellite Ready for Launch

By Marc Boucher
Press Release
March 20, 2014
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Orbital-Built Amazonas 4A Commercial Communications Satellite Ready for Launch

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it is in final preparations for the launch of the Amazonas 4A commercial communications satellite.
Orbital designed, built and tested the geosynchronous Earth orbit satellite at its Dulles, VA production facilities for HISPASAT S.A. of Spain. The Amazonas 4A spacecraft, which will provide Ku-band communications services to South America, is scheduled to be launched aboard Arianespace’s Ariane 5 ECA rocket from Kourou, French Guiana on Friday, March 21, 2014 at approximately 6:05 p.m. (EDT).

Orbital’s newest satellite delivery represents the 150th spacecraft Orbital has completed for customers in the past 32 years, spanning the global commercial, civil government and military and intelligence space systems markets. Of these, 78 have carried out commercial communications and imaging missions and 72 have supported government scientific, national security and space exploration missions. Amazonas 4A will be Orbital’s 33rd GEOStar commercial communications satellite to be launched into orbit. Orbital-built satellites have now amassed about 1,100 years of in-orbit experience, a number that will continue to grow as the company is scheduled to deploy up to nine spacecraft in 2014 for commercial communications, space station logistics, scientific research and national security missions.

Following its deployment into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, the Amazonas 4A satellite will undergo several weeks of in-orbit testing to verify that all major subsystems are operating as planned. Once testing is complete, the spacecraft will be commanded to fire its thrusters to position it at a final orbital location of 61 degrees West Longitude. Day-to-day operations of Amazonas 4A will then be transferred to HISPASAT’s operational team in Madrid.

“I want to thank HISPASAT for their confidence in Orbital on this important mission, which will bring significant additional capacity to their Latin American customers for a variety of television and other communications services,” said Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s Senior Vice President of Communications Satellites. “The Amazonas 4A communications satellite will be the latest in a growing in-orbit fleet of GEOStar communications satellites owned and operated by customers in every part of the world. We are looking forward to another successful Ariane launch tomorrow and are eager to begin in-orbit testing operations, leading to the commissioning of the satellite for HISPASAT in April.”

At the time of launch, the Amazonas 4A satellite will weigh approximately 3,000 kg. It measures 23 meters wide and 4.7 meters tall, carries two deployable reflectors, and incorporates a Ku-band payload that features 24 active transponders to provide voice, wireless backhaul, internet and other media application services to South America. Amazonas 4A will generate approximately 5.0 kilowatts of payload power and is designed for a 15-year mission life.

About Orbital’s GEOStar Satellite Platform

Orbital’s communications satellites for geosynchronous Earth orbit missions are based on the company’s popular GEOStar satellite platform, which is able to accommodate all types of commercial communications payloads and is compatible with all major commercial launch systems. The GEOStar satellite design is optimized for missions requiring up to 8.0 kilowatts of payload power. For the past decade, the company’s GEOStar-2 design has led the global market for small-class communications satellites. Orbital recently announced that it has completed development of its medium-class GEOStar-3 design, which is an evolutionary, higher-power extension of the GEOStar-2 model. Both GEOStar-2 and -3 satellites will continue Orbital’s leadership in short-cycle delivery schedules, with GEOStar-2 spacecraft regularly delivered in 22 to 24 months and GEOStar-3 spacecraft delivered in 24 to 27 months. Like the GEOStar-2 satellite, the GEOStar-3 platform is designed for a service life of at least 15 years.

About Orbital

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 exploration 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 U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.

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