Star Platform Continues to Pay Dividends for Orbital Sciences with SES-8 Order

[Satellite TODAY Insider 02-18-11] SES placed a firm order with Orbital Sciences Corp. to build SES-8, the operator’s sixth Start M communications satellite that will provide Ku-band communication services to India and the Southeast Asia region, Orbital announced Feb. 17.
    SES-8, based on Orbital’s Star platform, will feature 33 transponders and will be co-located at 95 degrees East with NSS-6 to enable SES to add capacity and new services to the market. The orbital slot already features five DTH platforms and supports key telecom infrastructure and broadband networks across the Middle East and Asia. SES-8 is SES’ sixth procurement of a Star series spacecraft from Orbital.
    "With three Orbital-built spacecraft already deployed in the SES fleet, along with two more currently in production for deliveries this year, the new SES-8 satellite will be the latest successful collaboration between our two companies. We will continue to work closely with the SES team to build on our solid relationship and help ensure SES meets the needs of their customers," Orbital’s Communications Satellite Senior Vice President Christopher Richmond said in a statement.
    Orbital’s Star platform design, which enables the manufacturer to build and ship satellites in less than two months, has helped the company grow its commercial and government communications payload business.
    The SES-8 contract follows Orbital’s Mexsat-3 communications satellite contract win from Boeing in December as well as a fourth quarter and full-year 2010 financial period that helped Orbital generate double-digit increases in revenues, operating income and earnings per share.
    The 2010 fourth quarter reflected Orbital’s most productive quarter for new business and its busiest quarter for operational activity in the company’s history, Chairman and CEO David Thompson said in the company’s latest financial report issued Feb. 17.
    Orbital’s fourth quarter 2010 revenues increased 23 percent to $346.1 million, with operating income jumping 64 percent to $24.1 million compared to the same period in 2009. The strong performance helped the company generate $21.2 million in net income, backed by U.S. federal research and development tax credits of $7.4 million. Orbital also beat its full year 2009 revenue mark by $170 million to $1.29 billion in 2010.

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