Lockheed Selects Astrium for Jabiru-1 Hardware; NewSat Nets More Funding
[Satellite TODAY Insider 07-23-12] European satellite manufacturer Astrium has won a subcontract to supply telecommunication products for NewSat’s Jabiru-1 satellite by Lockheed Martin, the companies confirmed July 20.
Astrium will supply Ku-band communications receivers and Ka-band beacons to Lockheed Martin, which Australian operator NewSat selected as its prime contractor to procure, build and deliver the Jabiru-1 satellite in time for a launch in late 2014. Arianespace will place the satellite into orbit on an Astrium-built Ariane-5 rocket.
Astrium Frequency Converter Product Line Manager Andy Warburton said the equipment it will send to Lockheed Martin uses technologies developed for the Generic Flexible Payload (GFP) program, supported by the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
“In addition to the hard work on the GFP program, this contract is further recognition of the technical expertise developed here within Astrium, which is highly relevant for frequency converters and beacons,” Warburton said in a statement. “The Ku-band communications receivers recover the very low power uplink signals from ground stations and provide frequency domain isolation between the uplink and downlink signals to avoid interference. The Ka-band beacons provide a signal to enable ground antennas to locate and lock onto the spacecraft position.”
The Astrium products are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2013. Jabiru-1 will be positioned over the Indian Ocean to cover regions including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
Separately, NewSat announced it has completed the seventh phase of its Jabiru-1 satellite launch by acquiring an additional $102.74 million in funding from French export credit agency Coface on behalf of the French government.
NewSat said the grant would be used to back loans that are financing the construction of the Ariane 5 rocket Arianespace is using to send the satellite into space, but did not reveal the specific terms of the agreement with Coface. An existing condition to NewSat’s closing agreements with the U.S. Ex-Im Bank and Coface debt facilities allows for further funding of about $200 million.
NewSat plans to expand its satellite capabilities with the Jabiru Satellite Program, beginning with the launch of Ku-band service on its Jabiru-2 satellite in the fourth quarter of 2013 and Ka-band service on the Jabiru-1 satellite in the fourth quarter of 2014. Last month, NewSat inked a $30.3 million contract with an unnamed South Asian reseller to provide three years of Jabiru satellite service in Afghanistan, which according to the operator, brings its total binding pre-launch contracts for Jabiru satellite capacity to $601 million.