Intelsat Fleet Expansion Plan Progresses on Schedule

[Satellite TODAY Insider 08-07-12] Sea Launch has sent its platform vessels from its homeport in Long Beach, Calif. to the equator in preparation for the important Aug. 16 launch of Intelsat’s Intelsat 21 satellite on a Zenit-3SL rocket, the companies announced Aug. 6.

   Sea Launch will initiate a 72-hour countdown to its planned 58-minute launch window upon the arrival of the Sea Launch vessels at the launch site at 154 degrees West longitude. After ballasting the launch platform Odyssey to launch depth, Sea Launch will then rollout and erect a Zenit-3SL rocket on the launch pad, execute final tests and proceed with fueling operations and launch.
   “Prior to fueling, all personnel on the launch platform will transfer to the Sea Launch Commander for the duration of the mission. The team monitors both marine and launch operations remotely from the ship, positioned about four miles up range of the platform,” Sea Launch said in a company statement.
   Intelsat 21, built by Boeing based on its 702MP platform, will be launched into a high-perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit on its way to its final orbital location at 302 degrees East. The satellite is an important part of Intelsat’s fleet replacement and expansion plans and scheduled to start service later this year, replacing Intelsat-9.
   The satellite aims to refresh capacity for one of Latin America’s most popular media distribution neighborhoods, serving DTH and cable programmers for 18 or more years. Intelsat 21 features C-band services for North America, South America and Europe, and Ku-band services for North America, the Caribbean, Brazil and Europe. The new satellite also features a Ku-band mobility beam that will provide coverage across the South Atlantic to Intelsat’s maritime and aeronautical customers.
Intelsat’s global mobility platform is scheduled for completion in early 2013.
   Separately, Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) announced that the Intelsat 20 satellite it built for Intelsat, which was launched by Arianespace on Aug. 2, is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers according to plan and has deployed its solar arrays on schedule. Intelsat 20 also began firing its main thruster to complete its travel to the geostationary orbital slot at 68.5 degrees East.
   Intelsat 20 is the most powerful satellite in the Intelsat fleet and is designed to provide high-power distribution of video, voice and data network services in C- and Ku-bands across four continents.
   “The Intelsat 20 video neighborhood provides premium content that is carried by India’s leading cable MSOs and DTH operators, reaching more than an estimated 90 million pay-TV subscribers across India. Intelsat 20 also hosts the largest DTH platform in Africa,” SS/L said in a company statement.

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