Lockheed Martin To Build Two SES Astra Birds
Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, a unit of Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], has been awarded a contract to build two communications satellites for SES Astra, a unit of SES Global [Luxembourg: SESG]. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The spacecraft are due to be launched in the second half of 2005 and in 2006, respectively, and will be located at the 19.2 degrees East Longitude orbital slot. The satellites will be built on Lockheed’s A2100 platform. The first satellite, Astra 1KR, will feature 32 Ku-band transponders in the fixed-satellite service band. The spacecraft’s primary mission, following the lost Astra 1K mission of November 2002, will be to replace Astra 1B and 1C launched in 1991 and 1993, respectively. The second satellite will be built in parallel. In the case of an Astra 1KR launch failure, the second bird will replace that spacecraft. If the Astra 1KR launch is a success, the second satellite will be reconfigured to include a Ka-band payload and named Astra 1L. It will be designed to replace Astra 1E. The spacecraft will feature 29 active Ku-band transponders, as well as a two-transponder Ka-band payload.
Separately, SES Astra announced that the BBC has contracted for two additional transponders on the Astra 2D satellite at 28.2 degrees East Longitude. With these new long-term contracts, the BBC now uses six Astra transponders on the UK’s prime orbital position for satellite direct-to-home reception.