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Philippines Orders Another Satellite from Astranis

By Rachel Jewett | November 17, 2023
The Astranis team with Philippine Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo: Astranis

The Astranis team with Philippine Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo: Astranis

Astranis will build a second broadband satellite for the Philippines, the company announced this week as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco. 

Satellite service provider Orbits Corp ordered a second MicroGEO broadband satellite from Astranis, after its initial order, announced in July. One satellite will on Astranis’s next launch, set for the first quarter of 2024, and the second on the previously-announced launch to follow later in 2024.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. attended the signing ceremony, and announced he is naming the new satellite “AGILA,” the name of the Filipino national bird. Last month, the Marcos administration announced a broadband plan to offer free Wi-Fi in many public areas and to build a comprehensive national fiber backbone by 2026. 

Astranis CEO and co-founder John Gedmark said this expansion will double the number of people that Orbits Corp can connect in the most remote islands of the Philippines. This means 4 million people will be connected, double the previous estimate of 2 million. 

Orbits Corp estimates that this two-satellite program will bring up to 10,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Philippines, accelerating economic growth in the country’s smallest and most remote communities. 

The Astranis business model is to sell MicroGEO, or smaller satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO), to regional service providers or partners so customers can have dedicated broadband over a set area. This year, Astranis launched its first satellite, but it experienced an anomaly with the vendor-supplied solar array drive assembly, meaning the satellite cannot maintain full power to the payload at all times. Astranis is set to launch a backup ““UtilitySat” on its next mission to serve the customer, Pacific Dataport, in Alaska.