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AsiaSat Head Not ‘Spitting Blood’ Over Delay

By | May 22, 2002

      AsiaSat has postponed the launch of its AsiaSat 4 satellite, scheduled for this month, until next year. The Asian satellite company hopes to announce a new date in the next couple of months.

      While there fundamentally seemed to be nothing wrong with AsiaSat 4, Boeing appears to be adopting a safety first approach. The satellite manufacturer can ill afford to have major problems with its satellites.

      AsiaSat CEO Peter Jackson told Interspace, “We were losing time because Boeing was finding issues with other satellites, not with ours. They kept finding issues with satellites, either in orbit or on the ground so they have obviously thought they need to check all satellites at this time. In some cases, it was even components that they wanted to check to make sure nothing was wrong.”

      He continued, “I think they have taken a very conservative view on everything now and I can’t blame them for that. They can’t afford, from a reputation standpoint, any more problems.”

      AsiaSat 4 is a Boeing 601HP satellite that will have 28 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders. The satellite, along with insurance, is expected to cost AsiaSat over $200 million. AsiaSat 4 will be located at 122 degrees East, providing region-wide, C-band coverage over Asia and focused Ku-band beams for East Asia and Australia.

      Despite the delays, Jackson does not believe it will cost the operator a lot in terms of new contracts. He said: “I think if AsiaSat 2 and AsiaSat 3 were both full at this point in time and it was delayed, I would be spitting blood, but we still have some spare capacity on AsiaSat 2 and 3. Therefore a delay on AsiaSat 4 isn’t serious. We were talking to a few customers about advanced orders on AsiaSat 4 … [but] we had not signed anything on AsiaSat 4 so I don’t think it is going to negatively affect our revenues. I don’t think we are going to lose any contracts because of it.”

      On the plus side, it should help AsiaSat in terms of insurance. “We haven’t got insurance yet. I actually think this makes insurance easier as I think the insurers are getting a lot more comfortable with the issues of Boeing and the hardware items they are using. So, I think this makes it somewhat simpler,” Jackson said.

      –Mark Holmes

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