LOCKHEED MARTIN-BUILT ASTRA-1KR SATELLITE LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY
NEWTOWN, Pa., 20-APR-06 -- The ASTRA-1KR telecommunications satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] for SES ASTRA of Betzdorf, Luxembourg, was launched successfully today from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle provided by International Launch Services (ILS), a Lockheed Martin joint venture. Lift-off occurred at 4:27 PM EDT and initial contact with the satellite, called acquisition of signal, was confirmed at 5:43 PM EDT from the Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia
ASTRA-1KR is the 29th of Lockheed Martin’s A2100 series of spacecraft delivered to satellite operators around the world and the first of two A2100 spacecraft to be delivered to SES ASTRA this year. ASTRA-1KR is a high-power Ku-band satellite that features 32 transponders that will provide distribution of direct-to-home broadcast services across Europe. Operating from 19.2 degrees east, ASTRA-1KR is designed for a minimum service life of 15 years. ASTRA 1KR will also provide continuity to the ASTRA fleet at that orbital location, replacing primarily ASTRA 1B and 1C.
“Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems’ long-standing relationship with SES ASTRA spans a period of nearly 20 years beginning with the launch of SES ASTRA’s first satellite, ASTRA 1A, in 1988,” said LMCSS President Ted Gavrilis. “We are pleased once again to deliver to SES ASTRA a state-of-the-art satellite using our flight-proven spacecraft architecture. I also commend our launch team and our SES ASTRA and ILS partners for their joint efforts and total dedication to Mission Success, which culminated in a textbook launch.”
“We are very proud and satisfied that the ASTRA 1KR mission has been a success,” said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “ASTRA 1KR will benefit our customers, further strengthen our unique inter-satellite back-up scheme and provide replacement capacity for our ASTRA 1B and ASTRA 1C satellites. The success of the ASTRA 1KR mission is a milestone in our company history and shows that we have strengthened the fruitful cooperation with our launch partners, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems and International Launch Services.”
ASTRA-1KR is the third launch this year for LMCSS. EchoStar X was successfully launched in mid-February and JCSAT-9 was successfully launched on April 12.
Lockheed Martin’s highly reliable A2100 telecommunications satellite series has received several industry awards for reliability in its history, including Frost & Sullivan’s 2004 Satellite Reliability Award for excellence in the production of flexible and reliable communications satellites used in geosynchronous Earth orbit.
The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed to meet a wide variety of commercial and government telecommunications needs ranging from Ka-band/broadband services and fixed satellite services in C-band and Ku-band payload configurations, to high-power direct broadcast services using the Ku-band frequency spectrum and S-band mobile satellite services. The A2100's modular design features a reduction in parts, simplified construction, increased on-orbit reliability and reduced weight and cost.
The A2100 spacecraft’s modular and scaleable design accommodates a large range of communication payloads as demonstrated in the 28 spacecraft successfully flown to date. The “designed-in” modularity enables the A2100 spacecraft to support missions in addition to communication payloads. The A2100 design is currently being adapted for medium earth orbit (MEO) navigation missions and geostationary earth orbit (GEO)-based earth observing missions.
About SES ASTRA
The ASTRA Satellite System is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe, delivering services to some 107 million Direct-to-Home and cable households. The ASTRA satellite fleet currently comprises 13 satellites, transmitting in excess of 1600 analogue and digital television and radio channels as well as multimedia and Internet services. ASTRA's two prime orbital positions for DTH services are 19.2° East and 28.2° East. Professional services such as Direct-to cable (DTC), Satellite Newsgathering (SNG) and Occasional Use are offered from the orbital position of 23.5° East.
SES ASTRA is an SES GLOBAL company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG). SES GLOBAL wholly owns three market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, SES AMERICOM in the US and New Skies Satellites in the rest of the world. The Company also holds strategic participations in AsiaSat in Asia, Star One in Latin America and SES Sirius in Europe. Americom Government Services provides network solutions and bandwidth to the US government and its contractors. SES GLOBAL provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 43 satellites across the globe. Additional info on SES GLOBAL at: www.ses-global.com.
About International Launch Services (ILS)
International Launch Services is the global leader in the space launch industry, offering the two best systems: Atlas and Proton. With a remarkable launch tempo, the Atlas and Proton vehicles have consistently demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them the preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide. ILS, a Lockheed Martin joint venture, was formed in 1995, and is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.ilslaunch.com.