DULLES, Va., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that BSAT-2b, the second of three geostationary (GEO) satellites that the company plans to deliver to customers in 2001, has been shipped to its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. From Kourou, the satellite will be launched in July aboard an Ariane 5 rocket into a geosynchronous orbit at 110 degrees East longitude. The BSAT-2b satellite is the second spacecraft built by Orbital for Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) and will serve as an in-orbit spare designed to deliver direct-to-home digital television broadcasting throughout Japan. The BSAT-2a satellite, which was launched in March, is now in commercial service, having successfully completed its extensive in-orbit testing and check-out procedures.
Over the next several weeks, engineers from B-SAT, Orbital and Arianespace will work together to integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle and perform an extensive series of detailed tests to ensure that the combined systems of the satellite and rocket are properly working together.
"We are very pleased to be in final preparations to launch the second geostationary communications satellite for B-SAT in the last three months," said Dr. Ali Atia, head of Orbital's communications satellite group. "2001 is proving to be an extremely busy period for the Orbital GEO satellite group. This year, we will launch two BSAT satellites, deliver Japan's NTT DoCoMo's N- STAR-c spacecraft to our customer and begin work on the first of up to three satellites for PanAmSat."
The BSAT-2, N-STAR-c and PanAmSat satellites are all based on Orbital's "STAR" family of smaller GEO satellite platforms, which are able to accommodate most types of commercial communications payloads. The STAR design is an attractive alternative to the larger, more costly GEO satellites offered by the industry's traditional suppliers. The STAR satellites are smaller and are significantly less costly to acquire and launch, a perfect fit for customers in the early stages of building their business or established companies that wish to add incremental capacity to their network.
Orbital is one of the world's leading manufacturers of low-cost space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles and sensors and electronics systems. Orbital is also involved with satellite-based networks that provide wireless data communications and high-resolution Earth imagery to customers all around the world.
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/NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution photos and artist renderings of the BSAT-2 geostationary spacecraft, suitable for publication (300+ dpi), are available on Orbital's web site at: http://www.orbital.com/News/Images/Satellites/
CONTACT: Media: Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528, email@example.com, or Investors: Timothy Perrott, 703-406-5997, firstname.lastname@example.org, both of Orbital Sciences Corporation/