Measat to launch three satellites in next two years
SINGAPORE, June 23 – Measat Satellite Systems Sdn Bhd (Measat) plans to launch three satellites in the next two years to provide customers with innovative and ‘best-in-class’ satellite solutions.
Its Senior Vice-President for Space Systems Development Dr Ali R. Ebadi said AFRICASAT-1a is scheduled for launch in February next year, MEASAT-3b at the end of 2013 and MEASAT-3C in 2014.
“We continuously invest in satellite capacity to support the rapidly increasing needs of clients, particularly direct-to-home (DTH) service,” he said in an interview.
Ali said AFRICASAT-1a is a replacement of an existing satellite in collaboration with Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information.
Measat initially expanded its satellite network into Africa in early 2008 with the commissioning of the AFRICASAT-1 satellite, formerly known as MEASAT-1.
As for MEASAT-3b, Measat is in the final stages of negotiations with Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence on specifically designed mobile communications together with DTH broadcast service for Malaysia, India and Indonesia coverage.
“The satellite will further enhance Astro’s business expansion in Malaysia, plus other services like online learning portal School.net for primary school and broadband service.
“It will also help Astro grow its DTH business in India and provide telecommunication services to customers in Australia,” he said.
Astro is the brand name of the Malaysian direct broadcast satellite Pay TV service.
MEASAT-3b is built by Astrium, an aerospace unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), using a Eurostar E3000 platform which will be located within the MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a satellites.
The satellite’s antenna is manufactured in Stevenage and the telecommunication part in Portsmouth, both in the United Kingdom.
Once completed, it will be transferred and integrated at Toulouse, France, where all electrical parts are manufactured, before launch into orbit from the Guiana Space Centre in France.
The cost of the MEASAT-3b satellite, plus insurance coverage is US$350 million, funded by a combination of equity and bank borrowing.
“We are also in negotiations with a joint venture partner for another satellite called MEASAT-3C, that will also bring some capacity and set for launch by end 2014,” Ali said.
He said the three satellites will be launched by Arianespace, the world’s leading launch service and solution company, which has had 48 successful launches in a row, spanning more than nine years.
Arianespace, with annual turnover of €1.0 billion (RM4.01 billion), has won more than half of the commercial launch contracts open to competitive bidding on the international market every year.
It expects this year’s turnover to exceed €1.0 billion, its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Yves Le Gall said.
“We are planning five more Ariane 5 launches by year-end and three Soyuz launches, including two from the French Guiana Space Centre and one from Baikonour, Kazakhstan,” he added.
He said the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than a third of its global business with more than a 70 per cent market share for commercial launches.
“We launched Japan and Vietnam’s satellites last month and still have another seven in our order books. It will increase to about half of the current order book now, which stands at €4.5 billion, in two years,” he said.
Le Gall said the increasing demand for high definition television, mobile internet and high-speed internet is the driving force for more satellite capacity and launches.
“We see the move in our activities from Europe, which is our origin, to a lot of activities in the United States and now the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
Arianespace offers wide-ranging launch service and solutions namely, the Ariane 5, the Soyuz and the Vega rockets. – Bernama