The 100th and 101st Lockheed Martin commercial geostationary communication satellites have been successfully placed in orbit May 15 after a dual launch aboard an Ariane 5-ECA launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.
Both satellites are based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100 geosynchronous satellite series.
JCSAT-13, manufactured for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation of Japan and VINASAT-2, manufactured for Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group of Vietnam, lifted off at 6:13 p.m., EDT. Initial contact with VINASAT-2 was confirmed at 7:16 p.m., EDT, and with JCSAT-13 at 7:20 p.m.
Both satellites will undergo on-orbit checkout over the next few months prior to the start of operations. VINASAT-2 is scheduled to be handed over to VNPT in late June and JCSAT-13 will be turned over to SKY Perfect JSAT in mid July.
“This launch marks a historic company milestone,” said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. “Delivery of our 100th and 101st commercial geostationary satellites exemplifies the dedication of the men and women, past and present, who continue to deliver affordable, high quality advanced communications systems to meet our customers’ mission needs. I salute all of our employees, supplier partners and customers who made this moment possible.”
JCSAT-13 carries an all Ku-band payload comprising 44 high-power communication channels with uplink and downlink coverage over Japan, Indonesia, Middle and Near East, Southwest Asia and Oceania. JCSAT-13 is required to meet a 15-year design life and will be located at 124 degrees east longitude. Two steerable antennas provide quick response coverage for new and emerging markets, spanning the Earth from the orbital slot and covering a wide geographic area with multiple transponders in each steerable beam. Extensive on-board switching allows for payload reconfiguration on orbit, allowing full optimization of the frequency plan.
VINASAT-2, the second Lockheed Martin satellite built for VNPT, will provide fixed satellite service to Vietnam and neighboring countries. The satellite features 24 Ku-band channels providing uplink and downlink coverage, and will be located at 131.8 degrees east longitude. VINASAT-2 has a 15-year design life with additional fuel reserves to maximize maneuver life. Lockheed Martin’s low-risk solution leveraged heritage Ku-band flight-proven equipment from numerous previous A2100 programs to meet the customer’s schedule requirements.
“Lockheed Martin is extremely proud to share this historic moment with SKY Perfect JSAT and VNPT, both of whom continue to entrust Lockheed Martin with their satellite communications solutions,” said Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems president Joseph Rickers. “Our team is now focused on executing our integrated orbit-raising plan and we look forward to hand-over, when these two satellites can begin their many years of service for our customers.”
Starting with the launch of SATCOM-1 in 1975, Lockheed Martin’s commercial geostationary satellite fleet has provided customers with nearly 1,000 years of operational service.