Spaceflight Now:  V127

Superbird 4 to meet growing demand in Asia-Pacific
Posted: Feb. 15, 2000

  Superbird 4
An artist's concept of the Superbird 4 communications satellite in space. Photo: Hughes
The increasing demand for business telecommunications in Japan will get a major boost in capacity this spring with the addition of Superbird 4, a Hughes Space and Communications (HSC) satellite built for Space Communications Corp. (SCC) of Tokyo.

The satellite, a high-power version of the Hughes HS 601 model, is scheduled for launch on an Ariane-4 rocket from the Guiana Space Center on Feb. 16, 2000. The 51-minute launch window opens at 10:04 p.m. Kourou time (5:04 p.m. PST/1:04 a.m. Feb. 17 GMT).

From its orbital slot of 162 degrees East longitude, the spacecraft will join the existing Superbird constellation and allow SCC to meet the rapidly growing demand for business telecommunications services throughout Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

"Hughes is honored to provide the second Superbird spacecraft to SCC in less than three years," said HSC President and Chief Executive Officer Tig H. Krekel.

"HSC has once again met the challenge to deliver increased satellite communications -- this time for Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. The HS 601 HP is the workhorse of the industry and will provide SCC the capabilities to meet the growing satcom needs of its customers."

Superbird 4 will have 23 active transponders in Ku-band and a steerable Ku-band spot beam to increase service where needed. The satellite will also carry high-speed data services, via six transponders in Ka-band. Superbird 4 will have 5.5 kilowatts of power at end of life.

This is made possible with two solar wings, each with three panels of silicon solar cells and one panel of dual-junction gallium arsenide solar cells. It joins SCC's existing fleet of Superbird A, Superbird B and Superbird C to provide digital multichannel broadcasting services and business communications services. Superbird C is an HS 601 body-stabilized satellite that was successfully launched in July 1997.

HSC is the world's leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites, having built nearly 40 percent of those in operation. It also is a major supplier of spacecraft and equipment to the U.S. government, and a builder of weather satellites for the United States and Japan.

HSC is a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., the world's leading provider of digital television entertainment, and satellite and wireless systems and services. The earnings of Hughes Electronics, a unit of General Motors Corp., are used to calculate the earnings per share attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE:GMH).

Flight data file
Vehicle: Ariane 44LP
Payload: Superbird 4
Launch date: Feb. 17, 2000
Launch window: 0104-0155 (8:04-8:55 p.m. EST on 16th)
Launch site: ELA-2, Kourou, French Guina

Pre-launch Briefing
Ariane 44LP - Overview of the rocket to launch Superbird 4.

Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of the events to occur during launch.

The Superbird 4 satellite - Overview of the Hughes-built HS601 HP model spacecraft.

Explore the Net
Arianespace - European launch services provider that uses Ariane 4 and 5 rockets to carry satellites into space.

Space Communications Corp. - Tokyo-based company that will operate Superbird 4 once in space.

Hughes Space and Communications - U.S. manufacturer of Galaxy 10R satellite.

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