Atlas 2AS and Ariane 5 win new launch contracts
Posted: June 18, 2002

Four satellite launch contracts were announced Tuesday by operator SES AMERICOM, with two going to Lockheed Martin's Atlas 2AS rocket and Arianespace's Ariane 5 receiving the other pair.

The AMC-10 and AMC-11 cable television spacecraft will be lofted during the first half of 2004 aboard Atlas 2AS rockets from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The missions will be managed by International Launch Services, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and Energia to globally market Atlas and Russian Proton rockets.

File image of Atlas 2AS rocket launching from Cape Canaveral's Complex 36. Photo: Lockheed Martin
The Proton M rocket will serve as backup to Atlas 2AS to ensure on-time delivery in space for the two craft.

The two all C-band satellites are designed for the delivery of cable programming from their orbital positions of 135 degrees and 131 degrees West respectively. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellites will be based on the A2100 platform.

Planned for operation in 2004, AMC-10 and AMC-11 will replace Satcom C3 and C4. Major cable programmers have signed contracts to use these cable neighborhood partners to reach over 80 million U.S. homes. Already committed to AMC-10 and AMC-11 are Viacom, C-SPAN, CourtTV, Hallmark/Crown Media, iN DEMAND, Lifetime Entertainment, Scripps and The Weather Channel.

"ILS has had a long-standing and successful relationship with both AMERICOM and its parent company, SES GLOBAL, with nine launches," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "In fact, an SES satellite was carried on ILS' first Proton launch. We're pleased they have again demonstrated their confidence by selecting the most reliable vehicles for their critical replacement satellites."

He noted that SES GLOBAL and its affiliated companies have placed six of their eight upcoming missions on ILS vehicles: ASTRA 1K, AMC-9 and -12 on Protons, AMC-10 and -11 on Atlas 2AS rockets and AsiaSat 4 on an Atlas 3B.

ILS now has a backlog of 33 launches.

An artist's concept of the future Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Photo: ESA
Two Ariane 5 ECA rockets will be used to launch AMC-13 in the second half of 2003 and AMC-15 in the second half of 2004 from Kourou, French Guiana. Arianespace's backlog now stands at 38 satellites to be launched

Being built by Alcatel on their Spacebus 4000 platform, the all C-band AMC-13 satellite will deliver transpacific services from its 172 degree East orbital position as well as connections into the Americas, Australia and Asia Pacific networks.

AMC-15 is being built by Lockheed Martin on the A2100 model. It will feature America's first operating Ka-band payload along with 24 transponders of Ku-band capacity operating from 105 degrees West. The spacecraft has been designated to complement the DBS spacecraft proposed by SES AMERICOM to be located at 105.5 degrees and provide AMERICOM2HomeSM service.

On the occasion of the contract signings, Dean Olmstead, President and CEO of SES AMERICOM, said "We are demonstrating great confidence in our business potential by planning to launch four best-in-class spacecraft into strategic orbital positions giving us the capacity to offer our customers superior service throughout the Americas and beyond."

He continued, "When combined with our existing fleet and the other satellites we will launch during this same time (AMC-9, a hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite, expected to be operational over North America in early 2003; and AMC-12, a C-band satellite providing transatlantic and regional services planned for service 1st Half 2003) the AMERICOM fleet will have unparalleled diversity, redundancy and reach throughout the Americas, across the oceans and into Europe, Asia and Africa."

Darlene Freeman, Vice President, SES GLOBAL Sourcing, added, "The execution of these contracts clearly demonstrates the synergies we expected through the combination of ASTRA and AMERICOM as well as the advantage of a centralized GLOBAL Sourcing process. By integrating elements of existing ASTRA commitments into this set of agreements, we have maximized the benefit to SES GLOBAL through a harmonized combination of contracts with two exceptional vendors, ILS and Arianespace. Based on past performance, we have deep and abiding confidence in the launch vehicles, teams and services of both providers."

The ultimate Apollo 11 DVD
This exceptional chronicle of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission features new digital transfers of film and television coverage unmatched by any other.

More DVDs
The first in a series of space DVDs is now available from the Astronomy Now Store. Relive shuttle Columbia's March flight to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope in spectacular DVD quality.

The Apollo 14 Complete Downlink DVD set (5 discs) contains all the available television downlink footage from the Apollo 14 mission. A two-disc edited version is also available.