New Skies NSS-7 satellite lift-off today

Global satellite communications company New Skies Satellites has announced the completion of preparations for the launch of its high-powered NSS-7 Atlantic Ocean region satellite. The launch scheduled for Tuesday will be the first launch of a Dutch commercial communications satellite.

The 4,700-kilogram NSS-7, built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana aboard an Ariane 4 rocket. The launch window on the evening of 16 April is between 10:53 pm (16 April) and 12:14 pm (17 April) GMT. 

NSS-7 will succeed the NSS-K and NSS-803 satellites at 338.5 degrees East longitude over the Atlantic Ocean, and will offer enhanced coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The spacecraft will retire NSS-K and free NSS-803 to be re-positioned over the Pacific Ocean at 183 degrees East, according to an official release.

Upon reaching its new orbital location, NSS-803 will replace the NSS-513 satellite and provide more robust capacity for services throughout the Asia-Pacific region as well as trans-oceanic connectivity to the United States. The release states that NSS-7 will offer current and potential customers a full complement of services, including video distribution and contribution, Internet backbone connectivity, corporate business networking as well as telephony and data services. The satellite will combine the existing television and Internet services on NSS-K with the substantial video and data traffic on NSS-803, debuting with an established video, IP and telecom neighborhood. 

The NSS-7 design is based on Lockheed Martin's A2100AX platform and boasts a communications payload consisting of nearly 3,500 MHz of capacity. The bandwidth is spread over 36 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders in 11 high-powered coverage beams, which are focused on key developed and emerging markets. 

Existing customers on NSS-K and NSS-803 are expected to be transitioned to NSS-7 by August. The satellite will be operated from the New Skies satellite operations center in The Hague. The launch signifies the beginning of an expansion campaign that will double New Skies' in-orbit resources by the end of next year, providing state-of-the-art capacity and services in every major market. 

The company believes NSS-7's Ku-band beams in Central and South America, as well as Western and Southern Africa, will offer more efficient transmission capabilities to broadcasters and VSAT service providers, and will add much-needed incremental Ku-band capacity to New Skies' inventory in the Atlantic Ocean region. It expects NSS-803 at 183 degrees East to form a vital link in its worldwide network, relaying bi-directional traffic between the United States and the Pacific Rim. 

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