Arianespace signs launch contract for two SES Americom satellites

Commercial launch services provider Arianespace has signed a launch contract for two SES Americom satellites, AMC-13 and AMC-15.

AMC-13 and AMC-15, new-generation satellites weighing over 4,000 kilograms at liftoff, will be launched by an Ariane 5 booster from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Built by Alcatel Space on the Spacebus 4000 platform, the AMC-13 C-band satellite will be positioned at 172 degrees East. It will deliver superior trans-Pacific and regional services as well as connections to the Americas, Australia and Asia-Pacific networks and is expected to be launched in the second half of 2003.

AMC-15, North America's first Ku-Ka hybrid satellite is based on the A2100 model and is being built by Lockheed Martin. AMC-15 will feature North America's first operating Ka-band payload along with 24 Ku-band transponders. It will be positioned at 105 degrees west, and will play an essential role in SES AMERICOM's new direct-to-home service, AMERICOM2Home, in the United States, according to Arianespace. The launch of AMC-15 is scheduled for the second half of 2004.

Including the AMC-13 and AMC-15 contracts, Arianespace's backlog now stands at 38 satellites to be launched, plus nine ATV missions for the International Space Station. This year, the company claims to have bagged eight of the 11 contracts open to competition. 

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