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Arianespace Launches ProtoStar I For Asian DTH Market

File image of ProtoStar-1 during final checks.
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Jul 08, 2008
ProtoStar Ltd., a Bermuda corporation, announced the successful launch late today of its ProtoStar I communications satellite aboard an Ariane 5 rocket that lifted into space from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ProtoStar I, the company's first satellite, is to be positioned at 98.5 degrees East longitude to provide direct-to-home (DTH) television and broadband Internet service to South and Southeast Asia. Built by Space Systems/Loral on its space-proven 1300 platform, the satellite will enter service following a series of in-orbit tests expected to take no more than two months.

"This successful launch is truly the realization of a dream that began in 2002. That's when we first conceptualized our business plan for a new constellation of satellites to meet the growing demand for DTH television service throughout Asia," said Philip Father, ProtoStar's President and CEO.

"Though we are already hard at work on the ProtoStar II and III satellites, the excitement of getting our first bird successfully into orbit is unrivaled. I'm sure I speak for all of our customers and partners when I say how thrilled we all are to have this first important step behind us."

The mission today aboard the Ariane 5 rocket also successfully launched the Arabsat BADR-6 satellite, manufactured by EADS Astrium and Thales Allenia Space. It is to be placed in orbit at 26 degrees East.

ProtoStar I is the first in a fleet of satellites aimed at supporting in-country partners in the Asia Pacific region. These partners plan to offer their subscribers satellite television packages with more than 150 channels of digital-quality video (ultimately high definition), audio, and pay-per-view programming, as well as powerful broadband Internet access.

The footprint of ProtoStar I has been customized to meet the immediate and long term needs of the company's anchor DTH-operator customers from an orbital slot that provides coverage to an area with a population of over 2 billion.

ProtoStar I has twenty two 36MHz-equivalent Ku-band transponders and thirty eight 36MHz-equivalent C-band transponders. The satellite provides C-band coverage from Southeast Asia across to the Middle East. A portion of the Ku-band transponders are aimed at the Indian sub-continent, with the remainder serving the Southeast Asia region.

Companies which have already leased space on ProtoStar I include Agrani Satellite Services Limited, a division of DishTV India Ltd.; PlanetSky Ltd. of Limassol, Cyprus; and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel). ProtoStar has contracted with SingTel for that company to augment its operations center in Singapore to provide telemetry, tracking and control (TT and C) services for the ProtoStar I satellite.

ProtoStar recently completed a round of funding in support of ProtoStar II, a Boeing-manufactured satellite expected to be launched in early 2009 on an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton rocket. ProtoStar has already pre-leased a significant portion of capacity on its second satellite.

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ELA-3 Launch Zone Receives Its Fourth Ariane 5 Of 2008
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Jul 08, 2008
The Ariane 5 for Arianespace's fourth mission of 2008 has moved to the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe's Spaceport, clearing the way for its July 7 liftoff with a dual payload of commercial telecommunications satellites.

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