AssureSatTM, Inc., announced today it has signed an agreement, through Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, for two launches on Sea Launch. AssureSat plans to launch two new specially designed, high-powered satellites in 2002, beginning the first in-orbit backup protection service for the geostationary fixed satellite service (FSS) communications satellite operators worldwide. Under a separate exclusive agreement, Sea Launch will purchase several AssureSat backup services.
Earlier this month, AssureSat announced the award of a satellite manufacturing contract to SS/L to build AssureSat's first two satellites as well as the receipt of a contract for backup protection services from Loral Skynet, one of the world's largest FSS satellite operators.
AssureSat and Sea Launch are teaming up to reduce risk through the launch sequence and beyond. AssureSat services will provide a strategic advantage for anchor customers, Sea Launch and Loral Skynet, and will give satellite operators an unprecedented level of protection for their business plans. AssureSat satellites will be able to provide backup protection to most geostationary satellite operators by moving quickly to appropriate orbital slots and assuming the communications tasks of satellites that fail in launch or malfunction on orbit, thereby ensuring service for the operator's customers.
According to Mark Fowler, chairman of AssureSat, "The satellite industry is growing rapidly and more and more customers and new services are relying on satellites. Notwithstanding the extraordinary success of our industry, there has always been an inherent risk of launch and in-orbit failures. These risks have increased with the trend toward bigger and more complex satellites and the new rockets required to lift them."
AssureSat will be able to mitigate those risks and enhance satellite services reliability. The Galaxy IV failure of 1998 which disabled millions of pagers brought this issue into sharp focus. "We believe AssureSat represents an important industry paradigm shift in risk management that increases the value of every transponder it protects and allows satellite operators and their customers to sleep more soundly," Fowler added.
Jerry Farrell, CEO and president of AssureSat, observed, "We have watched Boeing and their partners transform a great concept into a first class launch system and a commercial reality. Sea Launch is a great solution for us; it gives us the performance we need to launch our large satellites - and at a good value."
"These agreements demonstrate strong confidence in our launch system," said Will Trafton, president of Sea Launch. "As we prepare to return to flight this summer, we are particularly pleased with the relationship we have developed with AssureSat. We have created a multiple-win situation in which Sea Launch will be the first launch provider for their innovative service and AssureSat will provide additional security for Sea Launch, satellite operators and satellite users. We look forward to a productive relationship as we continue to grow our respective businesses."
The flexible and unique design of the AssureSat satellites will allow them to effectively back-up nearly 200 geostationary satellites around the globe. These satellites are equipped with 36 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders and operate with over 10 kilowatts of power. The services that these satellites will back up include television broadcasting and distribution, news gathering/back haul, telephony, internet, paging, distance learning and point-of-sale networks.
AssureSat will provide backup restoration services to the world's FSS geostationary satellite operators. Its shareholders include Securitas Capital, a global equity investment company funded by Swiss Reinsurance Company and Credit Suisse Group, and SpaceVest II, L.P., a venture capital fund investing primarily in the space industry. For more information, visit AssureSat's web site at www.AssureSat.com
Sea Launch is an international launch services company that lifts commercial communications satellites into orbit. With its Home Port based in Long Beach, Calif., Sea Launch uses a floating platform, one of two-ocean going vessels, to launch its Zenit-3SL rocket from a position on the equator at 154 degrees West Longitude. The equatorial launch site provides the most direct route to orbit, offering customers maximum lift capacity for increased payload mass or extended spacecraft life. The marine-based operations also reduce launch infrastructure and minimize operational cost. The Sea Launch partners include Boeing, RSC Energia, KB Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash and the Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner Group. For more information, visit the Sea Launch web site at: www.sea-launch.com
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) is a premier designer, manufacturer and integrator of geostationary satellites and satellite systems. SS/L also provides a range of related services, including mission control operations and procurement of launch services. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., SS/L has an international list of commercial and governmental customers whose applications include broadband digital communications, wireless telephony, direct-to-home broadcast, video broadcasting, environmental monitoring and air traffic control. SS/L is ISO 9001 certified. For more information, visit www.ssloral.com