Boeing passed a major milestone involving four continents today with the shipment of two satellites that are set for a dual launch on an Ariane 4 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana in the second half of this month.
The satellites, JCSAT-8, which was built for JSAT Corporation of Tokyo, and ASTRA 3A, built for SES ASTRA of Luxembourg, are the first Boeing-built satellites to launch together on a single launch vehicle in five years. Both companies are long-time customers of Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), a unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA). The satellites were built in El Segundo, Calif., by Boeing Satellite Systems, the satellite operations unit of Boeing S&C.
"Our last dual launch was in early 1996," said Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. "Getting two different customers' satellites ready for the same launch can only happen as a result of a tremendous and highly coordinated effort by our factory, our customers and the launch provider."
JCSAT-8 is the 62nd Boeing 601 to be delivered. With 84 ordered to date, the Boeing 601 is the world's most-purchased satellite model. JCSAT-8 is the fifth Boeing 601 and the seventh Boeing spacecraft for the JSAT fleet. JCSAT-8 will provide coverage to Japan, East Asia, Australia and Hawaii from the orbital slot of 154 degrees East longitude.
ASTRA 3A is the 56th Boeing 376 to be delivered. The Boeing 376 is second only to the Boeing 601 in popularity, with 57 ordered to date. ASTRA 3A is the second Boeing 376 and the tenth Boeing satellite built for SES ASTRA. ASTRA 3A will augment the existing SES ASTRA fleet of 12 spacecraft to help meet growing demand for digital satellite services from the 23.5 degrees East orbital slot.
JSAT is a leading satellite operator in the Asia-Pacific region. The company owns and operates eight satellites in seven orbital slots. JSAT provides communications and broadcasting services that offer a range of unique features made possible by satellite communications, which is well suited to support the high-volume, wide-distribution, high-speed networks.
The ASTRA Satellite System is Europe's leading analogue and digital satellite television broadcast system. At the end of 2000, ASTRA served approximately 86% of all European satellite and cable homes. ASTRA is owned and operated by SES ASTRA, a wholly owned subsidiary of SES GLOBAL, the world's premier satellite operator.
Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), headquartered in Seal Beach, Calif., is the world's largest space and communications company. A unit of The Boeing Company, S&C provides integrated solutions in launch services, human space flight and exploration, missile defense, and information and communications. It is NASA's largest contractor; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; and a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The global enterprise has customers worldwide and manufacturing operations throughout the United States and Australia.