LARGEST B'BAND SAT LAUNCHED
On 18 December 2016, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket launched the EchoStar XIX satellite.
EchoStar XIX is the world's highest capacity broadband satellite in orbit. It features multiple Ka-band spot beams to support customers across North America, and will be stationed in a geosynchronous orbit over 97.1 West longitude to reach Hughes customers.
EchoStar 19 will provide 50% more capacity than EchoStar 17, also built by SSL and launched in 2012.
STAR ONE & JCSAT-15 LAUNCHED
On 22 December 2016, an Ariane 5 launched 2 telecommunications satellites - Brazil's Star One D1 along with J C S A T - 1 5 D T H satellite @ 110 East, for Japan's Sky Perfect JSAT Corp.
"With Star One D1, Arianespace has launched all Embratel Star One satellites since 1985, amounting to 11 birds, and it's been only a year since we l a u n c h e d Embratel's Star One C4," said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel. The satellite will extend Embratel Star One's operations in C-Band and bring new capacities in Ku-band for Latin America and Ka-band for Brazil, complementing the Embratel Star One's Brasilsat B4 launched in 1994.
"Another special partner, SKY Perfect JSat, entrusted its 19th satellite to Arianespace since our launch of the JCSAT-1 in 1989. We have one more Sky Perfect JSat satellite in our backlog, and we are looking for further opportunities" he added.
Both satellites were produced in Palo Alto, California by Space Systems Loral (SSL) using the company's SSL 1300 platform. Looking ahead to 2017, Ariane is to launch the Hispasat 36W-1 satellite, end January.
ASIASAT LEASES ENTIRE SAT
Asiasat-8 has been given on a minimum 4-year lease to Spacecom, which operates the AMOS-2 satellite, at 4 degrees West.
AsiaSat 8, will be relocated to 4 degrees West and co-located with the AMOS-2 & AMOS-3 satellites. The AMOS-2 has reached its end of life, and the relocated Asiasat-8 will augment capacity in this orbital location.
AsiaSat currently has 6 operational satellites: AsiaSat 3S, AsiaSat 4, AsiaSat 5, AsiaSat 6, AsiaSat 7 and AsiaSat 8.
AsiaSat 9 is planned to be launched in Q2 2017.
CHANDRAYAN-2 LAUNCH IN 2017
Launch of Chandrayaan II as a precursor to manned mission to moon will take place in the end of 2017 or early in 2018, according to Mayilsamy Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
While Chandrayan-I confirmed presence of water on moon, the second satellite in the series with orbiter and rover would explore the nature of surface. Testing was being carried out at Bengaluru with a simulator, he said.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket, lofted the eighth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the United States Air Force, on December 7.
This is ULA's 11th launch in 2016 and the 114th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. ULA has an incredible 100% sucess record.
WGS-8 supports communications links with 8 Xband & 10 Ka-band links over 19 independent coverage areas.
WGS-8 can filter and downlink up to 8.088 GHz of bandwidth. The current fleet provides more than 16 Gbps globally.
FREE DTH FOR INDONESIA
ABS has partnered with Sarana Media Vision (SMV), using SMV's DTH license to launch a Free-To-Air DTH service "SMV FreeViewSat," across Indonesia in January 2017.
The service will initially broadcast more than 60 television channels via the ABS 2, ABS 2A and ABS 6 satellites in both Kuand C-band.
At launch in January, FreeViewSat will carry at least 30 local free-to-air channels and more than 30 international channels. The number of channels will continue to grow to more than 100 in the first 6 to 12 months as new content is added.
FreeViewSat will be available in Indonesia via 75cm Ku band dishes from 75E on ABS 2 and ABS 2A, and via 1.6m Cband antennas from 156E on ABS 6 simultaneously, so that consumers have the choice of small dishes, or larger ones with better rain protection.
Alliance Broadcast Vision's conditional access and middleware system, along with Ali chips for its STBs.
ISRO: 83 SATS IN SINGLE LAUNCH
ISRO plans to set a world record, by putting into orbit 83 Nano satellites, in a single launch, in early 2017.
Of these, 2 are Indian and 81 foreign satellites.
The major challenge is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the satellites are ejected. ISRO will use its PSLV-XL with a total payload of 1,600 kg.
Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO is doing well. It has confirmed orders for Rs. 500 Crore while negotiations are on for additional launch orders worth Rs. 500 crore.
Meanwhile, ISRO is conducting high-altitude tests with its own cryogenic engine that is expected to power the heavier GSLV Mk III, capable of carrying 4 tonnes to geosyn orbit. The rocket is scheduled to be flown in January 2017.
ISRO is now developing 4 tonne satellite that will deliver the same output of existing 6 tonne satellites.
THAICOM ORDERS CHINESE SAT
Thaicom's subsidiary, International Satellite Company Limited (ISC), will obtain a satellite from the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).
The satellite will be operated under license and positioned in a Chinese orbital slot. China will also provide funding for the construction of the satellite.
The satellite project is valued at approximately $208 million. The will carry 37 GHz of Ka-band capacity, equivalent to 53 Gbps.
The footprint will cover China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. It is expected to be completed by end 2019.
SAARC SAT DELAYED
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious SAARC Satellite as a gift to its neighbours, announced two years ago, will be delayed beyond December 2016, because ISRO plans to launch their GSLV Mark III, which will be a major milestone.
ISRO has been launching at least one satellite every month, so their calendar is packed. The South Asian satellite will probably be delayed by a month.
"We are working on the South Asian satellite project, but no date for launch has been finalized," ISRO chairman and Department of Space Secretary, A. S. Kirankumar, stated. n