There has always been competition between Norway and Sweden, it goes with the territory, but within a few weeks the two countries will again be fighting it out for dominance of the Nordic skies. SES Sirius has announced that its new Sirius 4 satellite is now in operation while on February 10 the Telenor’s Thor 5 will be launched.
The Swedish Space Corporation is now a minority shareholder in the company that is controlled by Luxembourg’s SES Astra, but this will not make the fight any less intense. The battleground is Central and East Europe. Although part of the Sirius 4 mission is to relieve Sirius 2 and Sirius 3, the services have already been transferred, there is additional capacity for new markets. Thor 5 is also looking East and as if to underline the importance of the market, SES is also bidding for Spacecom, the operator of the Amos satellite, another East European player.
According to managing director Håkan Sjödin, high definition will also play a part: “The demand for HD channels will increase sharply in the years ahead, and we operators need to be prepared in terms of capacity. An HDTV broadcast requires 16 Mbit/s of bandwidth, compared with 4 Mbit/s for a standard definition broadcast.”
46 Ku-band transponders are on board the satellite for DTH satellite TV; another six transponders will reach the hotspot of Southern Africa and there is also Ka-band capacity for potential two-way communication.
The Lockheed Martin satellite has a 15-year life. It was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Central Asia.