The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has signed contracts with Information Satellite Systems and Thales Alenia Space for the development of three new satellites.
ISS, named after the Russian academic MF Reshetnev, will be responsible for the development and manufacture of the craft while the French Thales will ensure the delivery of the payloads for all three satellites.
Two of the satellites, Express-AT1 and Express-AT2, will be used for direct-to-home broadcasts. A third, Express-AM8, will be used for telecommunications purposes.
Express-AT1 satellite will replace Bonum 1 at 52 degrees East and will carry 32 Ku-band transponders. Express-AT2 satellite will be situated at 36 degrees East and carry 16 transponders.
The footprints of the new satellites are designed to cover the European part of Russia, the Urals and Eastern Siberia. Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 are scheduled for launch in late 2012.
The telecommunications satellite Express-AM8 will be equipped with 42 C-, Ku- and L-band transponders and located in the RSCC’ most western orbital position – 14 West. It will be used for broadcast networks in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean Basin countries. Express-AM8 is scheduled to be launched into orbit in 2013.
“The Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 satellites open new outlooks for developing direct-to-home broadcasting systems in the Russian Federation including provision of HD and 3D television services,” said Yuri Prokhorov, Director General of RSCC. “The Express-AM8 satellite on the western orbital slot of GEO will be used for deploying networks between Europe and the Americas and in the Atlantic region.”
It is anticipated that much of the capacity will be given over to HD broadcasts.