Hughes Space and Communications will build a backup Asiasat communications satellite for Asia Satellite telecommunications. The HS-601 spacecraft will back up the Asiasat 3S, a replacement for the Asiasat 3, which was lost in a Proton launch failure last year. The new craft, called the Asiasat 3SB, will be available for immediate launch should there be a failure of the Asiasat 3S, to be launched on another Proton in 1999. If successful, it will become a later operational satellite, to be launched by a Chinese Long March 3B.

Source: Flight International