The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has awarded European satellite manufacturer Astrium construction orders for Express AM-4R, which will replace the recently re-entered Express AM-4 and Express AM-7 telecommunications satellites.

Astrium will build the satellites based on its Eurostar E3000 platform and a Khrunichev-built Proton launcher and will deliver them to orbit in 2014. The two satellites have near-identical configurations, with electrical power of 16kW and launch mass of 5,700kg. They are designed for a 15-year service life in orbit.

Both satellites will have steerable antennas and will serve Russia as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States countries and adjoining regions.

Express AM-4R is a copy of Express AM-4, a high-power communications satellite that was re-entered in March after becoming stranded following a launch failure in August 2011. Express AM-4R will be the most powerful Russian telecommunication satellite, with a 63 active transponders communications payload (30 in C-band, 28 in Ku-band, two in Ka-band and three in L-band). Express AM-4R will be positioned at 80° East in geostationary orbit.

Express AM-7 is a new satellite with similar design and a payload adapted to a mission at 40° East to extend RSCC capacity at that position. Express AM-7 will have a 62 active transponders communications payload (24 in C-band, 36 in Ku-band and two in L-band).