LOCKHEED MARTIN is to negotiate a final contract for the development of a $650 million cellular-telephone communications-satellite network for the Asian Cellular Satellite System (ACSS).

Launch of the first satellite, the Garuda 1, is scheduled for 1998 (Flight International, 22-28 February). The contract expected to be signed in mid-June, will include provision of the satellites, their launches, ground-control systems and the communications gateways. Lockheed Martin was in competition with Hughes Space and Communications.

The 14-country ACSS consortium, which includes Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, raised $150 million in venture capital earlier this year and believes that the system will serve 2 million subscribers by 2000.

Source: Flight International