Loral Space and Communications will replace Matra Marconi Space (MMS) as the prime contractor of the Orion 2 communications satellite, following the US company's acquisition of the Orion organisation. The 38 Ku-band transponder satellite will serve the Atlantic region after launch by an Ariane 44LP in May 1999, and will follow the Orion 3 destined to serve the Pacific region. The MMS Orion 2 spacecraft bus is now available for another customer. The Ariane 4 launch is not confirmed officially, but brings to 41 the contracts for the European launcher organisation.

Source: Flight International