Boeing has announced orders for a total of four communications satellites using its new Boeing 702SP "small platform" bus design for geosynchronous Earth orbit. The orders are from the Asian commercial satellite operator Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) and for the Mexican satellite operator, Satelites Mexicanos (Satmex).
Boeing 702SP bus design
The first two satellites of the four are named as ABS-3A and Satmex 7. It has been announced that the pair will fly together on a single Falcon 9 launch provided by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX). The launch is likely to take place in late 2014 or early 2015. Satmex 7 is to provide C-band and Ku-band communications services for Latin America while ABS-3A will provide the same for the Atlantic Ocean region. Details of the second pair of satellites have not been revealed but will also be launched as a pair on a single Falcon 9 launch vehicle probably in late 2015.
The news is a filip to Boeing's commercial satellite manufacturing operation which at one time almost withdrew from the market following a series of in-orbit failures due to generic defects on its Boeing 601 and 702 bus design line. This new small platform version of the 702 bus has a power generation capability of 3 to 8 kW and uses electric propulsion for attitude control.