Space Systems/Loral has sold two communications satellites to AssureSat, a start-up company which plans to offer its spacecraft to other operators as in-orbit back-ups.

Loral Skynet has agreed to become an AssureSat customer and to provide ground control for the company's fleet, once the back-up service becomes available in 2002. The agreements are contingent on AssureSat completing financing.

El Segundo, California-based AssureSat plans to place its satellites on standby in parking slots in geostationary orbit. When a customer's satellite is lost or malfunctions, an AssureSat spacecraft will be moved to the appropriate orbital position to take over the communications services until a replacement satellite can be launched.

The first two AssureSats, based on Loral's 1300-series body-stabilised spacecraft, will carry a flexible communications payload.

Source: Flight International