A major changeover in Asia-Pacific geosynchronous orbit satcom operations is underway, as the new Apstar 7 broadband communications satellite is moved into place to replace the aging Apstar 2R that will expire this year. Both satellites are owned by APT Satellite Holdings Ltd.
The new 5.5 ton Apstar 7, built in France by ThalesAlenia Space, was launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit March 31 on board a Chinese Long March 3B fired from the Xichang Space Center. Liftoff of the 180 ft. rocket with four liquid strap-on boosters occurred at 6:27 p.m. Beijing time.
Apstar 7 is a Spacebus 4000 C2 high power platform with 28 C-band transponders and 28 Ku-band transponders.
“The successful launch of Apstar 7 marks a major milestone in the development of the Group,” said Cheng Guangren, executive director and president of the APT Group.
“Its 56 transponders will enable us to expand our satellite services and customer base. It will also help broaden our revenue stream and strengthen our competitive advantage and growth potential going forward,” Cheng said. “The Group has been actively promoting its Apstar 2R Replacement Program to the market and the feedback so far has been excellent,” he added.
The satellite’s 28 C-band transponders provide the same coverage as Apstar 2R to ensure a seamless transition for customers from it to Apstar 7.
The 28 Ku-band transponders are built with a China Beam, a Middle East and North Africa Beam, an African Beam, and a Steerable Beam to further expand the APT capacity and coverage to those regions (see antenna footprint below).