The MEXSAT Bicentenario satellite, built by Boeing partner Orbital Sciences Corporation [NYSE: ORB], sent its first signals from space today following launch from Kourou aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
Bicentenario is the first of three MEXSAT satellites for the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) of Mexico that will enhance the country’s communications for domestic, military, civil and humanitarian needs.
Orbital produced Bicentenario under contract to Boeing. The hybrid C-band and Ku-band communications satellite is based on Orbital’s flight-proven GEOStar-2 platform. As the MEXSAT prime contractor, Boeing will build the remainder of the order, two 702HP geomobile satellites, for launches scheduled in 2013 and 2014.
“The MEXSAT team has achieved this milestone thanks to a strong partnership between Orbital, Boeing and the SCT,” said Christopher Richmond, Orbital senior vice president of Communications Satellite Programs. “We look forward to supporting our customer through post-launch testing and subsystem deployments and into operation.”
“Today’s successful launch brings us closer to the establishment of the MEXSAT system, which will enhance Mexico’s disaster-relief and emergency services, and provide satellite broadcasting capabilities in telemedicine and tele-education,” said Craig Cooning, chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International and vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems.
Boeing will integrate the MEXSAT network, which will include the three satellites, two ground telemetry and control sites, associated network operations systems, and reference user terminals. In addition to the Bicentenario, Orbital is providing the command and control ground equipment and software for the Bicentenario, as well as the associated training and operational documentation.