The bus is intended to bring electric power to the satellite's payload and propulsion systems and contains equipment for telemetry, tracking and control, Exelis said Tuesday.
Exelis will build and test the bus in Rochester, N.Y., provide technical support services to Orbital and has an option to fabricate two more bus structures.
Joe Phillips, Exelis director of precision structures, expects the first unit to be delivered in late 2013.
“Orbital is excited to initiate the production of our new GEOStar-3 satellite platform and enter into a long-term relationship with Exelis,” said Barry Johnson, Orbital vice president of supply chain management.
“We look forward to strengthening this partnership as we expand our capabilities in the commercial satellite communications arena,” Johnson added.
Exelis has built composites for more than 25 years and developed components for commercial and government clients' aerospace and ground-based programs.