Orbital ATK Brings Comms Satellite to French Guiana Ahead of January Launch

Orbital ATK has transported a hybrid electric propulsion communications satellite built for Al Yah Satellite Communications to a launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, ahead of the system’s intended liftoff in January 2018.

Orbital ATK said Thursday it built the GEOStar-3 satellite designated Al Yah 3 to help expand Yahsat’s commercial Ka-band services to approximately 600 million additional Africa- and Brazil-based users.

Al Yah 3 will look to offer broadband connectivity for 60 percent of the African population and around 95 percent of the people in Brazil.

Marcus Vilaca, chief technology officer at Yahsat, said the company’s target expanded coverage from the Al Yah 3 launch is aimed to address the digital divide in Africa and Brazil.

The spacecraft bus for the GEOStar-3 unit includes updated battery and solar array technologies designed to help boost power and payload capacity.

Orbital ATK noted that Al Yah 3, which it built at its satellite factory in Virginia, will launch onboard an Arianespace-built rocket.

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