APT Satellite Co. (APSTAR)



APT Satellite Company Ltd. (APT Satellite Co. or APSTAR) is a wholly owned subsidiary of APT Satellite Holdings Ltd, a listed company in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and is a satellite operator in Asia Pacific region. APSTAR currently owns and operates six in-orbit satellites: APSTAR-1, APSTAR-1A, APSTAR-5 (APSTAR-V), APSTAR-6, APSTAR-7, APSTAR-7B (partial capacity) and the APSTAR-9A satellite, covering regions in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and Pacific island which contain approximately 75% of the World’s population. APSTAR is a fast growing satellite operator headquartered in Hong Kong. APT Satellite Ltd. is planning to launch their APSTAR-9 satellite in Q4 of 2015.



History


APT (Asia Pacific Telecommunications) Satellite Company, Ltd. was formed in 1992 by the China Yuan Wang (Group) Corp, the China Telecommunications Broadcast Satellite Corp. (ChinaSat), the Ever-Victory System Company, and the Chia Thai Group of Thailand.

APSTAR was a late-arriving competitor to AsiaSat Satellite operator and the Government of China sponsored it, APSTAR was a rival to the AsiaSat system.

APT Satellite Co. moved rapidly from its formation in 1992 to the launch of APSTAR-1 on July 21st, 1994 by a Chinese CZ-3 launch vehicle. The Hughes HS-376 spacecraft was outfitted with 24, low-power (16W) C-band transponders. To cover the East Asian region (PRC, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam), APSTAR-1 was to have been located at 131° E. However, concerns rose by Japan and Tonga about interference with spacecraft already in the 130-131° E area forced APSTAR to begin operations at 138° E under a lease arrangement with Tonga.


Late 1993 APT Satellite Co. signed a contract with Hughes to provide an HS-601 model spacecraft for the launch of APSTAR-2 in 1994. After delays APSTAR-2 was launched on 26 January 1995, on a Long March 2E rocket from Xichang, China, but it was lost in an explosion shortly after liftoff.

This was the fifth flight of the Long March 2E rocket, and the second failure. The prior failure in December 1992 was of a Long March 2E rocket carrying the Optus-B2 satellite of SingTel-Optus Australia, also manufactured by Hughes.

In 1997 APT Satellite Holding was planning a direct broadcasting system service in China, pending approval from the authorities. APT Satellite plans to spend around $300 million for the direct broadcasting system in China, which allows improved reception of satellite information with smaller antennas. APT Satellite Co. Ltd. was seeking approval for the service from the Ministry of Broadcasting, Film, and Television in Beijing and hoped to receive approval in early 1998.

Three agreements regarding APSTAR-5 (Telstar-18), which would replace APSTAR-1, to expire in mid-2004, were signed in Hong Kong on January 8th, 2001.

The total project cost of APSTAR-5, which includes the costs of the satellite, launch service, launch insurance, ground facilities for telemetry, tracking and control, related expenses and capitalized interest, would amount to about US$230 million, which would be funded by bank loan and internal resources of the APT Satellite Holdings Ltd.

The APT Satellite Co. Ltd. and the Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) signed a lease agreement for the leasing of 15 C-band transponders of APSTAR-5 for the life of the satellite. Upon completion, SingTel could either use the transponders capacity itself or lease it to its customers.

On September 20th, 2002, Loral Skynet, Inc. a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications Ltd. and merged in 2006 with Telesat in Canada, entered into an agreement with APT Satellite Co. Ltd. pursuant to which Loral Skynet would participate on a fifty-fifty basis in the ownership of the APSTAR-5 satellite. Loral Skynet's purchase price for its 50% interest in the satellite was $115.1 million, representing 50% of the current estimated cost of constructing, launching and insuring the APSTAR-5 satellite. To ensure a timely launch of APSTAR-5, Loral Orion, APT and SS/L had agreed that, if a U.S. license to launch APSTAR-5 on board a Chinese Long March rocket has not been secured by September 30, 2002, a Western launch provider would be used.

The China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) was to launch APSTAR-5, a high-power satellite to be made by the US-based Space Systems/Loral Inc. (SS/L).

In February 2003 SS/L agreed with APT Satellite Co. Ltd. and CGWIC to provide the launch services for APSTAR-5 with the LM-3B launch vehicle at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

On June 29th, 2004, during the launch of the APSTAR-5 satellite on a Sea Launch Zenit booster, the upper stage shut down 54 seconds early due to a wiring fault, leaving the satellite in a lower orbit. The APSTAR-5 satellite launch was considered a partial failure because it was placed in a lower-than-intended orbit.  The spacecraft was able to reach its destination in GEO using its onboard thrusters without reducing its on-orbit lifetime.

APSTAR-6 is a Chinese (Hong Kong) and was launched from southwestern China by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province on 12 April 2005 to replace the aging APSTAR-1A.

April 2010 APT Satellite entered into a satellite procurement contract with satellite contractor Thales Alenia Space in France for the manufacturing and delivering of APSTAR-7B Satellite, a Spacebus 4000 C2 Platform with 28 C-band and 23 Ku-band high power geostationary communications satellite.

On March 31st, 2012 China successfully launched the APSTAR-7 communication satellite into orbit with its Long March-3B carrier rocket. It would replace the APSTAR-2R, which had been in orbit about 16 years. APSTAR-7 is a high-power broadcasting and communication satellite that can provide TV transmission and satellite communication services to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Europe, as well as live TV broadcasting and transcontinental communication and broadcasting services to China, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.



References:

www.apstar.com
www.spaceref.com edition 23rd Sept 2002
www.globalsecurity.org
www.satbeams.com
www.reuters.com edition 9th July 2009
www.tbs-satellite.com
www.nasaspaceflight.com edition 27 Nov 2012




Satellites  

APSTAR-1 (ChinaSat-5E, ZX-5E)

Orbital Postion: 163° E inclined
Manufacturer: Hughes Satellite Systems (Boeing)
Launch date: 21 July 1994
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 9 years

Note: APSTAR-1 Satellite is retired.

APSTAR-1A (ChinaSat-5D, ZX-5D)

Orbital Postion: 52° E inclined
Manufacturer: Hughes Satellite Systems (Boeing)
Launch date: 03 July 1996
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3A
Expected life time: 10+ years

Note: APSTAR-1A satellite is retired.
 

APSTAR-2R (Telstar-10)

Orbital Postion: 77° E
Manufacturer: Space Systems/Loral
Launch date: 17 Oct 1997
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 15 years


Note: Satellite was Retired.

Note: In July 2009 Telesat Canada transferred the leasehold on APSTAR-2R back to APT Satellite. Telesat was branding their capacity as Telstar-10 that was replacing the Orion-3 satellite operated by Loral Space & Communications.

APSTAR-9A (ChinaSat-5A, ZX-5A, ChinaStar-1)

Orbital Postion: 142° E
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
Launch date: 30 May 1998
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 15 years

Note: Originally built for the China Orient Telecommunications Satellite Corp. It was transferred to ChinaSat in 2010 and renamed it in ChinaSat-5A. In 2013 ChinaSat agreed with APT Satellite Co. to lease capacity awaiting the arrival of the APSTAR-9 in 2015. APT Satellite is branding the capacity as APSTAR-9A. 


APSTAR-5 (Telstar-18, APSTAR-V)

Orbital Postion: 138° E
Manufacturer: Space Systems/Loral
Launch date: 29 June 2004
Launch Operator: Sea Launch A.G.
Launch vehicle: Zenit 3SL
Expected life time: 13 years


Note: Telesat Canada owns Telstar-18 after the merge with Loral Space & Communications and is leasing capacity to APT Satellite that was formed by ChinaSat, and SingTel Singapore that are branding it under APSTAR-5 (APSTAR-V). APSTAR-5 replaced aging APSTAR-1.
 

APSTAR-6 (APSTAR-5B)

Orbital Postion: 134° E
Manufacturer: Thales Alenia Space
Launch date: 12 April 2005
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 14 years
 

APSTAR-7

Orbital Postion: 76° E
Manufacturer: Space Systems/Loral
Launch date: 31 Mar 2012
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 15 years

Note: APSTAR-7 is replacing APSTAR-2R
 

APSTAR-7B (ChinaSat-12, SupremeSat-1)

Orbital Position: 88° E
Manufacturer: Thales Alenia Space
Launch date: 27 Nov 2012
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 15 years

Note: The APSTAR-7B was a back-up satellite in case the APSTAR-7 would fail. As per contract the APSTAR-7B was transferred to ChinaSat after the successfull launch of the APSTAR-7. ChinaSat is branding it as ChinaSat-12.
Also Sri Lanka is leasing capacity and is branding this as SupremeSat-1.

Youtube: Watch the APSTAR-7B (ChinaSat-12) Satellite launch!
 

APSTAR-9

Orbital Postion: 142° E
Manufacturer: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC)
Launch date: 17 Oct 2015
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) 
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected life time: 15+ years
 

YouTube: Watch the video of the APSTAR-9 Satellite launch!
 

APSTAR-5C (Telstar-18V)

Orbital Postion: 138° E
Manufacturer: Space Systems/Loral
Launch date: 2017
Launch Operator: TBD
Launch vehicle: TBD
Expected life time: 15 years


Note: The APSTAR-5C / Telstar-18V(intage) satellite will replace APSTAR-5 that will reach EOL on 2017. The APSTAR-5C / Telstar-18V is procured by Telesat Canada and is leasing capacity to APT Satellite.