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.
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.
www.spaceref.com edition 23rd Sept 2002
www.reuters.com edition 9th July 2009
www.nasaspaceflight.com edition 27 Nov 2012