Throughout its 100-year history, including 54 years of space flight heritage, Lockheed Martin has designed, built and delivered 101 commercial geostationary communications satellites to operators around the globe.  Customers worldwide such as SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation of Japan have placed their trust in Lockheed Martin, procuring multiple satellites whose deliveries and successful operations are critical to business plans. 

JCSAT-13, which represents Lockheed Martin’s 100th commercial geostationary satellite, is the seventh Lockheed Martin satellite delivered to SKY Perfect JSAT.  In fact, Lockheed Martin satellites comprise nearly half of SKY Perfect JSAT’s in-orbit assets.  JCSAT-13 is designed to succeed JCSAT-4A as the vehicle for SKY Perfect JSAT’s direct-to-home pay TV service. The satellite’s Southeast Asia beam and two steerable beams cover an expansive geographical region, including the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. 

JCSAT-13 was launched in May 2012 in a historic dual launch with VINSAT-2.  Both satellites were placed in orbit aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle and are representatives of Lockheed Martin’s venerable A2100 series of satellite platforms.


The A2100: Broadcasting Over Peaks and Valleys

Vietnam is a land of mountains, ravines, and deep, dense jungle with modern communications needs. Until recently, with 70 percent of its population beyond the reach of conventional TV broadcast towers, Vietnam leased satellites leased from other nations, costing millions of dollars per year.  That changed in 2008 with the launch of Lockheed Martin-built VINASAT-1, the first Vietnamese satellite launched into orbit. Its partner satellite, VINASAT-2, is Lockheed Martin’s 101st commercial satellite delivery.  Together, VINASAT-1 and -2 provide Vietnam with more than 10,000 data channels and 120 television channels, greatly expanding access to communications and media in a country whose economy is on the rise.

A2100 Foundation

Satcom-1, launched in 1975, was the first commercial satellite flown by Lockheed Martin.  It was developed and operated by Lockheed Martin legacy company RCA, and it allowed for the groundbreaking transmission of early cable television innovators such as HBO, ESPN, and the Weather Channel.  Since Satcom-1, Lockheed Martin has achieved more than 1,000 years of combined in-orbit operations.

In the early 1990s, Lockheed Martin redesigned its commercial spacecraft platform.  The result was the A2100, which featured simplified construction that increased on-orbit reliability and reduced weight and cost.  Lockheed Martin’s A2100 is the seventh generation of geostationary spacecraft Lockheed Martin has designed and flown. 

In 1996, Lockheed Martin flew the first A2100 satellite.  Launched as GE-1, the satellite recently surpassed its 15-year design life and is one of 42 commercial communications satellites built in the A2100 series.  The A2100 is quite simply the workhorse of modern global commercial telecommunications and the heir to a longstanding legacy in global telecommunications. 

A Legacy of Innovation and the Future of Communication

The A2100 is highly modular and “catalogued to order,” meaning customers do not have to pay for high-cost re-engineering or modifications to meet their unique needs. Each satellite is built from a standard suite of components that can support multiple designs and functions. A2100 satellite platforms have been configured for commercial telecommunications use like VINASAT-1 and 2, as well as for governmental use such as the next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R series (GOES-R) weather satellites, Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) government communications satellites, and the new Global Positioning (GPS) III satellites. Thruster systems allow A2100s to maneuver into a geosynchronous position, making it possible and cost-effective to launch them in pairs.

High speed communication is a necessity today, in the United States and around the world. Lockheed Martin has a proven record of meeting the needs of commercial, governmental, and international customers with the A2100 satellites series. It is based on a legacy of satellite success, and at the same time, it is the way of the future.

Sources and Further Reading