SKY Perfect JSAT, the main satellite operator in Japan, has selected Airbus to build Superbird-9, a digital in-orbit reconfigurable telecommunications satellite. The satellite will be based on Airbus’ standardised OneSat product line. Airbus will provide a turnkey solution, including design and manufacture of the Superbird-9 spacecraft, associated services and support for in-orbit operations and ground segment, as well as an advanced digital suite to manage the digital payload and operate the end-to-end satellite resources.
OneSat will allow SKY Perfect JSAT to replace a key broadcasting mission and to simultaneously deliver fully flexible HTS (High Throughput Satellite) services with powerful performance and a ground-breaking experience for their customers. Superbird-9 will deliver broadcast and broadband missions in Ku band, primarily over Japan and Eastern Asia. It will bring day-to-day flexibility for the SKY Perfect JSAT fleet enabling payload missions to be configured, adapted and combined to perfectly match end-user needs. This covers everything from DTH broadcasting to broadband HTS including maritime and aero-connectivity services, utilising the latest innovations in payload technology and in-orbit resource management. SKY Perfect JSAT estimates the total investment including this contract is around 30 billion yen (US$273 million).
Eiichi Yonekura, SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings president and CEO, said: “Since we launched the first Japanese commercial communications satellite in 1989, we have always been developing innovative space business, with more than 30 satellites in-orbit. We made a prediction of market demand for the coming 20 years on each satellite procurement, which has enabled us to provide best satellite-use solutions to society. Our new Superbird-9 flexible satellite, which is planned to start its service in fiscal year 2024, has highly flexible digital technology on board with rich and variable Ku-band coverage over East-Asian countries. With game-changing capability, we will provide flexible satellite communications service for greater customer convenience. We strongly believe that Superbird-9 will play a significant role in providing our advanced communications service and developing new space business.”
Jean-Marc Nasr, head of Space Systems at Airbus, said: “This is a landmark contract for Airbus in Japan and it marks the first time a Japanese telecommunications operator has ordered a satellite from Europe. SKY Perfect JSAT’s choice of Airbus to build Superbird-9 to strengthen its satellite fleet is a great endorsement of the cutting edge technology at the heart of our OneSat design. Superbird-9, the 7th software defined OneSat satellite ordered, will deliver powerful performance and a ground-breaking experience for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation customers. I hope that this contract will pave the way for close future collaboration.”