Arianespace’s selection by new satellite services operator OverHorizon to orbit its first relay platform was based on criteria that included launch capacity, flexibility and a track record of reliability.
Speaking at a formal contract signing ceremony during the Satellite 2010 conference in Maryland, OverHorizon CEO Per Wahlberg said the company conducted a “very rigorous” process that led to Arianespace’s selection to launch the OHO-1 satellite in mid-2012.
“In the end, Arianespace offered many more advantages than the other launch services providers,” Wahlberg stated.
OHO-1 is to be produced jointly by Orbital Sciences Corporation and Thales Alenia Space. Orbital will supply the Star 2.3 satellite bus, which will have a liftoff mass of approximately 3,200 kg. with its payload provided by Thales Alenia Space.
Arianespace can orbit this type of satellite from French Guiana either aboard a heavy-lift Ariane 5 (in a dual-payload configuration along with a larger telecommunications spacecraft), or on a medium-lift Soyuz.
“As a new operator, it will be very important to launch our first satellite on time, so scheduling is very important – and Arianespace’s capability to orbit OHO-1 on both Ariane 5 and Soyuz is a real advantage,” Wahlberg explained. “The unprecedented reliability of both launchers also was a major consideration in our decision.”
OverHorizon’s goal is to provide a cost-effective combination of the mobility and ease of mobile satellite telephony with broadband services that offer the throughput and real-time capability of traditional fixed satellite communications.
Wahlberg said OHO-1 will use the latest in space qualified hardware, including on-board processing (OBP), routing and signal regeneration, and steerable spot beams – which will enable the company to meet users’ needs for high data-rate, low-profile mobile communications.
A primary business focus of OverHorizon is the defense, governmental and security markets. “The reaction to our services from these markets has been good, and our company’s selection of proven credible suppliers for both the satellite and its launch has been very important for us – both in terms of potential customers and for those who provide financing,” he concluded.