Lockheed Martin begins assembling Japanese JCSAT-17 communications satellite
The JCSAT-17 telecommunications satellite roars to orbit in this artist’s depiction. Image Credit: Nathan Koga / SpaceFlight InsiderLockheed Martin’s assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) team has begun the assembly of the JCSAT-17 communications satellite, which is slated to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, sometime in 2019.
The JCSAT-17 satellite is being produced on behalf of SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (SJC). After completing the design and engineering phase, the spacecraft is undergoing the assembly and test cycle in preparation for its flight and on-orbit activities.
“Lockheed Martin has done a great job so far,” said Atsushi Mamiya, JCSAT-17 project manager at SJC, via a Lockheed Martin-issued news release. “SJC maintains good cooperation with Lockheed Martin and the whole team as they work toward the successful and scheduled launch of this excellent satellite.”
Based on the LM2100 satellite bus, JCSAT-17 will have S-band transponders as well as a flexible processor and a 59-foot (18-meter) mesh reflector. The spacecraft is expected to be used during disaster relief efforts and other high-volume events, according to Lockheed Martin.
“JCSAT-17’s cutting-edge flexible payload processor means that SJC can move bandwidth where it’s needed, when it’s needed, ensuring that this satellite stays agile, ready and relevant for years to come,” said Sam Basuthakur, Lockheed Martin JCSAT-17 program manager via a news release. “This is the third modernized and first Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) built on the new LM2100 platform, scheduled for launch in 2019 on Ariane 5. Both Lockheed Martin and SJC are excited to start assembly and integration of this innovative spacecraft employing LM2100 best practices and streamlined ATLO process, which will provide critical MSS communications to SJC and to the people of Japan.”
During the next nine months, the ATLO team will conduct environmental tests of the satellite as it is prepared for its flight to orbit. During this period, equipment used by JCSAT-17’s subsystems will be integrated onto the spacecraft bus. According to Lockheed Martin, these include power, attitude control, propulsion, thermal control, telemetry tracking and control, as well as its various antennas.
This is the eighth satellite that SJC has asked Lockheed Martin to build since 1998. The previous seven were NSAT-110, and JCSAT’s 9-13 as well as JCSAT-110R.
SJC announced its decision to award Lockheed Martin the contract to build JCSAT-17 on Feb. 3, 2016. Once it launches, it will reside in geostationary orbit some 22,000 miles (35,400 kilometers) above Earth’s equator with an expected lifespan of about 15 years.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.