The body-stabilized Boeing 601 satellite is one of the best-selling spacecraft models in the world. More than 80 have been delivered to customers around the world.
The Boeing 601 was introduced in 1987 to meet anticipated requirements for high-power, multiple-payload satellites for such applications as direct television broadcasting to small receiving antennas, very small aperture terminals for private business networks, and mobile communications. The basic configuration features as many as 48 transponders and offers up to 4,800 watts.
A more powerful version, the Boeing 601HP, made its debut in 1995. The HP versions can carry payloads twice as powerful as the classic Boeing 601 models, through such innovations as gallium arsenide solar cells, advanced battery technology, and an optional xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS). The 601HP features as many as 60 transponders and provides up to 10,000 watts.
All Boeing 601 spacecraft use the same basic bus design, enabling Boeing to realize efficiencies gained by production volume, tooling investments and quantity buys.
The Boeing 601 body is composed of two modules:
1. the primary structure that carries all launch vehicle loads and contains the propulsion subsystem, bus electronics, and battery packs; and
2. a structure of honeycomb shelves that hold the communications equipment, electronics, and isothermal heat pipes.
Reflectors, antenna feeds, and solar arrays mount directly to the payload module, and antenna configurations can be placed on three faces of the bus. This modular approach allows work to proceed in parallel, thereby shortening the manufacturing schedule and test time.
Motient Corporation (formerly American Mobile Satellite Corporation), United States
Boeing and Spar Aerospace Ltd. of Canada were selected in December 1990 to build two satellites for mobile communications services throughout North America. Boeing provided the Boeing 601 spacecraft buses, and Spar was responsible for the communications payloads. American Mobile Satellite Corporation (now known as Motient Corporation) and TMI Communications and Co. Ltd. of Ottawa, Ontario, made the purchase jointly, though with separate contracts.
AMSC-1 was launched on an Atlas rocket in April 1995. At the time it was state-of-the-art for commercial mobile communications. Each satellite has the capability to support 2,000 radio channels in L-band. The footprint covers the entire continental United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian coastal waters. They are the first satellites to use Boeing Satellite Systems springback antennas, flexible 17-foot-by-22-foot ovals made of graphite.
The operators provide complementary mobile telephone, radio, data, and positioning service to land, aviation, and maritime users. Each operator will also provide the other with backup and restoration capacity.
APT Satellite Co. Ltd., China
In November 1993, APT chose the Boeing 601 as its second satellite, APSTAR II, designed to bring television to nearly two-thirds of the world's population. The satellite had 26 active transponders of 52 watts in C-band, plus six 50-watt Ku-band transponders and two 120-watt Ku-band transponders. APSTAR II and its Long March 2E booster were destroyed during launch from China in January 1995.
Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company, Ltd., China
The Boeing 601HP was the preferred spacecraft model in February 1996 when AsiaSat ordered AsiaSat 3. Designed primarily for television distribution and telecommunications services throughout Asia, the Middle East, Australasia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the satellite carried multiple spot beams for selected areas. AsiaSat 3 was launched on Dec. 25, 1997; however, the launch vehicle failed in its fourth stage, stranding AsiaSat 3 in a useless orbit. After the launch failure, Hughes Global Services (HGS) acquired AsiaSat 3 and renamed it HGS-1.
In March 1998, a replacement satellite, AsiaSat 3S, was ordered. It was successfully launched in March 1999 on a Proton rocket. AsiaSat 3S has more than 9,000 watts of payload power, with 28 active C-band transponders and 16 active Ku-band transponders. This was Boeing's third satellite for AsiaSat. A fourth, AsiaSat 4, a Boeing 601HP, was ordered in September 2000 and launched on an Atlas rocket in 2003. The company also owns AsiaSat 1, a 376 spacecraft built by Boeing Satellite Systems and launched in April 1990 as Westar VI. AsiaSat later acquired the satellite and renamed it AsiaSat 1.
SES ASTRA, Luxembourg
Boeing was selected in December 1990 to build the ASTRA 1C broadcast spacecraft for Europe. ASTRA 1D was ordered in 1991. In October 1992, SES ASTRA ordered a third satellite, ASTRA 1E. One year later, ASTRA 1F was ordered. ASTRA 1G and 1H were ordered in 1995, both Boeing 601HP (for high power) versions. In June 1996, ASTRA ordered a seventh satellite, ASTRA 2A, also a Boeing 601HP. In August 1999, SES ASTRA ordered another Boeing 601HPmodel, ASTRA 2C.
The 1C and 1D satellites carry 24 Ku-band, 63-watt traveling-wave tube amplifiers to support 18 active transponders, providing television and radio broadcasting. ASTRA 1E has 18 85-watt transponders. ASTRA 1F operated with 22 transponders for the first 5 years and with 20 (and eight spares) thereafter. ASTRA 1G and 1H will have a minimum of 28 active transponders, with 32 available during the first 5 years of operation.
ASTRA 1C was launched on an Ariane 4 rocket in May 1993. ASTRA 1D followed on an Ariane in October 1994. ASTRA 1E was launched by Ariane in October 1995. ASTRA 1F and 1G were launched by Proton rockets in April 1996 and December 1997, respectively. ASTRA 2A was launched on a Proton in August 1998. ASTRA 1H was launched by Proton in June 1999. ASTRA 2C was launched on a Proton rocket in June 2001.
DIRECTV, United States
Hughes Electronics launched a revolution in television broadcasting in North America with three powerful Boeing 601 direct broadcast satellites. The first, DIRECTV 1, began service in 1994 for DIRECTV and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (now owned by DIRECTV). DIRECTV 2 and DIRECTV 3 are dedicated to providing DIRECTV service.
Using state-of-the-art digital technology, multiple video signals are compressed into each transponder. More than 200 channels of entertainment programming are available from a single orbital location of 101 degrees West longitude.
DIRECTV 1 was launched in December 1993 on an Ariane rocket. DIRECTV 2 followed on an Atlas vehicle in August 1994. DIRECTV 3 was launched by Ariane in June 1995.
In December 1998, DIRECTV ordered a fourth satellite, DIRECTV 1-R, a Boeing 601HP model spacecraft. DIRECTV 1-R carries 16 Ku-band transponders. The 7,500-watt spacecraft will deliver 30 percent more power than the earlier models, enabling DIRECTV to expand direct-to-home programming services. DIRECTV 1-R was launched in October 1999 as the first commercial satellite carried by Sea Launch.
In December 1999, DIRECTV ordered another Boeing 601HP satellite, DIRECTV-4S. The satellite is first spacecraft in the DIRECTV fleet to use highly focused spot-beam technology. The satellite was launched on an Ariane rocket in November 2001. DIRECTV-4S is stationed with other DIRECTV satellites at 101 degrees West longitude.
In 2004, DIRECTV ordered three additional satellites, DIRECTV 10, 11, and DIRECTV 12. DIRECTV 10 was launched on a Proton in July 2007, DIRECTV 11 was launched on a Sea Launch rocket in March 2008 and DIRECTV 12 was launched in December 2009.
PanAmSat Corporation, United States
PanAmSat Corporation of Wilton, Conn., is a leading provider of global video and data broadcasting services via satellite. The company builds, owns and operates networks that deliver entertainment and information to cable television systems, TV broadcast affiliates, direct-to-home TV operators, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and corporations.
Through a merger in May 1997 with Hughes Communications, Inc., PanAmSat acquired the in-orbit Galaxy 601 model satellites. It has since ordered three additional 601 models for the Galaxy fleet. The Galaxy satellites provide general broadcast and telecommunications service. Galaxy IIIR, IV, and VII are the classic 601 spacecraft. Galaxy IVR, VIIIi, X and XR are high-powered Boeing 601 HP satellites. Galaxy IIIR, IV, IVR, VII, X and XR each carry 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. Galaxy VIIIi has 32 Ku-band transponders.
Galaxy VII was launched on an Ariane 42P rocket in October 1992; Galaxy IV was launched in June 1993, also on an Ariane. Galaxy IIIR was launched in December 1995 on an Atlas rocket. Galaxy VIIIi lifted off in December 1997, also on an Atlas. Galaxy X was the first satellite to be launched on the new Delta III rocket; however the August 1998 launch was not successful. Its replacement, Galaxy XR, was launched aboard an Ariane in January 2000. Galaxy IVR was launched in April 2000, also on an Ariane.
In September 2001, PanAmSat and Japan's JSAT Corporation selected Boeing to build a new spacecraft in support of the two companies' Horizons joint venture as well as PanAmSat's domestic U.S. cable distribution offerings. The spacecraft was launched in 2003 aboard a Sea Launch booster. Stationed between the Hawaiian Islands and the U.S. West Coast, the Boeing 601HP satellite has coverage over North America, Central America, Alaska and Hawaii. The spacecraft's 24-transponder Ku-band payload, known as Horizons-1, is jointly owned by PanAmSat and JSAT and is used to offer a variety of digital video, Internet and data services. The 24-transponder C-band portion of the new spacecraft is known as Galaxy XIII and is operated separately as part of PanAmSat's Galaxy cable neighborhood, which serves the domestic U.S. cable industry.
NOAA/NASA, United States
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) returned to Boeing Satellite Systems in 1998 to build the next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). The GOES N, GOES O and GOES P spacecraft will provide more accurate location of severe storms and other weather phenomena, resulting in more precise warnings to the general public and industry. Upon completion, Boeing will have built a total of eight spacecraft in the GOES series. GOES N was launched in May 2006, followed by GOES O in June 2009 and GOES P in March 2010.
Hughes Global Services, United States
Hughes Global Services (HGS), a subsidiary of Hughes Electronics, made history in 1998 when it sent a stranded communications satellite around the moon. The spacecraft, originally called AsiaSat 3, was left in a lower-than-planned orbit because of a malfunctioning launch vehicle in December 1997. It was acquired by HGS and was renamed HGS-1.
HGS devised a novel mission to salvage the satellite, using lunar gravity to pull HGS-1 from its inclined Earth orbit into flat orbit, parallel with the equator. HGS-1 performed two lunar flybys, which flawlessly matched the predicted trajectories, and repositioned itself in a useful orbit. HGS-1 is a Boeing 601HP model and was built with 28 C-band transponders and 16 Ku-band transponders.
ICO Global Communications, United Kingdom
In 1995, Boeing Satellite Systems was selected to build and launch 12 satellites for a global mobile communications system for ICO Global Communications. The first satellite was unsuccessfully launched in March 2000 by Sea Launch. A second ICO was successfully launched on an Atlas rocket in June 2001.
The satellites are designed to operate for 12 years in intermediate circular orbit 10,390 kilometers above Earth, the first Boeing 601 spacecraft built for this mid-Earth orbit. The value of the spacecraft contract was more than $2 billion.
JSAT Corporation, Japan
JSAT ordered one Boeing satellite, JCSAT-3, in October 1993. JCSAT-4, a similar spacecraft, was ordered in February 1996, followed by an order for JCSAT-5 that same year. In 1997, JCSAT-6 was ordered. In April 2000 JSAT ordered another satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems, JCSAT-8.
The satellites relay voice, data, and television signals to Japan, and have multiple-beam coverage extending west to India, south to Australia and New Zealand, and east to Hawaii. Boeing also provided equipment for the satellite control stations in Yokohama and Gunma.
JCSAT-3 and -4 carry four octagonal antennas and each has 28 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders. NEC Corp. of Japan was a major subcontractor to Boeing, responsible for a significant portion of the payload electronics. JCSAT-5 and -6 carry two octagonal antennas. Both payloads consist of 32 active Ku-band transponders. JCSAT-8 carries 16 Ku-band and 16 C-band transponders.
Launch of JCSAT-3 was onboard an Atlas IIAS rocket in August 1995. JCSAT-4 was launched in February 1997, also on an Atlas. JCSAT-5 was launched in December 1997 on an Ariane, and JCSAT-6 was launched in February 1999 on an Atlas IIAS. JCSAT-8 was launched in March 2002 on an Ariane.
JCSAT-5 and -6
MEASAT Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia
In March 2003, MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia ordered a Boeing 601HP satellite, designated MEASAT-3, that will join the existing Boeing-built MEASAT-1 and MEASAT-2 spacecraft in the Malaysia-East Asia Satellite (MEASAT) system. Boeing will also provide an upgrade to the MEASAT ground facilities in Malaysia, as well as training and launch support services. Launched in 2006, MEASAT-3 employs 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders, each providing 36 MHz of bandwidth over a 15-year minimum service life.
TMI Communications and Co. Ltd., Canada
Boeing and Spar Aerospace Ltd. of Canada were selected in December 1990 to build two satellites for mobile communications services throughout North America. Boeing provided the Boeing 601 spacecraft buses and Spar was responsible for the communications payloads. American Mobile Satellite Corporation (now Motient Corporation) and TMI Communications and Co. Ltd. of Ottawa, Ontario, made the purchase jointly, though with separate contracts.
TMI's MSAT-1 was launched on an Ariane in April 1996. At the time it was state-of-the-art for commercial mobile communications. The satellite has the capability to support 2,000 radio channels in L-band. The footprint covers the entire continental United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian coastal waters. It was one of the first satellites to use Boeing's spring back antennas flexible 17-foot-by-22-foot ovals made of graphite.
TMI operators provide complementary mobile telephone, radio, data, and positioning service to land, aviation, and maritime users. Each operator also provides the other with backup and restoration capacity.
Optus Communications Pty. Ltd., Australia
In June 1988, AUSSAT Pty. Ltd., Australia's first national satellite communications company, placed an order for Boeing's first Boeing 601 satellite. The company, now part of Optus Communications Pty. Ltd., ordered two new spacecraft for its next-generation Optus B system, which is three times more powerful and will last twice as long as its first AUSSAT satellites.
The Optus B satellites enhance existing satellite communications services throughout Australia, including direct television broadcast to homesteads and remote communities, voice communications to urban and rural areas, digital data transmissions, high-quality television relays between major cities, and centralized air traffic control services.
Each satellite is equipped with a 150-watt L-band transponder that permits mobile communications through small antennas mounted on cars, trucks, and airplanes. This mobile ability extends throughout Australia. The Ku-band payload consists of 15 50-watt transponders. In addition, Optus B carries two experimental payloads, a 28 MHz Ka-band beacon and a laser retroreflector, both located in the L-band antenna.
Optus B1 was launched from China on a Long March 2E rocket in August 1992. Optus B2 was launched from China in December of 1992, but was destroyed in an explosion during launch. A replacement satellite, Optus B3, was successfully launched in August 1994 on another Long March 2E rocket.
Loral Space and Communications, United States
A Boeing 601HP satellite, Orion 3, was ordered in January 1997. Orion 3 was intended to expand Loral's fleet and be its first satellite to serve the Asia-Pacific region. The satellite was launched on a Delta III rocket in May 1999, but was stranded in an incorrect, low orbit.
The payload consists of 10 C-band transponders for television and other program distributors, and 33 Ku-band transponders for private business network applications and direct-to-home video services.
PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia (SATELINDO), Indonesia
April 1993 was the year PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia ordered a third series of communications satellites for the island nation. The contract called for two Palapa-C spacecraft.
Each satellite was built with 30 active transponders in C-band and four in Ku-band. Four octagonal antennas serve a coverage area that includes not only Indonesia, but also Southeast Asia and parts of China and Australia.
Palapa-C1 was launched on an Atlas rocket in January 1996. Palapa-C2 was launched on an Ariane rocket in May 1996.
PanAmSat Corporation, United States
PanAmSat Corporation of Greenwich, Conn., is a leading provider of global video and data broadcasting services via satellite. The company builds, owns and operates networks that deliver entertainment and information to cable television systems, TV broadcast affiliates, direct-to-home TV operators, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and corporations.
The PAS satellites provide video, voice, data teleconferencing, and radio transmission capabilities. PAS-2, 3, and 4 were ordered in 1991. In 1993 a spare was ordered, and was followed by two higher-power versions, PAS-5, in 1995, and PAS-6B in March 1998. PAS-9 was ordered in October 1998. PAS-10 was ordered in September 1999.
PAS-2 and 3 were built with 16 C-band and 16 Ku-band active transponders. PAS-4 has 16 C-band and 24 Ku-band active transponders. PAS-2 was launched in July 1994. PAS-3 was launched in December 1994; it was lost, however, because of a booster failure. The spare spacecraft, now also designated PAS-3, replaced it in January 1996.
PAS-4 was launched in August 1995. PAS-5 was launched in August 1997, making it the first in the Boeing 601HP series to be launched. It is the first commercial satellite with a xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS), and the first Boeing 601 with high-efficiency gallium arsenide solar cells. PAS-6B, launched in December 1998, also carries XIPS. PAS-9 was successfully launched in July 2000 on a Sea Launch rocket. PAS-10 was successfully launched aboard a Proton rocket on May 15, 2001.
In August 1996, Boeing was asked to build a new Boeing 601HP satellite for Mexico. The satellite, SATMEX 5, is the third Boeing 601 satellite in Satmex's fleet, along with Solidaridad 1 and 2.
SATMEX 5 offers nearly 8,000 watts of power and carries 48 transponders, 24 in C-band and 24 in Ku-band. It is the fifth satellite Boeing has built that uses XIPS. The satellite provides improved services, such as business communications, television distribution, educational programming, and others, with high reliability, heritage, performance and value.
The satellite beams expanded coverage to include the whole American continent, providing services to countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Venezuela and the United States, among others.
SATMEX 5 was launched on an Ariane rocket in December 1998.
Boeing was selected by the government of Mexico in March 1991 to build its second-generation satellite system, Solidaridad, which consisted of two Boeing 601 satellites and associated ground equipment. Mexico's earlier communications system, Morelos, was also built by Boeing Satellite Systems and consisted of two Boeing 376 spacecraft. Satmex also owns SATMEX 5, a Boeing 601HP satellite.
The Solidaridad system provides television, telecommunications, data, facsimile, and business network services in C-band and Ku-band, and mobile communications in L-band. The Solidaridad satellites cover the Mexican republic, with spot beams for the Caribbean, the southern United States, and South America.
Solidaridad 1 was launched in November 1993 and Solidaridad 2 was launched in October 1994. Both were launched on Ariane rockets.
Space Communications Corp., Japan
In March 1995, Boeing was selected by SCC to build SUPERBIRD-C, a Boeing 601 satellite to provide television and business communications services throughout Japan, southern and eastern Asia, and Hawaii. In April 1998, SCC returned to Boeing with an order for SUPERBIRD-4, a Boeing 601HP. In September 2001, SCC signed a contract for a third Boeing 601 satellite called SUPERBIRD-6.
SUPERBIRD-C is SCC's third satellite, and its first built by Boeing. Mitsubishi Corp. of Tokyo was a major subcontractor, providing a steerable spot beam and solar cell panels. SUPERBIRD-C carries 24 Ku-band transponders. SUPERBIRD-4 carries 23 active Ku-band transponders, and six in Ka-band. SUPERBIRD-6 has a payload of 23 active Ku-band transponders and four Ka-band transponders.
SUPERBIRD-C was launched in July 1997 on an Atlas IIAS rocket and is stationed at 144 degrees East longitude. SUPERBIRD-4 was launched on an Ariane in February 2000 and is positioned at 162 degrees East longitude. SUPERBIRD-6 was launched on April 15, 2004 aboard an Atlas launch vehicle.
NASA, United States
In February 1995, NASA chose Boeing to build three Boeing 601 spacecraft for its Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, designated TDRS-H, -I, and -J. TDRS-H was launched in June 2000, TDRS-I, March 2002, and TDRS-J, December 2002.
In December 2007, Boeing was awarded a contract to build NASA’s TDRS K series. These satellites incorporate a modern design based on flight-proven performance. The Boeing 601HP model spacecraft includes Boeing 702HP-class electronics, which are the standard for Boeing’s current satellite product line. These new satellites will again provide high data rate Ka-band service capability.
Boeing will integrate its patented, innovative spring-back antenna design, first used and proven on the TDRS-H, I and J satellite series, into the new TDRS spacecraft. The 15-foot diameter antennae are designed with flexible membrane reflectors that fold up for launch, then spring back into their original cupped circular shape on orbit. The steerable, single-access antennas can simultaneously transmit and receive at S-band and either Ku- or Ka-band, supporting dual independent two-way communication.
TDRS-K was launched on January 30, 2013, TDRS-L ON January 23, 2014, and TDRS-M will be ready for launch in 2015.
U.S. Navy, United States
In July 1988, the U.S. Navy chose the Boeing 601 for its UHF Follow-On communications satellite program. A total of 11 spacecraft have now been ordered. The $2.1 billion contract calls for each satellite to provide 10 years of service. The new satellites replace the Fleet Satellite Communications and Boeing-built Leasat satellites that support the Navy's global communications network, service ships at sea, and a variety of other U.S. military and fixed mobile terminals. The new spacecraft are compatible with ground- and sea-based communications terminals already in service. They use the same frequency spectrum as the current constellation but with an increased number of transmitters, providing an increase in communications capacity.
Three satellites, UHF F8, F9, and F10, carry an additional payload that the DoD is using an interim global broadcast service (GBS). GBS supports the full range of the DoD's high-capacity communications requirements, from intelligence dissemination to quality-of-life programming.
The first satellite, F1, was launched in March 1993, but a booster failure left the satellite in the wrong orbit. F2 was the first in the series to go into service after its launch in September 1993. F3 was launched in June 1994, followed by three launches in 1995, F4 in January, F5 in May, and F6 in October. F7 was launched in July 1996, F8 in March 1998, F9 in October 1998, and F10 in November 1999. F11 was launched in 2003 on an Atlas rocket.