The launch is scheduled to take place late 2015 and marks the first time MHI has received an order to launch a commercial satellite. Earlier this month, Telesat announced that it had ordered Telstar 12 VANTAGE from Astrium. Telstar 12 VANTAGE will replace Telesat's Telstar 12 satellite at 15 degrees West and will significantly expand high power Ku-band coverage of growing markets in South America, Africa, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Atlantic and North Sea.
This new high throughput satellite (HTS) will be launched using the proven H-IIA launch vehicle, which is being upgraded to enhance the vehicle's performance. The upgrade relates to improvements in the rocket's upper stage, improvements MHI has been implementing with strong support and oversight from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
"Telesat selected MHI to launch our new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite after an extensive evaluation of the H-IIA launch vehicle, including the planned enhancements," said Daniel S. Goldberg, Telesat's President and CEO. "MHI scored highest on our selection criteria that took into account vehicle performance, technical and operational expertise, and overall commercial terms. Telesat is confident that our strong record of innovation will be enhanced by our partnership with MHI and we look forward to the Telstar 12 VANTAGE launch mission."
"Telesat is one of the largest, most respected satellite operators in the world and their selection of MHI to launch Telesat's new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite is a strong endorsement of the performance, reliability and value of MHI's H-IIA upgraded launch vehicle," said Shoichiro Asada, MHI's Vice President & Senior General Manager. "Leading satellite operators such as Telesat have a growing number of options to place their spacecraft into GEO orbit. MHI has the capabilities and expertise to compete in this global market, which are based on Japan's commitment to advanced space technologies. We thank Telesat for their confidence in us and look forward to collaborating with them on the Telstar 12 VANTAGE mission."
The H-IIA rocket is Japan's core launch vehicle and one of the most reliable launch vehicles in the world, with 21 of 22 launches to date carried out successfully. By now winning its first order to launch a commercial satellite, MHI intends to undertake even more aggressive marketing of its satellite launch services both in Japan and abroad, and to continue to fulfill its central role in maintaining and enhancing the Japanese space industry, ensuring our continued access to space.