In February of this year, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) completed assembly on the Arabsat-6A satellite, which was then shipped to the company's Sunnyvale, California, facility for the comprehensive series of tests that ensured the satellite's readiness for operations in orbit.
Khalid Balkheyour, the CEO of Arabsat, noted that this new satellite will strengthen Arabsat's existing fleet that offers millions of people mobile and landline communications service across the region.
Arabsat-6A is part of a two-satellite Arabsat-6G program for Arabsat and is the second of Lockheed Martin's modernized LM 2100 series satellites to complete assembly. The other satellite in the Arabsat 6G program, Hellas Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat-1, also completed assembly and was also shipped to Sunnyvale in November of last year for testing.
Lisa Callahan, VP and GM of Commercial Civil Space, said that these two satellites are the most advanced commercial communications satellites the company has ever built. The modernized LM 2100 that these satellites are built on is packed with new innovations, including solar arrays that are 30 percent lighter and 50 percent more powerful, upgraded flight software and more efficient propulsion capabilities resulting in longer maneuver life. Those improvements will deliver greater precision, performance and value on orbit.
Lockheed Martin is building five modernized LM 2100 satellites for a host of missions and customers around the globe.
Pre-launch work on the satellites continues as Arabsat-6A is now scheduled to launch before the close of 2018. The launch will be accommodated by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. This will be the first commercial satellite launch by SpaceX using the Falcon Heavy.