A European Ariane rocket blasted off from a launch site in French Guiana Sept. 8 lifting the SBS-5 satellite, a Hughes HS 376 model built by Space and Communications Group, into geosynchronous orbit.
SBS-5 is owned and operated by Satellite Transponder Leasing Corporation, a subsidiary of IBM.
SBS-5 will more than double the communications capacity of the STLC system and support a range of new customer applications of data, video, and voice services. The satellite also will provide growth capability for STLC customers on SBS-4, an HS376 satellite that was launched in 1984 by the Space Shuttle.
Both satellites operate in the Ku-band frequency. SBS-4 has 10 narrowband transponders with 20 watts of transmitting power each. SBS-5 carries 14 transponders; 10 narrowband and four wideband.
Each SBS-5 transponder also has 20 watts of transmitting power. It also has the ability to boost power levels on command by linking two transponders in parallel. This would provide 40 –watt channels, four each in the narrow and wide bands, to serve corporate requirements for high-power data networks and video broadcasting using very small aperture terminals.
SBS-5, which has a design life of 10 years, will cover the contiguous United States and provide narrowband spot beam service to Hawaii and Alaska.
The spacecraft will be the 29th HS 376 to be placed in orbit. The “workhorse” line of satellites began in 1977 with the order for SBS-1, which was launched in 1980.
Versions of the HS 376 are in operation by five companies in the U.S., and serve as the national communications satellites for Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and Mexico.