The FCC has reversed an earlier ruling and has now given permission for EchoStar Communications to launch and operate a new hybrid Ku/Ka band satellite.
EchoStar 9, the new satellite designed to carry both video programming and two-way data, is being built by Loral Space & Communications. It will be launched at the end of the year.
During the summer, the FCC determined that Echostar’s contract with Loral neither committed the satellite-builder to construct a Ka-band subsystem, nor did it guarantee operation of the Ka-band transponders even if the satellite was constructed. As a result, the commission blocked the project.
After EchoStar submitted new information, the FCC said the satellite operator has met all of its requirements. “Most significantly, EchoStar has submitted the power budget for the satellite, which shows that Loral has designed the satellite with sufficient resources to operate the entire Ka-band payload--in addition to the Ku- and C-band payloads--at saturated levels throughout the satellite’s operating lifetime,” said the new order by Donald Abelson, chief of the FCC’s International Bureau.
“EchoStar has also supplied photographs of the Ka-band payload to support its assertion that construction of the Ka-band system has not only commenced, but is in fact nearing completion,” Abelson wrote. “Finally, EchoStar has provided documentation that shows that it is progressing towards the launch of the payload in the fourth quarter of 2002.”
EchoStar 9 will operate at 121 degrees West. Typically, the Ku-band is used for direct broadcast of video programming to subscribers, while the Ka-band is for high-speed data of two-way interactive applications.
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