Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 Satellite Launched

Sea Launch successfully launched the Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 satellite on Oct. 1. The satellite, to be located at 127 degrees West Longitude, will operate under dual licenses. The C-band payload will be licensed by the FCC and the Ku-band transponders licensed by Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. PanAmSat will own, develop and market the C-band payload. The Ku-band payload will be jointly owned, developed and marketed by PanAmSat and JSAT. The PanAmSat Press Release said the satellite will be linked to the Asia Pacific region through PanAmSat's teleport in Napa to PanAmSat's Pacific Ocean Region satellites and through JSAT's Hawaii teleport to JSAT's fleet of satellites.

The C-band portion of the satellite will be used by PanAmSat for cable TV distribution, replacing Galaxy IX, which will be moved to 74 degrees West Longitude where it will serve as an in-orbit spare. PanAmSat said it was developing "the first HDTV neighborhood" on Galaxy XIII. The bandwidth efficiency required to provide the extra data rate needed for HDTV mandates the use of more complex and less robust modulation. The PanAmSat "HD-ready" satellites have the necessary power to handle HD programming.

The hybrid satellite is a Boeing 601HP and will provide coverage of the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

PanAmSat president and CEO Joe Wright commented, "This launch of Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 is important to PanAmSat in many respects. It is a powerful addition to our fleet, providing a platform for HDTV and other advanced technology in a key location, creating the first high-definition neighborhood and helping to meet the growing demand for high resolution television viewing. Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 also gives us new Ku-band capacity that is needed today in the U.S. And, very importantly, this launch begins our relationship with JSAT which we expect to expand as we look at global growth opportunities together."

PanAmSat had to overcome some regulatory hurdles to gain authorization for this satellite. The FCC Order and Authorization was adopted and released one day (Sept. 30) before the launch. New Skies N.V., SES Americom, Inc. and Loral Space and Communications, Ltd opposed inclusion of the Ku-band payload in the satellite. In February PanAmSat filed an amendment to its request for the Galaxy IX replacement, changing its name to Galaxy XIII and withdrawing the request to license a Ku-band payload. Instead of pursuing Ku-band licensing through the FCC, PanAmSat obtained a license from Japan for it, under the satellite name Horizons-1.

The FCC agreed with PanAmSat that removing the request for U.S. authorization for the Ku-band payload rendered moot the concerns raised by New Skies, Americom and Loral. The Order and Authorization stated, "With respect to the fact that a communications payload authorized by another Administration will be on board the satellite, the Commission has previously observed that nothing in the ITU Radio Regulations appears to preclude such an arrangement. We have exchanged letters with the Japan Administration in order to ensure that there is a mutual understanding regarding the operation of the Galaxy XIII/Horizons I satellite. The understandings, and the factual background for these understandings, are provided in Appendix A and are material considerations for the authorization contained in this order."

Additional information is available about Galaxy XIII and Horizon 1. You can also watch a replay of the launch.