Starsem Becomes SkyBridge Equity Partner and Launch Service Provider, Receiving Orders for 11 Soyuz/ST-Fregat Rockets

Press Release From: Starsem
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Bethesda, MD, April 11, 2000

SkyBridge LP and Starsem announced today that they have signed an agreement under which Starsem becomes equity partner and launch service provider for the SkyBridge constellation.

SkyBridge will provide telecom operators and service providers, as from 2003, with broadband capacities, enabling them to offer business and residential users access to high-speed, highly interactive multimedia services anywhere in the world via an 80 low Earth orbiting satellite constellation.

Alcatel, prime contractor for the in-orbit delivery of the SkyBridge constellation, has contracted Starsem to launch 32 SkyBridge satellites on 11 Soyuz/ST-Fregat launch vehicles, each able to carry three satellites, beginning in 2002. Also included in the contract are options for additional launch services as required by SkyBridge.

"It is a new momentum in the cooperation between Alcatel Space and the Russian space industry in the field of telecommunication satellites", said Jean-Claude Husson, President and CEO of Alcatel Space Industries. "And we intend to go a step further", he added.

Starsem and its European and Russian partners will manage all tasks associated with launch services on Soyuz vehicles from development of a customized SkyBridge satellite dispenser to final satellite separation.

"Starsem has provided us with a very competitive proposal. In addition, Starsem has an extensive constellations launch experience with the reliable Soyuz vehicles", commented Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of SkyBridge LP. "Together with Boeing and its Delta rockets family, we will have a very capable and flexible combination of launchers to meet our program needs" she added.

"Starsem is very proud of its association with SkyBridge and Alcatel, which manage one of the most exciting high technology project worldwide", said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Starsem. "This new contract confirms our company as a key player in launch services for low orbit satellites including constellations, scientific and Earth observation missions."

Starsem, whose shareholders are Aerospatiale Matra (35%), Arianespace (15%), the Russian Aeronautics and Space Agency (25%) and the Samara Space Center (25%), is responsible for commercializing and providing launch services with the Soyuz family of launchers. In 1999, Starsem launched in ten months twenty-four satellites, i.e. 50% of the Globalstar constellation and in 2000, Starsem already qualified with two successful flights the Fregat upper stage which will be used for the deployment of the SkyBridge satellites.

This new contract strengthens the Starsem's order book which includes the Cluster II and Mars Express scientific missions for the European Space Agency as well as maintenance missions for the Globalstar constellation.

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