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The GE-8 telecommunications satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) for GE American Communications (GE Americom), was launched successfully this evening from Kourou, French Guiana. Lift-off occurred at 4:26 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle provided by Arianespace of Evry, France. Initial contact with the satellite, called acquisition of signal, was confirmed at 5:51 p.m. PST from the Lockheed Martin satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia. "GE-8 represents the fourth successful launch in three months for our premier customer, GE Americom," said Ted Gavrilis, president, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. "I commend our teams for consistently providing world class, high-performance spacecraft at a fast pace, and I look forward to extending our 100 percent mission success record into the New Year."
"GE-8 is the eighth A2100 spacecraft we have added to our fleet; we have had great experience with this platform. GE-8, also known as Aurora III, enables the continuation of one of Americom's longest standing customer relationships, AT&T Alascom. In addition, GE-8 will be the next generation home for radio programmers," said John F. Connelly, chairman and CEO of GE Americom.
An all C-band satellite with 24 active transponders, GE-8 will join GE Americom's global fleet of satellites, which provides global distribution of cable, broadcast television and radio, telecommunications services, business television and broadband data. GE-8 will replace GE Americom's existing Satcom C-5 satellite at 139 degrees West Longitude and support AT&T Alascom's telecommunications services for communities throughout Alaska plus serve as the home of America's premiere radio neighborhood.
Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems markets, designs and builds geostationary and non-geostationary telecommunications and remote sensing satellites for customers worldwide. LMCSS is an operating unit of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, one of the core business areas of the Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT). Lockheed Martin has a 41-year heritage of building reliable spacecraft for commercial and military customers, having launched more than 875 spacecraft and clocking nearly 1,100 years of on-orbit performance experience.