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Italy's first operational communications satellite was launched 15 January 1991 by an Ariane booster. Developed by a contractor team led by Alenia Spazio, ITALSAT carries ten active transponders plus five spares for 30/20 GHz and 50/40 GHz links with a capacity of 12,000 telephone circuits. The 900-kg (on-station) spacecraft consists of a rectangular bus 2.3 m by 2.7 m by 3.5 m and two solar panels with a total span of 21.8 m and more than 1.5 kW power. The design life for the first test vehicle is only five years. ITALSAT 2 is not scheduled for launch until 1996 when it will also carry ESA's first European Mobile Services payload. ITALSAT 2 was undergoing environmental testing in France in late 1994. ITALSAT 1 is stationed at 13.2 degrees E, which will also be the home of ITALSAT 2 (References 146, 149-152).

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