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Superbird

Space Communications Corporation (SCC), a Japanese satellite communications service company, was established in 1985 by Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO), and other Mitsubishi Group Companies. SCC operated communications satellites named Superbird in four orbital slots, by which SCC provided stable and high quality telecommunication services to a wide range of customers. Space Communication Corporation merged into SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation on October 2008.

Superbird 1 [also known as Superbird A], a Japanese communications satellite, was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket, version 44L, from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana. Owned by the Space Communications Corporation (SCC), Superbird 1 provided video distribution, news gathering, remote publishing and high definition TV service to the main islands of Japan and Okinawa. The satellite was geared primarily to the business community. It carried 19 Ku-band and 10 Ka-band transponders, with 3 of the Ka-band channels beamed to the Tokyo area exclusively. Built by Ford Aerospace, it was the first of 2 SCC commsats. Based on Ford's INTELSAT 5 series, it was box-shaped with antennas mounted on 3 sides. It measured 2.41 by 2.58 x 2.20 m. Deployed solar arrays spanned 20.3 m and provided a maximum of 3,984 W of power. Two nickel hydrogen batteries supplemented power during eclipse. Placed into an initial 185 x 35,981-km orbit by Ariane, Superbird was subsequently boosted to geosynchronous orbit by 3 apogee motor firings. Stationed at 158 deg. e, it has a 10-year life expentancy.

Superbird B failed to orbit due to the failure of the Ariane 44L launch vehicle on 22 February 1990. The stack exploded 100 seconds after liftoff due to water line blockage caused by a piece of cloth, later found in the first stage Viking engine water cooling system. The replacement Superbird B1 was a Japanese communications satellite launched 1992-02-26 using the Ariane-44L vehicle from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana.

Superbird A-1 was a Japanese geostaionary communications satellite launched 1992-12-01 from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana. The final parking longitude was 158 deg E longitude. The launch vehicle was an ARIANE 42P, fitted with two solid strap-on boosters. Total payload at liftoff was 2,826 kg (6,217 lb). SUPERBIRD A-1 was the fourth satellite launched by Arianespace for Space Communications Corporation since June 1989. Built by Space Systems~Loral (Palo Alto, Calif.), the spacecraft had a weight at liftoff of 2,780 kg. The payload consisted of 23 Ku-band transponders and three Ka-band transponders. The satellite was integrated into the space telecommunications system begun by Space Communications Corporation with SUPERBIRD A. Once in its orbital position above the Pacific Ocean, SUPERBIRD A-1 will provide coverage of the Japanese archipelago.

"Arianespace has completed 1992 as we began it, by orbiting a SUPERBIRD satellite for Space Communications Corporation, a Mitsubishi group company. We are extremely pleased and proud to have earned the full confidence of this major Japanese group, which has contracted for all its satellite launches with Arianespace," said Charles Bigot, Arianespace chairman and CEO. As of Dec. 1, 1992, following Flight 55, Arianespace's backlog stands at 30 satellites to be launched, worth 14.3 billion francs (about $2.5 billion).

Superbird-C is a communications satellite launched 1997-07-28 on an Atlas-2 AS for Space Communications Corp. (SCC) of Japan. It provides television signals and business communications services throughout Japan, southern and eastern Asia, and Hawaii using Ku-band frequencies. It joined the existing constellation of Superbird-A (158 degrees east longitude) and Superbird-B (162 degrees east), taking position at 144 degrees east longitude.

The three-axis body-stabilized satellite has both fixed and movable antennas and is designed to provide a 13-year mission life. The nearly cube-shaped satellite measures 2.3 x 2.3 x 2.4 m. Fully deployed, it measures 26.2 m across the solar wing span and 7.5 m across the antennas. Power is provided by a pair of four-panel solar arrays that generate 4500 W of electrical power. During eclipse, electrical power is supplied by a 29 cell nickel-hydrogen battery, with a capacity of 200 Amp-hours.

Final orbital insertion, as well as stationkeeping operations, is provided by the satellite's integrated bipropellant propulsion system. The required impulse was generated by twelve 22 N thrusters and one 490 N liquid apogee motor.

The communication payload is a high-power system that simultaneously achieves high effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) while making available a large number of channels over a vast geographic area. The payload includes the ability for channel bandwidth to be selected from the ground. The satellite carries 24 active transponders powered by 90 W linearized traveling wave tube amplifiers. Two 54 MHz transponders at 90 W each can be combined to provide a single 114 MHz transponder at 180 W.

The two 2.16-m-diameter, highly directional and accurately pointing dual-gridded reflectors were built using shaped beam technology. The east antenna covers Japan and Hawaii, and the west antenna covers northeast and southeast Asia. The Ku-band steerable spot-beam antennas are capable of providing coverage to any location visible from the spacecraft's geosynchronous orbit location.

Superbird 4 is a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched 2000-02-18 by an Ariane 44 rocket from Kourou at 01:04 UT. The 4.1 ton spacecraft carries 23 Ku-band (80 W), and six Ka-band (50 W) transponders to provide business communications to Japan and Asia-Pacific countries, after parking over 162-E longitude. Its thrusters employ a xenon ion propulsion (XIPS) system.

Superbird 5 is usually known as Superbird D, the Space Communication Corp. portion of N-SAT-110. JCSat-7 is Japan Satellite System's portion of N-SAT-110. As of September 1997, Space Communications Corp. (SCC) and Japan Satellite Systems (JSat) were requesting approval for the same orbital slot at 110 degrees East longitude. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications ordered SCC and JSat, in April 1998, to share a satellite at 110 degrees East longitude.

Superbird 6 is a Japanese geostationary communications satellite that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral at 00:45 UT on 16 April 2004. The 3.2 tonne, 4.4 kW satellite was launched into a highly elliptical transfer orbit, with a period 2,895 min, apogee 120,679 km, perigee 1,138 km, and inclination 25.5 deg. It is reported that this high apogee, with its very low velocity, is conducive to maneuvering into geostationary status using much less on-board fuel than the usual transfer orbits require. It will become geostationary by 5 May 2004, after six maneuvers. It will provide high data-rate transmissions for television and internet access to the Asia-Pacific region through its 23 Ku-band, and four Ka-band transponders, after parking over 158 deg-E longitude. It will be the fifth operational Superbird, after the current list of SUPERBIRD-A, -B2, -C, and -D.

Superbird-6, the spacecraft was designed and manufactured by Boeing for Space Communication Corporation (SCC) of Japan to provide telecommunications and data services to customers in Asia. Superbird-6 will join the existing Superbird constellation and allow SCC to continue meeting the strong demand for business telecommunications services throughout Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Superbird-6 was the third satellite Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) has built for SCC.

Superbird-6 benefits from a long heritage of innovations and recent improvements in our design, assembly and test processes that have enabled us to provide robust transmission technologies for emerging high-data-rate services. This satellite carries a payload with 23 active Ku-band and four Ka-band transponders for high-data-rate communications that will provide television news gathering, distance learning, Internet access, VSAT and other services to customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Boeing Satellite Systems built the Boeing 601 spacecraft in El Segundo, Calif. Slated to occupy an orbital slot at 158.0 degrees East longitude, Superbird-6 provided business telecommunication services to customers in Japan. The spacecraft's Steerable Ka-band Spot Beam also enabled SCC to provide higher data rate Ka-band service to areas across a broad swathe of the Pacific region including Japan, Australia, Micronesia, Hawaii, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand.

Superbird 7 is a Japanese geostationary communications craft that was launched by an Ariane 5-ECA rocket from Kourou at 20:44 UT on 14 August 2008. The five tonne (with fuel) craft carries 28 Ku-band transponders to provide DTH internet and television services to Japan, East-Asia, and the Pacific region, after parking over 144° E longitude. It is also known as Superbird C-2, and replaced the aging Superbird-C.

SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation announced April 25, 2014 that it had concluded arrangements to procure a successor to its Superbird-B2 satellite. The Superbird-B2 satellite, which operates in geostationary orbit at 162 degrees east longitude, entered service in April 2000 and will reach the end of its designed service life in FY2015. SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation has planned to procure the successor satellite (called “Superbird-8”) and launch it in the second half of FY2015 (scheduled). “Superbird-8” will carry high-performance Ku and Ka transponders and will provide satellite communications services mainly in the Japanese market.



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