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Apstar orders new satellite

Hong Kong-based APT Satellite, which operates the Apstar fleet of orbiting craft, is ordering up the manufacture of Apstar-6C in a contract worth some $180 million.

Apstar-6C is to be built by China Great Wall Industry, and the contract signed last week on the same day (October 17th) that Apstar-9 was successfully placed into its geo-transfer orbit on a Chinese-built Long March 3B rocket. Apstar-9 will eventually operate from 142 degrees East.  The overall contract value (build, launch and insure) of Apstar-9 was $211 million.

However, the new Apstar-6C satellite is being built on a ‘fast track’ timetable with a completion date some 24 months from now, and a planned launch date of May 1st 2018, and with tough penalty clauses built into the contract.

For example, APT says that the contract allows for a 30 day delay to completion, but every day that extends beyond this date there are penalties of between $50,000 and $90,000 per day. Should the delivery date skip to beyond 90 days those penalties rise to $120,000 a day but with a limit overall of $8 million in total.

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