Thales Alenia Space Sept. 8 said it signed a contract with Argentina’s ARSAT to supply the payload for the ARSAT-1 satellite, as part of the SSGAT (Sistema Satelital Geoestacionario Argentino de Telecomunicaciones) program to manufacture the first Argentine geostationary telecom satellite.

“This contract once again confirms our leadership in the telecom payload market,” said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “We are very pleased to support both the growth of the operator ARSAT, and the emergence of a new national space industry player. Thanks to this contract, INVAP will extend its scope of expertise to the telecommunications.”

INVAP, the Rio Negro Province high tech powerhouse located in San Carlos de Bariloche, already involved in the manufacturing of Observation satellites, was selected by ARSAT as prime contractor of ARSAT-1 and will integrate the Thales Alenia Space payload with the platform they are currently developing.

ARSAT-1 is a key milestone for the development of ARSAT, as it will enable the operator to grow its fleet complementing in particular the Nahuel-1 satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space.

ARSAT-1 is slated to enter service in 2012, and will be positioned at 71.8 degrees West. It will provide data, telephone and television transmission services for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Weighing about 2.8 tons at launch, it will offer a design life of 15 years. The payload will be fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders and will use 3.5 kW of power.