SaftSaft has received a multi-year, multi-million dollar long-term agreement from Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries for Orbital’s STAR-2 geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite platform.

“This long-term agreement with Orbital further solidifies the partnership Saft and Orbital has had for several years on the STAR platform and shows that Saft is a trusted supplier to some of the world’s largest satellite manufacturers,” said Thomas Alcide, general manager of Saft’s Specialty Battery Group. “We’re excited to extend this partnership as Orbital continues to be an industry leader in small and mid-class GEO satellites.”

The first order under this agreement will provide batteries for the Orbital-built Azerspace/Africasat-1a commercial communications satellite for the Republic of Azerbaijan. For the Azerspace program , Saft has designed low-weight, high-energy batteries with space qualified VES180 Li-ion cells to support five kilowatts of payload power for 36 active transponders aboard the satellite. Scheduled to launch in 2012, it will carry hybrid Ku and C-band payloads to provide services to Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa.

In 2010, the government of Azerbaijan contracted Orbital to build the country’s first telecom satellite with a projected life span of 15 years. With up to 18 years of battery life, the rechargeable Li-ion cells will ensure continuous, reliable operation of the satellites at times when the solar panels are in eclipse, which is two 45-day periods per year in GEO orbit. 

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