Alcatel Alenia Space has signed a contract to build a new powerful telecommunication satellite for the US operator SES AMERICOM. Beginning in mid-2008, the AMC-21 satellite will transmit throughout the Continental United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii and Caribbean regions, expand occasional resources for broadcasters, and support enterprise communications networks.

As prime contractor, the company will have overall responsibility for the implementation of the AMC-21 program, being in charge of the design, manufacturing, test and delivery on the ground of the satellite, along with Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP), In-Orbit Test (IOT) support and associated services. It will also provide the communications payload.

Subcontractor, Orbital Sciences Corp. (Orbital), will provide its small sized GEO spacecraft platform, STAR-2. AMC-21 will be fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders, each 36 MHz in bandwidth and will have an operational lifetime exceeding 16 years, weigh about 2500 kg and have 6 kW of electrical power. Edward Horowitz, president and CEO of SES AMERICOM, commented, "AMC-21 is an important addition to the AMERICOM Fleet. We believe that the combination of Alcatel Alenia Space's innovative design and partnership with Orbital enables us to serve the needs of our customers as they further integrate Ku-band into their distribution portfolios."