With the global financing now completed, Thales Alenia Space has announced the official start of the Express AM8, AT1 and AT2 satellite programs, which are part of the tri-partite contract that was signed with RSCC (the Russian Space Operator) and JSC “ISS – Reshetnev Co. Thales Alenia Space will be the communications payloads supplier.

The satellites will be based on an Express 1000 platform provided by JSC “ISS – Reshetnev Co.” and they will be integrated and tested in ISS’ premises in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

All three satellites are being built with a 15 year lifetime. Express AM8, which will be launched in 2013, will have a payload power of about 5.9 kW. It will carry 24 active C-band transponders covering Europe-Africa and America, 16 active Ku-band transponders covering Europe-Asia, Africa, North and South America and two active L-band transponders.

Both the Express AT1 and Express AT2 will be launched in 2012. The payload power for the Express AT1 will be about 5.6 kW and it will carry 32 active Ku-band transponders over West and East Russia. The Express AT2 will have a payload power of about 3 kW and it will carry 16 active Ku-band transponders.

“This is a very important milestone for our customer RSCC and for our company, and we would like to thank all the financial institutions, in particular COFACE that have worked on this project,” said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Cooperation with Russia is strategically important for Thales Alenia Space who does plan to continue to involve Russian space industry and expertise on a larger and deeper level.”