Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Russian operator Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) to build the Yamal-601 telecommunications satellite, which will provide fixed communications, broadcast and Internet access services.

Based on the Spacebus 4000C4 platform, Yamal-601 will carry 18 C-band transponders, 19 Ku-band transponders and 26 Ka-band transponders focusing on Russia. It will weigh more than five metric tons at launch, with 11 kW of payload power and a design life exceeding 15 years. It will replace the Yamal-202 satellite, offering extended coverage of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, from its orbital position at 49° East.

As program prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the design, production, testing and turnkey delivery of the satellite and its associated ground segment. The satellite will be launched by International Launch Services (ILS) on a Proton rocket.

Along with the construction of the Yamal-601 satellite, which should take about 26 months, the Gazprom contract includes a skills transfer plan, providing for training of GSS staff by Thales Alenia Space engineers, to enhance their expertise in different space industry disciplines.

"We are very proud of our selection by Gazprom Space System for this major program," said Jean Loïc Galle President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "It clearly confirms the excellent relations that our companies already established on the Yamal-200 and Yamal-400 programs, while bolstering our collaboration and paving the way for even more extensive partnership possibilities."