XTAR LLC announced that it has been awarded a contract with the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Telecommunications Service Program Office (DTS-PO), Fairfax, VA, to provide X-band communications services to embassies and consulates in Africa and Asia. The five-year contract has an estimated maximum value of up to $137 M. XTAR is a joint venture between Loral Space & Communications and HISDESAT in Spain. Bernard L. Schwartz, chairman and CEO, Loral Space & Communications, commented, “XTAR’s agreement with the State Department will provide for the first use of XTAR by the US Government, an important milestone in validating Loral’s innovative investment in XTAR’s commercial X-band service model. Through our unique collaboration with HISDESAT, we are proud to be able to provide the US Government with this new, previously unavailable commercial X-band service in such a critical part of the world. “XTAR is designed to offset a portion of the ever growing shortfalls in bandwidth for military and government agency communications by providing a cost-effective commercial augmentation to the government’s X-band satellites,” said Denis Curtin, chief operating officer, XTAR LLC. “XTAR will allow DTS-PO to use its currently installed X-band terminals, maintain assured communication access and increase the system performance through the powerful XTAR-EUR satellite.” The Diplomatic Telecommunications Service provides communications services for US Government activities at diplomatic and consular missions worldwide. The DTS network provides responsive, reliable, secure and cost-effective telecommunications services to users at more than 260 sites around the world, representing nearly 50 US Government entities. Built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), XTAR-EUR was launched in February 2005 aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Located at 29 degrees east longitude, the satellite carries twelve 72 MHz high power X-band transponders that provide coverage from Eastern Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean, across Europe, Africa and the Middle East to as far east as Singapore. XTAR-EUR is expected to provide services for nearly 20 years. The XTAR-EUR satellite features traditional global beams as well as on-board switching and multiple steerable beams, allowing users access to X-band capacity as they travel anywhere within the footprint of the satellite. XTAR-EUR is designed to work with existing X-band terminals, as well as the next generation X-band terminals that feature antennas smaller than 2.4 meters.