Intelsat buys capacity on Hispasat’s Amazonas Nexus satellite

TAMPA, Fla. — Intelsat has acquired a “significant amount” of capacity from the recently launched Amazonas Nexus satellite to meet demand for connectivity over the Americas, an executive for the company told SpaceNews.

Gerry Collins, Intelsat’s director of product management and networks, said the company is leasing the satellite’s high-throughput Ku-band capacity from Spanish operator Hispasat for customers across the United States, Brazil, and North Atlantic Ocean.

“We don’t discuss specific terms of our contracts, but we are calling the satellite Intelsat 46 (IS-46), which means we are making a long-term commitment [for] our customers,” he said. 

Much of the capacity will be used for providing Wi-Fi to commercial airlines flying over the Americas and on transatlantic flights.

However, he said IS-46 would also be used for other connectivity services Intelsat provides on land and at sea. 

Amazonas Nexus launched Feb. 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 toward geostationary orbit to support Hispasat’s expansion into the Americas.

Intelsat already uses several of its own satellites to provide connectivity in the region, and plans to increase its coverage there with the IS-40e satellite that SpaceX is slated to launch in April on a Falcon 9.

Satellite partners

Intelsat has been looking to expand its use of leased satellites since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early last year.

The company announced last week it had signed a multi-million dollar deal for additional Eutelsat capacity, including from OneWeb’s low Earth orbit network that is being sold to the French geostationary satellite operator.

“We no longer see ourselves as purely as a satellite operator,” Collins said, “we see ourselves as a satellite service provider on a global basis to multiple verticals.”

He said Intelsat is exploring more “opportunities to expand our inventory over key growth regions without needing to necessarily build and launch it by ourselves.”

This “allows us to serve our customers without having to commit large amounts of capital.”

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