Alcatel Alenia Space has signed a contract with ChinaSatcom to design and manufacture the new-generation Chinasat 6B communication and broadcast satellite.

Dedicated to television broadcasting, this satellite will enable ChinaSatcom to expand its services in China. After Chinasat 9 in 2004, this is the second contract signed with ChinaSatcom and the fourth satellite contract signed with a Chinese operator, making Alcatel Alenia Space a leading supplier of satellites to China.

The contract was signed yesterday in the presence of Chinese Prime minister Wen Jiabao, French Prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, Zhang Hainan, President of ChinaSatcom, Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO of Alcatel, and Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Alcatel Alenia Space.

During the contract signing ceremony at Hotel Matignon (offices of the French Prime minister), Zhang Hainan said: "This signature, following Chinasat 9 contract, will strengthen ChinaSatcom communication and broadcast capacities on the Chinese market and will enable most of Chinese people to enjoy the latest services based on Alcatel Alenia Space satellite technology."

Serge Tchuruk added: "The Chinasat 6B contract marks a new step forward in partnership and trust between Alcatel and China which started some 20 years ago. We are very proud to provide ChinaSatcom with our state-of-the-art technology, proven in orbit."

Chinasat 6B will be based on the Spacebus 4000 C2 platform from Alcatel Alenia Space, fitted with 38 active C-band channels. Weighing about 4,600 kilograms at launch and having 8,7 kW of electrical power, it will be positioned at 115.5 degrees East. The satellite's lifetime will exceed 15 years.

Chinasat 6B will be orbited by the Chinese Long March 3B launcher. Alcatel Alenia Space will assist ChinaSatcom for the launch campaign, orbital positioning and in-orbit tests.

The cooperation between Alcatel and Chinese satellite operators started in 1984 with the supply of subassemblies for Chinasat 1. Alcatel then delivered Sinosat 1 in July 1998, and Apstar VI last April. Chinasat 9 is currently under construction.

In the frame of the official visit of the Chinese Prime minister in France, Serge Tchuruk and Pascale Sourisse will welcome Wen Jiabao to the Alcatel Alenia Space's facility in Cannes, France, on Wednesday December 7th.

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