Satmex, owned by Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Raytheon [NYSE: RTN] today announced that the all-electric propulsion Satmex-9 satellite being built by Boeing will carry a hosted payload enabling the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enhance aviation safety. The FAA payload is the first in a series of WAAS commercial space missions.
Scheduled for launch by Space-X in the second half of 2015, the Satmex-9 satellite is based on the 702SP (small platform) developed by Boeing. It will be co-positioned at 117° West with the Satmex-8 satellite to offer expanded capacity across more than 45 nations and territories in the Americas, notably for Satmex’s growing video business.
Satmex’s commissioning of a payload from Boeing follows the agreement it has concluded with Raytheon for a Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) payload that will enhance the availability and accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for the FAA. The WAAS payload will provide coverage to reference stations in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as the continental United States and Alaska, improving GPS signal accuracy to seven meters from 100 meters. Commercial airline and general aviation pilots can use this extremely accurate information for more direct flight paths and precision approaches to airports and remote landing sites. WAAS is the sixth order for Boeing’s next-generation hosted payload since 2009, and the first to be included on an all-electric satellite.
“The Satmex-9 satellite will be a key plank of our strategy to increase resources for video and data applications in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Patricio Northland, CEO of Satmex. “We are delighted to expand the scope of an innovative and creative platform with the addition of a payload for Raytheon that will contribute to increasing the integration of satellite solutions into aviation safety.”“With a 17-year legacy as the developer of the WAAS capability, Raytheon is proud to be the FAA’s prime contractor for the GEO Service Lease and very pleased to have Satmex and Boeing on our GEO 5 team,” said Raytheon Director Brian Hickey.