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AMERICOM Government Services to Host U.S. Air Force Payload


Satellite solutions provider AMERICOM Government Services (AGS) announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force to host an experimental sensor on board a commercial spacecraft.

The three year $65 million firm fixed price contract was signed on June 30th with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles, CA. AGS will host the experimental sensor on board an SES AMERICOM spacecraft scheduled to launch in 2010 and operate over the United States.

The program is known as the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) Flight Demonstration Program. The primary purpose of the CHIRP experiment is to test a new type of infrared sensor from geo-synchronous altitude. The passive infrared sensor will be integrated onto a commercial satellite so that it can be launched into orbit and the data can then be transmitted to the ground for analysis.

Tip Osterthaler, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGS noted, “We are honored to have been chosen by the U.S. Air Force to participate in this groundbreaking effort. We believe that the commercial satellite industry can provide tremendous value to government customers who are looking for affordable access to space for experiments such as CHIRP.”

AGS has subcontracted with Orbital Sciences for the integration of the sensor to the spacecraft. The wide-field-of-view sensor will be developed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a subcontractor to Orbital Sciences.

In addition to hosting the experiment, AGS, Orbital and SAIC will provide validation and assessment services to determine the utility of the sensor in terms of data, performance validation and interoperability. This experiment is designed to help the SMC reduce technology risk for the Third Generation Infrared Surveillance program earlier than what would be possible with a dedicated satellite.
SES AMERICOM is an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG). SES wholly owns three market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, SES AMERICOM in North America, and SES NEW SKIES which provides global coverage and connectivity. The company also holds 90% of SES SIRIUS in Europe as well as strategic participations in Ciel in Canada and QuetzSat in Mexico. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 38 satellites in 25 orbital positions around the globe.


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