Argentina has decided to enter the Satellite Communications area with the construction of a series of three geostationary satellites for telephone, data and television transmission with geographic coverage in the Southern Cone. In order to achieve this, the National Government transferred to AR-SAT S.A. (a recently created public company that will provide satellite solutions) the assets of Nahuelsat SA, a private company which operated orbital position 72° W, with the satellite NAHUEL-1. This satellite occupied the 72° W position until 2010, when it ended its life. In the near future, the argentine satellites ARSAT-1, ARSAT-2 y ARSAT-3 will occupy the positions assigned to Argentina, 81° (in Ku band, covering North and South America; and in C band, covering the whole hemisphere) and 72° W.
AR-SAT is bounded to hire satellite engineering and development to national manufacture. Satellites will be built within the framework of the Argentine Telecommunications Geostationary Satellite System (SSGAT).
As AR-SAT main contractor, INVAP is responsible is responsible for the managing aspects of the project, the engineering development in all its phases, the fabrication and integration of the components, for quality assurance and for placing satellites into orbit. The first satellite of the series ARSAT-1, will start to operate in the 72° W geostationary position as from 2012, and the other two will be operative in 2013 (ARSAT-2) and 2014 (ARSAT-3), with a life of 15 years.
ARSAT-1will be launched from French Guiana (by the Ariane-V or Soyuz launchers). In charge of the launch service contract is the company Arianespace. The total launch mass - including the satellite and its own fuel - will be of some 3000 kg.