Hughes Network Systems has returned to Palo Alto, Calif.-based satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to build a more capable follow on to the Jupiter 1/EchoStar 17 Ka-band satellite launched in July last year.
The contract announced March 21 suggests Hughes and its prime contractor aren’t worried about a 2011 lawsuit filed against SSL in U.S. district court by satellite hardware and services provider ViaSat of Carlsbad, Calif., which says SSL stole patented ViaSat know-how gleaned from experience building the ViaSat-1 Ka-band consumer broadband spacecraft to win new business, including Jupiter 1/EchoStar 17. SSL has since countered with its own patent-infringement claim against ViaSat, and both lawsuits are now working their way through federal court.
"We are very glad to once again work with SSL's innovative use of spotbeam technology to leapfrog prior capabilities," Hughes President Pradman Kaul said in the March 21 announcement. "EchoStar 17 is performing very well on orbit and record growth of our HughesNet Gen4 high-speed Internet service has given us the confidence that we need for continued fleet expansion."
Dubbed Jupiter 2/EchoStar 19, the new Ka-band satellite will provide high-speed internet to North America, but with 50% more capacity than its predecessor. Based on the SSL 1300 satellite bus, the multi-spot-beam Jupiter 2/EchoStar 19 is designed to provide 15 years of service once it is launched in mid-2016.