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Orion Express seeking to create satellite hotspot at 85° East

Russian pay TV operator Orion Express has outlined plans to create a Hotbird-style satellite hotspot for Russia at the 85° East orbital position.

Orion Express is the anchor tenant at the position, occupied by the Intelsat-15 and Horizon 2 satellites. The company plans to invite a number of channels from Central Asia, Asia more widely and elsewhere to broadcast from the position.

Maxim Shlygin, executive director of Orion Express, said that the company could serve as “a kind of nucleus” for a wider media platform at a position served by two up-to-date satellites with plenty of spare capacity. He said the slot could work alongside the existing 80° East slot – where new Express satellites will offer capacity – and the 90° East postion occupied by Gazprom’s Yamal satellites. He said Orion Express was prepared to offer technical support, including uplink services, to third-party broadcasters looking to expand their coverage of the region.

Orion Express was originally forced to move to the 85° East position following the failure of the Express AM2 satellite at the 80° East position.

Shlygin said that the position offered good coverage of the entire Russian Federation and CIS from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin.