Arianespace has secured a contract from the satellite operator MEASAT Global to launch the MEASAT-3b satellite.

Under the contract, Arianespace will launch the satellite on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle to geostationary transfer orbit from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Astrium is developing the MEASAT-3b satellite based on the Eurostar E3000 platform and with a design life of approximately 15 years.

MEASAT chairman Datuk Umar bin Haji Abu said: "MEASAT continues to invest in our satellite network to ensure it is able to meet the future needs of our DTH partners across our core Asian markets."

"Given the importance of the MEASAT-3b satellite, we are delighted to entrust its launch to Arianespace with their unrivalled track record," Haji Abu added.

The satellite will weigh approximately 5,800 kg at launch and will carry 48 Ku-band transponders to enhance direct-to-home broadcast services for Malaysia, India and Indonesia.

The MEASAT-3b will be positioned at 91.5 degrees east and will be co-located with the MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a satellites to enhance Asia’s key DTH neighbourhood.

Arianespace said its MEASAT-3b is the third MEASAT satellite, after the launch of MEASAT-1 and MEASAT-2 in 1996.

Viacom 18 Media has signed an agreement with MEASAT to use the MEASAT-3a satellite for the international distribution of its channels across the Asian region in November 2011.

The MEASAT-3/3a satellites distribute news, lifestyle, music, general entertainment, sports and documentary television channels across Asia.