Malaysian-based satellite operator Measat has signed a 15-year contract worth $180m with Australian satellite company NewSat to acquire capacity on the Jabiru-1 satellite, which will provide back-up services to Measat’s customer base.

Measat supplies communication services across the eastern hemisphere and the contract will provide the company with multiple transponders covering South Asia and South East Asia during the 15-year life span of the Jabiru-1 satellite.

NewSat founder and CEO, Adrian Ballintine said: "We are very pleased to be working with MEASAT in bringing this strategic capability to Asia to assist their customers with expansion and protection of their existing services."

"NewSat has now assembled cornerstone contracts totalling $526m to underpin the export credit agency backed debt financing, to build and launch the satellite, further reinforcing NewSat’s vision of becoming a satellite operator," Ballintine said.

Australian satellite provider NewSat has sold about a third of the capacity for thee Jabiru-1 and Jabiru-2 satellites and will now focus on developing more satellites for the other orbital slots.

The company is seeking to get low-interest funding from French government-backed COFACE and the Export-Import bank of the US.

"The banks will invest because construction of the Jabiru satellite by Lockheed Martin will create about 750 jobs in the US and a similar number of jobs for French-owned Arianespace, which has a contract to launch the satellite," Ballintine said.

NewSat has plans to launch the Jabiru-1 satellite in late 2012 and will be a hybrid Ku and Ka-band satellite providing secure communications for government, defence and companies over Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Jabiru-1 is NewSat’s first geostationary communications satellite. It will use Lockheed Martin’s A2100 series spacecraft and is designed for an in-orbit life of 15 years.

Previously, NewSat had signed a ten-year contract worth $67.2m with a Middle Eastern telecommunications provider giving it part of the Jabiru satellite transmission capacity.