Hong Kong-based satellite operator APT Satellite Company (APSTAR) announced a deal for a new satellite and launch on 10 November 2020. APSTAR signed the turnkey contract with China Great Wall Industry Corp (CGWIC) for a GEO communications satellite based on its CAST DFH-3E small-GEO platform. This new unit is to be called APSTAR-6E and is planned for launch by mid-2023. The contract, reportedly valued at US$137.59 million, covers satellite manufacture, launch and insurance.

CGWIC has become a specialist in turnkey contracts involving the construction (CAST is normally subcontracted to build the spacecraft) and delivery into orbit of GEO spacecraft. It originally did this to get past the ITAR regulations preventing US satellite technology flying on Chinese launch vehicles.

David Todd contributed to this story