Arabsat Signs European Companies To Build, Deliver 5th-Generation Satellites

Arabsat has signed a contract with a consortium of European companies, Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, to build its fifth-generation satellites, with Arianespace and ILS each agreed to launch one in 2009 or 2010, respectively. A firm contract for Arabsat-5A and BADR-5 was signed on June 16, the companies announced.

Arabsat-5A, a Eurostar E3000 model, will feature 16 active transponders in C-band and 24 in Ku-band as the satellite replaces Arabsat-2B and provide additional capacity at 30.5º East for various satellite communications services.

BADR-5 (technically Arabsat-5B), also a Eurostar E3000 model, is equipped with 56 active transponders in Ku-band and Ka-band for full, in-orbit back-up capacity for both BADR-4 and BADR-6. Co-located with Arabsat’s BADR constellation of direct-to-home (DTH) satellites at 26° East, it is designed to provide redundancy at the highest level yet in the region. Both satellites have a 15-year design life.

Complementary missions will include supporting the expected demand for HDTV and development of sophisticated interactive services.

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