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By | October 18, 2000

      The launch of the first satellite for the UAE-based Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company, called Thuraya-1, is scheduled for tomorrow morning (October 19). The satellite will be launched by Sea Launch rocket from a location near the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

      With a payload of 5,108kg, Thuraya-1 is among the world’s largest satellites commercial satellites, and the heaviest to launch on the Zenit-3SL rocket to date. “It is the first mobile telecommunications satellite initiated by the Middle East,” said Thuraya.

      The company added that Thuraya-1 would provide mobile satellite telephony to nearly 100 countries in Europe, north and central Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Thuraya-1 is designed for a 12-year life span and will be placed in the geo-synchronous orbit slot at 44 degrees East.

      Boeing Satellite Systems (formerly Hughes Space and Communications) built the Boeing GEM model spacecraft.