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Astrium and Thales Alenia Space win Yahsat satellite communications contract


Abu Dhabi, UAE.- Al Yah Satellite Communications Company “Yahsat”, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, awarded a contract to a joint team of Astrium and Thales Alenia Space to build their US$ 1.66 billion (AED 6 Billion) dual satellite communications system ready for a launch in the second half of 2010.

Yahsat will provide customers with innovative solutions for broadcasting services, internet trunking via satellite, corporate data networks and backhauling services to telecom operators. The Yahsat satellites will fulfil the satellite communication requirements of both government and commercial customers in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South West Asia. The system is designed to accommodate the trends of emerging applications in the satellite industry like HDTV and other broadband satellite services.

Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, COO of Mubadala and Chairman of Yahsat, commented: “Demand for satellite communications capacity is booming in the Middle East and North Africa, and this demand is predicted to grow exponentially. This is the first time that a government in the region has openly backed such a substantial venture in the satellite communications industry. It sends out a powerful message about Abu Dhabi’s emerging role as global technology hot-spot"

François Auque, member of EADS Executive Committee and CEO of Astrium, representing the consortium, said: "Naturally we are delighted to have been selected as Yahsat’s partner for the design, construction and management of these two satellites communication system. The selection process was comprehensive; we were impressed by both the depth of strategic studies undertaken and the technical know-how displayed by the team but also their passion for ’making it happen’. We believe and hope that this is the start of a long-term relationship that will benefit not only Yahsat’s customers around the region, but the people of Abu Dhabi themselves.”

The dual (government and commercial) Yahsat satellite communications system includes two large satellites to be delivered in orbit, as well as the associated ground infrastructure. The operational life of the satellites is estimated at 15 years. The Yahsat system will comprise of a space segment including two operational satellites -YahSat 1A and YahSat 1B. Yahsat 1A is to be stationed at the orbital position of 52.5°E.


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