RIYADH, Saudi Arabia --- International Launch Services (ILS) announced today it has been selected to launch a fifth-generation satellite for Arabsat.
ILS will launch the satellite, either Arabsat-5A or BADR-5, in the 2009-2010 timeframe on a Proton Breeze M vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. ILS partner Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center builds the Proton in Russia.
A consortium of EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space is building the satellites and is responsible for delivering the satellites in orbit. EADS Astrium will supply the Eurostar E3000 platforms and integrate the satellites. Thales Alenia Space will design and build the communications payloads.
"With the successful launch of Arabsat's BADR-4 satellite on a Proton last November, ILS is again honored to be selected to provide Arabsat launch capability to fuel continued growth in this exciting region," said ILS President Frank McKenna.
ILS has carried out 40 commercial launches on Proton since the joint venture with Khrunichev was formed in 1993. The Proton vehicle is Russia's premier heavy-lift launcher, and has carried out many historic missions in its 42 years of service.
Arabsat-5A will have a launch mass of 4,800 kg. The multi-payload satellite will replace Arabsat-2B, which is reaching the end of its service life. Arabsat-5A will provide additional capacity for a comprehensive range of satellite communications services over sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, and beyond.
BADR-5 will have a launch mass of 5,400 kg. It will primarily provide full in-orbit backup capacity for BADR-4 and BADR-6 television services. Complementary missions include supporting the expected boom of HDTV and, thanks to its Ka-band capacity, the development of sophisticated interactive services.
Backed by the 21-member countries of the Arab League, and with its 30-year heritage of continuous operations, Arabsat offers the Arab world an unrivalled range of satellite-based communications services such as direct-to-home television and radio, telephony, Internet and direct broadband access, as well as the provision of VSATs and other interactive services.
ILS is a joint venture of Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev and RSC Energia. ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.