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Arabsat Picks Astrium, Thales Alenia Space for Next-Gen Satellites

PARIS AIR SHOW, Le Bourget --- Arabsat, the 30-year old leading Arab communications satellite operator based in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected a consortium of European companies Astrium and Thales Alenia Space to build their 5th Generation satellites.

A firm contract for the two first satellites, Arabsat-5A and BADR-5, was signed in Riyadh on 16 June 2007.

These 5th Generation satellites will make it possible for Arabsat to execute their aggressive deployment strategy over the Middle East and North Africa region markets, and beyond, for the forthcoming 20 years.

Arabsat-5A and BADR-5 will be built and delivered in orbit by a joint team of Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. Astrium, as the leading partner, will supply the platforms and integrate the satellites. Thales Alenia Space will design and build the communications payloads. The team will also upgrade the ground control segment for the extended Arabsat satellite fleet.

Arabsat has chosen Arianespace and ILS/Proton to launch the satellites in 2009-2010.

Arabsat-5A, a Eurostar E3000 model, will have a launch mass of 4,800kg and a spacecraft power of 11kW at the end of its 15-year service lifetime. Equipped with a payload featuring 16 active transponders in C-band and 24 in Ku-band, the multi-mission Arabsat-5A satellite will take over from Arabsat-2B and provide additional capacity at 30.5º East for a large range of satellite communications services such as television backhauling and broadcasting, telephony, business communications, Internet trunking and the provision of VSAT and other interactive services, over sub-Saharan Africa, North-Africa and the Middle East.

BADR-5 (technically Arabsat-5B), also a Eurostar E3000 model, will have a launch mass of 5,400 Kgs and a spacecraft power of 14kW at the end of its 15-year service lifetime. Equipped with a payload featuring 56 active transponders in Ku-band and Ka-band, BADR-5 will primarily provide full in-orbit back-up capacity both for BADR-4 and BADR-6. Co-located with the rest of Arabsat's BADR constellation of Direct-To-Home satellites at its 26° East video "hot-spot", it will guarantee to its broadcasting customers a unique "hot" redundancy, the highest level ever in the region. Complementary missions include supporting the expected boom of HD-TV and, thanks to its Ka-band capacity, the development of sophisticated interactive services.


Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of EUR 3.2 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are: the business units Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Together with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space forms a Space Alliance between the two groups. The company is a worldwide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With 7200 employees and 11 industrial sites, Thales Alenia Space is located in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. www.thalesaleniaspace.com

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Astrium and Thales Alenia Space Win Arabsat Contract for 5th Generation Satellites