Arabsat signs for two more

Arabsat signed a contract Feb 4 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for two additional satellites: Arabsat 5C craft and BADR-7 craft, both of which will be supplied by an Astrium-Thales Alenia consortium.

Arabsat 5C is due on station at 20 deg East in 2011, while BADR-7 (also confusingly called Arabsat 6B) is scheduled to launch during 2012. BADR-7 will carry a cluster of Ka-band frequency re-use spot beams and thus confirm what Arabsat’s CEO Khalid Balkheyour says is and will be the hottest of hot spots over the Arab world. Arabsat claims 164 million people are viewing TV from its 26 deg East position.

Astrium and Thales Alenia Space are jointly responsible for building the satellites and delivering them into orbit. Astrium, the leading partner, will supply the Eurostar E3000 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.

The two extra satellites mean that Arabsat now has 4 satellites under construction.