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Satellite co-project managed by Emiratis reaches launch site

Satellite will boost connectivity in Africa and South America

  • Yahsat and Orbital ATK announced that the Al Yah 3 satellite has successfully arrived at its launch site in KoImage Credit: Supplied
  • The satellite, the third in Yahsat’s fleet, is scheduled to be launched on an Arianespace rocket on 25 JanuaryImage Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Dubai: A satellite project managed by a team of Emiratis that can boost connectivity in Africa and South America has arrived at its launch site in French Guiana ahead of its launch next year.

Al Yah 3 is the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3™ satellite. It is a joint project of Yahsat, a UAE-based satellite operator, and Orbital ATK, US-based company in the field of aerospace and defence technologies.

The satellite reached the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana on Tuesday. The third in Yahsat’s fleet, the satellite is scheduled to be launched on an Arianespace rocket on January 25, 2018.

It is a Ka-band high-throughput satellite (HTS) that will expand Yahsat’s coverage to an additional 19 markets in Africa and marks Yahsat’s entry into Brazil. The satellite’s footprint will cover 60 per cent of Africa’s population and more than 95 per cent of Brazil’s population.

It was completed by Orbital ATK which involved a project management team comprising Emirati engineers who have been based at Orbital ATK’s satellite manufacturing facility in Virginia, US.

“Al Yah 3 is a significant milestone in realising our vision at Yahsat. Extending our affordable broadband services to 60 per cent of the African population and more than 95 per cent in Brazil to bridge the digital divide and enable a more connected world is core to our strategy,” Marcus Vilaca, chief technology officer at Yahsat, said.

“We look forward to the successful launch of Al Yah 3 and thereafter furthering our ambitions via future missions to support more growth for YahClick, and for our other business lines such as commercial in-flight connectivity,” he added.

Amer Khoury, vice-president of the Commercial Satellite Business at Orbital ATK, said the satellite’s successful delivery highlights the teamwork and cooperation between Orbital ATK and Yahsat that brings them a step closer to advancing their customers’ goals.

Leveraging the build of Al Yah 3 to develop national talent, Yahsat had enrolled 14 Emiratis in engineering apprenticeship programmes, which ran over a six-month period at Orbital ATK’s manufacturing facility. The programmes covered technical disciplines such as satellite payloads, ground networks systems and flight dynamics.