Satnews Daily
September 17th, 2010

Thales Alenia Space... Ready To Communicate (Satellites)

[SatNews] Rascom-QAF1R and Nilesat 201 telecommunications satellites, launched from Kourou in French Guiana by an Ariane 5 ECA rocket on August 4, are now in operation.

Rascom-QAF1R (top) and Nilesat-201 (bottom)
The satellites have successfully passed their In Orbit Acceptance Review (IOAR), to the full satisfaction of the customers. Built by Thales Alenia Space, Rascom-QAF1R and Nilesat-201 will develop communication services over the Middle East and Africa from their orbital positions at 2.9 degrees East and 7 degrees East longitude, respectively. After the satellites’ separation, Thales Alenia Space in cooperation with Telespazio successfully managed nine days of two simultaneous LEOPs (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) for both satellites. This is the first time that the Space Alliance’s dual mission capability was used to conduct two GEO missions strictly in parallel, following a launch aboard the same launcher. This dual LEOP capability was already experienced in June 2008 with the launch of Turksat 3A and Chinasat 9 aboard Ariane 5 and Long March launchers respectively, but with a three days interval between the two lift-offs.

The two LEOP campaigns were implemented by the Thales Alenia Space Control Centre in Cannes in close cooperation with the Telespazio Control infrastructures located in the Fucino Space Centre. This LEOP phase was followed by three weeks of In Orbit Tests. During this phase, the two satellites were controlled 24 hours a day, and seven days a week by Thales Alenia Space from their satellite control centres located in Cannes. With this latest qualification and service entry, RASCOM-QAF1R will ensure service continuity for the operator, RascomStar-QAF and its customers, providing low cost international connections between African countries and connecting isolated villages via low cost terminals and Nilesat 201 will enable the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat to ensure service continuity in delivering DTH TV, radio broadcasting, and high-speed data transmission services to the North Africa and the Middle East.