[SatNews] Rascom-QAF1R and Nilesat 201 telecommunications satellites, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space, dedicated respectively to RascomStar-QAF and NILESAT satellites operators, have been successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana by an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. These two satellites will develop communication services over Africa. They weighed 772 tons at lift off!
Emmanuel Grave, Executive Vice President for Telecom activities, Thales Alenia Space notes: “This launch is an important milestone for the African continent as both satellites will provide Direct TV and radio broadcasting services as well as Internet access and value-added broadband services.” He adds: “Arianespace has carried out three launches* with Thales Alenia Space satellites since the beginning of the year, and our collaboration will continue in the fall: Ariane is scheduled to orbit a communications satellite from Kourou, while Soyuz will launch the first batch of Globalstar Second Generation satellites from Baikonur”.
Nilesat 201 will enable the Egyptian satellite operator NILESAT to ensure service continuity in delivering digital Direct to Home (DTH) TV, radio broadcasting and high-speed data transmission services to the North Africa and the Middle East starting in September 2010.
Built on a Spacebus 4000B2 platform, Nilesat 201 is fitted with 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders. It will be positioned at 7 degrees West longitude and offers a design life of 15 years. Weight at launch is 3,200 kg, and it will generate 5.9 kW of payload power at end-of-life.
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.
Based on the Spacebus 4000B3 platform, the RASCOM-QAF1R satellite is equipped with 24 equivalent 36 MHz transponders in both Ku-band and C-band. It will weigh about 3,050 kg at launch, and provide 6.4 kW of power at end-of-life. Positioned at 2.9 degrees East longitude, RASCOM-QAF1R will cover the African continent, as well as parts of Europe and the Middle East.