A Falcon 9 will launch the Thuraya 4-NGS satellite which is being built by Airbus Defence and Space for UAE-based Yahsat. This is in the second half of 2023. The firms did not disclose the conditions of the launch contract.
In a discussion during the Satellite 2021 conference, Ali Al Hashemi, chief executive of Yahsat, says that the company did a competitive tender process for the satellite. However, SpaceX bid by far the best proposal. “We think SpaceX is the most dependable selection for our mission. This is in order to ensure to our shareholders that we will attain our mission on time,” he says. “It is the least unsafe launcher as we see it.”
“For the launch of its innovative technology, Yahsat seeks out a trustworthy and high-performance ride to orbit. We are proud of the selection of Falcon 9 which is one of the planet’s most flown launch vehicles,” says Tom Ochinero. Tom is SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales.
Yahsat opt for Airbus to build Thuraya 4-NGS a year ago and finished a primary design review in June. Al Hashemi says that the development of the satellite continues schedule to sustain a 2023 launch.
The satellite will swap the existing two Boeing-built Thuraya satellites that offer the following –
- L-band mobile voice
- Data services
These are from Europe to the Asia Pacific. Those existing satellites continue in service, however, are past their design life.
The new satellite will offer a more flexible payload, he says, with higher data rates. Yahsat plans to release more specifics about those abilities later. The company projects the following –
- Satellite generating $47 million a year in revenue over its 15-year life
- a significant part of the firm’s overall backlog of $2.1 billion (70% of which is for government customers)
Al Hashemi says that the company is maintaining its choices open for what it will do next. “We have a very open mind to look at everything,” including both GEO and LEO satellites. “This is the issue we are trying to answer now, what is next for Yahsat. That is what we are trying to discover at this meeting.”