Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and ictQATAR (representing the State of Qatar) announce today that following an international consultation, Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has been selected to build the high-performance satellite they will jointly own and operate at the 25.5° East location in geostationary orbit.
The selection of prime contractor marks the next step forward in the partnership signed in May by Eutelsat and ictQATAR to invest in and operate a high-capacity satellite at 25.5° East, one of the two longstanding and anchored neighbourhoods serving rapidly expanding markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia regions. The two organisations selected Space Systems/Loral to deliver a spacecraft with a more than 15-year design life based on the Space Systems/Loral 1300 satellite bus, which is a decades-proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications.
To enter into service in early 2013, this powerful satellite will provide a significantly expanded mission and superior coverage across Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia to follow on from Eutelsat's EUROBIRD™ 2 satellite, which is currently operated at 25.5° East. In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and additional Ku-band resources for ictQATAR, it will initiate a Ka-band capability to open business opportunities for both parties. The spacecraft's multi-mission architecture will enable ictQATAR and Eutelsat to respond to demand for the fastest-growing applications in the Middle East and North Africa, including video broadcasting, enterprise communications and government services. The television market will in particular benefit from the installed base of more than 13 million satellite homes already equipped for Direct-to-Home reception from this neighbourhood.
Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, ictQATAR Secretary General said: "This is an important step forward as we work to meet the rapidly growing communications needs in the region. The collaboration between ictQATAR and Eutelsat on this strategic satellite is already proving advantageous as both teams were able to bring complementary insight and expertise to the decision-making process. In selecting Space Systems/Loral we followed a fair and transparent process."
Michel de Rosen added: "Following on from the historic partnership signed with ictQATAR only two months ago, we are delighted to take a further step forward with the selection of prime contractor for our jointly-owned satellite. The close and positive collaboration with ictQATAR during this process adds even further weight to our conviction that we have begun a lasting relationship that will benefit both organisations. The powerful new spacecraft delivered by Space Systems/Loral will equip Eutelsat with the continuity we need at the 25.5° East position, which is already a pillar for video broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa regions, and usher in new business opportunities for us in the Ka-band."
"We look forward to working with Eutelsat and ictQATAR to help broaden the availability of communications technology in the region," said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral. "We are extremely pleased to add Eutelsat and ictQATAR as a new customer, and are proud that Space Systems/Loral provides satellites to the world's leading satellite operators."
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