Es’Hail-1, a joint-venture satellite with Eutelsat, has successfully launched from French Guiana towards its orbital position at 25.5 degree East. Eutelsat’s portion of the satellite will be operated as Eutelsat 25B.
The massive 6.3 tonnes satellite – built by Space Systems/Loral – was launched on time at 8.30pm UTC and the craft’s solar panel deployed successfully a few hours later. Other planned rocket firings will take it on its geostationary transfer orbit. The plan is for the satellite to be tested for a few weeks and then brought into use towards the end of October.
Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, CEO of Es’hailSat, said: “We are immensely proud to have witnessed here in Kourou the birth of a new star over Qatar with the successful launch of our Es’hail 1 satellite. The Es’hailSat programme plays an important strategic role as Qatar works to meet the rapidly growing communications needs in the region. With the arrival of Es’hail 1, we have completed the first step in our mission to become a centre of excellence in the region and develop a sustainable national satellite industry. Qatar’s first satellite will provide our strategic stakeholders and commercial customers with broadcasting independence, quality service and wide geographical coverage. We congratulate Arianespace on delivering a picture-perfect lift-off and look forward to working with Eutelsat’s operations team to bring Es’hail 1 into service.”
Es’Hail1 is the first of a wider fleet that the Qatar operator is planning to order. This craft will provide TV, voice, broadband and government services.
Also on board the giant Ariane 5 rocket (Flight VA215) was GSAT-7, a smaller communications satellite, built by India’s Space Research Organisation. It was separated from the rocket 34 minutes into the flight, and 6 minutes after the Qatar/Eutelsat craft.