The gas and oil rich state of Qatar is involved in a joint-venture satellite with Eutelsat, which is now fuelled up and ready to launch. Dubbed Eutelsat 25B/Es’Hail-1, the satellite is intended to occupy the 25.5 degrees East orbital slot. The problem is that Arabsat already occupies the adjacent 26 degrees East position.
The new Qatari satellite was ‘topped off’ with fuel on Aug 14 in readiness for launch aboard an Arianespace rocket in a few days. It has Ku and Ka-band transponders and was built by Space Systems/Loral.
Some of the satellite’s frequencies are claimed are claimed by each of the three players. Arabsat’s claim is based on their long-standing use of Iran frequencies and which Eutelsat say are not validly held. Earlier this year Eutelsat and Arabsat said they were close to an agreement on the use of the disputed frequencies, but no confirmation has been made as to the terms of the settlement.