Abu Dhabi-based Yahsat’s third satellite, Al Yah 3, is ready for work at its 20 degrees West orbital slot.
The satellite was launched back on January 26th and at first was feared lost, with its Ariane 5 launch rocket failing to deliver the satellite to its correct geostationary transfer orbit.
Fortunately, the satellite was recovered and has spent the past 5 months slowly getting itself onto its correct orbital position by using its electric propulsion thrusters as supplied by the craft’s Orbital ATK builder.
There has been no confirmation yet as to how much of its planned 15-year mission is impacted by the additional use of its limited on-board fuel, but gossip is that there will be a $108 million insurance claim. One source suggests that 43 per cent of the satellite’s in-orbit life has been lost.
However, the arrival, and completion of in-orbit testing of Al Yah 3, is good news for Eutelsat which wants to use the satellite – which targets almost the whole of Africa (60 per cent of population) and some 95 per cent of Brazil’s population – for Ka-band services as part of its Konnect Africa “high quality affordable” broadband-by-satellite service.
Eutelsat has in place a multi-year capacity agreement with Yahsat for bandwidth. Eutelsat is taking 18 of the satellite’s powerful spot beams which are “ideal for community and Direct-To-User access, says Eutelsat. The contract replaces that booked with Spacecom for capacity on its Amos-6 satellite, lost in a ground explosion in 2016.
Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat, said: “Access to the Internet is a key facilitator of social and economic progress. Today, broadband connectivity is playing an important role in creating new opportunities and in accelerating innovation. We are excited by the opportunity Al Yah 3 brings in our ability to deliver reliable and affordable satellite broadband services to parts of the world that need it the most, building upon our previous achievements as pioneers of such services across Africa, the Middle East and south-west Asia.”
“It has been an incredible journey for us and a very proud moment for both Yahsat and for the UAE. Our engineers have been heavily involved in managing all aspects of the project, including design, development and launch. We are now focusing on the commercial launch of our services using Al Yah 3 over the coming weeks.” Mahmood added.