Bahrain wants a satellite

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According to a report from the Bahrain News Agency, the tiny Gulf state (population about 1.4 million) wants its own satellite.

“The Kingdom is planning to optimise the use of space sciences within five years to serve national development and keep abreast of global strides”, the news agency quotes Transportation and Telecommunications Minister, in charge of the National Space Science Agency (NSSA), Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed.

Bahrain’s space plan calls for the setting up of a team of fresh engineering graduates to staff the project and commence a 2-year training scheme which would start this coming October.

It is not yet clear whether the end result is a military and science-focussed satellite or a craft for television transmission or a satellite capable of carrying out both functions.

The NSSA Minister extended thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to which Bahrain is very closely aligned, and the United Arab Emirates for their support.

However, launching (and buying) a communications satellite is an expensive process, as is maintain a dedicated Space Agency. Quite what Bahrain would do with a communications satellite when it is extremely well served by Arabsat (of which it is a shareholding member) as well as Nilesat, the UAE’s YahSat, and its near-neighbour Qatar and its growing fleet of Es’Hail craft, remains unclear.


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