A pair of satellites now in the final stages of preparation by Arianespace for a launch readiness review on February 4th are especially important its two clients. Subject to passing the review, launch should happen on February 5th, subject to weather conditions.
The first ‘passenger’ is HellasSat-4/Saudi 1, a so-called condosat having been built by Lockheed Martin with help from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz science & Technology university. HellasSat is now owned by Arabsat. The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload will provide advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s KACST, including secure communications for the Gulf Cooperative Council region.
The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload of the same satellite, on the other hand, will offer advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for Arabsat’s subsidiary Hellas Sat, a Greek-Cypriot satellite operator which provides services to leading DTH operators by delivering contents to more than three million households
The second satellite is for India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is their GSAT-31 craft. GSAT-31 is a telecommunications satellite designed and manufactured by ISRO which will provide communications services in Ku-band for at least 15 years.
GSAT-31 will essentially help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of an ambitious Indian space programme, whose objectives are to develop India while pursuing science research and planetary exploration.