The Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat) has announced the launch of a new communications satellite by the end of the year, which will strengthen its offer of broadband in Africa. Arabsat Chairman Khaled Ben Ahmed Balkheyour added that the new telecom equipment will also strengthen the organisation’s coverage of mobile telephony, television broadcasting, and military and maritime communications.
The new satellite, dubbed Arabsat-6A, has already been assembled by Lockheed Martin. The company has shipped the equipment to its plant in Sunnyvale, California. It will conduct a series of tests – sound bombardment, exposure to extreme heat and cold, exposure to total vacuum – to ensure that the satellite is ready to endure all flight conditions in orbit.
Lisa Callahan, VP and General Manager of the Civil Space Commercial Department at Lockheed Martin, said Arabsat-6A is one of the most advanced commercial communication satellites ever built by the company. She pointed out that it features innovations, including having on board 30% lighter and 50% more powerful solar panels, improved flight software, and more efficient propulsion capabilities that prolong the life of maneuvers.