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Lockheed Martin partners with TAQNIA for new satellite ground system in KSA

Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA) and Lockheed Martin will develop and deploy the new ground segment to ensure the commercial operation of SGS-1.
The Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 communications satellite at Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin has been selected to develop a new ground system to control, manage and operate Saudi Arabia’s commercial communications satellite, SaudiGeoSat-1 (SGS-1). Lockheed Martin will work with Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA) to develop and deploy the new ground segment for secure commercial operations of SGS-1.

The ground system will support advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services, commercial off-the-shelf-based broadband services as well as Saudi-specific secure communication services. It will be deployed in two phases, with the initial commercial system going online in late 2020 and the Lockheed Martin-engineered secure communications system following.

Commenting on the ground control system, Joseph Rank, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia said: “This modern satellite ground system will help the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia take full advantage of the advanced capabilities of SaudiGeoSat-1 and nurture Saudi’s growing native engineering talent. This system will also allow the integration of current and future Air and Missile Defense Systems, adding enhanced security and resiliency further protecting the citizens of Saudi Arabia.”

SaudiGeoSat-1 is one of two payloads aboard the first modernised LM 2100 satellite bus designed and built by Lockheed Martin. The Hellas Sat-4 / SaudiGeoSat-1 satellite launched aboard an Ariane V rocket from French Guiana on February 5, 2019. SaudiGeoSat-1 will enable future control and interoperability of all the Kingdom’s commercial and military platforms.

Abdulrahman Alkhathlan, CEO of TAQNIA Holdings, remarked: “Saudi engineers trained and worked side-by-side with Lockheed Martin’s world-class satellite manufacturing experts. This practical learning experience is helping build qualified Saudi talent to support future satellite and ground component production in the Kingdom.”

The SaudiGeoSat-1 communications payload provides advanced Ka-band steerable spot beam communications services for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, including secure communications for the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

Hellas Sat4/SaudiGeoSat-1 is the first of two LM 2100 satellites in the Arabsat-6G programme. The second is Arabsat-6A. The satellite features a reprogrammable in-orbit mission processor that lets operators change the configuration as their business needs change.