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Yahsat and Airbus complete Preliminary Design Review for Thuraya 4-NGS

Despite the challenges caused by Covid-19, the programme is on track with the L-band satellite set to be in service by 2024.

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the global satellite operator wholly-owned by Mubadala, and Airbus have announced the successful completion of its Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the Thuraya 4-NGS next-generation mobile telecommunications system.

Thuraya 4-NGS is part of a transformational programme delivering a comprehensive, new L-band ecosystem with the upgrade of Thuraya’s space and ground, and user (products and solutions) segments. Complemented by a 5G-ready core network, Yahsat’s newest satellite system will ensure increased coverage and capacity, while delivering next-generation mobility solutions for all customer segments, including defence, government, enterprise and consumers.

The PDR provided a comprehensive review, validating Airbus’ design approach for both the physical and functional requirements of the satellite system. It also marked an important step towards the on-schedule completion of the Thuraya 4-NGS satellite and confirms its effectiveness for in-orbit operation. In addition to the PDR being a major milestone in the programme’s development, the achievement also demonstrates Yahsat’s commitment towards transforming Thuraya and building its next-generation system.

Commenting on the development, François Gaullier, Head of Telecommunications Systems at Airbus said: “This important milestone confirms the soundness of the technical design and capabilities of the Thuraya 4-NGS satellite and the huge commitment and professionalism of the Yahsat and Airbus teams. It paves the way to achieve the next milestones of this innovative programme, which benefits from Airbus’ extensive know-how in mobile communications, as well as our latest digital processed payload technology giving increased flexibility and adaptability over the course of its life in orbit. Our long-term customer Yahsat can count on us, on the quality of our products and on our strong commitment to make Thuraya 4-NGS a big success.”

The satellite will use a large 12-metre L-band antenna and a payload with on-board processing, facilitating routing of up to 3,200 channels, along with power allocation across a large number of spot beams.

Adnan Al Muhairi, Yahsat’s Chief Technical Officer Designate, added: “The Preliminary Design Review is an important step in confirming that the highest industry standards have been applied and met through extensive review and scrutiny of the overall design by our team of engineers. We are delighted to have completed the PDR on schedule and to continue the momentum towards the completion of this highly advanced MSS system, supported by a 5G-ready ground network.”

Rashed Al Hammadi, Programme Manager, Yahsat, stated: “The Thuraya 4-NGS PDR outcome is testament to the joint dedication and talent at Yahsat and Airbus. The development of this transformational satellite system includes work on the platform, payload and ground elements – all exceptional in their design and performance requirements. In terms of what the PDR covers, we have also evaluated the satellite’s subsystems, launcher compatibility, and other key elements. It is good to see that this technical milestone completed on schedule, provides us with a high level of confidence as we transition into the next phase.”