By Andy Sambidge
Al Yah Satellite Communications Company says ready for lift off from French Guiana on March 31
Abu Dhabi's plans to launch its first satellite on March 31 are on schedule but delays have not been ruled out, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (YahSat) said on Tuesday.
YahSat's Y1A has been loaded on the Araine 5 launch vehicle in preparation for launch in French Guiana, the company added in a statement.
"Over the next two days, the vehicle will go through a series of functional tests and launch rehearsals before the rocket is armed and moved in position for launch," YahSat said in comments published by state news agency WAM.
It added that delays to the launch were still possible "due to the highly technical nature of the launch".
Earlier this month, Jassem Al Zaabi, CEO of YahSat, also said that the second of two hybrid satellites to be sent into orbit will be launched by the end of 2011.
YahSat, which is a part of Mubadala Development Company, an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, announced its plans last year to launch the satellites which are designed to provide communication facilities to commercial and governmental users.
The satellite communications programme that could cost $1.6 billion aims to open new avenues of business opportunities in the country.
The satellite will serve military networks, rural communications, border control services and emergencies and disaster relief agencies.
The satellite will cover a population that crosses one billion in 46 countries in Middle East, Africa, Europe and West Asia.
Good Luck you YahSat and you really made UAE proud of you