By David Cass
Saudi Arabia's third communications satellite is to go into orbit aboard a Russian launch vehicle, which is due to blast off from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan.
Saudi Arabia's third communications satellite is to go into orbit aboard a Russian launch vehicle, which is due to blast off from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan.According to prince Turki ibn Saud, supervisor of the Saudi Space Research Institute, the satellite was designed and made entirely by a Saudi team. It will be used for purely commercial purposes, providing data on weather, oil exploration and the movement of vehicles in remote regions of the kingdom. "The King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology is currently designing and making a series of Saudi satellites to achieve the city’s objectives," he pointed out. The institute is an affiliate of KACST. Prince Turki called upon Saudi businessmen to invest in the services to be provided by the new satellites. The two satellites launched by the Kingdom two years ago are now in orbit 650 kms abover the earth. Both were designed by Saudi scientists. According to the Saudi daily, Arab News, they weigh around 10 kilos or more. Each one costs SR3.75 million ($1 million) excluding the cost of launching. The two already in orbit have already provided valuable data on agriculture, geology, mapping and natural disaster studies. Important studies have already been completed on fish resources in the Red Sea and environmental pollution.