By Andy Sambidge
EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 satellite successfully launched and is moving into orbit
Eutelsat Communications and Qatar-based Es'hailSat announced that their jointly owned satellite has been successfully launched and will be in service next month to serve users across the Middle East.
The EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket and is on course for geostationary orbit, a statement said.
The satellite's solar panels were deployed within four hours of separation from the launch vehicle and preparations are underway for the first of four firings of its apogee motor to complete its journey into orbit.
Eutelsat and Es'hailSat said they schedule to bring their jointly owned satellite into service at 25.5° East at the end of October.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, said: "Tonight's launch is a milestone marking a three-year journey since Eutelsat sealed a strategic alliance with Es'hailSat, our Qatari partner, to pursue a ground-breaking joint satellite programme.
"We are now entering a new phase with the beginning of shared operations of a sophisticated and flexible communications satellite designed to deliver over 15 years of service to our two companies.
"We look forward to serving customers wi th the first-class resources this new satellite will provide and to further anchoring our commitment to markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia."
Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, CEO of Es'hailSat, added: "The Es'hailSat programme plays an important strategic role as Qatar works to meet the rapidly growing communications needs in the region.
"Qatar's first satellite will provide our strategic stakeholders and commercial customers with broadcasting independence, quality service and wide geographical coverage."