By Roger Field
Satellite operator set to complete final tests on its third satellite and launch commercial services in Asia by March
Thuraya, an Abu Dhabi-based satellite communications company, is on schedule to launch commercial services in the Asia Pacific region by mid-March, following the launch of its third satellite, Thuraya-3, in January.
Thuraya, along with its technology partner Boeing Satellite Systems International, has spent the past month carrying out post-launch tests including orbital raising to place the spacecraft in its designated slot of 98.5 degree East Longitude, the deployment of the satellite bus comprising solar arrays, reflectors and radiators, and the intialisation of the satellite payload.
All of these tasks were achieved by February 2, allowing Thuraya to start in-orbit testing (IOT), which it expects to complete by the end of the month. This will be followed by a 10-day test of communications across the coverage area. During this phase, calls will be made and tested from various countries, and test teams will be stationed throughout the new Asia Pacific coverage area.
Once this is complete, Thuraya will be ready to offer is mobile satellite voice and data services in the lucrative Asia Pacific region, giving the company access to a potential customer base of some two billion people.
"The service launch in Asia-Pacific will be a significant growth landmark, opening enormous commercial horizons for business, and bringing Thuraya to a whole new world of potential subscribers, distribution channels, application partners and technology-savvy markets," said Yousuf Al Sayed, CEO, Thuraya.
Thuraya has already established distribution and marketing partnerships with companies in China, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Macau, to help promote and sell its services.