By Andy Sambidge
Company says it will team up with Orbital Science Corp and Arianespace to launch satellite in Q4 2016
Yahsat, the UAE-based satellite operator, has announced the manufacturing and launch partners for the company's third satellite, Al Yah 3, which is set to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mubadala Development Company, said in a statement that the third satellite, will extend commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 17 countries and 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.
Yahsat announced a partnership - with Orbital Science Corporation, who will manufacture Al Yah 3, and Arianespace who will launch the new satellite into orbit from French Guiana.
Commenting on the partnership, Jassem Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, chairman of Yahsat, said: "After a rigorous selection process of over two years that included majority of Yahsat international engineers, Yahsat has chosen two industry-leading organisations that will manufacture and launch our third satellite in late 2016.
The company previously worked with Arianespace for the launch of Y1A, one of the world's most advanced satellites currently in orbit, he said.
Masood M Sharif Mahmood, CEO at Yahsat added: "Looking ahead as development and launch plans progress, Yahsat will continue to explore ground partners and distributors across both Africa and Brazil.
"We will provide a 360 degree service platform to facilitate the distribution of broadband and connectivity services in our target markets. Part of this exercise is to ensure that Yahsat's builds the right distribution and operational platforms within each of its markets."
Headquartered in Loudoun County, Virginia, United States, Orbital Sciences has built 569 launch vehicles since its inception in 1982, with 82 more to be delivered by 2015.
David W Thompson, Orbital's chairman and CEO, said: "We are honoured to have been selected as Yahsat's partner to design, build, test and deliver the Al Yah 3 satellite for launch in late 2016. Being a part of this program is very important to our team because it enables us to contribute to the development of the advanced technology industry in the UAE."
Arianespace has signed contracts with 85 customers worldwide carrying out close to 250 launches since its formation in 1980.
Arianespace CEO Stéphane Yvon Laurent, said: "Being selected by Yahsat is also a true recognition of the quality and competitiveness of Arianespace's offer. Besides, Al Yah 3 will be the 28th satellite manufactured by Orbital and launched by Arianespace: we are eager to work with Orbital again for mission integration and launch."