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Astrium and Thales Alenia Space win Arabsat contract for 5th generation satellites

17 June 2007

Paris Air Show Le Bourget, June 17 2007 - Arabsat, the 30-year old leading Arab communications satellite operator based in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected a consortium of European companies Astrium and Thales Alenia Space to build their 5th Generation satellites. A firm contract for the two first satellites, Arabsat-5A and BADR-5, was signed in Riyadh on 16 June 2007.

These 5th Generation satellites will make it possible for Arabsat to execute their aggressive deployment strategy over the Middle East and North Africa region markets, and beyond, for the forthcoming 20 years.

Arabsat-5A and BADR-5 will be built and delivered in orbit by a joint team of Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. Astrium, as the leading partner, will supply the platforms and integrate the satellites. Thales Alenia Space will design and build the communications payloads. The team will also upgrade the ground control segment for the extended Arabsat satellite fleet.

Arabsat has chosen Arianespace and ILS/Proton to launch the satellites in 2009-2010.

Arabsat-5A, a Eurostar E3000 model, will have a launch mass of 4,800kg and a spacecraft power of 11kW at the end of its 15-year service lifetime. Equipped with a payload featuring 16 active transponders in C-band and 24 in Ku-band, the multi-mission Arabsat-5A satellite will take over from Arabsat-2B and provide additional capacity at 30.5º East for a large range of satellite communications services such as television backhauling and broadcasting, telephony, business communications, Internet trunking and the provision of VSAT and other interactive services, over sub-Saharan Africa, North-Africa and the Middle East.

BADR-5 (technically Arabsat-5B), also a Eurostar E3000 model, will have a launch mass of 5,400 Kgs and a spacecraft power of 14kW at the end of its 15-year service lifetime. Equipped with a payload featuring 56 active transponders in Ku-band and Ka-band, BADR-5 will primarily provide full in-orbit back-up capacity both for BADR-4 and BADR-6. Co-located with the rest of Arabsat's BADR constellation of Direct-To-Home satellites at its 26° East video "hot-spot", it will guarantee to its broadcasting customers a unique "hot" redundancy, the highest level ever in the region. Complementary missions include supporting the expected boom of HD-TV and, thanks to its Ka-band capacity, the development of sophisticated interactive services.

Backed by the 21 member countries of the Arab League, and with its 30-year heritage of continuous operations, Arabsat offers the Arab world an unrivalled range of satellite-based communications services such as Direct-to-Home Television and Radio, telephony, Internet and direct Broadband access, as well as the provision of VSATs and other interactive services that meet both current and emerging demands. With 164 Million viewers, a 26% growth in only 16 months, its 26°E "hot-spot" has now become by far the Arab world's primary video neighbourhood of choice. Now ranked as the world's 9th largest Satellite Operator, Arabsat is committed to keep aggressively expanding its services in order to meet the evolving needs of its customers. Its vision is to consolidate its long-standing leading regional position as the pioneer of satellite communications throughout the Arab world by delivering an unparalleled level of service in the MENA region, providing quality products, employing the most skilled individuals, and remaining at the forefront of new technologies. Arabsat is the only qualified organization in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, with a fully integrated fleet of satellites operating on most frequency bands and encompassing within a single beam the whole region from Morocco to the Gulf, and beyond, plus a large part of sub-Saharan Africa. - www.arabsat.com

About Astrium
Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of €3.2 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are: the business units Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

About Thales Alenia Space
European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Together with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space forms a Space Alliance between the two groups. The company is a worldwide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With 7200 employees and 11 industrial sites, Thales Alenia Space is located in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. www.thalesaleniaspace.com

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