Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace sign launch contract for first pan-African satellite RASCOM 1
21 June 2007
Paris Air Show Le Bourget, June 21, 2007 - Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace today announced the signature of the launch Service & Solutions contract for the first pan-African communications satellite, RASCOM 1, dedicated to the African continent. The satellite is scheduled for launch into a geostationary transfer orbit in the last quarter of 2007 by an Ariane 5 launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
RASCOM 1, built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with RascomStar-QAF, will provide telecommunication services in rural areas of Africa, as well as domestic and international connections, direct TV broadcast services and Internet access during 15 years.
Based on a Spacebus 4000B3 platform, RASCOM 1 is equipped with 12 Ku-band transponders and eight C-band transponders. It will weigh about 3,200 kg at launch, will have a 6.4 kW power end of life and will be positioned at 2.85 degrees East.
In the scope of the RASCOM program, Thales Alenia Space supplies both the in-orbit satellite delivery and its associated ground infrastructure including the mission, business, and ground control segments.
Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space commented: "We are very proud of participating in this program that will contribute to bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas and to ensuring economical development in Africa. This ambitious project is a natural fit with our businesses since we believe that everybody should enjoy access to the resources needed to communicate." She added: "This contract highlights the successful cooperation between Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace as four Spacebus satellites will be launched from Kourou in the next months."
"We are very honored by RascomStar-QAF and Thales Alenia Space's confidence in us," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace. "Their selection reflects the excellence of Arianespace's launch Service & Solutions. With RASCOM 1, RascomStar-QAF will be able to offer a full range of dedicated telecommunications services for the entire African continent."
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 the "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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