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Pan-African communications satellite RASCOM-QAF1 ready for launch

18 December 2007

Cannes, December 18, 2007 - Thales Alenia Space and RASCOMSTAR-QAF (RSQ) are pleased to announce the upcoming launch of RASCOM-QAF1, the first communications satellite dedicated to Africa. The satellite is scheduled for launch by an Ariane 5 GS on Thursday, December 20 at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.

The construction and launch of RASCOM-QAF1 is the culmination of a long-standing goal. It reflects the unflagging commitment of African countries, operating through the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RASCOM) to unite their efforts in the deployment of a pan-African satellite communications structure.

The RASCOM-QAF1 satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with RSQ. It will provide telecommunications, direct TV broadcast and Internet access services for a period of 15 years. It will help reduce the digital divide by connecting all African cities and villages at relatively low cost and will provide high quality services to rural zones, as a complement to the current fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.

RSQ is the pan-African operator in charge of deploying and operating the RASCOM-QAF system. It is responsible for system financing, design, supply, construction, installation, reception and maintenance, as well as the satellite launch.

Thales Alenia Space is delivering the satellite in orbit, along with the ground control station in Gharyan, Libya. Based on the Spacebus 4000B3 platform, the RASCOM-QAF1 satellite is fitted with 12 Ku-band and eight C-band transponders. It will weigh about 3,200 kilograms at launch, and will provide 6.4 kW of power at end-of-life. The satellite will be positioned at 2.85 degrees East longitude.

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

About RascomStar-QAF
RascomStar-QAF (RSQ), registered in Mauritius, is a joint partnership of LAIP (33%), GPTC (29%), Rascom (26%) and Thales Alenia Space (12%). Its aim is to become the leading satellite operator in Africa.

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