x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Blast-off date announced for Abu Dhabi satellite

Yahsat, the satellite communications company owned by Mubadala, is set to launch its first spacecraft on March 30.

Abu Dhabi's outer space ambitions will reach new heights when the first commercial satellite developed by Yahsat will be set for lift off later this month.

Following a successful launch on March 30 at 3am UAE time, the "Y1A" satellite will beam down a range of television and telecommunications services to over 20 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Yahsat, which is owned by Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company controlled by the Abu Dhabi Government, plans on launching a second satellite in orbit in the second half of this year.

The total investment of the two satellites is about $1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) and each is expected to stay in orbit for about 15 years.

"The launch of Yahsat's first satellite is a fantastic achievement and a moment of pride for all involved," said Jassim al Zaabi, the chief executive of Yahsat.

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"By expanding our satellite communication capabilities, we are supporting the development of an advanced information and communications infrastructure that will drive economic diversification and social progress across the whole region."

Yahsat is planning to launch the satellite, dubbed the "Y1A", next month aboard the Ariane 5 ECA rocket at the Arianespace facility in Kourou, French Guiana.

The satellite was built in partnership with EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, two leading satellite manufacturing companies.