Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Egypt to send first communications satellite into orbit on Friday

Satellite to supplement telecommunications system and attract investment

An Ariane 5 rocket takes off in Kourou, French Guiana. . EPA
An Ariane 5 rocket takes off in Kourou, French Guiana. . EPA

Egypt will launch its first communications satellite into orbit on Friday to improve its communications and internet services and attract investment.

Tiba-1 is due to be launched just after 11pm local time on one of Europe's Arianespace rockets from a space centre in French Guiana, officials said.

It is named after Thebes, or Tiba in Arabic, an ancient Egyptian capital whose ruins are in the modern southern city of Luxor.

The 5.6-tonne satellite, made by Airbus and Thales Alenia Space, will remain in orbit for at least 15 years to provide "every inch" of Egypt with call and internet services, government officials said.

"The satellite will provide Egypt with a parallel communications network alongside the current land network and a strong telecommunications infrastructure," Mohamed Elkoosy, executive director of the Egyptian Space Agency, told Reuters.

"The growth of the economy depends on a strong communications network."

The Egyptian Space Agency will run the satellite from a control centre in Cairo.

Egyptian Communications Minister Amr Talaat said the satellite "represents a significant qualitative leap in the field of communications and information technology".

Tiba-1's coverage area includes some neighbouring Arab and African countries, and Egypt may sell them satellite services in future.

Updated: November 21, 2019 11:36 PM

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