UAE's newest satellite launched into space

Yahsat's telecommunications satellite launched "smoothly and perfectly"

epa02698963 A handout photo released by the French Space Agency CNES on 23 APril 2011 shows the take off of an Ariane five rocket with two satellites on board, from Kourou, French Guiana, on 22 April 2011. The Intelsat New Dawn was the first African satellite ever to be carried into orbit by an Arianespace rocket. The satellite will provide wireless backhaul, broadband and media content to African clients. The other satellite, Yahsat Y1A, belongs to the al-Yah Satellite Communications Company of the United Arab Emirates and is intended to provide relay services to Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South-
West Asia. The two satellites weigh a combined 9,000 kilograms. Both were released into orbit about 30 minutes after blastoff.  EPA/JM GUILLON/CNES  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES *** Local Caption ***  02698963.jpg
Powered by automated translation

ABU DHABI // Yahsat's first commercial telecommunications satellite was successfully launched into orbit early this morning.

It was the second attempt at launching the satellite aboard a European Space Agency rocket.

Nearly a month ago, lift off from French Guiana was aborted in the final seconds of countdown after an abnormality was detected on the rocket launcher. The Ariane 5 ECA rocket was rolled back into the spaceport's final assembly building and an actuator was replaced before the rocket was approved for the second attempt.

The launch, at around 1:40am UAE time, “went smooth and perfectly,” said Jassem al Zaabi, chief executive of Yahsat, or Al Yah Satellite Communications Company. He watched the launch from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana with members of the Yahsat team, UAE Armed Forces and officials of Mubadala Development, the strategic investment company controlled by the Abu Dhabi Government which owns Yahsat. Mubadala also owns

The National

.

“We were anxious because of last time, but we know that everything must be aligned and work perfectly, and so with the great weather and engines running smoothly, we were extremely happy and proud to watch the satellite take off after more than four years worth of work toward this,” he said. "It was a great moment."

The Y1A satellite, part of a Dh4.4 billion investment, is expected to be set in its orbit 36,000 kilometres above the equator after its flight is corrected through a series of adjustments. Yahsat will provide commercial TV and broadband internet to more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The satellite will also provide telecommunications for the UAE Armed Forces, which has signed a military contract for support for maritime networks, border control in remote areas and a backbone network for disaster recovery.

The satellite – built in Europe by the corporate consortium of EADS Astrium, Thales and Alenia Space – was originally scheduled to go into orbit early last year but was delayed after an earthquake damaged a manufacturing plant in Italy.

econroy@thenational.ae