Planning kicks off for new UAE satellite operator

Planning work has started on the proposed launch of Yahsat, another satellite operator to be based out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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By  Richard Agnew Published  November 23, 2004

Planning work has started on the proposed launch of Yahsat, another satellite operator to be based out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Deutsche Telekom-owned engineering consultancy, Detecon, was recently chosen to lead a consortium of advisors that will assess commercial opportunities for the venture. The Yahsat project is being supervised by the Abu Dhabi-based UAE Offsets Group, an organisation set up by the government to manage the Emirates’ offset programmes for military contracts and formulate plans for new economic ventures. The satellite operator would use at least one of the orbital slots already held by the UAE to accommodate the spacecraft of Abu-Dhabi based mobile operator, Thuraya. “The feasibility studies have just started,” John Chapman, project manager, UAE Offsets Group, tells CommsMEA. “We’re working on one slot so we’re looking at [launching] one satellite, unless the consultancy says otherwise,” he adds. The position of Yahsat’s orbital slot is expected to allow the venture to cover the Middle East, Africa, parts of Asia and some areas of Eastern Europe. Although a decision is yet to be made on the exact nature of the operator’s services, ideas that have been mooted include the carriage of fixed telephony, internet traffic or more specialised applications, such as distance learning or training. “The consultants have been charged with looking at any commercial opportunity, so nothing has been excluded yet,” says Chapman. The feasibility studies are expected to be complete in six months’ time.

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