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Abu Dhabi to launch satellite in 2009

Two companies from Europe and the U.S. are vying for the $1bn project.

The Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi plans to launch its first satellite in 2009 and will choose one of two firms from Europe and the United States for the $1 billion project, state-owned Mubadala Development Co. said.

The hybrid military and communications satellite will be launched in second quarter of 2009, Mubadala's chief operating officer, Waleed al-Mokarrab al-Muhairi, told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai on Monday.

"The project cost is about $1 billion," he said, adding the satellite footprint would extend to Africa and Central Asia.

Muhairi said there were two companies vying for the project, European and U.S. bidders, but declined to name them.

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