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Thuraya-2 lifts off

Thuraya's second satellite was launched early yesterday evening from the Pacific Ocean, in a bid by the UAE-based satellite mobile operator to increase its voice capacity and expand its service offering.

Thuraya's second satellite was launched from the Pacific Ocean yesterday evening in a bid by the UAE-based satellite mobile operator to increase capacity and expand its service offering.

The Boeing-built, 5,177 kg, spacecraft lifted off at 5.56pm UAE time from Sea Launch Company’s Odyssey launch platform, positioned on the equator.

An hour and 40 minutes later, its first signals were received at a telemetry, tracking and control station at Uralla, Australia, a move which Boeing said confirmed normal operation.

‘Thuraya-2’, which the operator claims can handle 13,750 simultaneous voice calls, was launched to provide back-up to its first satellite, which was sent into space in October 2000 and began operating commercially in mid-2001. The new satellite has been designed to operate for 12 years at the 44 degrees East longitude orbital slot.

However, it must pass further tests before its launch can be proclaimed fully successful. “A thorough check-out on orbit lies ahead for the satellite, and we are confident that it will soon take its place as a vital long-term asset supporting Thuraya’s future growth,” said Dave Ryan, president of Boeing.

"We are extremely pleased with the success of Thuraya 2. It will build on our current achievements and enable us to substantially expand our satellite capacity," said Mohammed Omran, Chairman, Thuraya.

"It will open up new directions of growth, whether we want to bolster capacity in some areas, expand into new markets or diversify into new satellite based applications," he added.

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