Arab Satellite Communications Organization
|Headquarters||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (often abbreviated as Arabsat) is a leading communications satellite operator in the Arab World, headquartered in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Arabsat was created to deliver satellite-based, public and private telecommunications services to the Arab States, in accordance with International Standards. With more than 20 member countries, the organization plays a vital role of enhancing communications in the Arab World.
The Arabsat satellites are a series of geostationary communications satellites launched from 1985 through 2011. Some of the later satellites in the series remain operational in orbit, while others have been retired and are derelict.
The foundation of Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) dates back to the end of the 1960s. In 1967, information ministers of Arab states developed a series of principles in relation to a satellite network. The goal of this network was to create an integration among the countries of the Arab League in terms of the social and cultural activities. On the other hand, the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) was established in 1969. Saudi Arabia did not join this Egypt-led and Cairo-based union until 1974, most probably due to the tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the time.
On April 14, 1976, Arabsat was formed under Arab League jurisdiction with the goal of serving the information, cultural and educational needs of its member states. Saudi Arabia was the main financier of the new organization due to its expanded financial resources as a result of oil-boom period and Riyadh housed Arabsat's headquarters.
The first launch Arabsat-1A was performed by a French Ariane rocket. The U.S. space shuttle Discovery launched Arabsat's second satellite, Arabsat-1B, in 1985. Arabsat-1A and -1B were switched off in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
All Arab League states except for Comoros are shareholders of Arabsat:
Saudi Arabia 36.7%
United Arab Emirates 4.7%
Palestinian Authority 0.2%
Arabsat-1 was the model designator for a series of first-generation satellites built by an international team led by Aérospatiale of France. It is a satellite with three-axis stabilized Spacebus 100 spacecraft with two deployable solar array wings, making it almost 68 ft (20.7 m) long and over 18 ft (5.5 m) wide when deployed in orbit. It weighs about 2,800 lb (1,270 kg) in its initial orbit, but some 1,490 lb (675 kg) of this is propellant. It has an onboard low-thrust motor that utilizes hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, and transfers from an initial elliptical to geosynchronous orbit by firing this motor. The remaining propellant is then used for station-keeping or moving over the life of the satellite.
Arabsat-1A, the first Arabsat satellite, was launched by Ariane on 8 February 1985. Shortly after launch it suffered a solar panel extension malfunction. Coupled with other failures, the satellite was soon relegated to backup status until it was abandoned completely in late 1991.
Arabsat-1B, the second flight model, was deployed on June 1985, from the Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-G, and placed into service near 26° East, and remained in operation until the summer of 1992.
Arabsat-1C the third satellite of the series, was launched by Ariane on 26 February 1992 and operated until 1994. As a stop-gap measure to maintain network services until the Arabsat second generation spacecraft became available, the organization leased the Canadian Anik D2 spacecraft in 1993.
By the end of 1994, the Arabsat system had been reduced to only one operational satellite. A contract for two Arabsat second-generation satellites was signed with Aérospatiale in April 1993, to build several additional commsats based on the Spacebus 3000A platform.
On 22 October 2003, Arabsat held a contract signing ceremony for the manufacture and launch of the fourth generation of Arabsat satellites, based on the Astrium's Eurostar E2000+ platform. The first of these, Arabsat-4A, was lost in space due to a launcher failure. This led to the ordering of BADR-6 (technically: Arabsat-4AR) on 31 May 2006. The second fourth generation satellite, named BADR-4 (technically: Arabsat-4B), was launched on 8 November 2006. BADR-6 was launched 2008-07-07 on an Ariane 5 to replace the lost Arabsat-4A.
On 16 June 2007, Arabsat held a contract-signing ceremony for the manufacture and launch of the fifth generation of Arabsat satellites, based on the Astrium's Eurostar E3000 platform:
- The first of the fifth-generation satellite, named BADR-5 (technically: Arabsat-5B), was launched by Proton at Arabsat's 26° East Direct-to-Home television "Hot Spot" on 3 June 2010.
- The second of the fifth-generation satellites, Arabsat-5A, was launched by Ariane at the 30.5° East orbital location on 26 June 2010.
- The third of the fifth-generation satellites, Arabsat-5C, was launched to the new 20° East orbital location on 21 September 2011. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/ariane/va204/status.html
- Direct To Home (DTH) television broadcasting
- Broadband & Telephony backbone connectivity
- Satellite Internet
In orbit
- Arabsat-5C (20° E)
- BADR-4 (26° E)
- BADR-5 (26° E)
- BADR-6 (26° E)
- Arabsat-5A (30.5° E)
- Arabsat-2B (34.5° E)
- Badr-7 (Arabsat-6B) (26° E)
- "Emir of Kuwait Adorns Arab Sat Informatics Medal 2009". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Kraidy, Marwan M. (2002). papers/186 "Arab Satellite Television Between Regionalization and Globalization". Global Media Journal 1 (1). Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- "Arab League Member States". ArabSat.
- Spaceflight Now | Proton Launch Report | Proton rocket fails in Arab satellite launch
- APOD: 22 February 2007 - Mystery Over Australia
- APOD: 26 February 2007 - A Rocket Debris Cloud Drifts
- "Another successful Arianespace launch: ProtoStar I and BADR-6 are in orbit". Arianespace.