SpaceX has won a contract to launch Al Yah Satellite (Yahsat) Communications Company’s latest communication satellite.
Al Yah Satellite Communications Company
AlYahsat provides satellites voice, data, and internet service to parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. They have deals with the UAE Armed Forces to provide secure satellite communications while serving both government and commercial entities.
Thuraya is a telecommunications subsidiary. They have two currently operational satellites, Thuraya 2 and Thuraya 3. These Boeing-built satellites were launched in 2003 and 2008 respectively. The first Thuraya satellite, Thuraya 1, reached the end of its life in 2007 and was moved to a junk orbit.
While Thuraya 2 and Thuraya 3 are basically the same satellite in a different orbit, Thuraya 4-NGS is a next-generation satellite (hence the NGS). The new satellite is being built by Airbus; who also may build the Thuraya 5-NGS satellite.
Thuraya 4-NGS will serve to replace the aging Thuraya 2, while Thuraya 5-NGS would replace the Thuraya 3; both of which are past the end of their design life.
SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch Thuraya 4-NGS satellite
SpaceX won the contract to launch the satellite with their Falcon 9 rocket. YahSat cited the Falcon 9’s high reliability and advanced capabilities as contributing reasons for the selection. This is not a surprising selection. The previous Thuraya satellites were launched on Sea Launch; which is no longer an option.
For launch of its advanced technology, Yahsat sought a reliable and high-performance ride to orbit. We’re proud it has selected Falcon 9, one of the world’s most frequently flown launch vehicles, and we look forward to a successful mission,Tom Ochinero, SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales
Falcon 9 is the most frequently launched rocket, while its reusability has brought the launch cost down. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has 122 successful launches, with a roughly 5.5 ton payload to GTO.