UAE to Launch Major Telecom Satellite
The United Arab Emirates will launch a communications satellite by the end of September, officials at Al-Thuraya Satellite Communication Company said.
Mohammed Hussein Ammran, chairman of Thuraya Satellite, said the five-ton UAE satellite has a 12.5 meter wavelength and is one of the largest commercial communication satellites in the world. Foreign and local banks finance the $600 million satellite.
The launch, originally scheduled for May, was postponed until September or early October. Ammran said the failed launch of an American satellite before the scheduled Al-Thuraya launch had suspended operations at the rocket base.
The failure was caused by a computer glitch at the launch site.
Ammran said the UAE was not seeking compensation for the delay and was more concerned with knowing the reasons for the failure.
Thuraya has already started to market the satellite that will be ready to provide commercial services in January 2001.
The company has signed contracts with 20 countries in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, and is in negotiations with 99 countries in Central Asia, Africa and Europe. By January, Ammran expects the company to have signed 52 contracts.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)