Egypt's second satellite, NileSat 102, was inaugurated last week in the presence of president Mubarak and a galaxy of senior officials and ministers, at a celebration in the northern coastal city of Hammam.
The president was taken on a tour of the satellite ground station, which works in tandem with a primary ground station in 6th of October City (a northeastern suburb of Cairo). He was briefed about the manufacture of the satellite and its successful August 17 launch.
He then watched a documentary about the contribution that the satellite — and its earlier counterpart NileSat 101 — had made to "Egypt's global position in the era of information and digital technology," according to The Egyptian Gazette.
Information minister Safwat Al-Sherif has told the official government daily Al Ahram that the satellite's inauguration was "a moment that would be recorded by history, confirming that Egypt — at the beginning of the 21st century — has fulfilled Mubarak's promise, by succeeding a first generation launch in an age of enormous satellites, specializing in communications and information... to make [Egypt] the leading country in the Middle East and North Africa in this field."
El-Sherif said the need for a new industrial satellite grew after the successful marketing and leasing of Nilesat 101 two years ago, and Nilesat 102 would meet growing demand for satellite channel owners to beam their services through Egyptian satellites.
The minister added that "Egypt had developed a system for launching satellites from its land, firmly placing its feet in the space age... the new satellite will take care of future information needs." He added that the NileSat 102 is the biggest digital satellite in the Middle East.
“It will be capable of transporting large amounts of data," said one IT expert, "which will increase bandwidth capacity significantly. This new NileSat 102 has the ability to both transmit and receive more info from outside Egypt than the older [NileSat 101].”
He added that the first satellite was a combination of analog and digital technology, whereas the new one is based entirely on a digital platform.
The Egyptian Satellite Company Nilesat says the price on Nilesat 102 is $3.2 million per channel. The satellite has 12 channels that could broadcast 96 television channels. Renting the channels will bring in $38 million annually and dishes to receive satellite broadcasts will cost around 450 Egyptian liras (approximately $150) in the Egyptian market. The satellite will be in service until 2017.
“Egypt will have, through satellite 101 and satellite 102, a total of 24 transponders transmitting 180 space television channels which will be available to the Egyptian and Arab viewers to choose from. They will satisfy all tastes and ages within the framework of respecting customs, traditions and values in our societies," added El-Sherif. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )