The launch of the UAE Thuraya Company's first communications satellite — Thuraya One — will go ahead by mid-October and commercial services will be up and running by January 2001, officials said Wednesday.
The US-based Sea Launch will send the satellite into orbit from Long Beach California, an Emirate official said. The spacecraft is already at the Sea Launch port where technicians will transfer and integrate the Zenit-3SL rocket from the command ship to the launch platform.
Emirates newspapers reported last month that the Thuraya One launch was delayed for a month due to technical problems at the Sea Launch platform. The official said all electrical systems have been checked and activated and the spacecraft has been fueled.
Thuraya One, a satellite phone-system is expected to have 400,000 subscribers by the end of 2001 and 800,000 by the end of 2002, the official said. Some 90 countries have signed service provider agreements with Thuraya, the official added. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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