Press Releases

Yahsat Ties up with Global Manufacturing and Launch Experts for Al Yah 3 Satellite

  • Al Yah 3 set to be launched in Q4 2016 from French Guiana
  • Orbital Sciences Corporation to manufacture Al Yah 3
  • Arianespace to launch the new satellite in 2016

Yahsat, the UAE-based satellite operator, a wholly owned company of the Mubadala Development Company, has announced the manufacturing and launch partners for the Company’s recently announced third satellite, Al Yah 3, set to be launched in Q4 2016. This third satellite, within a decade of operation by Yahsat, extends the company’s commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 17 countries and 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.

In line with Yahsat’s strategy of working with the world’s leading organizations and positioning the UAE as the region’s satellite communications hub, Yahsat has announced a partnership - with Orbital Science Corporation, who will manufacture Al Yah 3, and Arianespace who will launch the new satellite into orbit from French Guiana. The agreements supplement Yahsat’s world-class partnership model and knowledge-sharing vision, which aims at bringing UAE technology and home-grown services to some of the world’s most unconnected and underserved regions. The selection also supports Yahsat’s objective of finding the right balance between cost, innovation and reliability for this crucial next step in the execution of the company’s growth strategy.

Commenting on the appointment of partners Orbital and Arianespace, His Excellency Jassem Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of Yahsat’s Board of Directors said: “After a rigorous selection process of over two years that included majority of Yahsat international engineers, Yahsat has chosen two industry-leading organisations that will manufacture and launch our third satellite in late 2016. Having worked with Arianespace for the launch of Y1A, one of the world’s most advanced satellites currently in orbit, and with Orbital’s impressive track record of building over 150 satellites that have amassed over 1,000 years of in-orbit experience, both companies have proven their ability to meet and exceed our expectations for world class connectivity in Africa and Brazil.”

Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat said: “Looking ahead as development and launch plans progress, Yahsat will continue to explore ground partners and distributors across both Africa and Brazil. We will provide a 360 degree service platform to facilitate the distribution of broadband and connectivity services in our target markets. Part of this exercise is to ensure that Yahsat’s builds the right distribution and operational platforms within each of its markets.”

Both partnerships support Yahsat’s objective of supporting the UAE national development agenda by providing a unique on the job training platform for Yahsat’s employees and UAE students throughout the build and launch process.

Headquartered in the Dulles area of unincorporated Loudoun County, Virginia, United States, Orbital Sciences has built 569 launch vehicles since its inception in 1982, with 82 more to be delivered by 2015. 

Headquartered in the United States in Dulles, Virginia Orbital is one of the world’s preeminent space technology companies.  It is a leading supplier of advanced small- and medium-class satellites and rockets for customers around the world.  Founded in 1982, Orbital has built, delivered or now has under contract over 1,000 space systems, including more than three dozen commercial communications satellites for geosynchronous orbit missions.   

David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are honored to have been selected as Yahsat’s partner to design, build, test and deliver the Al Yah 3 satellite for launch in late 2016.  Being a part of this program is very important to our team because it enables us to contribute to the development of the advanced technology industry in the UAE.  We look forward to working with the Yahsat team on this high-throughput/light-weight GEOStar satellite.”

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world first commercial satellite launch company. Since its creation, Arianespace has signed contracts with 85 customers worldwide carrying out close to 250 launches. More than half of the commercial satellites in service today were launched by Arianespace. 

Arianespace CEO Stéphane Yvon Laurent I. , added: “On behalf of Arianespace, I feel honored of Yahsat’s renewed trust in Arianespace’s tailor made launch solutions, after the successful launch in April 2011 of its first satellite, Yahsat-1A, by Ariane 5. Al Yah 3 launch contract marks the continuation of a long-term partnership between Yahsat and Arianespace in support of Yahsat’s growth as a global operator based in the Middle East. Being selected by Yahsat is also a true recognition of the quality and competitiveness of Arianespace’s offer. Besides, Al Yah 3 will be the 28th satellite manufactured by Orbital and launched by Arianespace: we are eager to work with Orbital again for mission integration and launch.”

Al Yah 3 will be an all Ka-band high throughput satellite, with a unique design that optimizes cost, capacity, coverage and flexibility. It will enable delivery of affordable broadband, directly or indirectly to over 600 million users in both continents, specifically covering more than 95% of the population in Brazil and 60% of the population in Africa. This is in line with Yahsat’s goal to encourage social and economic development by providing people with a platform to access information, enabling them to enter the digital sharing stage as well as facilitate businesses to expand their network and help create jobs.