Yahsat has committed more than $500 million to the roll out of satellite operator Thuraya’s next generation network, announcing a deal with Airbus to construct a new ‘Thuraya 4-NGS’ L-band satellite.
The new generation equipment, based on the all-electric Airbus Eurostar Neo Platform, will deliver improved Thuraya capacity and coverage across Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The satellite will incorporate a 12-metre L-band antenna and a payload with on-board processing providing routing flexibility of up to 3200 channels, with dynamic power allocation over its spot beams. The upgraded network is scheduled for operation in 2024.
The deal marks a milestone in Yahsat’s stated commitment to transforming Thuraya since its 2018 takeover of the company. Rolling out the next-generation system will involve a complete overhaul of Thuraya’s space and ground platforms, and will take Yahsat’s total committed investment in the firm past the $500 million mark.
“The half a billion US dollar commitment underscores our position as a market leader, pioneer and disruptor,” said Khaled Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Yahsat’s Board of Directors.
“We are creating a multipurpose and flexible satellite ecosystem that is attuned for growth and future diversification, and Thuraya 4-NGS is a key milestone in our ongoing mission to provide advanced yet affordable satellite solutions with levels of performance, reliability and security at the leading edge of today’s technology.”
The deal with Airbus is set to be the beginning of a longer term relationship, with the contract including an option for the satellite manufacturer to also build Thuraya 5-NGS (an additional satellite identical to Thuraya 4-NGS) to strengthen coverage across the Asia Pacific region.
“Thuraya 4-NGS, as well as being electric, will also benefit from our latest processed payload technology giving increased flexibility and adaptability over the course of its life in orbit,” said Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Airbus Space Systems.
“Yahsat’s new project reinforces Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the world’s number one in electric propulsion satellites.”