Arianespace will launch Arabsat's BADR-6 satellite.

As part of its upcoming ambitious fleet renewal and expansion program for the next 3 years, Satcom operator Arabsat has selected Arianespace for the launch of its recently ordered BADR-6 satellite in 2008.

Khalid Balkheyour, President & CEO, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, have signed yesterday in Paris the according launch contracts.

This is the 10th contract signed by Arianespace with customers from the Middle East.

BADR-6 (technically, Arabsat-4AR) will be launched by an Ariane 5 during the first half of 2008, from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

With this new order, satellites operator Arabsat, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has now entrusted Arianespace with the launch of as much as six spacecrafts.

"Our partnership with Arianespace is not new, it dates back to five successful launches and we are proud to renew it with BADR-6 and hopefully many more successful launches" stated Eng. Khalid Balkhyour, Arabsat President & CEO. "We were impressed by their customer-oriented approach and the high professional level they've demonstrated during the negotiation, and are looking forward to the success of this important launch campaign for us as part of our extensive fleet renewal plans over the very coming years" he added.

“Arianespace is very proud and honoured to have once again been chosen by the leading operator Arabsat,” said Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall. “We have maintained a preferred relationship with Arabsat since launching the Arabsat-1A satellite in 1985. Furthermore, being chosen for this new satellite launch right when Arabsat has announced an ambitious deployment plan is a clear recognition of the top quality and excellence offered by Arianespace’s launch service” and concluded "we consider it as a significant milestone, hopefully strengthening our cooperation in the close future".

The BADR-6 Satellite

BADR-6, a fourth-generation satellite, will be built jointly by EADS-Astrium and AlcatelAleniaSpace for the communications payload, based on the Eurostar 2000+ platform. Weighing 3,400 kg at launch, the satellite will be fitted with 24 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders with a design life of about 15 years. BADR-6 is designed to primarily provide video broadcasting services for the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region from Arabsat's 26°East geostationary orbital location and by far the MENA region's leading video neighbourhood. Co-located with the rest of the BADR constellation of satellites at Arabsat's "hot-spot" for Direct-to-Home broadcast entertainment, it will be reaching an audience of 130 Million viewers from Morocco to the Gulf and a large part of sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, BADR-6 will also provide Arabsat with additional in-orbit back-up capacity for its core television and radio customers, as well as a significantly larger number of options for optimizing its telephony and data transmissions.