Full Moon rising for EADS

EADS Astrium and Arabsat, the communications satellite operator based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have signed a contract for the construction of the BADR-6 ‘Full Moon’ satellite.

Scheduled to enter service in 2008, BADR-6 will provide communications services over a wide area encompassing the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, from Morocco to the Gulf, and a large part of sub-Saharan Africa. It is the fifth communications satellite contract awarded to EADS Astrium since the beginning of 2006.

EADS Astrium will build the satellite as prime contractor and will be responsible for launch and early operations as part of an in-orbit delivery contract. EADS Astrium has already developed the Satellite Control Centres in Dirab, Saudi Arabia and in Tunis, Tunisia to control the Arabsat satellite fleet. Alcatel Alenia Space will supply the communications payload.

BADR-6 has a launch mass of 3.4 tonnes, a solar array span of 32 metres once deployed in orbit, and payload power of about 6kW. As with the two satellites already built by EADS Astrium for Arabsat, BADR-6 is based on the E2000+ version of the highly successful Eurostar communications satellite series. BADR-6 will provide commercial services for a minimum of 15 years.

Equipped with 20 transponders in Ku-band and 24 transponders in C-band, it will offer the highest downlink power level and the widest coverage over both bands across the Arab world. Joining Arabsat’s constellation of BADR satellites at 26° East prime video position, it will provide media groups in the Arab and neighbouring regions with satellite broadcast services for direct-to-home television, interactive TV applications and internet broadband direct-access services. It will also provide enough extra capacity to accommodate the anticipated boom in demand for HDTV in the Middle East and North Africa.