Abu Dhabi’s first satellite Yahsat 1A (Y1A) has arrived at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana.
Y1A is owned by Abu Dhabi-based Al-Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) and is on track to launch in the first quarter of 2011. Yahsat is wholly-owned by Mubadala Development Company, the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government.
Y1A was transported from the EADS Astrium construction facility in Toulouse, France, on the world’s biggest aircraft, the Antonov An-225.
In the next few weeks, the satellite will be loaded into the Ariane 5 rocket, which will launch the satellite into space and position it in orbit to allow full visibility of Abu Dhabi. The satellite will be able to cover the Middle East, Africa, Europe and southwest Asia.
In January 2008, Mubadala signed a $1.4bn contract with France’s Arianespace to launch the satellite (MEED 15:1:08).
Y1A will have a lifespan of 15 years and will provide commercial and government services.