Saudi satellite operator Arabsat has signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space to manufacture a new satellite, Badr-8, the first of the operator’s seventh generation of satellites, which is expected to be launched at the beginning of 2023.
Badr-8 will be based on the Airbus Eurostar Neo electric orbit raising platform, giving Arabsat access to a wide range of launch vehicles, and the satellite will cover Europe, Middle East, Africa and central Asia.
Badr-8 will include the Airbus-developed Teleo optical communications payload demonstrator. According to Arabsat, this payload will enable very high capacity analogue optical feeder link communications, as part of the development by Airbus of a new generation of optical communications technology in space to be integrated in its future commercial products, which is said to be highly robust against jamming
Khalid Balkheyour, president and CEO of Arabsat said: “Badr- 8 satellite will be joining our Badr-network at Arabsat 26°E hotspot, Badr-8 will carry massive satellite transponders for satellite TV broadcasting, satellite telecommunications and information exchanging services in Ku- band / C – band that will enhance Arabsat satellite fleet capacities and ensure updated and developed services for years to come, reinforcing Arabsat leading role in the Middle East for satellite TV broadcasting and satellite telecommunications. Arabsat investments in Badr-8 will reach about US$300 million including launch, insurance and ground infrastructures.”
Jean-Marc Nasr, head of space systems at Airbus, said: “This important contract with our long-standing customer Arabsat has a special significance for Airbus Defense and Space. It is the first seventh generation Arabsat satellite and the first Eurostar Neo satellite we are building for Arabsat after six previous Eurostar satellites. Badr-8 incorporates the best of our expertise and technologies, including a very innovative optical communications hosted payload. This further strengthens our continuing strategic partnership with the Arab Satellite Communications Organization, which has been connecting people by satellite across the Middle East and the world for more than 40 years.”
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