Press Release

Alcatel Space wins a $150 million turnkey contract to build and deliver in orbit the first pan-African RASCOM telecommunication satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
June 16, 2003
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Alcatel Space to supply RascomStar-QAF with an in-orbit satellite and its associated ground infrastructure

Alcatel Space, a world leader in space system solution announced today it has signed a US dollar 150 million contract with RascomStar-QAF, the pan-African satellite service operator, to build and deliver in orbit the first RASCOM telecommunication satellite dedicated to the African continent. Alcatel Space will supply both the in-orbit delivered satellite and its associated ground infrastructure including the mission, business, and ground control segments.

Under an agreement with RASCOM, the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization, representing the interests of 44 African telecommunications operators, RascomStar-QAF has the responsibility to implement by 2006 the first African satellite telecommunication system covering the whole continent. This satellite will offer RascomStar-QAF the capability to provide fixed voice, data telecommunications and Internet access as well as broadcasting satellite services to the whole African continent, although its footprint extends beyond Africa to include part of Europe and of the Middle East.

“We are very proud to implement the first RASCOM telecommunication satellite dedicated to the African continent. Before long, Africans in some 300,000 villages will be affordably connected to the rest of the world. This ambitious project is a natural part of our business since we believe that every human being should benefit from communications with others,” said Pascale Sourisse, Chairman and CEO of Alcatel Space. “Our close collaboration with RASCOM and the African Telecommunications operators have enabled us to carve out a position in a new market.”

”RASCOM as a dynamic African organization had been set up to resolve telecommunications predicaments in Africa and though the process has been very hectic, requiring taking up a lot of challenges, we are very satisfied today with the signing and the implementation of the contract for the construction of the first RASCOM dedicated satellite for Africa with Alcatel Space. The RASCOM Satellite system shall tremendously contribute to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas in Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world. It shall provide fully meshed connectivity throughout the entire continent and enable Africa to participate actively in the Global Information Society”, said G. D. Adadja, Director General/CEO, RASCOM.

Based on the flight proven Spacebus 3000B3 platform, this high performance, high capacity satellite will provide a pan-African coverage with multiple spot beams based on 12 Ku and 8 C bands transponders. The system’s ground networks will include gateway Earth stations and low-cost, solar powered rural terminals.
This latest success reflects Alcatel Space’s business development strategy, based on its role as a strategic partner to its customers starting with the initial project design phase. Alcatel Space was awarded back in 1999, the RASCOM international bid to establish a strategic partnership with RASCOM and create a Project company to develop, finance, build, launch and operate, under an Execution Agreement, a satellite system located at 2.9 degrees East orbital slot.


RASCOM, a pan-African intergovernmental, commercial satellite organisation, is the expression of the strong willingness of African governments and telecommunications operators to pool their efforts in view of providing the African continent with a telecommunications infrastructure based on space technology which is not only leading to a global response for all telecommunications requirements identified in Africa, but more specifically going to provide telecommunications services at very low costs, thus making universal services a reality in Africa. RASCOM has a membership of 44 African countries as of now. To achieve its mission, RASCOM has entered into a strategic partnership with RascomStar-QAF which has, under an Execution Agreement, the responsibility to implement the RASCOM telecommunications satellite system dedicated to the African continent. For more information on RASCOM, please visit the RASCOM Website:

About RascomStar-QAF

RascomStar-QAF is a private Company registered in Port-Louis Mauritius which through a strategic partnership with RASCOM is in charge the RASCOM dedicated Telecommunication satellite System for Africa, offering a wide range of services to the whole telecommunication community, from public to private operators to TV Broadcasting Companies and Internet Service Providers. RascomStar-QAF first Board Meeting was held in Port-Louis Mauritius on May 28 ,2003 and was hosted at Mauritius Télécom ‘s Tower.

About Alcatel Space

Alcatel Space is the world’s third largest satellite manufacturer and Number 1 in Europe. Deploying extensive dual expertise in civil and military applications, Alcatel Space develops satellite solutions for telecommunications, navigation, radar and optical observation, meteorology and science. The company is also the leading European prime contractor for earth observation, meteorology and navigation ground segments, and for space system operation. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Alcatel, Alcatel Space had sales of 1.3 billion euros in 2002.

About Alcatel

Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) provides end-to-end communications solutions, enabling carriers, service providers and enterprises to deliver content to any type of user, anywhere in the world. Leveraging its long-term leadership in telecommunications network equipment as well as its expertise in applications and network services, Alcatel enables its customers to focus on optimizing their service offerings and revenue streams. Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries, and posted sales of 16.5 billion euros in 2002.


SpaceRef staff editor.