Press Release

Arianespace to launch pan-African satellite Rascom 1

By SpaceRef Editor
June 22, 2007
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Arianespace to launch pan-African satellite Rascom 1
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Arianespace and Thales Alenia Space today announced the signature of the launch Service & Solutions contract for the first pan-African communications satellite, Rascom 1.

Rascom 1 is scheduled for a launch into geostationary transfer orbit in the last quarter of 2007. It will be launched by an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Rascom 1, built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RascomStar-QAF), will provide during 15 years telecommunication services in rural areas of Africa, as well as domestic and international connections, direct TV broadcast services and Internet access.

Based on a Spacebus 4000B3 platform, Rascom 1 is equipped with 12 Ku-band transponders and eight C-band transponders. It will weigh about 3,200 kg at launch, will have a 6.4 kW power and will be positioned at 2.85 degrees East.

In the scope of the Rascom program, Thales Alenia Space supplies both the in-orbit satellite delivery and its associated ground infrastructure including the elements related to operations and control segment.

Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space comments: “We are very proud of participating in this program that will contribute to bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas and to insuring economical development in Africa. This ambitious project is a natural fit with our businesses since we believe that everybody should enjoy access to the resources needed to communicate. This contract highlights the successful cooperation between Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace as four Spacebus satellites will be launched from Kourou in the next months.”

 “We are very honored by RascomStar-QAF and Thales Alenia Space’s confidence in us,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace. “Their selection reflects the excellence of Arianespace’s launch Service & Solutions. With Rascom 1, RascomStar-QAF will be able to offer a full range of dedicated telecommunications services for the entire African continent.”

About Arianespace Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, delivering innovative services and solutions to its customers for more than 25 years. Backed by 23 shareholders, including the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an unrivalled launcher family, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for their culture of excellence. Arianespace has launched 246 satellites since being founded, including more than 60% of the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a steady backlog of about 40 satellites to be launched, equal to more than three years of operations. www.arianespace.com

SpaceRef staff editor.