|Arabsat to sink $700 million into 4 new broadcasting satellites|
|Riyadh-based Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) has allocated $700 million to purchase four new satellites during the coming three years, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily reported Friday.
In the expansion program's first step, Arabsat on Thursday commissioned French manufacturer EADS Astrium to build a satellite at a cost of more than $100 million. Named BADR-5, the satellite will be launched in the first quarter of 2008.
"We are currently conducting experimental tests on BADR-4 in order to launch it during the last quarter of 2006," said Khalid Ahmad Balkheyour, CEO of Arabsat.
"BADR-4 marks the launch of one of the fourth-generation satellites which will expand and optimize capacity for direct-to-home broadcasting and other customer requirements and will replace aging and leased capacity," he added.
The company is preparing a tender invitation for a second new BADR-series satellite before the end of July and two others later on.
"The tender bid will close at the end of 2006 and BADR-6 will be launched by 2010," Balkheyour was reported as saying.
Amman,06 06 2006
The Daily Star