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French Version

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
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