Saudi Arabia announces launch of first communications satellite along with India's GSAT-31

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft launches on an Antares rocket at 4:01 a.m. EST Nov. 17, 2018, from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman's 10th contracted cargo resupply
Representational picture NASA/Joel Kowsky

The desert country, Saudi Arabia has announced on Tuesday, February 5 the launch of country's first satellite for communications from the French Guiana Space Centre. The rocket lifted off carrying two communications satellites into orbit and it is the first launch of 2019 for the France-based company Arianespace.

As per the reports from the Saudi press agency, Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister, Khaled bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih said that the launch aims at the localising strategic technologies as well as enabling the young people of Saudi Arabia to work with state-of-the-art technologies in the field of satellite development and manufacturing.

Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 or SGS-1, which lifted off at around 4:01 pm EST on Tuesday, aims to employ advanced Ka-band capabilities to enable space communications at ultra-fast speeds. It will offer multiple functions such as broadband telecommunications and secure communications for remote and disaster-stricken areas.

In addition, the representatives of the satellite launch company, Arianespace said, Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4), which is one of the communications payloads, "will offer advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for Arabsat's subsidiary Hellas Sat, a Greek-Cypriot satellite operator which provides services to leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators by delivering contents to more than 3 million households."

The satellites GSAT-31 satellite for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and SGS-1-HS-4 will operate from geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometres) above the earth. Both the satellites are designed to operate for at least 15 years.

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