The plan by Egypt’s satellite company, Nilesat, to build a new satellite is taking shape as the proposed satellite, NileSat 301, has received indicative bids from several contractors for construction.
The satellite is reportedly budgeted to cost about USD 300 million for its construction and launch, and will augment the company’s current satellite capacities.
A statement released at the Cairo Stock Exchange said that Nilesat had formed a committee to evaluate the bids and identify the best offer.
Nilesat first satellite, Nilesat 101, manufactured by the European company, Matra Marconi Space, was launched in 1998 by an Ariane 4 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, and decommissioned on February 2013 at the expiration of its lifespan of 12 years.
Currently, Nilesat has three active satellites: Nilesat 201, Nilesat 401 and 401B.
Nilesat 201 is Nilesat’s second-generation satellite. Manufactured by Alenia Space Company, it was launched by Ariane 5th Rocket in August 2010. Nilesat 201 replaced Nilesat 101 after its decommissioning in February 2013. Nilesat 201 has 24 Ku-band transponders and four transponders in Ka-band, and meets the demands for Nilesat’s capacities within the middle East and North Africa regions and as well covers the GULF regions, Sudan and East of Africa.
Nilesat 401 and 401B are both leased capacities at 7° West and 8° West, securing the expansion at neighbourhood orbital positions.
Nilesat 301 was also leased communication satellite, providing Direct Broadcast Satellite(Direct to Home or DTH) digital Television channels, data transmission, multicasting applications as well as turbo internet to more than 15 million viewers in the North African region and the Middle East regions(MENA). It was the product of the agreement between Nilesat and Eutelsat in September 2005 to lease capacity on Eutelsat’s redundant Hotbird 4 craft after relocating it to 7° West. Its leased capacity lasted from 2006 until April 2009.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.