Egypt’s publicly-traded satellite operator Nilesat has signed a launch contract with SpaceX for the in-orbit delivery of Nilesat-301 geostationary communications satellite due in 2022.
The deal was sealed between Nilesat and SpaceX in Cairo on Tuesday, the first cooperation between the two companies, reports MENA-based online news media SatelliteProMe.
Last year, Nilesat awarded French aerospace giant Thales Alenia Space the contract to manufacture the new communications satellite named NileSat 301. Based on the Spacebus 400-B2 platform, NileSat-301 has a development timeline of 25 months and is expected to last over 15 years in orbit upon launch in January 2022.
Nilesat-301 will deliver communications and direct digital broadcasting services to Nilesat’s existing customer base and help extend the companies footprint in new markets in North Africa, Middle East, Sudan and East Africa.
NileSat 301 will be NileSat’s fourth satellite in space. The first, NileSat 101, was launched into space in 1998, followed by NileSat 102 which was launched two years later. Both satellites were built by the defunct French aerospace company Matra Marconi, now Airbus Defence and Space. NileSat’s third satellite, NileSat 201, was built by Thales Alenia Space.
Nilesat’s other satellites were all launched by European launch provider Arianespace and from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.