Yahsat Chooses SpaceX for $1.1 Billion Satellite Launch Program

Credit: Airbus

, the Emirati operator, announced on Friday that it has selected to launch its Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 geostationary communications satellites as part of a $1.1 billion program.

The Al Yah 4 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2027, followed by Al Yah 5 in 2028, both aboard SpaceX’s rockets, Yahsat confirmed in a statement. Financial details of the launch contract were not disclosed.

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“Through the successful completion of the launch contracts with SpaceX and the recently announced design and manufacturing contract with , Yahsat is well placed to pursue the final contract with the UAE Government,” said Ali Al Hashemi, group chief executive officer of Yahsat.

Yahsat’s contract with , finalized in June, involves the construction of the two satellites using the Eurostar Neo bus. These satellites will replace Al Yah 1 and 2, providing broadband services across the Middle East, , and .

The UAE Government awarded Yahsat a $5.1 billion deal in September 2023 to deliver broadband services until 2043 using the new satellites. This included a substantial $1 billion advance payment in 2024 to fund satellite development, launch, ground infrastructure, and insurance.

Yahsat did not disclose specific reasons for choosing SpaceX over other potential launch providers, including Arianespace’s Ariane 6, ‘s New Glenn, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ , and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, all of which are expected to enter service by 2027.

In addition to the geostationary satellites, Yahsat’s agreement with Airbus also covers two low Earth orbit satellites based on the Arrow bus, intended to support the company’s future initiatives in multi-orbit satellite solutions.

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