New Arabsat satellite gets closer to its launch

After multiple tests to ensure it's fit for flight, the satellite will be ready for delivery to its launch site by the end of the year.
Arabsat-6A satellite being prepared in a Lockheed Martin clean room near Denver to be moved to the company's Sunnyvale, California facility for final testing. (Image source: Flickr page of Lockheed Martin)
Arabsat-6A satellite being prepared in a Lockheed Martin clean room near Denver to be moved to the company's Sunnyvale, California facility for final testing. (Image source: Flickr page of Lockheed Martin)

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A new, high-capacity communications satellite for the Middle East, Africa and Europe  market is one step closer to launch as Lockheed Martin has completed assembly on the Arabsat-6A satellite.

“This new satellite will strengthen our existing fleet that offers millions of people mobile and landline communications service across the region,” said Khalid Balkheyour, CEO of Arabsat.

“We look forward to completing and launching this state-of-the-art new satellite to offer even greater internet, television and radio services to our customers.”

Arabsat-6A is part of the two-satellite Arabsat-6G programme for Arabsat, and is the second of Lockheed Martin’s modernized LM 2100 series satellites to complete assembly. The other satellite in the Arabsat 6G program, Hellas Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat-1, recently completed assembly and was also shipped to Sunnyvale in November of 2017 for testing.

“Arabsat-6A and its companion satellite, Hellas Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat-1 are the most advanced commercial communications satellites we’ve ever built,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space for Lockheed Martin. “The modernized LM 2100 that these satellites are built on is packed with new innovations, including solar arrays that are 30 percent lighter and 50 percent more powerful, upgraded flight software and more efficient propulsion capabilities resulting in longer maneuver life. Those improvements will deliver greater precision, performance and value in orbit.”

In California, the satellite will undergo multiple tests to ensure it is fit for flight. The testing will be completed and the satellite ready for delivery to the launch site by the end of the year.

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