Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Eng. Khalid Balkhiyur, Executive President of the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT), affirmed to Asharq al-Awsat that ARABSAT is comfortable with all the precautionary measures taken by Astrium, the French manufacturer of Badr-4 Satellite, before the scheduled launch of the satellite on Wednesday evening from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan using the Proton Breeze M rocket. The measures are intended to avoid any flaws that may lead to an unsuccessful launch, as was the case with the previous satellite launched in February. Balkhiyur expected the satellite to be successfully launched.
Balkhiyur noted that ARABSAT had fully insured Badr-4 and that the insurance companies are optimistic about the satellite launch in view of the valid measures and precautions taken by the manufacturing firm. He stressed that ARABSAT had completed a settlement with the insurance firms related to the previous satellite, which went off course because of the existence of small particles in fuel that had made the fuel run out. ARABSAT has received the insurance value in full and allocated $500-800 million to manufacture three satellites to meet the growing demands for satellite capacity and protect customers should, God forbid, any of the satellites are lost.
Balkhiyur noted that Satellite Badr-4 contains 32 KU-Band transponders. The satellite provides multiple satellite communication services and is designed to serve the Arabian region and neighboring countries and areas using the KU-Band, which makes available television transmission, interactive services, internet services, as well as additional capacity to meet the expected demand for high definition television. He pointed out that the fourth generation satellites are marked by the availability of large satellite capacities as well as a broader footprint that allows them to cover the Arab world, Europe, Africa, and Western Asia, thus making it possible to provide quality services in those regions.
Balkhiyur added that the capacities of the new Badr-4 Satellite will be fully utilized while keeping an adequate reserve to allow ARABSAT to provide integrated satellite services in the region. ARABSAT is the only organization equipped with an integrated fleet of satellites that cover all satellite communication services. ARABSAT studies indicate that the organization captures the biggest market share of satellite televisions, or 47 percent. In addition, it covers Europe through a single orbital location of 26 degrees East, thus serving over 150 million viewers. The same studies noted that ARABSAT captures the biggest share in the digital market, or 63 percent of all digital televisions. Over 230 television channels now use its digital system, including 226 on the 26 degree East orbital location.