Qatar’s first ever independently operated satellite, Eshail 1,
is slated to has launched into space tonight at 11:30pm Doha time, from the European Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana.
Now that Eshail 1 is in orbit (some 36,000 km in space), the six-ton satellite’s position is expected to provide a wider and clearer range for telecommunication services, officials have said.
Ehsail 1 will be managed by Es’hailSat, an independent company which began as the Qatar Satellite Company in 2010, when it was established by ictQATAR to manage and develop Qatar’s presence in space.
“Es’hail is the name of a star which becomes visible in the night sky in this part of the world around the end of August.“Traditionally, the sighting of Es’hail marks the beginning of most enjoyable weather conditions in the region and we are eagerly awaiting the launch of Es’hail 1 — our new star over Qatar.”
He added that Eshail 1 should also improve TV, data and voice services across the Gulf, because it has been built with “advanced anti-interference technology.”
Speaking to the Middle East Monitor, he said:
“This new satellite will enable us to reach remote places that ordinary internet lines can’t reach at the moment. We cannot say that we will prevent interference completely, but we can guarantee reducing interference to the lowest level.”
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has been announced as a major Es’hailSat customer. The Doha-based news channel hopes that the satellite will help it to extend its reach around the world.
The launch of Qatar’s second satellite is also in the works, with Es’hailSat announcing plans to have it up by 2016 to give back-up capacity to Eshail 1 and allow it to extend the range of services offered.
Eshail 1 navigates at 25.5 degrees east, and Eshail 2 will broadcast from 26 degrees east, following a deal with KSA-based Arabsat.
This deal appears to bring to an end a long-running dispute over the launch of Eshail 1, which stemmed from accusations that it would compromise the signal of Arabsat-operated Iranian network Zohreh-2, which broadcasts from 26 degrees east.
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