Qatar will launch its second communications satellite into space via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the fourth quarter of 2016, Es’hailSat has announced.
The three-metric ton spacecraft will take off from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Es’hail 2 satellite has been billed as way to expand television offerings to viewers across the Middle East and North Africa, who could have access to up to 300 new channels when the device becomes operational.
A year ago, Qatar’s first satellite, Es’hail 1, entered service some 36,000km above the earth’s service.
But its capacity is limited because its frequencies are shared between Es’hailSat and its partner, Eutelsat, which operates the satellite. By contrast, Es’hail 2 will be operated by Es’hailSat from Qatar.
Es’hailSat is an independent firm that began as the Qatar Satellite Company in 2010, when it was established by ictQatar to manage and develop Qatar’s presence in space.
Speaking about the company’s latest agreement, Ali Al Kuwari, CEO of Es’hailSat, said in a statement:
“We are delighted to have selected SpaceX to launch our second satellite. Now a proven GTO launcher, SpaceX was able to meet our special technical requirements and most importantly to meet the time critical mission to launch Es’hail 2 at the end of 2016.
Securing the launch of Es’hail 2 marks another key milestone in Qatar’s satellite program and we look forward to working with SpaceX on this important mission.”
Space Exploration Technologies Co. (SpaceX) is a privately funded space transportation company based in California.
It was the first private company to successfully launch and return a spacecraft from orbit, and is planning to test its first crew-occupied craft by 2017.
Its co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, has long expressed interest in eventually establishing a colony on Mars.
The highly controversial Mars One Mission has previously said that it would use SpaceX aircraft to transport people to form the red planet’s first colony in 2022.