Egypt’s commercial satellite communications operator NileSat has selected U.S. commercial space launch company SpaceX to launch its NileSat-301 communications satellite in 2022. The two companies signed a contract for the launch on 21 January 2020 in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt.
European satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space won the contract in December 2019 to build the NileSat-301 communications satellite, which is expected to be completed by 2022. The satellite is based on the Spacebus 4000-B2 platform and will weigh about four metric tons at launch and offers a design life exceeding 15 years. Following Nilesat-201, Nilesat-301 is the second geostationary communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Nilesat. It is also the fourth payload developed by Thales Alenia Space for the Egyptian operator.
Positioned at 7° West, Nilesat-301 will work with Nilesat-201 to provide Ku-band services for the Middle East and North Africa. Nilesat-301 will also help extend the company’s provision of Ku-band communications and direct digital broadcasting services in two new large regions of Africa, while also providing broadband Ka-band connectivity over all of Egypt.
As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for satellite design, production, testing and in-orbit acceptance tests. Thales Alenia Space will also provide satellite control system for Nilesat in both Cairo and Alexandria.
Once delivered to SpaceX, NileSat-301 will be fitted on to a SpaceX Falcon 9 Satellite Launch Vehicle and launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, United States.
The financial details of the agreement between NileSat and SpaceX was not revealed.