The Abu Dhabi-owned Yahsat Y1B communications satellite has been successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on an ILS Proton Breeze M launch vehicle.
The 6,000kg satellite, which will join Yahsat's existing Y1A satellite in orbit, was launched at 02:18 UAE time on 24 April 2012 (22:18 GMT, 23 April 2012).
The European-built satellite which has a 15 year design lifetime, has a commercial multi-beam Ka-band payload, to provide both commercial and government applications. In addition to high definition (HD) satellite TV and other broadcast services, the satellite will also delivery YahClick, a new satellite broadband service for the Middle East, Africa and South West Asia.
"The successful launch of Yahsat's Y1B satellite reaffirms Abu Dhabi's commitment to growing and developing the ICT sector across the region. We believe technology has the ability to change the way we live and work – by pushing the boundaries of technological development we can enhance communities' lives," said Jassem Mohamed Al Zaabi, vice chairman, Yahsat and director, ICT, Mubadala.
The dual use satellite, built on the Eurostar E3000 platform, was developed by Astrium and the payload by Thales Alenia Space. The Proton launch vehicle was designed by Moscow's Khrunichev Research and Production Space Centre, the majority shareholder in ILS.
ILS said it was "honoured" to launch the Y1B satellite. The company's president, Frank McKenna added: "ILS was squarely focused on achieving on-time delivery to meet Yahsat's requirements for their commercial and government customers. My sincere thanks to the ILS, Khrunichev, Yahsat, Thales Alenia Space and Astrium teams who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful mission and launch for our new customer Yahsat."
Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, chief executive, Yahsat said: "We are delighted to see this milestone in our business plan reached with the launch of Y1B. With the satellite in orbit, we are on track in our mission to connect communities around the region with reliable, affordable broadband services through our YahClick service. Communications is a vital factor for economic and social growth in today's world and we are very excited to be bringing this pioneering vision into reality."
The Y1A satellite, the predecessor of the Y1B, was successfully launched in April 2011 to its orbital position of 52.5 degrees East from the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. That is now utilised by Yahsat's partner YahLive for the provision of HD satellite broadcasting services across the Arab world.