ARABSAT has signed contracts with a consortium headed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space to build and deliver two new satellites, Arabsat 5C and Arabsat 6B, into orbit. Astrium, the leading partner, will supply the Eurostar E3000 platforms and integrate the satellites. Thales Alenia Space will design and build the communications payloads and the team will also upgrade the ground control segment for the extended ARABSAT satellite fleet.

Arabsat-5C, a multi-mission satellite, will provide satellite capacity in both C-band and Ka-band frequencies for a wide range of satellite communications services. A Eurostar E3000 model equipped with a payload featuring 26 active transponders in C-band and 12 in Ka-band, Arabsat-5C will have a spacecraft power of 10 kW at the end of its 15-year design lifetime.

Arabsat-6B will be co-located with the rest of ARABSAT's BADR constellation of Direct-to-Home satellites, extending in-orbit capacity for television services. Also based on a Eurostar E3000 model, equipped with a payload featuring 36 active transponders in Ku-band, Arabsat-6B will have a spacecraft power of 10.5 kW at the end of its 15-year design lifetime.

ARABSAT president, Eng. Khalid Balkheyour, said, "These contracts for manufacturing and launching two satellites are within the strategic plan of ARABSAT that calls for launching a satellite every year up to 2012. We are proud of the work and the relationship with the manufacturing and launching companies Astrium, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace. We all at ARABSAT wish for this successful partnership to continue and prosper."

François Auque, CEO of Astrium, speaking on behalf of the industrial consortium, expressed his delight at working alongside ARABSAT and stated, "I am very proud that the Arab Satellite Communications Organization ARABSAT and its Board of Directors have placed their trust again in Astrium and Thales Alenia Space for the manufacture and in-orbit delivery of these new satellites, the sixth and the seventh our team will have built for ARABSAT. Our European space industry consortium is pleased to support ARABSAT in the realization of this significant new step in the development of their successful business."