In conjunction with the award, Lockheed Martin, KACST and TAQNIA Space Company, a subsidiary of the Saudi Technology Investment and Development Company (TAQNIA), signed an agreement to explore future design, manufacture, assembly and integration of satellites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The two satellites ordered by Arabsat will strengthen the Arabsat fleet to 10 in-orbit operational satellites. These new satellites will ensure and guarantee Arabsat expansion through the additional services that will provide advanced telecommunications capabilities, including television, internet, telephone and secure communications, to customers in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The contracts were signed April 9, 2015. Construction of the satellites will commence immediately and will be completed for launch in 2018.
Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin and TAQNIA Space Company will pursue the creation of a Joint Venture, anticipated to be structured as a limited liability company, that would develop talent and infrastructure that will support space capabilities and services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. KACST will serve as a technology partner, leading research and development efforts that will support new innovations for future Saudi Arabian space endeavors.
“Lockheed Martin's proven record of developing and delivering state-of-the-art space communications capabilities will ensure the Kingdom's critical telecommunications needs are met. KACST and Arabsat collectively selected the best and latest technology for their satellites and KACST will elevate local satellite technologies competency through the Joint Venture with Lockheed Martin and TAQNIA Space Company,” said Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud, President of KACST.
“Arabsat 6A and Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 will join a fleet of satellites that provides millions of people access to TV, radio and broadband services for mobile and landline communications. We selected Lockheed Martin to build these satellites due to the impressive technical capabilities and proven track record of the A2100 satellite,” said Khalid Balkheyour, CEO of Arabsat.
“We believe this partnership will serve as a platform for commercialization of innovations in future satellite systems in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Abdullah Alosaimi, CEO of TAQNIA Space Company.
"This is a great step forward to support both Arabsat and the Kingdom's long-term strategy to provide consumers and commercial customers with robust communications resources," said Mike Hamel, vice president and general manager of Commercial Space at Lockheed Martin. "The modernized A2100 satellite platform is ideally suited to their mission of connecting people and societies through reliable telecommunications services,” said Mike Hamel, Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Space at Lockheed Martin.
The Lockheed Martin A2100 fleet has accumulated more than 450 years of in-orbit operation. The modernized version builds on that flight-proven design with advanced innovations including propulsion, solar arrays and electronics. Every satellite is tailored for the mission and customers it will serve through its communications payload and traffic both to and from the satellite.
Arabsat 6A will be located at 30.5 degrees East and Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 will be located at 39 degrees East. Both satellites will be designed for a 15-year service life, and will be manufactured in Denver, Colorado.