Image Source: Thales Alenia Space. Artist depiction of Nilesat 301.
SpaceX has been accumulating a record breaking rocket launch manifest. This year, the company is scheduled to launch over 30 Falcon 9 rocket launches, with many more planned for 2021. SpaceX just earned a new contract to launch satellites for NileSat, an Egyptian satellite operator that aims to expand their communication network. The contract between SpaceX and NileSat was sealed on Tuesday, January 21 in Cairo, Egypt. It is the first time the two companies will collaborate. SpaceX officials said in an announcement to reporters that they will launch Egyptian operator NileSat’s next communications satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket until the year 2022.
A Falcon 9 will deploy the four-metric-ton satellite into geosynchronous orbit. NileSat, has three other satellites in orbit that were launched years ago by another aerospace company called Arianespace.
Image Source: BroadcastPro Middle East
The new NileSat-301 satellite will be located in geosynchronous orbit at the 7 degrees West orbital slot -a line of Earth's longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole (shown in the image below). NileSat-301 will work alongside one of the other communication satellites, NileSat-201 that has been in operation since 2010.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The satellite will be equipped with Ku-band and Ka-band transmitters, these transmit different frequencies. Ku-band uses frequencies in the 12 to 18 GHz (Gigahertz) range which can be used for television broadcasting signal. The Ka-band transmitter will have capability to provide internet connectivity, it uses frequencies ranging from 26.5 to 40 GHz. The company's addition of this third satellite will beam signal to all of Egypt, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.
According to BroadcastPro Middle East news agency, the manufacturer of the NileSat satellite that will be deployed by SpaceX, is a Franco-Italian company named Thales Alenia Space. That will design NileSat-301 based on a satellite design platform called Spacebus 4000-B2. NileSat's design is built to last a period of about 15 years in space.
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About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.