Es’hail-2 Clears Design Review at Melco

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PARIS—Qatari satellite operator Es’hailSat on Sept. 7 said its Es’hail-2 telecommunications satellite, carrying a mixed Ku- and Ka-band payload, has successfully cleared critical design review at manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric Co. (Melco) and is on track for a late-2016 launch.

Es’hail-2 is expected to weigh around 5,300 kilograms at launch. The satellite will operate at the 26 degrees east longitude orbital slot long used by fleet operator Arabsat of Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, following a spectrum-sharing agreement between the two operators. Es’hailSat contracted with SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, for the Es’hail-2 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

With fellow Qatari Al Jazeera among its customers, Es’hailSat is trying to break into the already crowded Middle East market. Its first satellite, Es’hail-1, was launched in August 2013 and is co-owned with Paris-based Eutelsat. It began commercial service in December 2013.

Es’hail-2 is expected to carry an anti-jam capability, a feature that Middle Eastern operators find increasingly necessary in the wake of politically motivated jamming of satellite television signals in the region.