WASHINGTON — SpaceX will launch Egyptian operator NileSat’s next communications satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2022, SpaceX said Jan. 23. 

Nilesat, having launched all three of its past satellites with Arianespace, is a first-time customer for SpaceX. 

SpaceX and Nilesat signed a contract in Cairo for the launch of Nilesat-301, an approximately 4,000-kilogram satellite that Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space is building. 

Nilesat-301, according to a statement SpaceX sent to reporters announcing the launch deal, will carry Ku-band transponders for television broadcasting, and Ka-band capacity for internet connectivity. Thales Alenia Space is building the satellite based on its Spacebus 4000-B2 platform. 

Nilesat-301 has an expected design life of 15 years and will cover the Middle East and Northern Africa. Thales Alenia Space received a manufacturing contract for the satellite in December.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...