Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) is planning to invest US$2.5 billion, aiming to launch 5 new sixth generation satellite by 2015.
Arabstat’s vice president of sales and marketing, Tarek Balkheyour said his company is focusing on renewing and replacing the current satellites which related to the fifth generation.
Arabsat is seeking in the coming period to spread border security technology throughout satellite surveillance system in several Arab countries, stressing that Arabsat starts addressing a number of other countries so as to use this technology in the same purpose, Balkheyour explained.
Meanwhile, Arabsat dates back to the end of the 1960s. In 1967, information ministers of Arab states developed a series of principles in relation to a satellite network. The goal of this network was to create an integration among the countries of the Arab League in terms of the social and cultural activities. On the other hand, the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) was established in 1969. Saudi Arabia did not join this Egypt-led and Cairo-based union until 1974, most probably due to the tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the time.
On April 14, 1976, Arabsat was formed under Arab League jurisdiction with the goal of serving the information, cultural and educational needs of its member states. Saudi Arabia was the main financier of the new organization due to its expanded financial resources as a result of oil-boom period and Riyadh housed Arabsat’s headquarters.
The first launch Arabsat-1A was performed by a French Ariane rocket. The U.S. space shuttle Discovery launched Arabsat’s second satellite, Arabsat-1B, in 1985. Arabsat-1A and -1B were switched off in 1992 and 1993, respectively.