Technical issues delay launch of Egypt’s first communications satellite

The chief Executive of the Egyptian Space Agency, Mohamed al-Qousy announced on Saturday that the launch of the first Egyptian communication satellite TIBA-1 has been postponed indefinitely due to “technical reasons.”

Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Qousy said that no new date was set for the launch, but there was a meeting on Saturday set to determine the new date.

TIBA-1 was initially scheduled to launch on November 22.

He explained that the reasons came down to the launch pad.

“All parts responsible for launch should be checked and ready. Technicians at the foreign company responsible for the launch said there were some parts that are not ready yet which led to postponing the launch,” he said.

“The launch pad itself has nothing to do with the satellite, because it is inside the launch rocket which has no issues, the problem was in the devices that push the rocket up to start the flight,” he clarified.

The satellite was to be launched by Arianespace on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou Spaceport, in French Guiana, South America.

TIBA-1 is manufactured by the consortium of French companies Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense & Space, some of the largest international companies in the field.

Based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite platform, TIBA-1 was developed by Airbus for operation by Egypt’s government and Thales Alenia Space. This communications spacecraft will weigh approximately 5,640 kg at liftoff and was designed for a service life exceeding 15 years.

The satellite aims to promote development by providing telecommunications infrastructure and broadband internet to remote and isolated areas, support development projects in these areas, as well as bridging the digital gap between urban and rural places.

TIBA-1 also contributes to advancing the sectors of petroleum, energy, mineral resources, education, health and all other government sectors. It will support all state agencies in the fight against crime and terrorism, and contributes to providing broadband Internet services for government and commercial purposes.

The new satellite will also provide internet and telecommunications services to some Nile Basin countries based on Egypt’s efforts to cooperate with the African continent, especially in light of Egypt’s presidency of the African Union in 2019 and its hosting of the African Space Agency.

TIBA is the first of the “TIBA Sat” series.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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