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Yahsat taps Musk’s SpaceX for next satellite launches

Yahsat satellite SpaceX launch Alamy/Brandon Moser
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral in Florida with a payload of satellites
  • Two launches planned for 2027 and 2028
  • Part of a $1.1bn satellite procurement programme
  • Replacements for satellites launched in 2011/2

The UAE’s satellite provider Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) has chosen Elon Musk’s company SpaceX to launch its next-generation geostationary satellites, Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5.

The two communications satellites are due to be launched into orbit in 2027 and 2028 respectively.

Under the deal – part of an AED3.9 billion ($1.1 billion) satellite procurement programme – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deploy the satellites, Yahsat said on Monday. 

Last month Yahsat signed a contract with Airbus to design and build the Al Yah 4  and Al Yah 5 satellites based on the Eurostar Neo platform. 

The project is a central component of an AED18.7 billion mandate from the UAE government, awarded in 2023, to provide satellite communications and managed services over 17 years.

Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 are due to replace the older Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 satellites, launched in 2011 and 2012.

Last week Nasa awarded SpaceX up to $843 million to crash the International Space Station into the ocean, pushing it safely out of orbit and back to Earth. The space station is nearing the end of its operational life

SpaceX plans to sell insider shares at $112 each, raising the company’s valuation to approximately $210 billion, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

A December tender offer that valued SpaceX at $180 billion. SpaceX, the world’s largest satellite operator, has launched nearly 6,000 Starlink satellites so far, with plans for a constellation of 12,000, and a possible extension to 42,000 satellites.

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