TS News - Hughes To Build MidEast Satellite

TELE-satellit News, 12 September 1997

Hughes To Build MidEast Satellite
  ABU DHABI, UAE, 97/09/12 (TS) -- Hughes Space and Communications
International Inc. (HSCI) and Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co. of
United Arab Emirates signed a contract Thursday for a satellite-based
regional mobile-phone system.  

  This will be the largest satellite-communications project in the region,
with an estimated total cost of $1 billion and a coverage area encompassing
nearly 1.8 billion people in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe
including Turkey, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

  The project cost includes manufacture of two high-power satellites,
launch services for the first satellite, insurance, ground facilities and a
quarter of a million handheld telephones. Hughes will deliver the first
satellite in 31 months, enabling Thuraya to begin operations in the year
2000.  The second spacecraft will be a ground spare.  The contract also has
a provision for a third satellite to be ordered when needed.

  The satellite will operate in geostationary orbit, transmitting and
receiving calls through a single 12.25-meter-aperture reflector. On-board
digital signal processing will route the calls directly from one handheld
unit to another, or to a terrestrial network.  

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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