8 things to know about Qatar’s first satellite: Sohail 1
As Qatar prepares to launch its first satellite on August 29, talks have already begun to launch the second satellite by 2017. While there’s still four years to go, here are some facts about the first satellite – Sohail 1.
- Sohail 1 will be launched on August 29 from European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
- The satellite project is a collaboration between Qatar Satellite Company (or Es’hailSat) and Qatar’s European partner company Eutelstat which is a French-based satellite provider. QSC owns 54.5% of the share, while Eutelstat owns 45.5%.
- Duration of the project: The project began mid-2010, and took three years to build the satellite.
- Weight: About six tonnes.
- Once launched, the satellite will orbit 25.5 east, 36,000km above the earth’s surface.
- The project is estimated to cost between $250mn(QR910mn) and $450mn (QR1,638mn).
- How would it help? Qatar’s very own satellite will help enhance the country’s broadcasting, telecommunication and Internet services. QSC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, said: “We expect to start providing services by December this year. Priority will be given to local TV channels and telecommunication services.” With the help of Sohail 1, the Standard Definition Television (SDTV) will have the capacity to run 140 channels, while the High Definition Television (HDTV) would run 30 channels. Read the full report in The Peninsula here.
- Sohail (also called Es’hail) is the name of a star, which becomes visible in the night sky of the Middle East during the period of transition from summer to autumn. The sighting of this star is said to bring happiness as it marks the end of summer and the start of good weather.