Qatar is preparing to launch its first communications satellite this Thursday. Es’hail 1 has been built using advanced anti-interference technology and will give priority to Qatari TV and Al Jazeera broadcast signals.
Es’hailSat Chief Executive Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari said that the new satellite will be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana on 29 August. It is expected to come into operation in December.
“This new satellite will enable us to reach remote places that ordinary internet lines can’t reach at the moment,” he added. “We cannot say that we will prevent interference completely, but we can guarantee reducing interference to the lowest level.”
The company is planning to launch a second satellite by 2016 in order to compete globally. The plan is to develop a ground service base in Doha as well. The intention, stressed Al-Kuwairi, is to provide a degree of independence with high-tech services for clients in the Middle East and North Africa, and be able to cater for the broadcasting demands of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 which is to be hosted by Qatar.
The construction of the new satellite took three years. It weighs more than 6 tons, making it one of the largest and most advanced satellites in operation.