UAE launches newest satellite into space

16:29, April 24, 2011      

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An Ariane-5 rocket blasts off from the European space centre at Kourou, French Guiana, at 2137 GMT Friday. The rocket placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit, the 43rd successive success for the European rocket, Arianespace announced. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) successfully launched a satellite early Saturday from the European Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, a satellite communications company of the Gulf nation said.

Yahsat, based in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, said in a statement that an Ariane 5 rocket carrying its first commercial telecommunications satellite, Y1A, lifted off at 1:37 a.m. Abu Dhabi time (2137 GMT Friday), the state news agency WAM reported.

"I would like to express my pride and gratitude during this moment of achievement," Yahsat CEO Jassem Mohamed Al Zaabi said.

"As a result of this work, we have not only stepped into space, but taken a significant stride in driving economic diversification and progress with our partners across the UAE," he added.

Over the next few days, Y1A will undertake a series of maneuvers before arriving at its final point of operation above the UAE. After arriving in position, control of the satellite will be managed by a team of UAE-national satellite engineers based out of a Yahsat control station in Abu Dhabi, according to the company 's statement.

The launch of the satellite, part of a 4.4-billion-dirham ( about 1.2 billion U.S. dollars) investment, was originally scheduled for March 31, but eventually delayed in the final seconds of countdown after an abnormality was detected on the rocket launcher.

Yahsat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mubadala, a government- owned investment and development company. It has commissioned two satellites to create regionally-focused capacity to manage the expanding requirements for government, commercial and consumer satellite communication services.

Last month, Al Zaabi said the second satellite would be launched by the end of 2011.

The UAE's first satellite, DubaiSat-1, was launched by the Dubai-based Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in July 2009.

Source: Xinhua
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