Intelsat, a provider of fixed satellite services, announced that Arianespace successfully launched the Intelsat New Dawn satellite. The Ariane 5 vehicle lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana at 5:37 p.m. (EDT), followed by spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle at 6:12 p.m. and signal acquisition at 6:29 p.m.
The Intelsat New Dawnsatellite is owned by a joint venture between a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat. The satellite’s 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponder units are designed to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers, who have experienced exceptional growth along with the development of the region. Operating from a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8Âº East,Intelsat New Dawn will be positioned to serve Africa through a payload optimized to deliver new capacity for voice, wireless backhaul, fixed line and wireless infrastructure, broadband and media – the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.
Intelsat and the African continent share a 40-year history in the development of Africa’s telecommunications infrastructure,” said Dave McGlade, CEO at Intelsat. Intelsat New Dawn will be integrated with the resilient Intelsat fleet, allowing us to expand and enhance the vital communications services that are provided by our customers to business consumers throughout Africa.”
The satellite will not only deliver crucial services specifically tailored for Africa, it will also herald the dawn of a new era where Africans enjoy far greater involvement in the space communications industry,” said Andile Ngcaba, chairman of Convergence Partners.
Intelsat New Dawn is the first of eight satellites slated for launch over the next two years and is part of the largest satellite program in Intelsat’s history. The investment program is expected to provide enhanced high-powered capacity to Intelsat’s global fleet. Intelsat’s next launch is expected to be the Intelsat 18 satellite, slated for later in 2011.
The US$250 million Intelsat New Dawn project is funded approximately 15 percent with equity and 85 percent with debt. African institutions are providing approximately 90 percent of the total financing required for the joint venture and Intelsat will contribute the balance. Nedbank Capital, part of the Nedbank Group, one of South Africa’s largest banking groups, and a leading telecom project financier in South Africa, has arranged the non-recourse debt financing.