Saudi Arabia launches the first telecommunications satellite named Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 (SGS-1), Wednesday, October 6, 2019.
This satellite is in charge of increasing capabilities in the telecommunications sector, providing a stronger internet connection, and supporting communication systems for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The development of the SGS-1 was carried out by a team from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz City for Science (KACST) in collaboration with the Lockheed Martin team. This satellite is assembled at Lockheed Martin’s facilities located in Denver, Colorado and Sunnyvale, California.
“Our goal is to deliver advanced technology and security solutions to the Saudi government and commercial sector in support of Vision 2030,” said Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia Joseph Rank, as quoted by Arabnews.
According to Dr. Badr Al-Suwaidan, Program Director at KACST, SGS-1 provides secure satellite communications for the Saudi Arabian government, through Ka-band. Ka-band allows communication with high bandwidth, so it can reach geographically isolated locations.
Suwaidan added, the launch program also included technology transfer by providing training and certification involving 15 engineers by Lockheed Martin manufacturer
Prior to this, KACST had also collaborated with China in the Chang’e 4 mission which had various strategic objectives, including exploring the far side of the moon, implementing remote sensing systems, and launching a maritime monitoring and tracking system with satellite data, which was able to monitor around 30 thousand ships throughout the world.
The SGS-1 was launched in French Guiana, by riding an Ariane 5 rocket. In addition to carrying SGS-1, Ariane 5 which also carried communication satellites made by Indian Space Research Organization. Beside the Saudi government, this satellite will also serve Greek-Cypriot Hellas-sat, a subsidiary of Arabsat.
Suwaidan explained, there are still several other space programs to be carried out by KSA. “There will be more space achievements under the new Saudi space authorities, the leadership of the first Arab astronaut, Prince Sultan bin Salman,” Al-Suwaidan said.