• Laurence Russell

ARABSAT invests in cutting edge satellite tech with Thales Alenia Space contract on SDR satellite

ARABSAT, the leading regional satellite operator in the Middle East and Africa, and Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), have signed a contract to build ARABSAT-7A, a fully flexible Software-Defined Satellite (SDS) based on the Space Inspire (INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration) platform by Thales Alenia Space.

Artist's conception of ARABSAT-7A

With this contract, ARABSAT joins the exclusive club of geostationary satellite operators who have chosen this revolutionary technology to empower their business and transition from traditional bent-pipe GEO satellites to the highly agile and adaptable SDSs which are expected to change the face of the geostationary satcom industry.


Indeed, the Space Inspire platform will enable seamless telecom mission and services reconfiguration of the ARABSAT-7A satellite, instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand, and superior video broadcasting performance while maximizing the effective use of satellite resources.


ARABSAT 7A will join ARABSAT 6A and 5A at its data hotspot at 30.5E. It will replace the bulk of the existing C and Ku-band capacity on ARABSAT 5A 5A as this satellite reaches end-of-life to ensure a seamless transition for customers and partners. It will also offer ample high-throughput Ku-band capacity to help ARABSAT expand its services into several verticals to enhance its portfolio of products and solutions over Middle East, Africa and beyond, to parts of Europe.


“Following a lengthy and very rigorous evaluation of the various products currently available on the market, ARABSAT has decided to go with the Space Inspire platform and entrust Thales Alenia Space, whom we have partnered with for well over four decades on several programs. This program is fully aligned with ARABSAT’s new transformation strategy, which is aimed at bringing ARABSAT closer to its loyal customers to ensure sustainable growth for the satcom business in the region as well as partnering with governments and enterprises in various countries to bridge the digital divide and connect the unconnected which has become synonymous with economic prosperity and people empowerment,” said Dr. Badr N. Alsuwaidan, acting CEO of ARABSAT.


“I am delighted that we have signed this contract with ARABSAT, which opens a new chapter in the long-standing cooperation between our two companies,” said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “We are very proud to be contributing to ARABSAT’s development in the MENA region by providing our state-of-the art satellite platform that is fully reconfigurable in orbit. This latest success reflects Thales Alenia Space’s technological expertise and confirms that our Space Inspire product line, which is also supported by the European and French space agencies, perfectly matches the fast evolving needs of the satcom market in terms of agility and flexibility.”