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French Guiana: Intelsat New Dawn Satellite Launch on 29th March 2011

Scientists working on the Intelsat New Dawn

The Intelsat New Dawn Satellite is set to be launched from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana on 29th March 2011.

Convergence Partners and Intelsat S.A. are paying for the New Dawn satellite and its 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponder units to be launched into a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8 degrees East. The project has cost $250 million.

Orbital Sciences Corporation built the hybrid C-band/Ku-band satellite.

Arianespace will launch the New Dawn using an Ariane 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A) rocket to lift the Intelsat New Dawn and Yahsat 1A telecommunications satellites. The launcher recently arrived at the Spaceport in French Guiana, where it is being readied for the mission.

Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said:

“When launched, 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.”

Vodacom International Ltd, Gateway Communications Africa (UK) Ltd, Bharti Airtel (originally contracted through Celtel Nigeria) and Gilat Satcom have already contracted for bandwidth from the satellite.

The project was funded with 15% equity and 85% debt. African institutions are providing approximately 90% of the total financing required for the joint venture and Intelsat will contribute the balance. Nedbank Capital, part of the Nedbank Group (a South African banking groups) and a leading telecom project financier in South Africa, has arranged the non-recourse debt financing. A consortium of lenders including Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the African Development Bank will provide the debt funding. The equity is provided by Intelsat (74.9%) and the Convergence Partners-led group (25.1%), which also includes Altirah Telecoms and the not-for-profit Convergence Partners Foundation.

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  1. Robin Scott

    The launch has now been moved to 22nd April at 5:37 p.m. (EDT).

    The launch has been delayed because “an abnormal launch vehicle parameter was detected during the automated checkout procedure after startup of the Ariane 5’s cryogenic main engine. The launcher is currently in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building being prepared for its mission.”

  2. The launch has been postponed once more because of an “automatic shutdown”.

  3. The launch has been moved to 30th March 2011 at 21:25 GMT click on the link above to watch the giant rocket take off into space.

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