Abidjan, August 12, 2010- The Director General/CEO of the Regional African Satellite Communications Organization (RASCOM) has the pleasure to announce the successful launch of the second Pan African telecommunication satellite, the RQ1R satellite, which event took place on 4 August 2010 from the Ariane 5 launch site in Kourou/French Guyana.
The launch of RQ1R, which went according to plan, was attended by African Ministers, RASCOM Signatories and Board Members. The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun TOURE, graced the occasion by his presence.
Presently the satellite is undergoing the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations which are expected to be completed in a day or two following which the In-Orbit Tests (IOT) will be conducted and which are expected to be completed by 5th September 2010. At the conclusion of the IOT, RQ1R satellite will be collocated with RQ1 satellite at 2.9ºE to ensure a seamless transfer of services from RQ1 to RQ1R.
RQ1R is endowed with a powerful Pan African beam in the C-band and two overlapping Ku Band zonal beams judiciously designed to cover the whole African continent and its associated islands as well as parts of the Middle East and Europe. This ensures low cost of the associated Ground Segment.
RQ1R will provide the following services:
• Bandwidth Lease Services (BLS); It should be recalled that already this service provides a continental connectivity to more than 30 African countries to support the Pan African e-network for e-health and e-learning which is a project promoted by the African Union and the Indian Government. Those who are using the first satellite will have a seamless transfer to the replacement satellite;
• Broadband Connectivity Services (BCS); This service provides for direct connectivity among all the African Countries as well as parts of Europe and the Middle East;
• Telephony Services (TES); This service will extend access to remote and underserved areas in Africa using a specially designed terminal supporting voice, data(internet) and Radio/TV reception to all areas of the African continent without exception.
It should be recalled that all of this had been made possible through the excellent partnership with other stakeholders which are part of the RASCOM Project.
Our operating company, RascomStar-QAF, is entrusted, among other responsibilities, with the task of operation, maintenance and marketing of the services offered by RASCOM satellites.
The successful launch of RQ1R into geostationary orbit is a herald to this seminal year of ICT as declared by African Heads of States and Government.
The way forward
RASCOM is in the advanced stages of planning and designing for its next generation satellites which will respond to the needs of Africa regarding services, broadband requirement and affordable cost to users.
The successful launch of RQ1R is an assurance to the African Continent of RASCOM’s long term commitment to its mission of creating capacities to support Connectivity in Africa and access to information and communication to underserved and remote areas in Africa.
RASCOM, is an intergovernmental, commercial satellite organization and the expression of the strong willingness of the African Governments and telecommunications operators to pool their efforts in a view to providing the African continent with telecommunications infrastructure based on space technology. It is intended not only to give African operators the opportunity to interconnect directly without third party networks, and to supplement their existing telecom infrastructure by allowing them to provide services in isolated areas where there is no existing infrastructure, but more especially it is going to provide telecommunications services at very low costs, thus making universal service a reality in Africa. RASCOM has a membership of 45 African countries as of now and others are soon to join. To achieve its mission, RASCOM has established strategic partners in RascomStar-QAF Company, which has, under an Execution Agreement, the responsibility to implement the RASCOM telecommunications satellite system dedicated to the African continent. For more information on RASCOM, please visit the RASCOM Website: www.rascom.org