Hughes Space and Communications has won a $1.2 billion contract to build and launch a communications-satellite system, including the ground segment of the installation, for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications of Abu Dhabi.

One ground spare will also be constructed. The satellite, to be launched in 2000, will extend mobile-communications services throughout the Arab world and the Indian subcontinent, serving up to 2.7 million subscribers.

The contract, for which Lockheed Martin and Aerospatiale also competed, will be signed officially on 11 September. A second satellite will be launched later, if required. A launch vehicle has not been selected, but Hughes has options for the Long March and the Proton.

Source: Flight International