The new launch date for Intelsat’s New Dawn satellite has been set for Friday 22 April. The satellite, loaded on an Ariane 5 rocket, will be launched from the Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The launch was initially scheduled to occur on March 30, but was delayed when 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.
Operating from a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8º East, Intelsat New Dawn will serve Africa through a payload optimized to deliver new capacity for wireless backhaul, fixed line and wireless infrastructure, broadband and media – the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.
The satellite’s 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponder units are designed specifically to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers who have experienced exceptional growth along with the development of the region.
Intelsat New Dawn was created through a joint venture between Intelsat and a South African investor group, led by Convergence Partners, with debt funding from leading African banking institutions such as Nedbank. It’s the first African private sector communications satellite.
Initially announced in December 2008, the $250-million project is funded approximately 15% with equity and 85% with 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 (one of South Africa’s largest 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.