Egypt is planning to launch the first Egyptian satellite for communications purposes TIBA-1, this November, after two failed attempts due to weather conditions. The satellite will be launched by the French company Arianespace on the launch missile Ariane-5, from the launch base in the city of Kourou in the territory of French Guiana, South America, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers.
According to the statement, the company has completed the testing of satellite systems and completed the filling of fuel containers that will enable the satellite to remain in the orbital site allocated for fifteen years. The satellite will work to provide broadband Internet services to individuals and companies in Egypt and some North African countries as well as Nile Basin countries.
TIBA-1 is the first military communications satellite, aimed at tracking terrorists, detecting their hideouts in addition to speeding up the Internet connection. Military expert Mahmoud Gamal revealed that it is an army-owned “military” satellite managed by the French company Arianespace, and is currently being tested.
According to communications and security experts, the new satellite has military and security purposes, most notably tracking terrorists’ communications in Sinai, following up the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, over which Egypt is currently disputing with Ethiopia. The satellite is also designed for military communications purposes and to upgrade the Internet in general in Egypt.
The story behind the secret satellite
The Egyptian satellite is part of a more than $1-billion deal signed in 2016 to buy military equipment from the French side. Since then, French officials have remained in complete silence, until the completion of the secret manufacturing of the satellite.
According to the Council of Ministers, the satellite was built under instructions from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Among the uses of the satellite is the provision of infrastructure for communications, Internet connection and all state agencies for the combat against crime and terrorism.
TIBA-1 satellite was manufactured by the alliance of French Thales Alenia Space – Airbus, one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturers. TIBA-1 will cover Egypt, some North African countries and Nile Basin countries.
Based on the Eurostar E3000 space platform, TIBA-1 was developed by the French company Airbus Defence & Space, for the Egyptian government. It weighs about 5,640 kg and is designed to operate for more than 15 years.
The French company Airbus Defence & Space announced on its official website on 16 October the shipment of the Egyptian military communications satellite TIBA-1 from its premises located in Toulouse, France, to French Guiana in northern South America.
The satellite will be launched from the Kourou space launching platform by the Ariane5 heavy-lift launch vehicle.
The satellite was jointly built by Airbus and Thales Alenia Space. Airbus was responsible for the construction of the satellite, while Thales Alenia was responsible for designing and building a package of dual-mission communications systems for secure and broadband communications for military uses and civilian applications.
Monitoring terrorist movements and Renaissance Dam construction development
The new Egyptian military satellite will have development and security purposes related to the fight against terrorism by monitoring and tracking terrorists’ wireless communications, a communications expert and another from the Egyptian Space Center told Mugtama.
He stressed that the satellite would also monitor the developments of construction around the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Ethiopian violation of its agreements with Egypt. It will also be useful in monitoring the developments in Sinai, and it is part of a series of military satellites in cooperation with France.
Egypt’s launch of TIBA-1 satellite is a significant achievement because it is the first Egyptian communications satellite, and it is part of a project by the Egyptian State to launch 3 satellites in one year in different fields, said Dr. Alaa El Nahry, Vice-President of the United Nations Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education.
On the advantages of the satellite, El Nahry said in a press statement, is that it helps to track terrorists’ wireless signals, which will have a significant role in locating them. The satellite will cover the Nile Basin countries, raise the speed of Wi-Fi and reduce the prices of high-speed Internet.