Malaysia's Newest Satellite Measat-3b Launches Successfully

Last update: 12/09/2014

From Yusof Saari

KOUROU (FRENCH GUIANA), Sept 12 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's newest satellite, the MEASAT-3b successfully launched from the European spaceport near here, at 7.05 pm local time on Thursday (6.05 am Malaysian time on Friday).

The US$350 million (RM1.12 billion) communication satellite blast off, in hot tropical weather, aims to enhance Measat Satellite System Sdn Bhd's satellite capacity.

The launch was witnessed by a group of senior Malaysian government and private sector officials, key Measat business partners and four secondary school students from Terengganu.

It is the sixth satellite launched into orbit by the company.

The time difference between French Guiana and Malaysia is 11 hours.

MEASAT-3b, to be fully operational by Oct 15, is the third Measat satellite launched by Arianspace, following MEASAT-1 and MEASAT-2 in 1996.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, it has a life span of approximately 15 years.

The satellite has 48 transponders each providing 36 megahertz (Mhz) of bandwidth, bringing the company's Ku-band satellite capacity to 84 transponders from 36 currently.

It will expand Measat's support of broadcasting and telecommunications satellite services in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and South Asia.

Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Jailani Johari, who led a group of 85 people to witness the launch, said MEASAT-3b was yet another milestone in the development of Malaysia's satellite system.

He described the successful launch as an impetus to Malaysia's creative industry.

According to him, both Malaysia and the wider Asia Pacific region would benefit from the endeavour.

Measat, alongside other ongoing government initiatives under the High Speed Broadband Project, would allow the nation to capitalise on the increased connectivity and coverage, he said.

Jailani said other sectors would also be able to enhance service value and reduce costs, particularly in the areas of education, healthcare and government services.

The launching of the 5,897 kg MEASAT-3b, which took just 48 minutes to reach the orbit, was broadcast live to 400 secondary school students, at the Nasional Science Centre in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

French Ambassador to Malaysia, Martine Dorance also attended the event.

Meanwhile, in Kourou, Malaysia's Ambassador to France Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Measat chairman Datuk Umar Abu and Measat CEO Paul Brown-Kenyon were among those who watched the launch.

Brown said once operational, MEASAT-3b would be a key contributor to the Asian pay TV landscape, supporting direct-to-home (DTH) television platforms serving more than 18 million households.

He said MEASAT-3b's 48 high-powered Ku-band transponders would expand DTH and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services among two billion people across Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia.

Brown said the company was focused on continuous growth through fleet expension with the launch of one satellite every one or two years.

"This spacecraft, Malaysia's largest and most advanced to date, is the result of more than three years of cooperation between Measat, Airbus Defence and Space, the satellite manufacturer, and Arianespace, the satellite launch service provider," he said.

The launching was also a historical occasion and "a dream come true" for Alif Aizat Mohd Noor, Muhammad Syahmi Samsuddin, Ahmad Faiz Zolkepli and Amir Asyraf Che Adnan.

The four Form Four students from Sekolah Menengah Sains Sultan Mahmud Kuala Terengganu were selected by Measat to experience the 'once in a lifetime' opportunity, after winning the Water Air Pressure Rocket competition organised by the company on April 26.