Air­bus De­fence and Space: ESA con­tract for next-gen­er­a­tion tele­com satel­lite plat­form


Air­bus De­fence and Space, No. 2 world­wide in space tech­nolo­gies, has been awarded the phase B con­tract for ini­tial de­sign work on the Euro­pean Space Agency (ESA) next-gen­er­a­tion satel­lite plat­forms. The con­tract, in con­junc­tion with Thales Ale­nia Space (TAS), is worth 18.2 mil­lion eu­ros.

The new plat­form of Air­bus De­fence and Space will be de­signed for telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites of be­tween three and six tonnes. Lighter and smaller than the cur­rent plat­forms, it will fea­ture an all-elec­tric ver­sion and, in re­sponse to cus­tomer re­quire­ments, will also be avail­able with a chemical propul­sion sys­tem. This next gen­er­a­tion Air­bus De­fence and Space plat­form is ex­pected to en­ter into ser­vice in 2019 as the sub­se­quent Phase-C/D will start in 2015 for the de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of the first two pro­to­type flight plat­forms.

“Our aim is to pro­vide telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites that deliver even more in the way of per­for­mance and are 30 per cent more com­pet­i­tive,” ex­plained François Auque, Head of Space Sys­tems. “The in­creased com­pet­i­tive­ness of our next-gen­er­a­tion satel­lite, which will be de­signed pre­dom­i­nantly at our de­sign of­fices in Toulouse and Steve­nage, will be made pos­si­ble thanks to sub­stan­tial tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion as well as in­no­va­tive in­dus­trial or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

The con­tract comes 10 years af­ter the launch of the first Eurostar E3000; since then, 31 satel­lites have been launched, all of them achiev­ing 100 per cent op­er­a­tional ser­vice in or­bit. SP

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