ESA and Inmarsat prepare for Alphasat

Jun 20, 2007
ESA and Inmarsat prepare for Alphasat
Artist's impression of Alphasat configured for the Inmarsat XL mission. Credits: ESA - J. Huart

Today at the Paris Air Show, ESA and Inmarsat moved closer to the implementation of Alphasat, the first satellite based on Alphabus, the new European telecommunications platform.

Alphabus is a programme initiated by ESA and CNES to jointly develop a product through a project industrial team made of EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. It is a new multi-purpose platform for the high-power payload communications satellite market.

Alphasat will be the satellite using the Alphabus proto-flight platform, achieving in-orbit validation of the platform through a commercial operator.

At Le Bourget, ESA and Inmarsat announced the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is a step towards confirming Inmarsat as the first customer for the Alphabus platform.

Inmarsat intends to fly an extended L- band payload, in parallel to and supporting its existing world-leading global mobile satellite services. This Inmarsat mission definition is based around multimedia mobile services already provided by the current Inmarsat IV satellites through Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN)

The satellite will be positioned at 25 degrees east, with its coverage centred over Africa and providing additional coverage to Europe, the Middle-East and parts of Asia.

Implementation of this Geo-mobile application will use the Alphabus platform design in a configuration that requires a 90 degree change to the satellite flight orientation to improve accommodation of the feed/reflector configuration and allow the embarkation of a large deployable reflector. Both of these capabilities will be offered as options in the Alphabus portfolio.

In addition, Alphasat will embark three ESA-provided technology demonstration payloads: an advanced star tracker using active pixel technology, an optical laser terminal for geostationary to low-Earth orbit communication at high data rates, and a dedicated payload for the characterisation of transmission performance in the Q-V band in preparation for possible commercial exploitation of these frequencies.

The Alphasat programme meets the diverse but mutually compatible goals of all the parties, such as the first flight and in-orbit verification of Alphabus and the implementation of an advanced L-band operational payload, which will supplement the existing Inmarsat satellite constellation and offer the opportunity for new and advanced services.

Negotiations to conclude the contract are continuing and are intended to allow the commencement of the Alphasat programme by the third quarter of 2007 with a launch targeted by 2011.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High-tech hitchhikers

Jul 25, 2013

Ready for launch tomorrow, Alphasat – Europe's largest telecommunications satellite – will serve as a testbed for advanced space technologies at the same time as it works on its day job as part of the ...

Alphasat experiences heaven on Earth

Feb 08, 2013

(Phys.org)—Tucked away in a vacuum chamber for several months, Europe's largest telecom satellite has faced the harsh conditions it will deal with once it is launched into space this summer.

When a bus becomes a satellite

Mar 18, 2011

Alphabus has met Alphasat. Europe's largest telecom satellite is taking shape with final assembly and testing ready to begin in Toulouse, France.

First journey for Alphabus spacecraft

Feb 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The service module of the new Alphabus generation of telecommunication satellites has completed its first journey ? from Cannes to Toulouse, in France. The three-day trip was completed ...

Recommended for you

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

17 hours ago

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

17 hours ago

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

User comments : 0