Arianespace, Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space have announced the signature of the launch services contract for two Comsat NG new-generation military communications satellites.
These two geostationary satellites will be built on behalf of the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) by the consortium formed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space.
The two satellites will be fitted with identical payloads, but one will be built on a Spacebus Neo platform from Thales Alenia Space, and the other on a Eurostar platform from Airbus Defence and Space. The Comsat NG satellites will feature all-electric propulsion, and will each weigh about 3,500 kg at launch.
Operating in the X and Ka bands, they will offer enhanced performance to meet the evolving needs of French armed forces in terms of communications capacity, flexibility and jamming resistance.
The satellites will be orbited by Ariane 5 launchers from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, between 2020 and 2022, with entry into operational service the year after launch.
Following the signature of this contract, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “Reflecting Arianespace’s primary mission of guaranteeing independent access to space for Europe, we are proud of our contribution to the deployment of the French defense ministry’s secure communications systems. I would especially like to thank the DGA for placing their trust in us since the outset, in particular for their space communications systems, starting with the launch of the Syracuse family of satellites, and then more recently with Athena-Fidus and Sicral-2, part of joint programs with Italy. I would also like to thank Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space, our direct customers and long-standing partners, for this launch. “
Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company. Founded in 1980, Arianespace deploys a family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, to meet the needs of both commercial and government customers, and has performed over 270 launches to date. Backed by its 20 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace is the only company in the world capable of launching all types of payloads into all orbits, from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. As of January 5, 2016, Arianespace had carried out 227 Ariane launches, 39 Soyuz launches (13 at the Guiana Space Center and 26 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, via Starsem) and six Vega launches. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.