A successful satellite mechanical test campaign has qualified the Alphabus platform for an Ariane 5 launch. The test campaign, completed in August, marks another milestone for Europe´s largest telecommunications platform along its journey to space.
Alphabus, the new European high-power telecommunications platform jointly developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space under a joint ESA and CNES contract, is the coordinated European response to the increased market demand for larger telecommunication payloads. It is now available on the commercial market to accommodate missions with up to 18 kW of payload power. The new developments within the Alphabus Extension programme will extend the range up to 22 kW.
Alphasat, developed in partnership with European operator Inmarsat, is the first satellite to be launched using Alphabus. Built by Astrium, Alphasat carries a new generation of advanced geomobile communications payload in L-band that will augment Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, enabling communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East with increased capacity. Alphasat also carries four technology demonstration payloads developed through ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme.
Delegations from ESA Member States were given the opportunity to view Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite and visit Astrium’s satellite integration facilities during a meeting of the Joint Board on Communications Satellite Programmes (JCB) which took place in Toulouse in September. ESA national delegations also visited Thales Alenia Space.
Alphasat will be ready for launch in the fourth quarter of 2012.