European Space Agency

Atlas programme marks first agreement for first flight opportunity


With assistance from ESA´s Atlas extension of the ARTES 3-4 programme, a new generation of advanced functions designed by European industry will be deployed onboard the Eutelsat 8 West B satellite that will be operated by Eutelsat.

Approved at the Council at Ministerial Level in November last year, the Atlas extension supports first flight opportunities on board commercial telecom satellites, giving new and upgraded products developed by European industry a greater commercial chance in a very competitive worldwide satcom market.

With Atlas, the ARTES 3-4 programme now provides consistent additional support to European industry for the last developmental step needed before a commercial sale can be made, by getting the product “off the ground” and into space to obtain its flight heritage. This efficiently increases the success rate of ESA and industry’s development efforts.

The new features that will be flown on Eutelsat 8 West B will raise the bar of performance, flexibility and signal security.

The new functions developed by the satellite's prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, with the support of ESA and CNES are focused on delivering three key benefits:

  • Mitigating the effects of interference by increasing control over uplink frequencies to a satellite;
  • Increasing the number of active channels by optimising a satellite payload's use of the electrical power generated by its solar panels;
  • Expanding options for repositioning satellites with frequency agile command receivers.

“The newly launched ATLAS extension of the ARTES 3-4 programme recognises and addresses the hurdle faced by European industry to obtain flight heritage for innovative products to succeed in an increasingly competitive satcom market,” explains Magali Vaissiere, director of the Telecommunications and Integrated Applications directorate.

Eutelsat 8 West B is due to be launched in 2015.

Event Date

04 February 2013
Published 04 February 2013
Last updated at 18 January 2016 - 13:42