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Valérie Pécresse, the French minister of higher education and research, visited the Alphasat satellite during her tour of the Toulouse Space Centre (FR) on 13 May.
Alphasat, developed in partnership with European operator Inmarsat, is the first satellite to be launched using the new European high-power Alphabus telecommunications platform developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia space under an ESA-CNES cooperation programme. 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, Africa and the Middle East. Alphasat also hosts four technology demonstration payloads developed through ESA's and national programmes.
Weighing more than 6,500kg, Alphasat will be ready for launch on Ariane 5 by end 2012.
photo courtesy of Dominique Marques, (c) Astrium (FR)