Airbus is developing a ‘Pacis-5’ demonstrator under ESA’s Govsatcom Precursor programme.
Pacis-5 kicked-off in June 2017 and will run for two years. It comprises two parts. The first part involves producing a system for dynamic sharing of satellite capabilities. The core of the ground system is based on the Newtec Dialog technology developed by the Belgian company Newtec and will be installed at the Airbus site in Toulouse. It will be operated by various European governmental entities and employed particularly in overseas theatres of operations. An end-to-end service demonstrator will illustrate the attractiveness, flexibility and simplicity of the proposed services.
The second part of the project concerns a technological development designed to improve the performance of Newtec Dialog platform. The objective is to draw all possible benefits from the pooling of capabilities for the future generation of governmental satellites, whose coverage areas will be configurable in real time. The innovation will enable mobile users to switch transparently from one satellite beam to another while at the same time protecting the confidentiality of their operations.
This demonstrator contract follows on from the two design studies in which Airbus participated between 2015 and 2017 on behalf of ESA and the European Defence Agency, respectively. These studies served to define and quantify the nature of the European governmental users’ needs and assess the various technologies and architectures in preparation of a future European Commission Govsatcom programme, as well as the advantages of the ‘pooling and sharing’ model.
The ESA Govsatcom Precursor Programme
ESA’s Govsatcom Precursor projects, including Pacis-5, are the first steps to demonstrate how the European space industry can respond to a globally emerging market of secure satcom and support the future EU Govsatcom initiative; developed under the auspices of the European Commission.
ESA’s Govsatcom Precursor consists of several Pacis projects based on public–private partnerships with major European satellite operators and service providers in the 2017-20 timeframe. The ESA Precursor Programme was endorsed by ESA member states at the ESA Ministerial Council in December 2016, including five PACIS projects and open for further projects to be established. The ESA programme is being implemented in collaboration with the European Commission and the European Defence Agency.
These projects are called Pacis after the Ara Pacis Augustae, an altar in Rome dedicated to the Roman god of peace, Pax.