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First Eurostar Neo satellite ready to ship

The first satellite to be built under ESA’s Eurostar Neo programme stands ready to be shipped to its launch site.

The satellite – called Eutelsat Hotbird 13F – is one of an identical pair developed by satellite manufacturer Airbus for satellite operator Eutelsat in an ESA Partnership Project designed to foster innovation and competitiveness in the European space industry.

Europe’s tallest ever communications satellite launched

The fourth Spacebus Neo satellite to benefit from ESA’s Neosat programme has launched into space on board the second Ariane 5 launch mission of 2022.

The 8.9 metre, three-storeys-high communications satellite – which will deliver high-speed broadband and in-flight connectivity across Europe for its operator, Eutelsat – weighs 6.525 tonnes and accounted for 99% of the 6.62-tonne launch mass.

Software-defined satellite enters commercial service

Europe’s first commercial satellite capable of being completely reprogrammed while in space is now in commercial use. Satellite operator Eutelsat has sold six of its eight beams – used for data and mobile communications – to organisations including governments and other users. It is expected that the entire satellite capacity will be sold in the coming months.

Opportunity: Concepts for ultra-large aperture antennas (ARTES FPE 1A.113)

Satellite antenna size and the data throughput achievable in a satellite communications channel are directly related, but the benefits from an increased aperture size can also be used to enable access to smaller ground antennas or to improve quality of signal (QoS), as well as increase data throughput. As well as gain, increasing satellite antenna size also enables increased spatial discrimination, enabling greater frequency reuse across a given service area. With the satellite industry's shift from a broadcast model to a connectivity-based approach comes increased competition with terrestrial networks, and a corresponding need to increase total system throughput and spectrum utilisation. The result has been greater interest in larger antenna systems for telecommunications missions. 

ESA invites new proposals for EU Secure Connectivity programme

ESA has been a key partner of European industry around secure connectivity for more than 25 years, boosting innovation and competitiveness and facilitating the timely delivery of the most advanced SATCOM solutions worldwide through its telecommunication programme (ARTES). 

Opportunity: Towards Standardised Inter-Satellite Link Solutions (ARTES FPE 1A.116)

There has been a steady growth  in the number of new satcom systems announcing plans to make use of RF Inter-Satellite Link technology. In addition to reducing the complexity and cost of the associated terrestrial infrastructure, ISL technology can enable additional networking functionality, increase service area provision, enhance data security, and increase congestion load balancing capabilities. With this growth comes a transformation of ISL-related systems and equipment, from bespoke, project-specific hardware to a more productised offering and associated value chain.