Small GEO Mission Phase 0+A

Status date

The objective of the study is to define a possible telecommunication mission for a Small GEO Platform to be implemented in partnership with a satellite operator that will undertake the commercial exploitation. The Platform manufacturer is OHB as ARTES 11 program platform provider and the satellite operator is Hellas Sat.

The activity objectives are to define a mission with flexibility and innovative technologies and to assess feasibility by assessing functional requirements as defined by the operator, including their ground and user segment. The designed system will aim to provide a coherent solution.

The accommodation of the proposed payload is also to be analysed in detail and a coherent solution with technical and programmatic aspects is to be proposed.

The final Business Plan of the satellite operator shall be assessed, considering all options, their profitability and their corresponding cost.


The main key issues to be addressed during the study are of several aspects.

  • Commercial and financial aspect:
    The flexibility options to be selected must have a commercial interest for the operator and be cost efficient. The assessed final business plan must include the cost and additional revenue of the selected options.
  • Technical Aspect :
    The payload, including selected flexibility options, must fit within key platform limits in terms of mass and power.
  • Programmatic aspect:
    The program development plan must be compatible with the Operator requirements and the platform manufacturer development plan.

The expected main benefits are:

  • Definition of a mission that can be embarked on the OHB small Geo platform,
  • Identification of flexibility options that are of interest for a European commercial operator,
  • Establishment of a phase B/C/D preliminary schedule for satellite and payload aspects,
  • Establishment of a complete business plan including flexibility options and ROM cost,
  • Identification of the activities to be conducted on platform for accommodation of the payload.

The architecture of the future System is an extension of the existing Hellas Sat system architecture to accommodate the new satellite and the new services.

The Satellite will be collocated with the existing Hellas Sat 2 Satellite at 29°E.

  • The platform is based on the Small Geostationary platform developed by OHB within the frame of ARTES 11 program. The platform is able to support a payload mass of up to 300 kg, payload power of up to 3 kW and a lifetime of up to 15 years.
  • The payload is developed by Thales Alenia Space and provides a 18 Ku band channels Mission and a 4 spots Ka band mission.

The ground command and control facilities have to be upgraded in order to take care of the two satellites from different manufacturers at the same orbital position. The upgrade will be limited to additional TT&C station antenna and a customisation of the satellite Control Centre to be able to monitor and control the two satellites.

The Ground segment is also to be expanded to accommodate the new hub and server that will be needed to provide the new services to the users, and the necessary elements to manage them from the Hellas Sat platform.


The study is managed by Thales Alenia Space according to the ECSS M process.

Hellas Sat defines the mission, identifies the options that are of interest and estimates the additional revenue per option.

The system and payload engineering is performed by Thales Alenia Space engineers. The payload accommodation is performed by OHB in close cooperation with Thales Alenia Space. OHB and Thales Alenia Space are in charge of identifying payload performances impacts and platform modifications due to the accommodation exercise.

Thales Alenia Space releases the system development plan and Hellas Sat assesses the final business plan considering the selected options.

Current status

The study End Review was successfully held in December 2008.

The mission of the satellite was specified during a fruitful collaborative process between Hellas Sat, OHB-System and Thales Alenia Space during which options on payload flexibility were deeply analyzed.

The study showed that the Thales Alenia Space payload and its flexibility can be accommodated on the new Small Geo platform developed by OHB-System.

In particular, it was shown that the payload flexibility options that have been investigated increase the profitability of the mission as they improve the capability to adapt to the evolving market need.

The study was conducted on the basis of the technical data provided by OHB-System on the platform that is still under development within ARTES 11 programme and within a mission schedule constraint from Hellas Sat. Should a Phase B start, it is recommended to go through an intermediate step in order to consolidate the technical budgets and the interfaces between the platform and the payload.

Conservative cost margin allocations were considered to cover the risks associated to the early stage of the Small Geo platform development. The consortium is convinced that a cost optimisation at platform level with a flight proven model and the advanced payload defined during the study would lead to a successful operator business case.

Thales Alenia Space, OHB-System and Hellas Sat want to thank ESA for having provided them the opportunity to work together on this Small GEO study.