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Alphasat launch to enhance FleetBroadband

Alphasat launch to enhance FleetBroadband Photo: ESA

Alphasat, designed and built by Astrium for Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA), has left Astrium’s facilities in Toulouse after completion of its final integration and test campaign and is now en route to Kourou, French Guyana, to be prepared for its launch aboard an Ariane 5, scheduled for the end of July.

Alphasat carries a new generation of geomobile communications payload in L-band that will be used to augment Inmarsat’s broadband network service across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, providing new capabilities in terms of performance and resource availability for services like FleetBroadband.

The new satellite also delivers additional L-band space segment redundancy and consolidates safety of life services. The payload design and production was led by Astrium in the UK.

This payload features eight new generation digital signal processors, which are used to efficiently manage multiple communications with flexibility in both frequency and beam power allocation, and an 11 metre antenna reflector.

Alphasat also carries four Technology Demonstration Payloads for ESA, including a laser communications terminal, developed under a contract with German space agency DLR.

This is a precursor of the operational system for EDRS (European Data Relay System) which aims to enable very high speed transmission between LEO and GEO to enhance Earth observation applications and services.

The launch is the first flight model of the new high capacity European satellite platform Alphabus which has been jointly developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space with ESA and CNES (the French Space Agency) support. The Alphabus platform is capable of conducting missions with a satellite launch mass of up to 8,800 kg, a payload power of up to 22 kW and a payload mass up to 2,000 kg.

Alphasat has been designed for 15 years of in-orbit lifetime, will have a launch mass of 6,650 kg and will have a wingspan of 40 metres once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit. Launch and Early Orbit Phase operations will be conducted from the Astrium spacecraft control centre in Toulouse.

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