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TECH SPACE
Alphabus ready to offer new opportunities
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Jun 23, 2011


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. Credits: ESA.

Alphabus is ready to offer new opportunities for satellite operators worldwide. The platform was formally accepted for its first satellite, Alphasat I-XL on 16 June, marking an important milestone in its journey to space.

Meeting at the Paris Air and Space Show, Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, the industrial consortium behind Alphabus, together with ESA and the French space agency, CNES, announced that its technical requirements have all been met.

The platform provides unrivalled payload capacity to operators for commercial satcom missions and services such as fast Internet to remote locations, high-definition and 3D digital TV broadcast, and communication to mobiles.

In addition, the high-power platform offers opportunities for Europes' satcom industry and ESA to work together to develop cutting-edge technologies for new services such as air traffic management or security communications.

Taking benefit of available spare capacity on commercial satellites, hosted, or piggyback, payloads are an attractive proposition for operators, industry and public institutions like ESA to fly additional transponders, instruments or other applications. Partners share the satellite platform, an arrangement that saves on the money and time to market, and promotes improved satcom technologies and services.

The first Alphabus satellite, Alphasat I-XL, developed in partnership with European operator Inmarsat, uses the platform's full potential.

Alphasat I-XL, planned for launch early 2013, carries a new generation of advanced geomobile L-band communications services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It also hosts four technology demonstration payloads developed through ESA's telecommunications and national programmes.

Alphabus has been developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia space under ESA-CNES cooperation.

"Such initiatives in partnership with satellite operators will foster the development of innovative technologies and services to serve the worldwide market and Europe's citizens new needs," said Magali Vaissiere, Director of ESA's Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and Marc Pircher, Director of the CNES Space Centre Toulouse.

"Alphabus is a breakthrough for Europe's offering in the very large and high-power satellite market. Through its large capacity and versatility it is ideally suited to match the current and future demand of satellite operators, while allowing for additional hosted payloads." said Arnaud de Rosnay, Executive Vice President, Telecommunications Satellites of Astrium, and Emmanuel Grave, Executive Vice President Telecommunications of Thales Alenia Space.

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