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More power to Alphabus

Higher capacity for new European satellite platform

An extension contract to develop a more powerful Alphabus was signed in Toulouse, France. The contract, signed by Airbus Defence and Space, Thales Alenia Space, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will qualify Alphabus for the very high-power end of the communication satellite market.

Alphabus completed qualification at the end of 2010 and is now available on the commercial market to accommodate missions with up to 18 kW of payload power. The new developments within the Alphabus Extension programme will extend the range up to 22 kW.

Other improved characteristics include:

  • Thermal rejection capability up to 19 kW (payload power) from 11.5 kW
  • Payload mass up to 2,000 kg from 1,250 kg, at 18 kW payload power
  • An increase of repeaters to 230 transponders from 190 transponders
  • Double compatibility maintained with Ariane 5 and Proton 4 metre fairing launchers

The Alphabus Extension programme also provides opportunities for the European satcom industry to develop further key technologies.

“After the successful qualification of Alphabus, the Alphabus extension programme will put Europe at the forefront of the worldwide satcom market,” said Magali Vaissière, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications. “The Alphabus Extension will continue to be managed under the successful ESA–CNES cooperation.”

The Alphabus platform is already available for our offers addressing the high power market, and the first satellite is in the final integration stage,” said Arnaud de Rosnay and Emmanuel Grave speaking on behalf of the industrial consortium of Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space who jointly market the Alphabus product line. “Now, with the extension in Alphabus capacity, we will be able to further extend our offer, beyond any other product available in the worldwide market."

Alphabus, the new European high-power telecommunications platform jointly developed by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space under a joint ESA and CNES contract, is the coordinated European response to the increased market demand for larger telecommunication payloads.

Alphabus extension contract

Left to right: Arnaud de Rosnay (Airbus Defence and Space), Magali Vaissière (ESA), Marc Pircher (CNES), and Daniel Kleim (Thales Alenia Space) (© CNES)