Airbus Defence and Space

Telecommunications Press releases

Airbus Defence and Space achieves major first with concurrent deployment of two GEO satellites

  • Airbus Defence and Space-built Arabsat 5A and COMS satellites successfully deployed in geostationary orbit, ready for in-orbit tests before service entry

  • Airbus Defence and Space spacecraft control centre conducted 4 GEO missions in one month, including for the first time 2 in parallel following dual launch by Ariane 5


Toulouse, 7 July 2010 – Arabsat 5A and COMS have been successfully deployed in orbit following two simultaneously managed LEOPs (Launch & Early Orbit Phase). Both geostationary satellites have followed similar paths from the outset – from construction to deployment in orbit. The two satellites left Airbus Defence and Space Toulouse facilities aboard the same aircraft to Kourou in preparation for their Ariane 5 flight on 26 June and started their orbital life at the same time with a matter of hours separating the most critical phases of the LEOP missions. Two complete teams, working around the clock and two global ground networks
have been involved in these parallel operations.

Arabsat 5A and COMS are the 27th and 28th LEOPs conducted by Airbus Defence and Space. Many of the LEOPs managed by Airbus Defence and Space have launch dates so close that two or more mission teams are working at the same time, but for the first time ever Toulouse’s Satellite Operations Centre (T-SOC) had to fully use its dual mission capability by conducting two GEO missions strictly in parallel following launch aboard the same launcher – a unique feature of the Airbus Defence and Space-built Ariane 5. All this occurred in quick succession following two other GEO missions: Astra 3B launched by Ariane 5 on 23 May and Arabsat 5B launched by Proton on 3 June. This meant T-SOC had to complete four LEOPs in one month.

Following successful completion of the LEOP operations, both the Arabsat 5A and COMS satellites have now commenced the payload test phase, which is specific to each mission. All is proceeding nominally.

Arabsat 5A, the fifth Eurostar satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space for Arabsat, will provide additional transmission capacity at the Arabsat 30.5 East position for a wide range of satellite communications services. Arabsat 5A is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform and is equipped with a payload that includes 26 active transponders operating in C-band and another 24 in Ku-band. Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space are acting as co-prime contractors for the satellite's construction and delivery into orbit. Airbus Defence and Space, the team leader, supplied the Eurostar E3000 platform and is responsible for satellite integration with the spacecraft. Thales Alenia Space supplied the communications payload.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the COMS (Communications, Oceanography and Meteorology Satellite) satellite carries three payloads destined for applications in the fields of meteorology, oceanography (with 400m resolution) and telecommunications. It is the first geostationary Earth observation satellite with 3-axis stabilisation to be developed and built by a European company. COMS will provide South Korea with a meteorology imager, an ‘ocean colour’ payload and a Ka-band telecommunications payload.


About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and Airbus Defence and Space for the development and provision of secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, geoinformation products and services, and navigation services.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, AIRBUS Group generated
revenues of €42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119, 000.


Press contacts:
Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180
Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                        Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                              Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                            Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41


Earth ObservationTelecommunicationsArabsat-5Ariane 5COMS