Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space delivers two communications satellites and the 50th Ariane 5 launcher for the first European launch of 2010

  • The ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 satellites, both developed by Airbus Defence and Space, are now ready for lift-off

  • The first launch of 2010 is also the 50th for Ariane 5


Kourou, 18 March 2010 Airbus Defence and Space has delivered the 50th flight-ready Ariane 5 launch vehicle to Arianespace together with two communications satellites – ASTRA 3B for SES Astra and COMSATBw-2 for the German Armed Forces.


The 50th Ariane 5 launch vehicle: perfectly orchestrated industrial organisation

Airbus Defence and Space recently completed delivery of its 50th validated, tested and flightworthy Ariane 5 launch vehicle. It has been prime contractor for the Ariane 5 programme since 2003 and, since 2008, is prime contractor to the European Space Agency for the Ariane 5 ME (Midlife Evolution) programme.

Airbus Defence and Space personnel in France and Germany can take great pride in this latest delivery. Being able to assure the on-time delivery of such a reliable launcher that comprises the most cutting-edge space technology bears witness to our industrial know-how,” declared Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.


Two hi-tech communications satellites


ASTRA 3B is a state-of-the-art Ku/Ka-band satellite that was specifically developed to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcast services and bi-directional broadband internet services throughout Europe and the Middle East. The satellite will be capable of operating up to 60 Ku-band and four Ka-band transponders, with 10 kW of payload power. Its launch mass will be 5,470 kg. ASTRA 3B is the third satellite delivered by Airbus Defence and Space to SES ASTRA, following ASTRA 2B and ASTRA 1M.


ASTRA 3B is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, the latest version of the Eurostar satellites, which has been an outstanding success. A total of 17 Eurostar E3000 satellites are currently in orbit, with another 14 currently in production.


COMSATBw-2 is the second satellite in the Bundeswehr’s SATCOMBw military communications programme, for which Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the space segment and in-orbit delivery. Based on a Spacebus platform with an Airbus Defence and Space payload, the satellite was designed, manufactured, integrated, tested and delivered to Airbus Defence and Space by Thales Alenia Space. After verification of its space worthiness in special ground test facilities, the satellite, which weighs approximately 2,400 kg, was shipped to Kourou in early February. Through its MilSat Services joint venture, Airbus Defence and Space is also responsible for the flight of the satellite based on a 10-year contract that was signed in July 2006. The contract comprises an optional extension for an additional seven and a half years. The contracting authority is the Bundeswehr’s Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology (IT-AmtBw). Airbus Defence and Space holds a 74.9% share in MilSat Services GmbH (MSS), with ND SatCom Defence (NDD), a telecommunications equipment manufacturer based in Friedrichshafen, holding the remaining 25.1%. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the operator Intelsat are two of the programme’s other major partners.


For the first time, the German Armed Forces will have two dedicated communications satellites coupled with a secure communications network at their disposal for their deployed units. The Bundeswehr will now have autonomous means of providing global voice and data exchange to its troops, together with a wide range of video and multimedia applications.


Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for both the satellites on board this Ariane 5 launcher. We built ASTRA 3B for our customer SES, who recently placed an order with us for a further four communications satellites. COMSATBw-2 is the second secure communications satellite to be launched for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) under the space segment prime contractorship of Airbus Defence and Space. This is impressive proof of Airbus Defence and Space’s end-to-end capabilities,” declared Evert Dudok, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.



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, geo-information 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)1438 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 




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