Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the triple prime contractor for the next Ariane 5 launch

  • Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the space segment of COMSATBw-1, the German military’s first communications satellite
  • Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for Amazonas 2, the fourth telecommunications satellite manufactured for the Spanish operator Hispasat
  • Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the development and delivery of the Ariane 5 launcher


Kourou, 29 September 2009 – Two Airbus Defence and Space developed satellites are due to be placed into orbit during the next Ariane 5 launch. Airbus Defence and Space engineers are currently undertaking final preparations on Hispasat’s Amazonas 2 satellite and the German Bundeswehr’s (German Armed Forces) COMSATBw-1 satellite at the French Guiana Space Centre, with the launch scheduled for 1st October 2009.


COMSATBw-1 is the first military communications satellite to be operated by the German Bundeswehr as part of their SATCOMBw Stage 2 military communications programme. A second satellite, COMSATBw-2, will be launched in 2010 making the programme fully operational and will provide the German Bundeswehr with their first, dedicated satellite communications network.

The communications network will allow the German Bundeswehr to transmit secure information for use by units on deployed missions. Communications satellites are currently the only solution for the flexible transmission of data, which is not dependent on existing infrastructure within the theatre of operations.

Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the space segment of the SATCOMBw Stage 2 programme and for the in-orbit delivery of the satellites. Thales Alenia Space designed and manufactured COMSATBw-1, and was responsible for its system integration. Airbus Defence and Space undertook the ground testing on the satellite, whilst a major part of the payload system was manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space’s TESAT subsidiary.

COMSATBw-1 weighs around 2.4 metric tons.


Amazonas 2 is the fourth satellite to be built by Airbus Defence and Space for Hispasat. This powerful satellite, based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite platform, will increase the Spanish operator's capacity to meet the growing market demand for telecommunication services in Brazil, as well as other parts of the Americas.

The satellite has a launch mass of 5.45 metric tons, is capable of delivering a payload power of 12 kW, and has a design life of 15 years. Once in orbit, it will join the existing constellation of sixteen operational E3000 satellites and will provide broadcasting and transmission services from a geostationary orbit position of 61° West. Amazonas 1 has been operating 51 transponders in this position since 2004, and Amazonas 2 will operate 54 in the Ku band and 10 in the C band.

Airbus Defence and Space, the only prime contractor for Ariane 5, co-ordinates all the necessary contractual work and delivers a complete and fully tested launch vehicle to Arianespace, the commercial launch service provider. Airbus Defence and Space supplies all the Ariane 5 stages, equipment bays, flight software and numerous sub-assemblies.


Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2008, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.3 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 Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €43.3 billion and employed a workforce of more than 118, 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

Airbus Defence and SpaceAmazonas-2SATCOMBw