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Astrium is the triple prime contractor for the next Ariane 5 launch


Kourou. – Two Astrium developed satellites are due to be placed into orbit during the next Ariane 5 launch. Astrium 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.

* Astrium is the prime contractor for the space segment of COMSATBw-1, the German military’s first communications satellite

* Astrium is the prime contractor for Amazonas 2, the fourth telecommunications satellite manufactured for the Spanish operator Hispasat

* Astrium is the prime contractor for the development and delivery of the Ariane 5 launcher

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.

Astrium 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. Astrium undertook the ground testing on the satellite, whilst a major part of the payload system was manufactured by Astrium’s TESAT subsidiary.

COMSATBw-1 weighs around 2.4 metric tons.

Amazonas 2 is the fourth satellite to be built by Astrium 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 providing 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.

Astrium, 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. Astrium Space Transportation supplies all the Ariane 5 stages, equipment bays, flight software and numerous sub-assemblies.

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2008, Astrium 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 Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, EADS generated revenues of €43.3 billion and employed a workforce of more than 118, 000.


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