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Satellite-based telecommunication generates economic power


* Astrium the global market leader in commercial telecommunication satellites since 2006 – over 35 % of added value created in Germany
* Supply contract signed with medium-sized enterprise
* 250th solar panel produced for Astrium Eurostar satellite

Munich/Ottobrunn. – Thanks to its huge leverage potential, satellite-based communication represents an important factor in the world’s economy. In his capacity as Parliamentary State Secretary at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, and as the Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, Peter Hintze was able to convince himself of this fact during a visit to the Ottobrunn site of European space company Astrium.

Ottobrunn is where Astrium has concentrated significant parts of its German telecommunications business – including both system management and the development and manufacture of satellite equipment, subsystems and components. The new satellite-based military telecommunication system developed for the Bundeswehr, SatComBw Stage 2, is also being managed in Ottobrunn. Moreover, the site’s competence centre for solar generators and its ultra-modern antenna test facility play a leading role in the highly competitive global space market.

“The economic added value of public technology funding and research is particularly evident in the field of satellite-based telecommunications,” says Astrium CEO Evert Dudok. Every euro invested in this area returns at least ten euros to the economic cycle, he states, the majority of this added value actually being generated outside spaceflight itself, for instance through services and terminal equipment.

Astrium has an approximately 30 percent share in the global market for telecommunications satellites, Dudok continues, which has made it the world leader on the market in recent years. “At least 35 percent of each of Astrium’s telecommunications satellites comes from Germany. This provides work for some 1400 employees at Astrium’s German sites and at our subsidiary Tesat in Backnang.” Dudok praised the high level of competence of all the engineers involved and stressed the importance of recruiting new engineers for the site in Ottobrunn.

On the occasion of Hintze’s visit, Astrium announced the signing of a supplier contract with Azur Space, a medium-sized company based in Heilbronn, which will be in charge of delivering ultra-high-power gallium arsenide solar cells to Ottobrunn for its production up until 2011. The contract is worth a total of 75 million euros. Satellites have a varying demand for solar cells, reaching from 800 units (for small satellites) to 30,000 units for large telecommunications satellites such as the Alphabus. Astrium’s solar generators are more powerful than their present terrestrial counterparts by a factor of 2.6 under comparable operating conditions.

At present, Astrium’s solar generator centre is manufacturing its 250th panel for an Astrium communication satellite belonging to the Eurostar series. A Eurostar E 3000 needs ten such panels on its two deployable wings. The panels are about 4 x 2.3 metres large. So far, Astrium has received orders for 25 Eurostar satellites, 13 of which are already at work in space.


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