Alphasat satellite is onboard and making its way to the European Space port for launch
19 June 2013
The European satellite Alphasat has been carefully loaded onboard the Antonov Aircraft that will transport it to the European Space Port in French Guyana for its scheduled launch on July 25th of this year. Once in orbit, a team of operation engineers from Astrium, Thales, ESA and Inmarsat will take over control of the 6 ton spacecraft and maneuver it into a geosyncronous orbit at 25 degrees East. Alphasat will provide Inmarsat with even greater capacity in the European foot print. It will be capable of accessing the additional 2×7 MHz of L band spectrum allocated at the WRC-03, which were not available to the Inmarsat IV satellites, when they were originally designed.
Inmarsat plans on bolstering its media business with the additional spectrum and have several manufacturers building new portable satellite data terminals that are capable of providing +1Mbps IP data services. The first terminal is scheduled to be the Cobham Explorer 710. It will access the “High Data Rate” ( HDR ) service via the Inmarsat network which has been readied for this new service.
Alphasat will also assist with providing extended omnidirectional IP services and Handheld Satphone capabilities to the region.
Alphasat was built in partnership between ESA and European operator Inmarsat by Astrium. It is the first satellite to use Alphabus, the new European high-power telecommunications platform jointly developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space under a joint contract from ESA and the French space agency, CNES.
- Alphabus Service Module in geomobile configuration, compatible with Proton 4 m fairing,
- Repeator Module split in 2 halves, for ease of payload accommodation,
- Implementation of payload integrated processors providing payload flexibility through coverage and power reconfiguration capabilities,
- 11 m diameter deployable reflector,
- Total launch mass: more than 6 tons,
- Total Electrical power: 12 KW.
Technology Demonstration Payloads
Following several technology studies and preliminary accommodation activities four TDPs have been selected for flight on the Alphasat these comprise;
- An advanced Laser Communication Terminal to demonstrate GEO to LEO communication links at 1064nm,
- A Q-V Band communications experiment to assess the feasibility of these bands for future commercial applications,
- An advanced Star Tracker with active pixel detector ,
- An environment effects facility to monitor the GEO radiation environment and its effects on electronic components and sensors.