ESA Signs Small Geostationary Satellite Program Contracts
[Satellite Today 11-21-08] The European Space Agency (ESA) signed contracts with OHB-System in Germany and Hispasat in Spain for ESA’s small GEO program, the space agency announced Nov. 20.
The program is intended to develop a general purpose small geostationary satellite platform that will enable European industry to develop technologies to meet the needs of the commercial telecommunications market for small platforms. ESA focuses its support on research and development activities and established an element within its Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems to oversee the project. The industrial partners finance a substantial part of the development costs and bear the risks associated to the launch and further exploitation.
OHB will be the prime on the Small GEO Platform, which will develop a small platform capable of supporting a payload mass of up to 300 kilograms, payload power of up to 3 kilowatts and a lifetime of up to 15 years. A consortium led by OHB has been working on the preliminary development of the Small GEO Platform since March 2007. The definition phase has been completed, and this contract authorizes the detailed design, manufacturing and testing phases.
Hispasat will oversee the Small GEO Mission contract, which will develop and launch a small geostationary satellite and associated mission to provide flight qualification as well as in-orbit demonstration for the platform. The satellite, Hispasat (AG1), is scheduled to be launched in 2012 and will supply Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and South America with multimedia services.