Thales Grabs Key Deals with Turkmen Government, Globalstar
[Satellite TODAY Insider 11-23-11] European satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space was awarded two key contracts to build a Turkmen satellite and to develop satellite software for Globalstar’s second-generation satellites, Thales Alenia Space announced Nov. 22.
The Government of Turkmenistan selected Thales Alenia Space to build the country’s first telecommunications satellite, which will be launched into the 52 degrees East orbital slot controlled by the government of Monaco in 2014. The slot authorization was acquired in a separate deal with Space Systems International-Monaco.
The Turkmen satellite payload aims to provide 10 kilowatts of power and carry an unspecified number of Ku-band transponders. The Turkmen government confirmed it had been in negotiations with Thales for several months since the creation of the Turkmen Space Agency in early 2011. In addition to building the spacecraft, Thales Alenia Space will provide Turkmenistan with two ground stations to support the satellite and train a team of Turkmen engineers on satellite construction and management techniques.
Separately, Thales Alenia Space announced that MSS operator Globalstar selected the satellite manufacturer to develop software to enhance operations for its second-generation satellites.
The deal follows a previous announcement from Globalstar, which confirmed that one of its 12 new second-generation satellites is currently not providing service due to an issue with two of its momentum wheels. Thales Alenia Space will develop and provide the software necessary to adapt the in-flight configuration for this satellite, allowing it to return to service.
In a statement, Globalstar President of Global Operations Tony Navarra said the solution would be implemented in stages during the coming months. “Following weeks of simulations, design analysis and discussions with Thales Alenia Space, we welcome Thales’ agreement to develop a solution that should enable the affected satellite to return to full service and accomplish its primary mission of providing 15 years of high-quality mobile satellite voice and data services,” said Navarra.
Thales Alenia Space CTO Michel Fiat added that the solution also would be available for other Globalstar satellites if needed. “Thales Alenia Space has allocated major skilled resources to this development,” Fiat said in a statement. “This software, after full validation on Thales Alenia Space Software and Avionics test benches, will be then uploaded in flight, thanks to onboard computer capability.”
Globalstar is in the final decision-making period for its third satellite launch currently scheduled for December. The operator said it would announce updated launch information shortly.