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ESA Set to Launch SmallGEO on Maiden Flight

By Juliet Van Wagenen | January 25, 2017
SmallGEO Hispasat payload. Photo: ESA

SmallGEO Hispasat payload. Photo: ESA

[Via Satellite 01-25-2017] The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch their new versatile small geostationary platform (SmallGEO) on its maiden flight in the early hours of Jan. 28 on a Soyuz rocket.

SmallGEO is carrying Hispasat’s Hispasat 36W 1 telecommunications payload, which marks the first partnership between ESA and a Spanish operator and will provide flight heritage to OHB System AG’s platform.

The satellite’s destination is a geostationary position at 36 degrees West, where it will provide broadband coverage across Europe, the Canary Islands and the Americas. It will do so through its Redsat payload, which offers better signal quality and flexible land coverage by independently allocating up to four reconfigurable Ku-band beams at once, adapting the beams’ strength and location according to demand.

According to a statement released by the ESA, this is the first telecommunications satellite to be developed, integrated and tested in Germany for more than a quarter of a century. The launch will also be the first time a Soyuz has lifted a telecom satellite of more than 3 tons to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The SmallGEO platform and Hispasat 36W-1 mission were developed under ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program, which transforms research and development investments into commercial products.