Airbus Announces Three New Communications Contract Awards

Airbus has been awarded contracts for three new communications satellites. The company will build one of the satellites itself and the other two as part of a consortium with Thales Alenia Space.

Airbus will build the MEASAT-3d multi-mission satellite for MEASAT Global Berhad (“MEASAT”), of Malaysia, Positioned at 91.5°E collocated with MEASAT-3b, also built by Airbus, MEASAT-3d will deliver improved performances to progressively replace MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a, supporting Asia’s premium DTH (direct to home) video distribution.

Planned to be launched in 2021, MEASAT-3d will provide C and Ku-bands capacity for DTH, video distribution and telecommunication services. The new HTS Ka-band mission features multiple user spot beams optimized to deliver high speed broadband communications over Malaysia to bridge the digital divide in the country.

It will also carry an L-band navigation hosted payload for the Korea Augmentation Satellite System (KASS) for KTSAT.

“We are delighted to once again appoint Airbus as the manufacturer of MEASAT’s 8th communication satellite. With MEASAT-3d, MEASAT reaffirms its commitment to provide core infrastructure for the Malaysian ICT and broadcast industry,” said Dr. Edmund Kong, MEASAT’s Chief Technology Officer said,

“Furthermore, MEASAT-3d will aid in bridging the digital divide in Malaysia by enabling 100% coverage for high speed consumer broadband services to all Malaysian households,” he added.

SpainSat NG Satellites

Hisdesat Servicios Estratégicos S.A. has selected a four co-primes consortium formed by Airbus and Thales Alenia Space to build two SpainSAT NG satellites. Used for governmental communications, these new generation satellites will replace the existing Spainsat and Xtar-EUR satellites. Airbus will act as “lead partner” of the consortium.

The SPAINSAT NG programme includes two satellites, SPAINSAT NG I and II which will be situated in different geostationary orbital slots to operate in X, military Ka and UHF bands.

The first of these New Generation Spainsat satellites will be launched in 2023 guaranteeing the continuity of the secure communications services to the Spanish Ministry of Defense and Governmental Agencies using the current fleet .

SPAINSAT NG will provide coverage on a wide area of the world ranging from the United States and South America to the Middle East, including Africa and Europe and till Singapore in Asia. Both satellites will allow to:

  • Ensure effective command and control for beyond line-of-sight operations in 2/3 of the Earth.
  • Guarantee communication capability in theatres of operation lacking communications infrastructure.
  • Develop more satcom on the move, higher capacity, better secured and assured communications
  • Unlock the potential of the network centric battlespace-netcentric warfare and operations.

The communication payloads of both satellites will be provided by the Spanish industry, including the integration of the Communications Module in Spain, a major step forward for the Spanish industry. Airbus in Spain will be responsible for the X band payload, while Thales Alenia Space in Spain will be responsible for the UHF and mil-Ka band payloads. Other companies from the Spanish space industry will also be involved.