Alphasat, the most sophisticated communications satellite ever built, has passed the final integration and testing and is now on the way to Kourou, French Guiana.
The satellite, a new acquisition of London-headquartered telecommunications provider Inmarsat, carries a new generation advanced geomobile communications payload in L-band that will enhance Inmarsat’s broadband network service across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
It also carries four technological demonstration payloads of the European Space Agency (ESA). One of them is a laser communications terminal developed in cooperation with German Space Agency (DLR) that represents the first step towards the European Data Relay System that will enable high speed transmission of data between the low Earth and geostationary orbit. It is believed that once fully operational, the system will considerably improve Earth observation applications and services.
Alphasat is also the first satellite to make use of the new European platform for heavy geostationary satellites. Named Alphabus, the platform, which has been developed jointly by ESA, Astrium, Thales Alenia Space and French Space Agency (CNES), is the most powerful platform in the world and is designed for missions of satellites with mass of up to 8,800kg, payload power of up to 22kW and payload mass up to 2,000kg. Once the solar arrays are deployed after the satellite reaches is position in orbit, Alphasat will have a wingspan of 40 metres
Inmarsat believes the satellite will serve for 15 years and will considerably improve the services for aeronautical and maritime sectors.
This payload features eight new generation digital signal processors, which are able to efficiently manage multiple communications with maximum flexibility in both frequency and beam power allocation, and an 11 meter antenna reflector.