Intelsat expands its global 5G software-defined network

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Intelsat and Thales Alenia Space are to build two software-defined satellites designed to advance Intelsat’s global fabric of software-defined GEO connectivity as part of its 5G software-defined network.

Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44) are scheduled to enter service in 2025, joining two Airbus constructed software-defined satellites, Intelsat 42 (IS-42) and Intelsat 43 (IS-43), announced in January 2021.

Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44 will be based on Thales Alenia Space’s innovative Space Inspire product line, allowing seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand, and superior video broadcasting performance while maximising the effective use of the satellite resources.

“Intelsat’s standards-based open-architecture network design facilitates the incorporation of the best technology at any given time, further bolstering network resiliency,” said Stephen Spengler, CEO of Intelsat. “With the addition of Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat will blanket the earth with software-defined satellites, progressing the world’s first global 5G software-defined network, designed to unify the global telecoms ecosystem.”

The contract enables the continued advancement of Intelsat’s planned global software-defined satellite-based network, adding high-speed dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.

Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said: “Our relationship with Intelsat has been so meaningful, knowing that our attractive Space Inspire software-defined solution will contribute to the realization of Intelsat’s global 5G software-defined unified network. We are proud that our advanced satellite technology will play a significant role in Intelsat’s vision to reimagine the global telecoms ecosystem.”

SES-17 has successfully launched

SES-17 successfully launched

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SES-17 has successfully launched

SES has launched the SES-17 satellite, an Ariane 5 launcher operated by Arianespace from the Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The multi-mission Ka-band satellite will provide comprehensive coverage across the Americas, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. From its orbital slot of 67.1 degrees West orbital slot, the very high throughput geostationary (GEO) satellite incorporating cutting-edge technologies is set to deliver the best connectivity experience for SES customers operating in the aeronautical, maritime, enterprise, and government markets.

Built by Thales Alenia Space, SES-17 marks an important milestone in satellite technology as the first Ka-band geostationary satellite to embark a fully digital payload powered the most powerful digital transparent processor (DTP) ever placed in orbit. It will have nearly 200 user beams that can be connected to any other beam at any time. This, combined with the ability to dynamically change the power and frequency allocation of any beam, means that SES-17 can adapt to changing customer needs in real-time.

It is also the first GEO satellite to use Adaptive Resource Control (ARC), an industry-first software system that leverages the full flexibility of totally digital payloads to autonomously adapt space and ground resources on the fly to meet customer needs.

Equipped with an all-electric propulsion system, the satellite will reach orbit as of mid-2022. When operational, anchor customer Thales InFlyt Experience will use SES-17’s connectivity to power its next-generation aviation connectivity solution, FlytLIVE. Thales InFlyt Experience will ensure both crew and passengers will have an always-on high-speed Wi-Fi connection at peak times and in high-traffic routes while optimising bandwidth.

“Today’s launch of SES-17 is an exciting milestone for our FlytLIVE Connectivity Solution currently flying within the US,” said Craig Olson, Vice President at Thales InFlyt Experience. “The network and satellite architecture was specifically developed for the unique connectivity requirements of our commercial aviation customers and their passengers. With SES-17, FlytLIVE will provide full coverage for the entire Americas and North Atlantic Corridor delivering an unmatched connectivity experience in the air.”

Steve Collar, CEO of SES commented: “Thanks to Arianespace, SES-17 is now on its way to orbit. We are looking forward to SES customers being able to leverage the high throughput, global reach and low-latency of SES’s multi-orbit, interoperable Ka-band satellite network comprising SES-17 and our upcoming O3b mPOWER constellation.”

SES-17 satellite

SES sets launch date for SES-17

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SES-17 satellite

SES has confirmed the launch date for SES-17.

Built by Thales Alenia Space, the SES satellite will be launched by Arianespace, using an Ariane 5 vehicle on 22 October 2021.

The satellite has completed its performance tests at the Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France and is being prepared for shipment to Arianespace’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana ahead of the launch.

SES-17 is a very high-throughput satellite in geosynchronous orbit, built to serve North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean with Ka-band coverage. It will address demands for high-speed and flexible data connectivity across aviation, maritime, enterprise and government segments, advancing the region’s digitalisation objectives and helping to bridge the digital divide.

For commercial aviation, SES is partnering with its anchor customer, Thales Avionics.

Artist impression of Telesat Lightspeed, A LEO Ka-band constellation

Telesat unveils Lightspeed LEO network

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Artist impression of Telesat Lightspeed, A LEO Ka-band constellation

Thales Alenia Space has been selected to manufacture Telesat’s global LEO constellation, Lightspeed, initially comprised of a fleet of 298 next-generation satellites integrated with an advanced ground network.

Lightspeed has been optimised to serve the fast-growing broadband connectivity requirements of many users, including aviation.

Thales Alenia Space and its affiliate Telespazio have made a Lightspeed capacity commitment in connection with the agreement. Operating under Telesat’s global Ka-band priority spectrum rights, the first Lightspeed satellites are expected to be launched in approximately two years, with customer beta testing beginning shortly thereafter and commercial services commencing in the second half of 2023.

Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat said: “The name Lightspeed underscores the essential speed advantages inherent to Telesat’s LEO design. Lightspeed is the most technologically capable satellite communications network in history and exploits the latest advances in space-based data processing, laser communications, digital antenna technology and machine learning.”

Telesat will rely on Thales Alenia Space not only to provide the space and mission segments, but also to be responsible for the end-to-end network performance and related specifications of the system.

Lightspeed is based on an innovative architecture and next generation technologies, providing a very high level of flexibility in capacity allocation. The constellation is built on a unique combination of advanced on-board satellite equipment – sophisticated active antennas that can dynamically refocus beams a thousand times per second, powerful and flexible processors able to address a range of bandwidth, optical laser links between satellites to create a true global mesh coverage of the world – and a mix of on-board and on-ground software ensuring the optimal use of the system resources. The flexibility brought by this system is the key to true competitiveness as it optimizes sellable capacity in relation to the location of demand, which can vary significantly across time and between hot spots such as airports and low-density areas such as remote communities. The optical laser link interconnections between the constellation satellites will provide global, mesh coverage around the world, including above the oceans and poles, with a high level of security for end-to-end services. It will optimize the ground segment with a lower number of gateway sites, more freedom on gateway locations, and the ability to deploy gateways in line with the loading of the system.

Telesat is developing affordable end-user terminals, with a range of antennas and modems optimised for each of the market verticals Lightspeed will serve. In addition, Lightspeed leverages industry-wide network interface standards to enable simple, seamless integration with customers’ terrestrial networks, without the need to integrate proprietary hardware or software.

Under the terms of the Agreement, the parties have provided for the advancement of the program while the financing for the project is being finalised. The commencement of full construction activities and the final constellation deployment schedule are subject to, and conditional upon, the progress of the financing for the program.

Telesat has designed and will operate the Lightspeed satellites to ensure that LEO orbits are safely available for other users and that the night sky is safeguarded for astronomical observation.

Artistic View © Thales Alenia Space/Master Image Programmes

Amazonas Nexus satellite

Gogo and Hispasat sign capacity deal

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Gogo has signed an agreement with Spanish satellite operator, Hispasat for capacity on its Amazonas Nexus satellite, to be constructed by Thales Alenia Space and due to launch in 2022.

Gogo has leased multi-gigahertz of Ku-band to provide service to its customers in the Americas and the Atlantic region. Hispasat and Gogo worked closely to optimise the satellite design to provide superior performance and capacity for in-flight connectivity.

“We are excited to support Gogo in providing the best service for their global airline partners,” said Miguel Ángel Panduro, CEO of Hispasat. “This partnership demonstrates the important role Hispasat will play in providing capacity for aerial services. The in-flight connectivity market is a growing segment for satellite capacity, and this is one of the foundational elements for Hispasat’s future growth,” Panduro concluded.

Amazonas Nexus is a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) with an innovative architecture that will replace the Amazonas 2 in the 61º West position. The new satellite will have a payload specifically dedicated to aero connectivity and will offer additional capacities oriented to vertical segments like mobile connectivity, corporate communications and cellular network deployment. It will feature an advanced Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), a technological breakthrough that will substantially increase satellite flexibility when dealing with changes in demand.