in Space

Africa set for improved satellite coverage from Alphasat

Posted 23 February 2013 · Add Comment

Africa will get improved satellite coverage when Astrium's Alphasat is launched from French Guiana later this year - the programme has reached a major milestone this week with the successful completion of the major testing stage of the 1-XL programme.

 

Astrium has been undertaking thermal vacuum testing for the past three months to simulate the harsh conditions in space. To replicate the severe cold faced when the satellite passes from direct sunlight into the Earth’s shadow, the shroud of the testing chamber was pumped full of liquid nitrogen to lower the temperature to -173 deg C.
 
At other times the temperature was raised to hundreds of degrees Celsius, all in a near vacuum representing just 100 millionths of the atmospheric pressure found on the ground.
 
Alphasat is a high-power telecom satellite built by Astrium, through a public-private partnership between ESA and UK satellite operator Inmarsat.
 
Weighing more than 6,600 kg, it is based on the new European Alphabus telecommunications platform developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space under joint contract from ESA and the French space agency, CNES.
 
Alphasat I-XL carries a new generation of advanced mobile communications payloads as well as four technological demonstration payloads for ESA. These include a space-to-ground laser communications system and a new type of star tracker.
 
Alphabus is a larger telecom payload designed for direct-to-home TV broadcasting, digital audio broadcasting, broadband access and mobile services.
 
Inmarsat currently offers its BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) family of services for the aeronautical, land and maritime markets via its three Inmarsat-4 satellites.
 
The Alphasat mission will extend Inmarsat's current L-band BGAN services, providing an additional 7 MHz of spectrum over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, from its 25 degree East geostationary orbital position.
 
It will also allow Inmarsat to progress its goal of having aviation safety services certified on its 432kbps SwiftBroadband service for aircraft, providing satellite-based ACARS datalink, prioritised IP data and voice channels.
 
Alphasat's launch is planned for this summer aboard an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
 

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

Air Mauritius starts operations to Wuhan, China

The Wuhan route will be served by an Airbus A340 in a 34 business class and 264 economy class configuration.

ExecuJet welcomes first Pilatus PC-24 to Africa

ExecuJet, part of the Luxaviation Group, will be the first business aviation company to operate and manage a Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet in Africa.

Why Africa looks booked to succeed

For many years, Africa has been talked of as a continent of great potential in commercial aviation. That potential has never really materialised. As Alan Dron reports, the authors of a new book believe that, at last, things are about to

First ACJ320neo is assembled

The first ACJ320neo has been assembled on programme, fitted with CFM International LEAP-1A engines and painted in ACJ house-colours, in preparation for a first flight in the coming weeks.

Support our industry call from new ACI boss

Bongani Maseko, new chairman of the Airports Council International (ACI), believes that, despite challenges, African aviation is becoming a strong contributor to global economic growth.

Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority recognises IATA's Airline Safety Audit Programme

Kigali The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) signed an MoU to partner for the improvement of aviation safety.

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
GroundHandling BT2205130918AviationAfrica_BT0607280219MarrakechAirshow BT2507241018AAD2018 BTAirCargoAFA_BT220318210219