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
Advertisement
Latest News

Launch of the Air Mauritius Flying Academy

The Flying Academy of the Air Mauritius Institute (AMI) launched today offers pilot training for an ATPL license recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

New kid on the block is not kidding around

Allan Kilavuka became CEO of Kenya Airways’ low-cost carrier (LCC), Jambojet, in January 2019, succeeding industry veteran Willem Hondius. Kilavuka talked to Victoria Moores about how it felt to fill those shoes, as a complete

Lufthansa Technik sets up shop in South Africa

Lufthansa Technik has become the first foreign MRO provider to establish line maintenance operations in South Africa through a new contract with Comair – and it bodes well for the region. Chuck Grieve reports.

Embraer releases second quarter results

Embraer delivered 26 commercial and 25 executive (19 light and 6 large) jets during 2Q19, compared to 28 commercial jets and 20 executive (15 light and 5 large) jets in 2Q18.

The Major breakthrough for South African aviation

Cindy Lou Dale turns the spotlight on a maverick pilot who – 90 years ago – revolutionised the airways over South Africa and effectively created the country’s most famous airline.

It's good to talk why collaboration is the name of the game

With significant growth forecast across the continent’s aviation sector, Chloe Wilson reports on how the industry is tackling challenges to safety and security in African airports.

AVAFA20SK2207050320
See us at
AVAFA20BT2207050320Dubai AS BT2006211119MEBAA BT2006260919