Satellite carrying new Airbus telecommunications system launched
The Badr-8 satellite is equipped with Airbus' TELEO space demonstrator, and will provide connectivity for users across Europe, Middle East, Africa, and central Asia (Image: Airbus)
A telecommunications satellite equipped with Airbus’ new TELEO space demonstrator was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the end of May, in order to provide space-to-ground optical communications at gigabit speeds.
Airbus was contracted to build the ‘Badr-8’ satellite in August 2018 by Arabsat, a communications satellite operator headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Based on Airbus’ latest geostationary Eurostar Neo satellite, Badr-8 will provide connectivity for users across Europe, Middle East, Africa, and central Asia.
The TELEO demonstrator payload is designed to facilitate very high capacity optical feeder link communications, forming part of Airbus’ development of a new generation of optical communications technology in space that is highly robust against jamming. It will be used to validate technical scenarios and innovations for geostationary orbit to ground communications of the order of one terabit per second.
Jean Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus said: “Marking our third successful launch of the Eurostar Neo series and our eighth spacecraft built for Arabsat, Badr-8, equipped with the very innovative TELEO payload, is the latest major milestone for our telecoms business. Featuring increased payload capacity and more efficient power and thermal control systems, Badr-8 will replace and increase Arabsat’s capacity.”
Badr-8 will use its electric propulsion system to reach geostationary orbit at 36,000km, where it will then undergo a comprehensive testing period before entering full service. With a launch mass of 4.5 tonnes and 17.8kW of power, the satellite is designed to operate in orbit for 15 years.
Airbus’ Eurostar Neo platform was developed in the frame of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Partnership Projects, together with the French space agency CNES, and strongly supported by the UK Space Agency and other agencies across Europe. The TELEO demonstrator payload was developed with support from CNES.