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Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space, which is a joint-venture between Thales and Leonardo, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work on an optical communication satellite project.
January 29, 2024
The optical communication payload, as is parlance in the satellite world, will be built for an upcoming mission on the future Hellas Sat 5 telecommunications satellite, operating in geostationary orbit at 39 degrees East, for those keeping track.
The aim of the project is to ‘provide cutting-edge communication services with very high data rates from geostationary orbit.’ This payload is intended to connect with the optical ground station of the National Athens Observatory in Greece, some in France, and more operated by ESA, and Thales Alenia Space's LEO HydRON telecommunication satellite.
Following something called the Vertigo H2020 programme, Thales Alenia Space is currently working on very high data rate capacities (up to 1 terabit/second) over long distances from ground to geostationary orbit and cross-atmospheric turbulence, alongside France Relance, CNES, and ESA.
The MoU signing ceremony took place at Hellas Sat’s headquarters in Athens, Greece, with representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the French embassy in Greece, ESA, CNES, Thales Alenia Space France, Italy and Switzerland, the National Athens Observatory, along with various Greek ministries and local authorities in attendance, we’re told.
“We are honoured to work once again with Thales Alenia Space in the realm of optical communication technology, introducing the optical connectivity communication services to the European and International market thus effectively achieving the implementation of new technologies and sealing a new era,” said Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas Sat.
Marc-Henri Serre, Executive Vice President Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Hellas Sat and all our partners to develop optical communications payload, a crucial step towards establishing a secure and very high data rate optical network. This marks the beginning of a new era in telecommunication services with a sustainable approach.”
The satellite comms sector has been building in hype for the last couple of years, and looks to be one of the key themes of MWC next month. There are a lot of partnerships being announced and a lot of money sloshing around in the costly pursuit of putting satellites into space. And it’s been a particularly big month for satellite news.
Last week AST SpaceMobile got $200 million investment from AT&T, Google and Vodafone which will be used to support the commercial rollout of its network, while SpaceX sent and received its first text messages using its new Starlink Direct to Cell satellites and T-Mobile US' spectrum.
Meanwhile over in China, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced it has completed construction of launchpad number one at the country's first commercial spaceport, currently being built in the city of Wenchang, on the island province of Hainan.
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