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Space to Connect

Bridging the digital divide and connecting people anywhere, anytime

The satellite communications market is in constant flux, with manufacturers developing made-to-measure solutions to keep pace with operators’ new needs. End-users’ expectations are well known: anywhere, anytime connectivity—including on the move—and access to increasing amounts of data. There remains the unresolved problem of “not spots”, underserved and often remote areas without sufficient communications infrastructure on the ground, where fiber most likely has yet to reach. Bridging the digital divide is still a key social issue, including in Europe. Telecommunications, and digital communications systems in particular, are clearly the best solution to match demand in a fiercely competitive and fast-moving market.

Made-to-measure solutions for operators

©Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space offers a range of product lines to meet the new expectations of the telecom market. Our proven Spacebus 4000 B2 platform is ideally suited to the regional requirements of telecoms operators. The SES-22 C-band satellite built around this spacecraft bus was successfully launched in June. We have also designed and built satellites around the all-electric Spacebus NEO platform.

Using electric thrusters increases payload capacity, affording more flexibility for operators. Spacebus NEO is the perfect fit for very high throughput satellites (VHTS), helping bridge the digital divide across the globe. Our latest Space INSPIRE product line—an extremely flexible software-defined digital solution that can be reconfigured in orbit—has been very successful this year with major operators.

Thales Alenia Space leading the way in the telecom market

Intelsat 41 and 44
©Thales Alenia Space

2021 will go down as a stellar year for Thales Alenia Space, with the award of five geostationary communications satellite contracts: SICRAL 3A and SICRAL 3B for the Italian Ministry of Defense, the Indonesian HTS 113BT satellite for operator Telkomsat, and two new satellites, ASTRA 1P and ASTRA 1Q, for SES.

2022 is shaping up as a standout year for Space INSPIRE. In 2022, Thales Alenia Space was awarded 6 geostationary telecommunications satellites as prime contractor, including 5 based on our new Space INSPIRE solution. As a result, we are now leading the way in the geostationary telecom market.

Bringing digital connectivity to all

View of Eutelsat Konnect VHTS and Earth
©Thales Alenia Space / Master Image Programmes

Satellite communications systems, operating alongside terrestrial infrastructures, have the ability to provide a range of services—TV and radio broadcast, very-high-speed Internet—to bring digital connectivity to all. Launched in 2021, SES-17 is a geostationary broadband communications satellite designed to offer SES customers ubiquitous mobile connectivity. Covering the Americas, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean, this satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime, started operations in June 2022.

We were also prime contractor for Eutelsat’s KONNECT VHTS satellite, the most powerful ever built in Europe. It will deliver high-speed Internet across Europe, particularly to remote regions where coverage is sparse, offering a service comparable to fiber networks. With a data rate of 500 Gbps, KONNECT VHTS will play a key role bridging the digital divide in Europe.

Record number of telecom constellations

Thales Alenia Space has always been a go-to partner for constellations. After helping to build nearly 70% of the first Globalstar constellation, we were the prime contractor for three other constellations of communications satellites in medium and low Earth orbit, with Globalstar 2, O3b and Iridium® NEXT. On the strength of this unrivaled technological heritage, we were selected by Canadian operator Telesat as prime contractor for the future Lightspeed constellation of several hundred satellites in low Earth orbit. Thales Alenia Space has drawn on its expertise in constellations, Earth observation and satellite navigation, partnering with small and mid-sized firms and startups to address new markets for high-revisit-rate optical Earth observation, space surveillance and the Internet of Things (IoT).

© Thales Alenia Space