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ESA / Applications / Telecommunications & Integrated Applications / Alphasat

ESA’s objectives for the Alphasat project are:

  • In-orbit validation of the new Alphabus platform, which will service the large telecom satellite market
  • Flight opportunities for four advanced technology demonstration payloads developed through ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES)
  • Stimulation and support for new payload technologies


For commercial operator Inmarsat, Alphasat:

  • Demonstrates Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to L-band frequencies, which will allow them to provide supplementary capacity in areas with the highest traffic
  • Extends the life of their L-band constellation into the 2020s
  • Delivers new capabilities in terms of performance and resource availability
  • Offers extra performance over key land mass areas

New opportunities

Alphasat mating with Alphabus platform
Alphasat mating with Alphabus platform

Alphasat represents the most ambitious partnership between public entities and industry ever undertaken in Europe. It is capable of delivering more and better services than any satellite previously developed in our industry, and embodies Europe’s response to market demand for increased broadband services, and a new generation of satellite capable of meeting this demand.

Additionally, Alphasat provides an opportunity for ESA to launch the new Alphabus platform – a project developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space under a joint contract with ESA and French space agency CNES. Further technology advancements are also possible under the hosted Technology Development Payloads; the European Data Relay System precursor Advanced Laser Communication Terminal, Q/V-Band Communication and Propagation experiments, an Advanced Startracker and Environment Effects Facility. 

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