Neosat is dedicated to developing, qualifying and validating next-generation satellite platforms for the core satcom market.
The goal is for European satellite manufacturers to capture at least half of the world’s satcom market in 2018–30, generating €25 billion in sales.
A crucial objective for Neosat is to reduce the cost of a satellite in orbit by 30%, compared with today’s designs, by the end of the decade. Existing and new technologies will be used in innovative ways with economies of scale achieved through creating a common supply chain for the satellite prime contractors.
A key feature of the Neosat platform is that it will be optimised for electric propulsion – both for raising the satellite into geostationary orbit after separation from its launcher, and for maintaining its operating position. Electric thrusters use significantly less propellant than traditional thrusters to reach the same destination, which means more valuable space can be used onboard the satellite for other purposes, such as increasing the satellite’s broadcasting power.
The Neosat product lines will however also include options for hybrid electric and chemical and all-chemical propulsion versions.
In the hybrid and all-chemical versions, the satellite operator will have the flexibility to speed up orbit-raising using chemical propellants, which by electric propulsion alone can take several months.
Corresponding technologies such as new thermal control concepts and next-generation battery cells will also be investigated for the future satellite platforms.
The Neosat programme comprises two platform lines: Eurostar Neo by Airbus; and Spacebus Neo by Thales Alenia Space. It includes development and in-orbit validation of the new platform product lines for both companies.
The programme is carried out in cooperation with ESA Member States’ space agencies, and in particular with the CNES French space agency and UK Space Agency.