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N° 2–2017: Call for Media: First flight for SmallGEO

25 January 2017

Europe’s new versatile small geostationary platform will be launched on its maiden flight in the early hours of 28 January on a Soyuz rocket.

SmallGEO is carrying Hispasat’s Hispasat 36W-1 telecommunications payload, which marks the first partnership between ESA and a Spanish operator and will provide flight heritage to OHB System AG’s platform.

It is the first telecommunications satellite to be developed, integrated and tested in Germany for more than a quarter of a century. The launch will also be the first time a Soyuz has lifted a telecom satellite of more than 3 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Liftoff is scheduled for 01:03 GMT on 28 January (02:03 CET, 22:03 on 27 January local time).

The satellite’s destination is a geostationary position at 36°W, where it will provide broadband coverage across Europe, the Canary Islands and the Americas.

It will do so through its Redsat payload, which offers better signal quality and flexible land coverage by independently allocating up to four reconfigurable Ku-band beams at once, adapting the beams’ strength and location according to demand.

Together with a traditional commercial payload using advanced Ka- and Ku-band transponders, Redsat allows for higher transmission speeds. It can also convert data received in the existing standard to the newer Digital Video Broadcasting Second generation standard.

The SmallGEO platform and Hispasat 36W-1 mission were developed under ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme, which transforms research and development investments into commercial products. This helps to secure the future success of Europe and Canada in the highly competitive global satcom market.

The launch will be streamed live and linked from the ESA website.

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with EUMETSAT for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in the Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications domain.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:


ESA Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99