Alphabus: An Extended European Capability
Last Update: 28 Oct 2010
With the Alphabus product line, European Industry extends its telecommunication satellite range significantly beyond the capabilities of the existing platforms, such as Eurostar 3000 and Spacebus 4000, both with respect to maximum payload power and mass. This development has been initiated, by ESA and CNES, as a coordinated European response to the increased market demand for larger telecommunication payloads for new broadband, broadcasting and mobile communications services.
Based on their extensive experience in this field, EADS Astrium & Thales Alenia Space lead, as co-prime contractors, a European Alphabus industrial team. The Alphabus platform will be marketed by these companies to complement their portfolio into this extended payload range.
Alphabus Product line
The Alphabus contract covers the development, and qualification of a complete product line, with the following nominal capabilities:
Typical payload capacity: up to 200 transponders - equivalent to more than 1000 TV channels (SDTV) and more than 200 000 audio channels.
The Alphabus product line is designed for future growth and will be compatible in its extended version with higher payload power (up to 22 Kw), higher payload dissipation and higher payload mass (up to 1400 kg).
Alphabus Product line Key Features
Fig. The Alphabus Service Module
The Alphabus design takes full advantage of the experience gained through the Eurostar and Spacebus product range and complements this with the benefits of several new developments to improve the overall platform design and performances. As a result the Alphabus is a considered mix of heritage and proven innovation. Wherever practicable, the Alphabus product line relies on qualified European technologies.
Successful European Cooperation
The Alphabus PFM platform will fly in the frame of the Alphasat Programme with Inmarsat allowing an early in orbit demonstration and validation of the Alphabus product. The Alphasat launch is scheduled in 2012 with Ariane 5. Furthermore Alphabus is being formally introduced into the EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space industrial product line, and thus available for commercial bids from the end 2009 onwards.
Looking to the future, the Alphabus Extension programme will further extend the capabilities of the platform in terms of power, mass and thermal rejection. Work is progressing with the industrial team to refine the development plan and implement the extension activities which are essential to prepare a solid European offering entry in the world competition of very large communication satellites.