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The SPAINSAT NG programme, owned and operated by Hisdesat, has successfully passed the preliminary design review (PDR) for satellite and payload, including the Pacis 3 elements, co-primes Airbus and Thales Alenia Space announced on 22 October. This important milestone confirms the soundness of the system’s preliminary design and technical capabilities.

Successfully passing the satellite and payloads PDR, including Pacis 3, in the planned schedule shows the outstanding commitment and performance of all the teams working in this challenging programme. I really appreciate the efforts of everyone, from our main end customer and partner in the SPAINSAT NG PPP: the Spanish Ministry of Defence, and the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism as lender of the programme, to CDTI, ESA, Hisdesat, Airbus, Thales Alenia Space and the rest of the industry working on the programme,” commented Hisdesat CEO, Miguel A García Primo.

The SPAINSAT NG programme comprises two satellites, SPAINSAT NG I and II, which will be situated in different geostationary positions to operate in X, military Ka and UHF bands. The communication payloads of both satellites are provided by Spanish industry, including integration of the communications module in Spain. Airbus in Spain is responsible for the X band payload, while Thales Alenia Space in Spain is responsible for the UHF and Ka band payloads, with other Spanish companies are also involved. The UHF payload is a new development for Spain, positioning the country at the forefront of those with national systems in the military UHF band.

The satellites are based on the EUROSTAR NEO platform, Airbus’ new geostationary telecommunications satellite product, a significant evolution of the highly reliable and successful EUROSTAR series with an entire range of major innovations. SPAINSAT NG satellites include an X band fully flexible payload, employing active antennas with in-orbit reconfiguration capability, an on-board digital processor that will interconnect the X and Ka band payloads for cross-banding, and a dedicated high-speed service link enabling rapid reconfiguration.

Spain has always been at the centre of our space activities and at Airbus we have a long history in providing payloads for Spanish government missions. This milestone represents an extraordinary achievement, as it clearly validates that we have succeeded in further developing our expertise and capabilities on new technologies here in Madrid,” explained Fernando Varela, Head of Airbus Space in Spain. ”We are now ready for the next stage and on track with integration of the communication modules in our clean rooms.”

For the first time we lead in Spain the development and integration of the payloads for a programme like SPAINSAT NG, which positions us at the forefront of space technology with the capacity to integrate large space systems. This will allow us to take the lead of new payloads and instruments in future missions,” added Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain.

SPAINSAT NG development is supported by the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) in a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Hisdesat, known as Pacis 3.

The Pacis 3 Partnership Project with Hisdesat is an important step within the Govsatcom Precursor project, part of ESA’s Space Systems for Safety and Security Programme,” stated Elodie Viau, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications. “Pacis 3 shows how the European space industry can respond to a globally emerging market [for] secure satellite communications. Partnership Projects provide an effective and collaborative environment to introduce innovative systems and services, up to in-orbit validation.”

The first SPAINSAT NG satellite will be launched at the end of 2023 and the second a year later, guaranteeing the continuity of secure communications services.

The SPAINSAT NG satellites will have an operational lifetime of 15 years, remaining in service up to 2039. (Image: Airbus)

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