(Cannes, November 14, 2008) -- The SICRAL 1B satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, has now completed integration and testing, and has been shipped to its launch site. Launch is scheduled for January 2009.
SICRAL 1B will provide strategic and tactical communications services for the Italian armed forces, in Italy and abroad, as well as ensuring mobile communications with land, naval and air platforms. It will also provide NATO forces with UHF and SHF satcom capabilities, based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2004 by the Italian, French and British ministries of defence and the Atlantic Alliance.
In addition to its role as satellite prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for parts of the ground segment, including the Telecommunications Control Center in Vigna di Valle, Italy.
The construction of the satellite reflected the strong teamwork between Thales Alenia Space's Italian and French entities, with SICRAL 1B being integrated at the Turin plant, while environmental testing was carried out in Cannes. The Satellite Integration Center in Rome produced the payload, which comprises one EHF/Ka-band, three UHF-band and five active SHF-band transponders.
Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space Italy have teamed up, within the scope of the Space Alliance between Finmeccanica and Thales, to take charge of the satellite launch and early orbit phase (LEOP), and to complete the ground segment (Satellite Control Centers in Vigna di Valle and Fucino).
"We are especially proud of our work on the SICRAL 1B satellite, since we were able to meet a challenging series of requirements in a fast-paced international marketplace," said Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Thales Alenia Space Italia. "Now we are getting ready for the launch, while at the same time continuing the development of the follow-on SICRAL 2 satellite."