Athena-Fidus satellite arrived at launch base in French Guiana

The Athena-Fidus broadband telecommunications satellite, a joint French-Italian program, arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana on December 9. Thales Alenia Space is program prime contractor on behalf of the French and Italian space agencies, CNES and ASI, as well as the French (DGA) and Italian (Segredifesa) defense ministries, respectively with responsibility for the development, construction, testing and in-orbit delivery of the satellite. Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, is involved in the ground segment part of this project, contributing its expertise in areas involving the launch and subsequent orbital positioning of the satellite.

The Athena-Fidus program (Access on theatres for European allied forces nations-French Italian dual use satellite) includes a geostationary satellite with EHF and Ka-band transponders and the ground control segment, based in a French military site. The satellite deploys the latest civil telecom standards, DVB-RCS and DVB-S2, to ensure optimum transmission capacity and service availability. It will provide data transmission services especially to the French and Italian defense ministries, as well as to these countries' security organizations (civil security, homeland security, police, firefighters, etc.).

Built on a Spacebus 4000 platform, the satellite will weigh over 3,000 kg at launch and offers a design life exceeding 15 years. The launch will be carried out by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 ECA launcher.

Thales Alenia Space is the industrial prime contractor on the Sicral 2 and Athena-Fidus programs, the first European (French-Italian) partnership for military and dual use space telecommunications.

Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Dec 12, 2013