Prime contractors Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space have jointly selected, along with the European Space Agency (ESA), Snecma's PPS®5000 plasma (electric) thruster for their new-generation telecommunications satellite platforms now being developed through the Neosat program. ESA also authorized Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space to start final contractual negotiations with Snecma.
The Neosat program includes the delivery, in the summer of 2017, of complete shipsets of plasma thrusters, along with design studies and testing, for the two prime contractors' respective platforms, the Eurostar Neo from Airbus Defense and Space, and the Spacebus Neo from Thales Alenia Space. These two platforms will be optimized for all-electric propulsion systems, used to raise the satellite into its definitive orbit after release from the launcher, and to keep it in its assigned operational orbit (stationkeeping). The total market will include more than 350 thrusters to be supplied by Snecma.
"Along with the development of the PPS®5000 and its first launch planned for mid-2017, this decision will allow Snecma to take a major step towards the production and marketing of its plasma thrusters," said Didier Desnoyer, Snecma Executive Vice President for Military Engines and Plasma Propulsion.
Snecma also confirms its position as the baseline supplier to satellite prime contractors Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space, in line with the original Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2014.
ESA's Neosat program is being conducted in collaboration with a number of space agencies from European countries, in particular French space agency CNES. The aim is to develop and qualify a family of robust, modular platforms that will meet the needs of telecom satellite operators. This program is targeting a 30% reduction in satellite costs versus current models by 2020, while also winning 50% of the telecom satellite market during the period 2018-2030.
Source: Safran S.A. (Paris: SAF.PA)
Date: Jan 20, 2016