Planes soar and deals are struck, there are handshakes and news announcements — such is the atmosphere at the Paris Air Show. And following suit in this pattern, Thales Alenia Space has signed its first contract with OHB, at this year’s Paris Air Show, to provide new-generation electronic equipment*, made in Belgium, for the Electra platform.
Developed in a public-private partnership (PPP) by the operator SES, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German space agency DLR, Electra is a generic geostationary platform with all-electric propulsion. It will have a payload capacity of 300 kilograms, with up to 3 kW of power, and offers a design life of up to 15 years.
These products are developed in Belgium by Thales Alenia Space, within the scope of ESA’s ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) project. They meet the requirements of all-electric versions of new-generation European geostationary satellite platforms, designed to address operator expectations for competitiveness, flexibility and multi-launcher compatibility.
Emmanuel Terrasse, Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space’s Belgian unit said that Thales Alenia Space, which counts on its subsidiaries to expand its market reach and enhance its technical content through various centers of expertise, already develops most of the electronics for the Spacebus Neo platform in Belgium. Today, OHB is entrusting them with this responsibility. Thanks to productive teamwork, their new products will deliver unprecedented performance, competitiveness, flexibility and lightness. They also reflect the contribution of Belgium’s delegation to ESA programs. He added that in fact, it’s thanks to Belgium’s long-term investment in telecommunications that they have built up expertise in space electronics that is unrivaled in Europe.
*The new products developed by Thales Alenia Space through the ARTES program are as follows:
- PCU NG, a new-generation Power Conditioning Unit, the satellite’s electrical core, which handles the conversion and management of electrical power from the solar panels, as well as battery charge and discharge management (23 kW).
- DCU (Drive Control Unit), a modular device that controls the antenna and solar array steering motors.
PPU Mk3 (Power Processing Unit). Newly qualified, this unit is compatible with all plasma (electric) thrusters now available on the market (5 kW). The PPU Mk3 controls the thrusters used for orbital positioning and station keeping on the new generation of all-electric telecom satellites.