Astrium, Europe's leading space technology company, is prime contractor for both the Ariane 5 launcher and the Astra 2F satellite scheduled for launch from the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, on 28 September.
Astrium is prime contractor of Ariane 5, the heavy-lift European launcher designed and built to carry out the widest range of missions and which has proved its reliability by achieving 50 consecutive successful launches already. On this particular launch, the ECA version of the Ariane 5 launcher will deliver two telecommunications satellites with a total weight of 10,179 kg, including the adapters and the SYLDA dual launch system.
The Ariane 5 launcher is manufactured and adapted to the specific characteristics of each mission by Astrium, its prime contractor. Positioned at the head of a highly qualified European logistics chain, Astrium builds the equipment and stages and integrates them at Kourou. The launcher's main components are the cryogenic main stage (EPC) and its Vulcain 2 engine, the solid boosters, the cryogenic upper stage (ESC-A) and its HM7B engine, and the equipment bay.
The Astra 2F telecommunications satellite is the 28th Eurostar E3000 satellite built by Astrium and the first in a series of four satellites ordered together from the company in late 2009. The next satellite, Astra 2E, has been integrated and is undergoing its final tests at Astrium's Toulouse site, while the following two, Astra 5B and Astra 2G, are in the process of being built, as is SES-6, a fifth satellite ordered by SES from Astrium.
For more information see: http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/dossiers/telecommunications-satellites-making-connections.html
Note to UK Editors:
Astrium in Stevenage designs and manufactures the Eurostar telecommunications satellites mechanical platform. This includes all panels and 'service modules' for the telecommunications satellites. The service module is essentially the life support system for the satellite - it is the part that carries the fuel, apogee kick rocket motor, and the thrusters. In addition it houses the thermal management system and electrical systems. Thermal management is critical in the harsh environment of space. As the satellite is flying at 17,500 mph - orbiting the Earth at the same speed as the planet rotates, is exposed to direct sunlight (unfiltered by an atmosphere) and also the freezing temperatures of space. In practical terms that means that part of the satellite will be heated up to about 150 degrees C whereas the other side will be plunged to about minus 150. The spacecraft electronics meanwhile must be kept operating at about 25 degrees C - or thereabouts...and of course as it flies different parts of it are exposed to the Sun so there is a constant shifting thermal environment.
Astrium in Portsmouth manufactures the sophisticated electronic payload of every Eurostar E3000 telecommunications satellite. Astrium (Europe's largest space company and third in the world) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of telecommunications satellites. The telecommunications satellites are for direct to home (DTH) broadcasting as well as the transfer of data from machine to machine across the world. An Astrium Eurostar telecoms satellite can broadcast approx 200 HD TV channels, 500 normal TV channels and up to 4,000 radio stations or a combination. The satellites' payloads or "communications modules" are manufactured in Astrium's clean rooms - to ensure no contamination by dirt, dust etc. The communications modules - which include the payloads - are designed and manufactured in Portsmouth. The payloads have to be able to receive a signal in space at 36,000 km above the Earth in geostationary orbit. The signal strength of an uplink when it reaches the satellite is about a millionth of a watt. The satellite payload then filters the signal and amplifies it a billion times, before filtering it again, converting its frequency and then broadcasting it back down to Earth.
Both UK elements (the service modules and communications modules) are shipped to Toulouse where they are coupled together and tested before launch.
Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Astrium had a turnover close to O5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Astrium is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.
Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment; Astrium Services for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.
Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group - comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter - generated revenues of O 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.
Jeremy Close (Astrium UK) - Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy (Astrium FR) - Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 51 80 32
Ralph Heinrich (Astrium GER) - Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechon (Astrium SP) - Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41