Thales to provide Laser payload for Hellas Sat 5
January 29, 2024
By Chris Forrester
Hellas Sat, majority owned by Arabsat, has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Thales Alenia Space to collaborate on the development of an optical communication payload for the upcoming new mission to be embarked on the future HellasSat 5 telecommunications satellite, which will orbit at 39 degrees East.
The partnership between Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space aims to provide cutting-edge communication services with very high data rates from geostationnary orbit. This innovative payload aims to connect with Optical Ground Station of the National Athens Observatory in Greece, Optical Ground Stations in France, Optical Ground Stations of ESA and Thales Alenia Space’s LEO HydRON telecommunication satellite.
After Vertigo H2020 programme, Thales Alenia Space is currently advancing the development of very high data rate capacities (up to 1 terabit/second) facing long distances from ground to geostationnary orbit and cross-atmospheric turbulence, with support from France Relance (CO-OP), CNES (DYSCO) and ESA (HydRON).
The MoU signing ceremony took place at Hellas Sat’s headquarters in Athens, Greece, with representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the French embassy in Greece, ESA, CNES, Thales Alenia Space France, Italy and Switzerland, the National Athens Observatory, along with various Greek ministries and local authorities in attendance.
Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas Sat, stated: “We are honoured to work once again with Thales Alenia Space in the realm of optical communication technology, introducing the optical connectivity communication services to the European and International market thus effectively achieving the implementation of new technologies and sealing a new era.”
Free Space Optical laser Communications are emerging as a space standard, offering significantly greater capacities compared to current satcom systems (terabit/sec vs. gigabit/sec). This technology is poised to revolutionise space telecommunication infrastructure, similar to the impact of optical fibre on the ground.
Various use cases include universal internet access, direct data transmission from observation satellites at any time, private links to data center and optical fiber redundancy on the ground in case of crises. Introducing optical fibre in space is expected to reduce the need for a high number of satellites in orbit, contributing to the sustainability of space infrastructure and minimising sky pollution.