Advanced Television

IRIS2 facing complications

June 17, 2024

IRIS2 is the European Commission’s (EC) scheme for a major super-secure satellite constellation. It is already extremely late in coming to any sort of agreement as to how its proposed public/private finance can be structured. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has spoken out with something of a rescue plan.

ESA director general Josef Aschbacher is suggesting that ESA play a much larger part on bringing the project together.

The major problem is seen as the role of Europe’s satellite operators, and the – seemingly – ever-increasing costs. SES, Eutelsat and Hispasat are already members of the successful consortium (SpaceRise) to help finance the project. The EC wants the final scheme to have geostationary, Mid-Earth orbing and Low Earth orbiting satellites each playing their part and having super-efficient quantum transmissions with minimum latency, yet serving government, military and businesses and perhaps even consumers with their broadband needs.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Aschbacher suggested a greater role for ESA in bringing the project to completion.

It has also been widely reported that the satellite operators are less keen today on the financial requirements of the project, and that the remaining members of the consortium including satellite builders Thales Alenia and Airbus must pick up a greater share of the project.

The EC and ESA are already committed to funding some €3 billion of the project’s initial costs. But those costs have ballooned over the past year or so and some members of the SpaceRise consortium believe the overall project commercially unaffordable.

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