Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite (SGDC), Brazil

Brazil's SGDC satellite

Currently undergoing integration, Brazil's Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite (SGDC) is planned for launch in September 2016.

The dual-use telecommunications satellite is intended to provide secure strategic defence communications for the Brazilian Ministry of Defence, and broadband services for the Ministry of Telecommunications, through the National Broadband Plan (PNBL).

The satellite will be positioned in geostationary orbit at an angle of 75┬░ west and will be operated by Visiona Tecnologia Espacial, a joint venture between Embraer Defense & Security and Telebras Telecomunica├žoes Brasileiras. It is expected to enter service in the first quarter of 2017.

SGDC programme details

Visiona Tecnologia Espacial signed a contract with Telebras for R$1.3bn ($570m approximately) for the SGDC satellite programme in November 2013.

In December 2013, Thales Alenia Space appointed Visiona Tecnologia Espacial as the prime contractor to build the SGDC satellite and ground segment, as well as oversee orbital positioning and in-orbit tests (IOT).

As part of the contractual agreement, Thales Alenia Space will also provide complete training and operational support for Brazilian operators, in co-ordination with the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). The programme also involves national space research institute INPE and the Brazilian Ministry of Defence.

The SGDC's design was reviewed by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in Toulouse, France, and received approval for manufacturing in January 2015. Construction of the satellite is scheduled for completion in mid-2016.

Design of the geostationary military communication satellite

Based on the HTS Spacebus 4000-C3 platform, the SGDC satellite is designed for a life of 15 years. It will have a weight of approximately 5,800kg at launch and a payload power of more than 11kW.

Payloads carried on the SGDC satellite

The satellite is fitted with seven X-band military payload and 50 efficient Ka-band payload transponders offering a throughput of 80Gbps.

The five X-band transponders will cover all of South America and neighbouring maritime routes. The Ka-band payload will offer government strategic data communications and expand broadband services to remote areas in Brazil.

Ground segment

The ground segment consists of nominal and redundant satellite and mission control centres, and is used to perform tests, and control the SGDC satellite and payloads.

Launch vehicle

In December 2013, Arianespace signed a launch contract with Visiona Tecnologia Espacial for the SGDC satellite aboard Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher from the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou, French Guiana.

"Visiona Tecnologia Espacial signed a contract with Telebras for R$1.3bn ($570m approximately) for the SGDC satellite programme in November 2013.."

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle has a length of 50.5m and a typical launch weight of 780t. It has a payload capacity of 20,000kg to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and 10,000kg to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

The main cryogenic stage is powered by a Vulcain main engine, which burns liquid hydrogen. It is fitted with two solid boosters to develop 90% thrust.

Contractors involved

Communications & Power Industries (CPI) Satcom Division was selected in September 2014 to provide 500W continuous wave (CW) Ka-band Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs) for use in critical telemetry, tracking and control.

Systems Tool Kit (STK) software, developed by Analytical Graphics (AGI), is being used by Visiona Technology Espacial to analyse and evaluate the SGDC satellite orbit, communication links and communications coverage.