Thales Alenia Space has been awarded a contract to provide operational support for the French Ministry of Defence’s Syracuse 3, Athena-Fidus and Sicral 2 communication satellite systems.
Dubbed SSAS, the contract was awarded by the French defence procurement agency (DGA), and entails stationkeeping and support servicesfor the Syracuse 3A, Syracuse 3B and Athena-Fidus satellites and the "French" part of the Sicral 2 satellite.
Thales Alenia Space Telecommunications vice-president Bertrand Maureau said the company has supported the French Defence Ministry in operating the Syracuse system for more than eight years.
"The outstanding production services supplied by Thales Alenia Space were a decisive factor in the DGA’s selection of our company to extend services already provided for Syracuse to include the joint milsatcom programs, Athena-Fidus and Sicral 2," Maureau said.
The company is collaborating with its legacy partners, namely Thales and Telespazio to provide operational support for the satellites, and also maintain associated ground control systems.
The Syracuse 3 space system comprises two telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit, namely Syracuse 3A and 3B, which were launched in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and the associated ground control systems.
The French-Italian geosynchronous military and governmental EHF/Ka-band wideband communications satellite, Athena-Fidus and Sicral 2 systems include the eponymous satellites and the associated ground control systems.
Jointly manufactured by France and Italy, Athena-Fidus and Sicral 2 are based on Spacebus-4000B2 and Spacebus 4000 satellite platforms respectively and are designed to meet the needs of the defence and security authorities of the two countries.
The contract’s value remains undisclosed, while the services are scheduled to run until 2031.
Image: An artist’s impression of Sicral 2 satellite in orbit. Photo: courtesy of Arianespace.