Bundeswehr & Hispasat


Big launch out of the jungle in French Guiana tonight, as an Ariane 5 is scheduled to launch two spacecraft:

The 2,500-kg. COMSATBw-1 plays an important role in the German Bundeswehr’s (German Armed Forces) concept for network-centric operations.  This spacecraft is designed to handle secure information for use by units on deployed missions – including voice, fax, data, video and multimedia applications, with a coverage area that stretches from America to eastern Asia.

COMSATBw-1 will serve as the backbone of a strategic command infrastructure and interface for the Bundeswehr’s tactical arms.  Overall industrial responsibility for the secure communication program is with Milsat Services (a 75% Astrium/25% subsidiary of ND SatCom Defence).

The program’s space segment prime contractor is EADS Astrium, which has booked its two spacecraft for Arianespace launches beginning with COMSATBw-1.  Thales Alenia Space is responsible for integrating the Spacebus satellite bus, while Astrium’s German subsidiary TESAT delivers the payloads.

Accompanying COMSATBw-1 on the upcoming Ariane 5 missions is Amazonas 2, which was built by EADS Astrium using the Eurostar E3000 spacecraft bus, and is to weigh approximately 5,500 kg. at liftoff.  When operational with the Spanish-based HISPASAT telecommunications operator, Amazonas 2 will provide relay capacity over the Americas with a coverage area extending from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.  It carries 54 Ku-band transponders and 10 C-band transponders for the relay of a wide range of communications services, including direct-to-home television.

Watch it live here.