Development of the Alphabus satellite platform will be managed by French space agency CNES and co-financed by the European Space Agency under an agreement signed on 15 March. The basis for Europe’s next generation of communication satellites, Alphabus will weigh up to 8t and carry a 1t payload.

Alphabus, designed by an EADS Astrium/Alcatel Alenia Space team, will be jointly marketed from 2007. A final configuration of the first flight model, Alphasat, will be selected by the end of the year for launch around 2010. ESA, CNES and industry are funding Alphabus with around €335 million ($402 million).

“After a call for candidates and a first selection, a definition phase for the first flight model of the Alphabus platform will be started with each of the three operators selected,” says ESA.

Source: Flight International