TELECOM: Hellas Sat4 comms satellite ready for launch

Hellas Sat 4, the joint Greek and Cypriot high-capacity communications satellite owned by Arabsat, is set to be launched into orbit on Tuesday, on board ArianeSpace’s first launch of the year from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The launch from Kourou at 22.01 CET (23.01 Cyprus/Greece) on board an Ariane 5 rocket, will be broadcast live by European stations, as well as the venture’s sister satellite, Hellas Sat 3.

The new satellite, said to be Lockheed Martin’s largest commercial satellite, will deliver TV, internet and mobile phone services across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, linking European air travellers to Wi-Fi, and relaying video and data signals across India. It will be launched together with the parent’s Arabsat-6A, both of which were commissioned by Arabsat/Hellas Sat and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology of Saudi Arabia.

Preparations for the launch have been completed and the last technical meeting has taken place as Hellas Sat 4 will be positioned at 39 degrees east, next to Hellas Sat 3 which was launched into space in June 2017.

Christodoulos Protopapas, the venture’s CEO and President of the Hellenic Space Agency, said the mission is to provide innovative satellite services, expanding the operations of Hellas Sat in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Hellas Sat 4 is one of the most modern in the world, based on the LM 2100 series of satellites with a successful presence in the specific market, also optimised with state-of-the-art technology regarding its power supply, said Protopapas.

Hellas Satellite 4 will not be equipped with the standard solar panels used by older satellites, but will employ state-of-the-art solar energy collectors which look like sails that will open up (multi-mission modular solar array technology), Protopapas explained, adding that thanks to the innovative technology behind the powering of the satellite, it will be able to remain longer in orbit.

Arabsat-6A and its companion satellite, Hellas Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat-1 are the most advanced commercial communications satellites we’ve ever built, said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space for Lockheed Martin.

The modernised LM 2100 that these satellites are built on is packed with new innovations, including solar arrays that are 30% lighter and 50% more powerful, upgraded flight software and more efficient propulsion capabilities resulting in longer maneuver life. Those improvements will deliver greater precision, performance and value in orbit.

Both satellites have been designed for a 15-year service life.

Commenting on the Hellas Sat 4 launch, Giorgos Komodromos, head of the Electronic Communications Department at the Cyprus Ministry of Transport, told the Financial Mirror that it is another milestone for Cyprus as the satellite is marked with the Cypriot flag and is to be positioned in airspace allocated to Cyprus and Greece by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Explaining that Cypriot consumers do not rely so much on satellite services, as Cyprus has a good ground network, the services provided by satellites like the Hellas Sat fleet are complementary to television and internet services.

Komodromos said that the launch of satellites into airspace allocated to Cyprus will benefit the country as companies taking advantage of Cyprus’ airspace and frequencies pay fees to the Republic.

Satellites also require infrastructure on the ground as satellites need to be supported and monitored around the clock. Hellas Sat and CyTA have two ground infrastructure and operations in Kofinou and Kakorakia, respectively.

Komodromos concluded that satellites like Hellas Sat 4 will have a complementary, but essential role to play once the country makes the leap to 5G broadband internet technology, as it will fill in the gaps of the ground network.

On the ground for Hellas Sat 4’s launch are Cyprus Transport and Communications Minister Vassiliki Anastasiades and Greece’s Secretary General of Communications, Dr Vassilis Maglaras. The event will be broadcast live in Greece by state television ERT, in Cyprus by Capital TV, Europe’s broadcasting union EBU and ABS’ satellites, as well as by Hellas Sat 3.

Source: The Financial Mirror