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Airbus to produce GOVSATCOM demonstrator
The programme aims to provide European users with secure satellite communication services. © Airbus-Satcom

Airbus to produce GOVSATCOM demonstrator

Airbus has been contracted by the European Space Agency to produce a demonstrator for the future European Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) programme.

Supported by the European Commission, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), GOVSATCOM aims to provide key European countries, organisations and operators with secured satellite communication services. The programme should be launched by 2020.

The two-year demonstrator contract comprises two parts. The first part involves producing a system of dynamic sharing of satellite capabilities. The core of the ground system is based on the Newtec Dialog technology developed by the Belgian company Newtec and will be installed at the Airbus site in Toulouse. It will be operated by various European governmental entities and employed particularly in overseas theatres of operations. An end-to-end service demonstrator will illustrate the attractiveness, flexibility and simplicity of the proposed services.

The second part of the project concerns a technological development designed to improve the performance of Newtec Dialog platform. The objective is to draw all possible benefits from the pooling of capabilities for the future generation of governmental satellites, whose coverage areas will be configurable in real time. The innovation will enable mobile users to switch transparently from one satellite beam to another while at the same time protecting the confidentiality of their operations.

This demonstrator contract follows on from the two design studies in which Airbus participated between 2015 and 2017 on behalf of ESA and EDA, respectively. These studies served to define and quantify the nature of the European governmental users' needs and assess the various technologies and architectures of the GOVSATCOM programme, as well as the advantages of the 'pooling and sharing' model.

The GOVSATCOM programme should initially focus essentially on the pooling and sharing of communication capabilities provided by governmental satellites and commercial operator satellites already in orbit.

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