Neosat is the next generation
platform initiative that has led to two successful partnership projects, run by
the European Space Agency in collaboration with the French space agency CNES.
They are Spacebus Neo with
Thales Alenia Space and Eurostar Neo with Airbus, which are dedicated to
developing, qualifying and validating next-generation satellite platforms in
orbit for the core satellite communications market.
Neosat has significantly
reduced the cost of satellites by introducing innovation at all levels and
optimizing new fully electric propulsion satellites.
Since production line
development began at the end of 2015, more than 10 Neosat satellites have been
sold by European industry to six satellite operators.
This has resulted in an
exceptional return on investment, and for every euro invested,
more than 20
euros are expected to be returned to the participating countries and their industries.
This is according to an
independent study conducted by Euroconsult in partnership with Technopolis and
While Neosat partnership
projects have united the industry around large-scale programs,
competitive leaps forward and economic impacts.
Companies from across ESA's
member countries have developed new satellite production lines and are
supplying the recurring building blocks,
under the leadership of major
contractors Thales Alenia Space and Airbus.
Systems engineering, satellite
assembly, integration and testing activities were also conducted in France and
the United Kingdom,
which are major contributors from the 17 countries
participating in Neosat.
Next Generation Platform
The ARTES Next Generation
Platform component, or NEOSAT, is the European Space Agency (ESA) program to
develop and qualify two new satellite production lines, Eurostar Neo and
This will enable the European
space industry to offer commercially competitive satellites with a launch mass
of 3 to 6 tons.
The program includes in-orbit
verification of new platforms,
and Neosat is a joint project of ESA/CNES with
the joint program management.
The new product lines aim to
significantly reduce the cost of in-orbit data capacity by:
• Full electric propulsion for
in-orbit lift and station keeping
• Reduce assembly, integration
and testing time with modular design
• Easier cargo accommodations
for a wide range of loads
• Compatibility with Ariane,
Proton and Falcon launcher families
An important objective of the
Neosat program is to build a European supply chain that optimizes costs.
To ensure the on-time delivery
of the satellites, it will be necessary to achieve high industrial and
technical performance from the suppliers for this to work.
Elements, such as Xenon tanks
and electric propulsion,
are also being developed for Spacebus Neo and Eurostar
Neo to take advantage of economies of scale.
In addition to supply chain
optimization, another challenge is to design a modular production line for each
It includes the right mix of
new and proven technologies, capable of launching a wide range of payloads,
including the latest technology in this particular field, and is compatible
with the changing launcher landscape.
Both Eurostar Neo and Spacebus
Neo passed the initial design review in early 2015.
Phase B was completed in 2015,
and separate contracts for Phase C/D were signed with both first phases at the
end of 2015, each leading its own European Union.
Thales Alenia Space (TAS)
(France) is the main contractor for Spacebus Neo.
In October 2015, TAS won
Spacebus Neo's first commercial satellite contract for the broadband mission to
Africa with Eutelsat (BB4A) to be launched in 2019.
Airbus Defense and Space
(Airbus DS) (France) is the main contractor for Eurostar Neo.
Airbus also plans to sell its
first Eurostar Neo satellite this year, and is actively marketing the new
platform on the global market.
Existing development contracts
cover the core features of the new platform's product lines;
However, there are
still additional options to be developed within the current technical baseline.
These options include:
• a number of basic components,
the so-called basic building blocks
• Procurement of the first
flying prototypes of the main units, which is critical to entering the market
• Ground support equipment
(mechanical and electrical), including full implementation of the European
Ground Systems Common Core (EGS-CC)
The latest market trends show
that satellites with a payload capacity of 25 kW are becoming a requirement.
The two Neosat platforms will
be developed to meet this performance demand with existing platform designs
through enhanced payload capacity,
more efficient power generation, and
improved heat dissipation.
These options and the growth
potential of the product line will be implemented based on the availability of
Iterations are conducted with industry and the 17
participating countries of Neosat to:
• Confirming the alignment of
activities with national priorities
• Ensure that the expected
amounts of activities are in line with the expectations of the participating
activities are being submitted as part of the Neosat supplemental funding
request at the ESA Ministerial Council in December 2016.