Astrium has announced that the second dedicated military communications satellite for the German armed forces is now operational, following the latest series of tests that covered the satellite platform, the payload, and the components of the satellite’s secure control system. With this final milestone, the conditions for in-orbit delivery of the second satellite to the Bundeswehr IT Office were fully met, and the handover of the COMSATBw-2 satellite to its future end user, the German armed forces, completed.

The two dedicated military communications satellites at the heart of the SATCOMBw Step 2 program will, for the first time, provide the German armed forces with an independent infrastructure enabling troops deployed on missions outside Germany to benefit from their own secure information network. The fully autonomous network supports the transmission of voice, data and multimedia applications around the globe.

"With the delivery of the second military satellite, the project SATCOMBw Step 2 has reached an important milestone. The armed forces now have two of their own communications satellites, so that they are able to support missions almost world-wide in a flexible way,” said Wolfgang Stolp, president of the Federal Office for information management and information technology of the Bundeswehr (IT-AmtBw). “Now that the test phase for the second satellite has been concluded successfully, we can assert that the satellite and all its components fulfill all specifications. The contractor, MilSat services GmbH, supplied us, in co-operation with Astrium GmbH, with a product, that so far fits the high quality requirements of a space program and will enable both satellites to successfully fulfill their mission for the next 15 years."

"With the handover of the second communications satellite, the military space segment of SATCOMBw Step 2, for which Astrium is responsible, is now fully operational and complete," said Evert Dudok, CEO of Astrium Satellites. "We have reached another important milestone for the satellite communications of the Bundeswehr and Astrium has further established itself as a reliable supplier of military space systems. In addition to the delivery of portable ground stations for data transmissions, Astrium will now take over the satellite operation for the armed forces through its sister company MilSat Services."

For SATCOMBw Step 2, MilSat Services GmbH is prime and the program comprises the delivery of two communications satellites designed to operate in the military frequency bands, their placement in geostationary orbit, their operation by the DLR control centers, the delivery of transportable ground stations for use by the Bundeswehr, and performance upgrades of the Bundeswehr’s existing command and control segment. MilSat Services will also provide the German armed forces with access to transmission capacity on the commercial satellites operated by Intelsat.