Microwave Journal
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Sicral 2 defense and security telecom satellite prepared for launch

International

March 30, 2015

Following development by Thales Alenia Space the Sicral 2 telecommunications satellite, a joint undertaking of the Italian Ministry of Defense and the French defense procurement agency DGA (part of the Ministry of Defense), has arrived at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana for an Ariane 5 launch on April 15.

After development at the company’s plants in Rome, L’Aquila, Cannes and Toulouse, the satellite has been integrated in Rome and Turin facilities and then underwent environmental tests at the company's plant in Cannes. The satellite will now undergo final tests and pre-launch procedures at the Guiana Space Center.

Sicral 2 is one of the basic building blocks in Italian-French defense cooperation. It is a technological state-of-the-art system, designed to bolster the military satellite communications capabilities already offered by Italy's Sicral 1 and Sicral 1B satellites, and by the Syracuse system in France.

Sicral 2 is a joint program funded by the Italian and French Ministries of Defense, with shares of 68 percent and 32 percent, respectively, as part of a broader Framework Agreement between the two countries. This agreement also involves the countries' space agencies and recently led to the launch of the dual-use broadband communications satellite, Athena-Fidus.

Thales Alenia Space is the main industrial partner in the Sicral 2 program. In line with its role on the Sicral 1 and Sicral 1B missions, the company was responsible for the space segment, the system ground segment architecture and the development of the mission control and communication center. Telespazio is involved in the ground segment for the design, realization, integration and testing phases of the Satellite Control Center in Vigna di Valle and Fucino.

Moreover, Telespazio took an active role in the development of Sicral 2, contributing part of the development costs and receiving in turn the use of part of the satellite’s transmission capacity. It will enable it to offer satellite communications to the armed forces of NATO member countries.

The Sicral 2 system will strengthen strategic and tactical satellite telecommunications for both France and Italy, guaranteeing interoperability with existing satellite resources, NATO allies' terminals and national telecommunications networks.