SICRAL 2 satellite ready for launch on April 24

Kourou  17 April 2015 16:41

The SICRAL 2 military telecommunications satellite will be launched on April 24. Liftoff is scheduled for 04:38 pm (local time), 21:38 (CET), from the Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

SICRAL 2 is a joint programme between the Ministry of Defense in Italy and DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) in France for the benefit of Italian and French armed forces, with respective stakes of 62% and 38%. It is conducted by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, the two companies in the Space Alliance created by Finmeccanica and Thales.

Positioned at 37°E in the geostationary orbit, SICRAL 2 will have a service life exceeding 15 years. It will enhance the satellite communications capabilities already provided for Italy by SICRAL 1 and SICRAL 1B (launched in 2001 and 2009) and for France by Syracuse 3A and 3B (launched in 2005 and 2006). All of these satellites were designed and developed by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio.

SICRAL 2 offers unprecedented flexibility and versatility. It will ensure interoperability with existing satellite systems, NATO traffic terminals and current national telecommunications networks. The satellite will provide strategic and tactical satellite communications services, supporting military land, sea and air platforms used by Armed Forces to guarantee internal and external security.

Thales Alenia Space is the main industrial partner in this program. In particular, it was responsible for the design of the entire SICRAL 2 system, along with development, integration and testing (AIT) of the satellite at its satellite integration centers in Rome, Turin and Cannes. Thales Alenia Space is also responsible for the ground segment architecture, and it designed, developed and integrated the Mission Control Centers; Thales Alenia Space France played a similar role, integrating the French Mission Control Center into the Syracuse infrastructure.

The satellite weights 4360Kg with a power of 7KW. It will host the most technologically advanced equipment dedicated to an UHF and SHF payload for the Italian mission, a SHF payload for the French mission as well as a payload for remote control, Telemetry and Ranging with use of Expanded Spectrum modulations.

Telespazio participated in the realization of all the SICRAL programme and, in particular, for SICRAL 2 the company looked after the Ground Segment for the design, implementation, integration and testing phases of the Satellite Control Center, at Control Centre in Vigna di Valle (Rome) for the main system and at the Fucino Space Centre (L’Aquila) for the back-up system. Moreover the company is responsible for the interconnection system between the Italian and French Mission Centres.

Telespazio will manage SICRAL 2 launch service from the Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) and IOT (In Orbit Test) phases. Telespazio has participated in the investments for the development of SICRAL 1B and SICRAL 2 missions, and therefore has part of the transmission capacity of these satellites and provides communications services to the armed forces of NATO countries.