Thales Alenia Space is preparing to ship Brazil’s dual-use (civil/military) Geostationary Defence and Strategic Communications Satellite (SGDC) to the Kourou launch pad in French Guyana to be launched by an Ariane 5 in March.
Thales Alenia Space signed the SGDC contract with Visiona (a joint venture between Embraer and Telebras) at the end of 2013. The programme plays a key role in the Brazilian Space Agency’s Space (AEB) development plan, while also addressing the strategic requirements of the Ministry of Defence.
Based on the Spacebus 4000 platform, the SGDC satellite will carry two payloads, one with 50 Ka-band transponders offering throughput of up to 80 Gbps, and the other with seven X-band transponders. The satellite will weigh about 5.8t at liftoff, and will offer more than 11kW of power. It will be positioned in orbit at 75 degrees West.
The SGDC programme is an integral part of Brazil’s strategy to reinforce its independence and sovereignty. It is designed to meet two main objectives: the implementation of a secure satellite communications system for the Brazilian armed forces and government; and support for the deployment of the National Broadband Plan (PNBL), coordinated by Telebras as operator, which aims to reduce the digital divide in the country.
The Brazilian Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning technology transfer in support of the development of Brazil’s own space programme. As part of this effort, Thales Alenia Space has established a unit at the San José dos Campos technology park in Brazil, to work more closely with its local customers and partners.
The contract also includes a complete ground segment for satellite and mission control, along with orbital positioning, acceptance testing in orbit and operational support, preceded by a comprehensive training programme for Brazilian operators.