Space

Airbus millennium - 1000 years’ of service in orbit

Toulouse, 24 June 2021 - Airbus designed and built Eurostar geostationary telecommunications satellites have clocked up 1000 years of successful service in orbit. The millennium milestone for the highly reliable world leading satellite series which have never suffered a failure in orbit, has been achieved by more than 100 Eurostar satellites that have been successfully launched since 1990.

 

Commenting on the achievement, François Gaullier, Head of Telecom Systems at Airbus, said: “When people talk about milestones in space it’s sometimes hard to grasp their significance – but achieving 1000 years of successful operations is something very special. This proves beyond doubt that the Eurostar satellites are a true benchmark in terms of quality and reliability.

 

During the last three decades of producing Eurostar satellites we have pioneered and introduced processed and flexible payloads, electric propulsion systems, active antennas, digitalisation and standardisation on the Eurostar series providing our customers with the latest and most efficient technology and systems. As we move forward with the OneSat range we are determined to build on the achievements of the Eurostars and maintain our unrivalled reputation for reliability and service.”

“Eurostar series is a product of choice among major operators worldwide“

Eurostar spacecraft consist of a service module, the generic standard element for all missions, and a communications module tailored to specific mission requirements.

 

The latest version is Eurostar Neo which benefits from the experience and unique in-orbit heritage of the Eurostar E3000. It provides increased efficiency, performance and competitiveness, from a cost and schedule perspective, when compared to any GEO platform on the market. 

“The Eurostar fleet has also reached 100 000 hours of Plasma Propulsion System (PPS) in-orbit operations”

Since the early 2000s, Airbus has been using electric propulsion for station keeping on a number of its Eurostar E3000 series satellites. With electric propulsion, known as Electric Orbit Raising (EOR), now also an option to transfer the satellite to its operational orbit, this has brought a further drastic reduction in the payload mass to launch mass ratio, meaning that more of the satellite’s value is focused on the mission it is delivering rather than getting the satellite to orbit and keeping it working.

 

Airbus completed its first EOR transfer in a record time, thanks to high power electric propulsion and an innovative mission design solution then introduced across our entire portfolio.

 

The Eurostar fleet’s 100 000 hours of Plasma Propulsion System (PPS) in-orbit operations is testament to all those who contributed to this achievement over more than two decades.

EOR on Eurostar satellites

Key Eurostar Facts:

  • First Eurostar (Eurostar E1000 platform) launch: Inmarsat-2 F1 in October 1990 
  • First Eurostar planned life: 10 years. Retired after 22 years of service

Inmarsat 2 F2 Longest Eurostar In Service - Copyright Airbus

  • First Eurostar E3000 satellite launch: Eutelsat W3A in March 2004.
  • Longest Eurostar in service: Inmarsat-2 F2 – 23.8 years (E1000 platform) – launched March 1991, switched off in December 2014. Its mission was mobile satellite services in L- and C- bands for maritime, aeronautical and land mobile applications with a 10-year lifetime.
  • Eurostar satellites use chemical or electrical propulsion systems

All-Electric satellites for High Power and High capacity missions

  • More than 100 Airbus satellites have been manufactured for more than 20 operators around the world.

Your contact

Ralph Heinrich

Head of External Communications - Airbus Space Systems

Jeremy Close

External Communications - Airbus Space Systems, UK