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European companies to develop large satellite bus
Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2005, 7:41 AM ET (1141 GMT)
Alphabus illustration (ESA) The European Space Agency and Europe's two largest satellite manufacturers have agreed to work together to develop a new large satellite bus designed to complete with existing US-built spacecraft for commercial applications. The agreement between ESA, the French space agency CNES, and satellite manufacturers Alcatel Space and EADS Astrium was announced Thursday at the Paris Air Show. The agreement covers the development of Alphabus, a bus for large communications satellites weighing up to 8,000 kilograms and capable of generating up to 18 kilowatts of power. The agreement, the Wall Street Journal reports, includes the development and launch of a prototype Alphabus satellite in 2009. The parties believe that such spacecraft will be ideal for applications such high-definition TV broadcasting, broadband data services, and satellite radio. Astrium and Alcatel hope to use the Alphabus to compete with the Boeing 702 satellite bus, although some industry observers note that the satellite operators are moving away from large satellites because of their cost and technical problems.
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