Spacebus Neo is a new telecom satellite product line by Thales Alenia Space, developed in the frame of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), in cooperation with space agencies from ESA Member States, and managed jointly by ESA and the French Space Agency, CNES.

Spacebus Neo product line is aiming at significant cost reduction for in-orbit data capacity achieved through:

  • Full electric propulsion for both orbit raising and station keeping
  • Reduced time for assembly, integration and testing thanks to modular design
  • Easier payload accommodation for a large range of payloads
  • Compatibility with Ariane, Proton and Falcon launcher families.

See the presentation of Spacebus Neo 100% electric satellites generation here.

The Neosat programme¬†aims at developing the new product lines for Telecommunication Satellites in the range 3 to 6 tons (wet mass). It’s comprised of both Spacebus Neo by Thales Alenia Space and Eurostar Neo by Airbus satellites. It includes development and in-orbit validation of the new satellite product lines for both companies, allowing the two European satellite prime integrators to deliver competitive satellites for the commercial satellite market.

Thales Alenia Space (TAS) РFrance, is the Spacebus Neo satellites provider and awarded CS GROUP РROMANIA in 2016 as Prime Contractor for the implementation of the Flight Dynamics Software (FDS) for the Neosat programme. A team of Space engineers from CS GROUP France assured the FDS expertise support to Romanian project team.

The FDS is in charge of controlling in orbit geostationary operational satellites covering OOC (On Orbit Control), longitude relocation and end-of-life disposal periods.

For this project, CS GROUP – ROMANIA developed an FDS application called OreFLIDS, implemented on a scalable architecture and based on Orekit, the open-source flight dynamics library, which combines a set of plugged-in FDS modules with other components and functionalities that makes it a competitive candidate for a FDS solution to be used in any Satellite Control Center.

The main features of OreFLIDS are:

  • Flight Dynamics Software modules and functions implemented as plugins for multi-satellite operations:
    • Orbit determination based on antenna measurements (ranging, tracking and turn-around ranging), as well as GNSS measurements, including the implementation of real-time Kalman filters
    • Orbit propagation computation of orbit ephemeris using perturbations and maneuvers
    • Orbit events prediction and detection during orbit propagation (e.g. equator crossing time, box center latitude, longitude and altitude, maximum and minimum of latitude, longitude and altitude, eclipses of the Sun by Earth and Moon, transits of the Sun as seen by a ground station)
    • Orbit import, conversion and export functions, TLE generation
    • Ground antenna pointing ephemeris
    • Collocation and survey of managed satellites, supporting orbit propagation, involving planned maneuvers, internal and external satellites and bodies, collision avoidance warnings and antenna separation angles
    • Maneuver calibration of Hall effect thrusters (HET) performances using predicted and actual data
    • GNSS Receiver Initialization
  • File import-export interface with Ground Segment solutions for Satellite Control Center
  • Single Page Web GUI that allows internationalisation and the display of output data, files and plots
  • A rich RESTful API to control and manage all the FDS modules and services
  • Dashboard for management of scheduled batch scripts for automation with dedicated language for creating scripts
  • Search of historical maneuvers with export facilities
  • Management of working and reference contexts of FDS executions, with possibility to be loaded and re-executed later for mission analysis
  • Users management, various profiles (operator, expert, admin) and access types (private, public or profile level) to the data of the executed contexts
  • Backup and redundancy for archived files and database.

For more details about OreFLIDS, please read the technical presentation here.

Eutelsat Konnect, the first satellite from the Spacebus Neo generation, was already launched in January, 2020.

Other Spacebus Neo satellites are also planned to be launched in the next years.