Published in Network

Europeans take on Musk in space

by on05 May 2023

Will build a rival satellite constellation 

A consortium of nearly every major European satellite company has announced a bid for a proposed satellite constellation to provide global communications.

The move will provide the European Union with connectivity from low-Earth orbit similar to Elon [Look at me] Musk's what SpaceX's Starlink without having to be at his whims.

The bid, which includes large players such as Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat, SES, and Thales Alenia Space, follows a request by the European Union for help in constructing a sovereign constellation to provide secure communications for government services, including military applications.

European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton announced the continent's plans for this constellation -- known as Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite, or IRIS^2 -- last November.

The European Union will provide 2.4 billion euro, with additional contributions expected from the European Space Agency and private investments. "IRIS^2 establishes space as a vector of our European autonomy, a vector of connectivity and a vector of resilience. It heightens Europe's role as a true space power. With a clear ambition and sense of direction."

The partnership includes Deutsche Telekom, Hispasat, OHB, Orange, Hisdesat, and Telespazio, will aim to create a state-of-the-art satellite constellation based on a multi-orbit architecture. Although it is top-heavy with established industry players, the partnership said it will encourage startups in the European space sector to join the coalition.

Europe estimates the cost of this constellation at about 6 billion euro and desires it to be ready to provide global coverage by the year 2027.


Last modified on 05 May 2023
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