Spanish government satellite operator, Hisdesat, has announced that the first satellite in the SPAINSAT NG program, SpainSat NG-I, is set to launch in the summer of 2024. The program is progressing well, and the US company Space X will be responsible for launching the Spanish satellite into orbit using a Falcon 9 launcher from Cape Canaveral or NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
One of the key features of these satellites is the active antenna system developed by Airbus Defence and Space in Spain. This system will provide secure and reliable communications for the Spanish Armed Forces and other government agencies. The active antennas are reconfigurable in orbit, allowing coverage and performance to be adjusted as needed. This is done electronically, without any moving parts, through a combination of signals controlled by software from the ground control center.
The system has the ability to switch between different coverage thousands of times per second, accurately locate ground emitters, and protect against unwanted interference. This makes it one of the most robust systems available on the global market.
The SPAINSAT NG program, led by the Ministry of Defence, aims to modernize its capabilities and establish itself as a leader in secure satellite communications. It consists of twin satellites, SpainSat NG-I and SpainSat NG-II, and will provide secure and reliable communications for military operations and support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
Over 45% of the workload for the SPAINSAT NG program is carried out by the Spanish space industry. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for these satellites, with support from Airbus Space Systems in Spain, Thales Alenia Space Spain, and Thales Alenia Space France.
The project is a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Defence and Hisdesat and is also funded by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) within the framework of the Pacis 3 program.