Arianespace to launch Athena-Fidus satellite

Arianespace has been chosen to launch the French-Italian Athena-Fidus dual use satellite, within the scope of a contract signed by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio and the French and Italian space agencies, CNES and ASI.

The French-Italian Athena-Fidus satellite will be lofted into geostationary transfer orbit during the second half of 2013 by an Ariane 5 or Soyuz launch vehicle operating from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Athena-Fidus (Access on theaters for European allied forces nations-French Italian dual use satellite) is a French-Italian telecommunications satellite that uses state-of-the-art civil broadband Internet technologies. Funded jointly by French space agency CNES, French defense procurement agency DGA, Italian space agency ASI and Italian Ministry of Defense, Athena-Fidus will provide communications services to both armed forces and civil security agencies in France and Italy. It will complement the capabilities offered by Syracuse 3 and Sicral satellites.

Thales Alenia Space will produce the Athena-Fidus satellite using a Spacebus 4000B2 platform. The satellite will weigh about 3,000 kg at launch, and has a design life exceeding 15 years.

“Arianespace is especially proud of once again being able to serve the French and Italian Ministries of Defense, CNES and the Italian space agency, just a few weeks after the successful launch of the Helios 2B satellite,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace. “We are also very pleased to bolster our strategic partnership with Thales Alenia Space through this latest contract, which clearly shows the strategic nature of our mission, namely to provide timely launches of satellites that support sovereignty in France and throughout Europe.”

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, delivering innovative offer to its customers since 1980. Backed by its 23 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace proposes an unrivalled launcher family, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for their culture of commitment and excellence. As of February 1, 2010, Arianespace had launched a total of 277 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of more than 20 Ariane 5 and 15 Soyuz launches, equal to three years of business.