Communication satellite service provider Intelsat has awarded a contract to Airbus to develop two OneSat satellites.

The contract was signed on 31 December 2020 and includes the design and manufacture of the satellites.

Airbus will develop the satellites based on its OneSat product line. It will operate in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s advanced software-defined network.

Airbus Space Systems head Jean-Marc Nasr said: “This important contract with our long-standing and valued partner Intelsat has a special significance for Airbus.

“With six satellites now in production – plus options – for three major operators, OneSat has proven that when it comes to fully reconfigurable satellites, Airbus is the winning choice.

“Our new industrial capabilities put in place at our sites across Europe, together with our solid experience in Eurostar geostationary satellites and mega-constellation manufacturing, will enable production of our truly disruptive OneSats at an unrivalled pace.”

The company expects to deliver the two next-generation SD satellites in 2023.

According to Airbus, the software components of the ground segment will be fully integrated into Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network ecosystem and advanced digital suite.

The contract follows Intelsat’s $400m acquisition of Gogo’s commercial aviation business.

Intelsat chief executive officer Stephen Spengler said: “Intelsat’s investment in Airbus software-defined satellites marks an important first step in evolving the world’s largest, most resilient, integrated space and ground network.

“Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network will be the catalyst for our growth, enabling future Gogo Commercial Aviation in-flight broadband services, as well as other managed services across Intelsat’s customer segments.”