The service module of the new Alphabus generation of telecommunication satellites has been shifted from a Thales Alenia Space facility to an Astrium facility for completion.

The Alphabus is an extra-large new European satellite platform that will carry a range of commercial payloads to provide TV broadcast, broadband multimedia, internet access and mobile or fixed telecommunication services along with European Space Agency (ESA) demonstration projects.

The platform will be used for the Alphasat I-XL satellite being built by Astrium for Inmarsat and ESA, to allow an early orbital demonstration and validation of Alphabus.

The 6,000kg Alphasat I-XL with a design life of 15 years will enhance Inmarsat’s broadband global area network (BGAN) service.

The service module includes the main structure, central tube, internal deck and other elements including the chemical propulsion system, the pressure control assembly and part of the plasma propulsion system.

The Alphabus platform is being built by Thales Alenia and Astrium under an initiative by the ESA.