28 May, 2023

Arabsat Badr-8 successfully launched: featuring Airbus’ innovative optical communications payload TELEO

The Airbus-built Arabsat Badr-8 telecommunications satellite has been successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Based on Airbus’ latest geostationary Eurostar Neo satellite, Badr-8 will provide connectivity for users across Europe, Middle East, Africa, and central Asia.

The spacecraft is also equipped with a world first, Airbus’ innovative space demonstrator TELEO to provide space to ground optical communications at gigabit speeds. The TELEO demonstrator payload is designed to facilitate very high capacity optical feeder link communications, playing a crucial role in Airbus’ development of a new generation of optical communications technology in space.

Jean Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems said: “Marking our third successful launch of the Eurostar Neo series and our eighth spacecraft built for Arabsat, Badr-8, equipped with the very innovative TELEO payload, is the latest major milestone for our telecoms business. Featuring increased payload capacity and more efficient power and thermal control systems, Badr-8 will replace and increase Arabsat’s capacity.”

Following the successful launch and separation, Badr-8 is using its electric propulsion system to reach geostationary orbit at 36,000 km. The satellite will then undergo a comprehensive testing period in geostationary orbit before entering full service. With a launch mass of 4.5 tons and 17.8 kW of power, the satellite is designed to operate in orbit for 15 years. Airbus’ ultra-reliable geostationary telecommunications satellites have achieved more than 1,300 years of service in orbit.

Airbus’ Eurostar Neo platform has been developed in the frame of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Partnership Projects, together with the French space agency CNES, and strongly supported by the UK Space Agency and other agencies across Europe. The TELEO demonstrator payload was developed with support from CNES.