Brazil Orders Civil-Military Telecommunications Satellite

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PARIS — Brazil’s national telecommunications provider, Telebras, on Nov. 28 finalized a contract with Visiona Space Technology to provide a civil-military satellite communications system and lay the groundwork to assure Brazil’s future satellite autonomy.

The Geostationary and Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite (SGDC) will also signal Brazil’s entry into the high-throughput satellite market as it will carry 50 Ka-band transponders with an aggregate 80 gigabits per second of throughput capacity. Brazil’s Ministry of Communications will use this payload to extend Internet access throughput the country.

SGDC will also carry seven X-band transponders for Brazil’s Ministry of Defense.

The contract, valued at 1.3 billion reals ($558.1 million), calls for Visiona to manage the construction of SGDC, to be built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, with a launch in late 2017 by Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium.

The contractor selection was announced in August. Since then, Telebras and Visiona — a joint venture owned 49 percent by Telebras and 51 percent by Embraer Defense — have been negotiating contract details. The project — construction and launch plus satellite control facilities — had been budgeted at some 716 million reals before rising to the current price as it became clear what Brazil wanted.

With the Telebras-Visiona agreement now formalized, Visiona is expected to sign contracts with Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace in the coming weeks. SGDC, a Spacebus 4000 platform designed to provide 11 kilowatts of power to the payload at the end of the satellite’s 15-year service life, is expected to weigh about 5,800 kilograms at launch.

Under the contract, Thales Alenia Space will transfer satellite production technology know-how to Embraer, which has been assigned by the Brazilian government the task of creating a domestic satellite production capability. In addition to the technology transfer, which will include putting Brazilian companies to work on the project, some 30 Embraer engineers will take up residence at Thales Alenia Space’s Cannes and Toulouse production sites during the execution of the contract.