German ComsatBw-2 Declared Operational

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Astrium Satellites GmbH of Germany and the German armed forces announced July 9 that the ComsatBw-2 military telecommunications satellite has been declared operational in orbit and delivered to the German military.

The milestone signals Germany’s entry into the group of nations, which in Europe includes Britain, France, Italy and Spain, with their own dedicated military satellite capacity.

Wolfgang Stolp, president of the federal office for information technology at the German Federal Armed Forces, said in a statement that ComsatBw-2, launched May 22, “fulfills all specifications” and is ready for service at its orbital slot of 63 degrees east.

ComsatBw-2 carries four SHF and five UHF channels and is designed to operate for 15 years with the nearly identical ComsatBw-1 satellite launched in May and now operating at 13.2 degrees east.

The ComsatBw program is managed by Milsat Services, which is 74.9 percent owned by Astrium Services. ND Satcom of Friedrichshafen, Germany, owns the remaining 25.1 percent.

Under the two-satellite contract, Astrium is responsible for the space segment and ND Satcom for the ground segment, including transportable terminals to be used by Germany’s deployed armed forces. The two satellites were built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy under contract to Astrium.

Under the contract with the German military, MilSat Services is also responsible for providing ComsatBw services and equipment maintenance through 2016, with the possibility of an extension. The services include control of the two satellites in orbit, maintenance and replacement of fixed ground terminals, data security and data-traffic management, and provision of commercial satellite capacity, notably on Intelsat satellites, as needed to complement the ComsatBw bandwidth.