The Hispasat 36W-1 satellite (H36W-1) is now located at its final orbital position at 36° West and over the next few days it will begin to offer the telecommunications services it was designed for, after having successfully passed extensive testing in space. This new satellite offers coverage over South America and Europe, including the Canary Islands, and has 20 transponders on the Ku-band as well as additional capacity on the Ka-band.
It has a 15-year lifespan and will offer video contribution and cellular backhaul services, as well as business and broadband solutions, among others. The satellite was built by the German company OHB System AG and is the first mission of the new SmallGEO platform, developed by the German manufacturer together with the European Space Agency and HISPASAT. This platform allows a substantial reduction in satellite mass thanks to the use of electric propulsion throughout the lifespan of the satellite.
Hispasat 36W-1 lifted off from the European Space Port of Kourou in French Guiana on 27 January aboard a Soyuz rocket from Arianespace. Since then, the subsystems, transponders and antennas have been rigorously tested to ensure they operate correctly in orbit. The H36W-1 satellite incorporates RedSAT, an advanced regenerative payload consisting of a novel active antenna with reconfigurable beams that, together with the on-board processor, improves the efficiency and performance offered by the satellite. The antenna can be electronically controlled from the Earth and reoriented at any point during the lifespan of the satellite, granting it the flexibility to adapt its coverage to orbit changes that may occur in the mission after launch.
The on-board processor is a further step in the evolution of satellites, which can greatly simplify network architecture by performing in space a part of the processing usually carried out on Earth. It will be able to simultaneously process up to four 36 MHz transponders, correcting any degradations of the signal and transmitting it without errors, leading to a more robust and higher quality communications system that enables signal reception with small-diameter antennas.