Europe to get its own electric satellite bus under ELECTRA programme

by | Oct 17, 2013 | commercial launch services, Satellites, Technology | 0 comments

Europe is to get its own “all electric” satellite bus.  Under a public-private partnership agreement signed on 15 October between the satellite operatior, SES and the European Space Agency (ESA) the ELECTRA programme plans to build a medium-size all-electric satellite bus for use in geostationary orbit.  Under the programme, the spacecraft manufactuer OHB System AG of Bremen, Germany, has been appointed as a subcontractor for the corresponding manufacturing design of the platform.

The move is seen by analysts as a response to the Boeing all-electric satellite offering.  Such all electric satellites use electric propulsion to provide both orbit maintenance and orbit raising capability.   The result is that smaller less expensive launch vehicles can be used to place the spacecraft into a low Earth orbit, leaving the spacecraft to raise itself to its Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) position.  The downside is that this takes several months and can result in a much longer exposure to radiation than using conventinoal upper stage rocket propulsion as the spacecraft transits the Van Allen belts at a much slower pace.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

The Great British race to reach orbit from UK (Updated)

The final flight in 1971 of Black Arrow, a British satellite carrier rocket developed in the 1960s, remains the first Read more

Astroscale gets funding to demo satellite removal

While the ELSa-D docking test mission is not going to plan in orbit due to thruster issues, its owner/developer Astroscale Read more

French company Gama contracts NanoAvionics to build its first satellite

[caption id="attachment_110191" align="alignright" width="309"] The mission logo for GAMA ALPHA. Courtesy of Gama[/caption] A French start-up Gama has contracted NanoAvionics Read more

Telesat moves to smaller LEO comsat constellation as it demos its signals over India

While its competitors seem determined to add ever more numbers to their proposed or under construction satellite constellations, satellite operator Read more

Rocket Lab’s Electron launches 34 sats but helicopter snag/landing of first-stage only partially works

On its launch from the Onenui Station on Mahia peninsula, New Zealand on 2 May 2022 an Electron KS rocket Read more

Satellite 2022: Some launch providers looking forward to this year, others into next

  During the Satellite 2022 conference we were provided with plans for this year from some American launch providers. Rocket Read more

Interview: Exotrail CEO Jean-Luc Maria discusses plans for the future and OTV aspirations

When Seradata was offered an interview with Jean-Luc Maria, Co-founder and CEO Exotrail, we were intrigued, not least because we Read more

Further fallout from Russo-Ukraine war on aerospace industry

While the main effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have already become apparent, most noticeably by the cancellation of Read more