Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales and Leonardo, has signed a contract with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to provide electric propulsion for incorporation on their GEO-KOMPSAT-3 (GK3) satellite.
Scheduled for launch in 2027, GK3 is a multi-band communications satellite that will provide broadband satellite communication services in the Korean Peninsula and surrounding maritime areas. In particular, it will support national maritime rescue and protection; monitoring water disasters in mountains, rivers and dams; and emergency response to other disaster situations. In addition, GEO-KOMPSAT-3 will also feature a Data Collection System (DCS) mission and a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) mission for satellite navigation augmentation service.
TETRA, Thales Alenia Space’s new electric propulsion product line designed and assembled in the UK, draws on the proven success and flight heritage of the SpaceBus NEO platform propulsion subsystems combined with support from the UK Space Agency.
TETRA is a modern, light-weight, efficient and compact solution that is easy to physically, electrically and thermally accommodate. It’s long lifetime and flexible design makes it suitable for different orbits and applications including mega-constellations, Earth observation satellites, In-orbit servicing and hybrid geostationary satellites to fully meet customers’ requirements.
Thales Alenia Space in Belgium will provide the Propulsion Power Unit and Thales in Germany will provide the electric thruster. The electric propulsion contract follows the previous selection of Thales Alenia Space in Spain to provide a state-of-the-art digital processor for the GK3 payload and the selection of Thales Alenia Space in Italy to provide a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver for the GK3 satellite.
Andrew Stanniland, Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space in the UK, said: “We are extremely proud to work with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. This contract, which adds to Thales Alenia Space’s long success story in Korea, confirms our impressive track record for designing and delivering innovative electric propulsion systems for satellites and satellite constellations. We look forward to bringing the breadth of expertise and talents to support the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.”
Dr Craig Brown, Director of Investment at the UK Space Agency, said: “This new contract for Thales Alenia Space for KARI’s GK3 satellite is a fantastic example of how UK-based skills and expertise in electric propulsion are sought after on a global scale. It also shows how UK Space Agency support for companies like Thales Alenia Space is helping to catalyse further investment, benefitting the wider UK space sector and highlighting its role as a key contributor to our economy.”
Thales Alenia Space’s participation in GEO-KOMPSAT-3 is the latest milestone in its long-standing collaboration with South Korea on a number of space programs, including multipurpose geostationary missions (COMS, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A and 2B), the Koreasat satellite telecommunications family (Koreasat 5, 5A, 6 and 7), Earth observation missions (KOMPSAT-3A, 5, 6 and 7 and CAS-500 family), Korea’s lunar exploration program (KPLO) and Korea’s satellite navigation augmentation system (KASS).