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02:36 PM, March 5, 2015
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Italian Ministry of Defense and French Defense procurement agency DGA will Ariane 5 launch Sicral 2 military telecommunications satellite on April 15, Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales and Finmeccanica said in a statement Wednesday.

After being developed at the Thales Alenia Space plants in Rome, l’Aquila, Cannes and Toulouse, the satellite has been integrated in Rome and Turin facilities and then underwent environmental tests at the company's plant in Cannes. The satellite will now undergo final tests and pre-launch procedures at the Guiana Space Center.

Sicral 2 is one of the basic building blocks in Italian-French defense cooperation. It is a technological system, designed to bolster the military satellite communications capabilities already offered by Italy's Sicral 1 and Sicral 1B satellites, and by the Syracuse system in France.

Sicral 2 is a joint program funded by the Italian and French Ministries of Defense, with shares of 68% and 32%, respectively, as part of a broader Framework Agreement between the two countries. This agreement also involves the countries' space agencies and recently led to the launch of the dual-use broadband communications satellite, Athena-Fidus.

The satellite weights 4360Kg with a power of 7KW. It will host a UHF and SHF payload for the Italian mission,  a SHF payload for the French mission as well as a payload for remote control, Telemetry and Ranging with use of Expanded Spectrum modulations.

Thales Alenia Space was responsible for the space segment, the system ground segment architecture and the development of the mission control and communication center. Telespazio is involved in the ground segment for the design, realization, integration and testing phases of the Satellite Control Center in Vigna di Valle and Fucino.

Moreover, Telespazio is part of the development costs and receiving in turn the use of part of the satellite’s transmission capacity. Telepazio will enable it to offer satellite communications to the armed forces of NATO member countries. Telespazio is also responsible for satellite launch service from Kourou, for early orbit services (LEOP – Launch and Early Orbit Phase) and for satellite first In-Orbit Tests (IOT) from Fucino.

The Sicral 2 system will strengthen strategic and tactical satellite telecommunications for both France and Italy, guaranteeing interoperability with existing satellite resources, NATO allies' terminals and national telecommunications networks.

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