Bid for Secure Satellite Network Launched by European Space Companies

A consortium of European space companies, led by Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat, Hispasat, SES and Thales Alenia Space, will be jointly bidding for the European Commission’s (EU) Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity, and Security by Satellite (IRISS) constellation.

The project aims to provide a secure space-based communication system to the European Union by 2027, supporting governmental activities such as border surveillance, humanitarian aid, and secure communications for EU embassies.

The system will include Low-Earth Orbit, Medium-Earth Orbit and Geosynchronous Orbit systems.

On the commercial side, it will allow mass-market applications, including mobile and fixed broadband satellite access, satellite trunking for B2B services, satellite access for transportation, reinforced networks by satellite and satellite broadband and cloud-based services.

In a disruptive and secured-by-design approach, this multi-orbital satellite constellation will ensure the long-term availability of reliable, secure and cost-effective satellite communications services at a global scale.

Notably, the European Space Agency (ESA) is leading the IRISS effort, and issued a tender for the same on March 23. The Interested entities had until April 26 to submit a request to participate, with an award decision expected in early 2024.

The contract is estimated to be worth $6.6 Billion over 12 years, with initial services available by 2024 and full operational capability by 2027.

EU has already marked funds for this program including up to $4.2 Million approx. for development activities and up to $10.1 Million approx. for deployment and exploitation activities.

The multinational consortium will also include telecom companies Deutsche Telekom, OHB, Orange, Hisdesat, Telespazio and Thales to support their bid. Additionally, the group is looking for start-ups, mid-capitalization companies and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to join the group.

For more details on IRISS, read the factsheet release by EU