Bremen, October 2nd, 2018. OHB System AG, a subsidiary of listed technology group OHB SE, has awarded the principal subcontract for the national Heinrich Hertz satellite mission today at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2018) in Bremen in the presence of representatives of the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (DLR): The Backnang-based company Tesat has received a contract from OHB for the assembly and verification of the scientific/technical payload and for the construction of the repeater for the military payload on board the communications satellite.
The Heinrich Hertz satellite is to be launched in 2021. As the principal Industrial contractor, OHB System AG is responsible for engineering, assembling and verifying the telecommunications satellite. OHB will also be overseeing the satellite launch, preparing its in-orbit start-up and assembling the necessary ground infrastructure. The Heinrich Hertz mission is being funded by DLR Space Administration using funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and with the participation of the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg). The mission has a duration of 15 years. “For us, the Heinrich Hertz mission underpins a key aspect of German space strategy, namely the return to system capabilities in geostationary telecommunications satellites after almost 25 years. We are therefore very pleased to be able to demonstrate this competence here in the international environment of the IAC and to come a specific step closer towards implementing the Heinrich Hertz mission” said Dr Roland Wattenbach, Head of the Satellite Communications Department at DLR Space Management, during the contract signing.
“Tesat has previously delivered the payload for our first SmallGEO, the communications satellite for HISPASAT. So I am delighted to be continuing this successful partnership,” said Marco Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer of OHB System AG, at the signing ceremony. “Our capabilities in the development and assembly of geostationary satellites and in designing and implementing complex ground segments are of particular importance in this mission.”
One mission, two goals
Heinrich Hertz comprises a number of different missions: For one thing, DLR will be gaining a powerful platform for conducting various experiments in the field of satellite communications and, for another, the German Federal Ministry of Defense will have its own military segment of the payload providing satellite transmission capacities for the German federal armed forces on a long-term and future-proof basis.
- The main aspect of the civil segment of the mission entails in-orbit verification of new technologies. For this purpose, roughly one dozen new technologies for satellite communications developed by industrial companies and research institutions will be tested on board the satellite. In addition, a series of scientific/technical communications experiments will be carried out. The satellite platform developed by OHB will be able to meet the resultant requirements to optimum effect.
- With the additional separate military payload capacity on board the satellite, the German federal armed forces will be able to make a contribution to covering the steadily growing requirements which the armed forces have for satellite-based communications to manage and support their operations. An agreement has been entered into between the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Defense assigning DLR Space Management responsibility for coordinating these mission components.
All in all, the national Heinrich Hertz satellite mission will be furthering the continued development of space technology for communications satellites in a partnership comprising research institutions, universities and the German space industry.
Named for German physicist Heinrich Hertz, the satellite will be based on the SmallGEO satellite platform, which was developed by OHB under the ARTES program of the Europe Space Agency ESA with the support of DLR. This versatile platform for geostationary 3-ton-class satellites features a modular structure permitting different configurations including solely electric satellite propulsion. SmallGEO satellites are suitable for telecommunications applications, satellite-based laser communications, earth observation and in-orbit verification and can be fitted with different propulsion systems.
Single source for space and ground segments
Responsibility for the installation of the ground segment includes all aspects required for reliable operations and secure communications for DLR and the German federal armed forces. OHB has already awarded SCISYS Deutschland GmbH a contract to design and implement the ground segment and to prepare mission operations.
“With Heinrich Hertz, we will be achieving a further milestone in the development of our SmallGEO platform. We are not only the principal contractor for this challenging mission with its innovative technology but also addressing ground segment aspects more intensively. Because we are able to supply the satellite and the ground stations from a single source, we can offer our customer many advantages, while gaining the opportunity of demonstrating our end-to-end system capabilities across all areas of satellite communications,” explained Guy Perez, the member of OHB’s Management Board responsible for telecommunications satellites.
Ticket for space already bought
With a mass of 3.5 tons, the Heinrich Hertz satellite is expected to be transported to its geostationary orbit at around 36,000 km above the surface of the earth on board an Ariane 5, which will be lifting off from the European spaceport in Kourou (French-Guyana) in the 4th quarter of 2021.