Bremen/Kourou, 15 June 2023 - Today, OHB Digital Connect, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, signed a contract with the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for the operation of the Heinrich Hertz mission. The contract is worth EUR 28.7 million. The 3.450-kilogram Heinrich Hertz satellite is ready to embark on its journey into space, where it will begin service at its geostationary position at an altitude of around 36,000 kilometres. The mission is being managed by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bonn on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) and with the participation of the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg). The launch will take place from the spaceport in Kourou (French Guyana).
In the Heinrich Hertz mission, OHB holds overall responsibility for the development and construction of the satellite as well as for the procurement and coordination of the launch segment. In addition, OHB is responsible for setting up the ground segment at the control centre in Bonn, including the control software and servers. Moreover, the five antenna stations for operating the system are also being supplied by OHB. "After separating the satellite from the launcher, we will receive the first signals via our antenna network at the control centre in Bonn and then move the satellite to its geostationary position, where it will start its job," says Alan Moorhouse, Mission Director at OHB Digital Connect.
"When the satellite arrives in its target orbit in early July, further system tests will follow and then we will start the operation phase. The contract runs until mid-2025 and we are very pleased that OHB will be assuming a further part of the responsibility for Heinrich-Hertz," says Dieter Birreck, Managing Director of OHB Digital Connect.
The Heinrich Hertz mission is something of a jack-of-all-trades: on the one hand, new technologies for satellite communication are to be tested for their suitability for space. On the other hand, the mission serves as a home for experiments on communication, antenna and satellite technology developed and built by various institutes and companies in Germany. In addition, the satellite will serve as a relay station for smaller satellites. In other words, Heinrich-Hertz will receive data from other satellites within its radio range and then forward it to the ground station.
Third satellite in the SmallGEO family
With Heinrich-Hertz, OHB is realising the third satellite of the SmallGEO family. After H36W-1 and EDRS-C, Heinrich Hertz is the third communication satellite based on the SmallGEO platform developed under OHB's leadership in the ARTES-11 programme of the European Space Agency ESA. Thanks to the modular structure of the platform, it was possible to draw on the predecessor missions H36W-1 and EDRS-C when designing the satellite. At the same time, however, Heinrich-Hertz has a number of features which clearly distinguish it from its predecessors. The satellite has a total of eight movable antennas, including one antenna for contacting lower-flying satellites. The focus of the coverage is over Germany.
The launch can be followed via livestream at the following link: https://youtu.be/XL9znqQ1Xag
The Heinrich-Hertz-Mission and its Partners
The Heinrich Hertz mission is the first launch of a dedicated German communications satellite for researching and testing new technologies and communications scenarios. The mission thus contributes to the further development of the German Information Society. The Heinrich Hertz mission is led by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bonn on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) and with the participation of the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg). OHB-System AG was commissioned with the development and construction of the satellite. The companies IABG GmbH, MDA AG and TESAT GmbH & Co. KG are also involved in the development and testing of the satellite. The ground segment is under the responsibility of OHB Digital connect in cooperation with the company CGI, in this thereby the satellite control centre was realized in Bonn. The locations for the new ground stations are in Hürth (North-Rhine Westphalia) und Neustrelitz (Mecklenburg-West Pommerania). Arianespace is responsible for mission launch on board the Ariane carrier rocket (VA261). Another 36 partners are involved in the mission - 14 of them on the scientific payload.