The ARTES Next Generation Platform element, or NEOSAT, is the ESA programme to develop and qualify two new satellite product lines, Eurostar Neo and Spacebus Neo, that will enable the European space industry to deliver commercially competitive satellites in the 3 to 6 tons launch mass range. The programme includes the in-orbit validation of the new platforms. Neosat is a joint ESA/CNES undertaking with shared programme management.

The new product lines are aiming at significant cost reduction for in-orbit data capacity achieved through:

  • Full electric propulsion for both orbit raising and station keeping
  • Reduced time for assembly, integration and testing thanks to modular design
  • Easier payload accommodation for a large range of payloads
  • Compatibility with Ariane, Proton and Falcon launcher families

An important goal of the Neosat programme is to build a European supply chain which optimises costs and guarantees on-time delivery of satellites.  It will be necessary to achieve high industrial and technical performance from suppliers in order for this to succeed.  Some items, such as Xenon tanks and Electric Propulsion thrusters, are being developed  for both Spacebus Neo and Eurostar Neo to benefit from economies of scale.

In addition to optimising the supply chain, another challenge is for each prime to design a modular product line, incorporating the right mix of new and proven technologies, capable of embarking a wide range of payloads, including the latest technologies in that particular field, and compatible with the changing launcher landscape.

Both Eurostar Neo and Spacebus Neo passed the Preliminary Design Review in early 2015. Phase B was completed in 2015. Separate Phase C/D contracts were signed with both primes at the end of 2015, each of which leads its own European consortium.


Spacebus Neo

Thales Alenia Space (TAS) (France) is the prime contractor for Spacebus Neo.

In October 2015, TAS has won the first Spacebus Neo commercial satellite contract for a Broadband for Africa mission with Eutelsat (BB4A) to be launched in 2019.

 On 15 September 2015, ESA and Thales Alenia Space signed a contract for the full development and qualification of Spacebus Neo, marking the start of Phase–C/D of the Neosat programme.  The contract was signed by Magali Vassiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and Bertrand Maureau, Vice-President Telecommunications Business Line at Thales Alenia Space.



Eurostar Neo

Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) (France) is the prime contractor for Eurostar Neo.

Airbus plans to sell the first Eurostar Neo satellite this year, and is actively marketing the new platform on the world market.

On 17 November 2015, ESA and Airbus Defence and Space signed a contract for the full development and qualification of Eurostar Neo, as part of Phase-C/D of the Neosat programme.  The contract was signed by Magali Vassiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and Eric Béranger, Head of Space Systems Programmes at Airbus Defence and Space.



The current development contracts cover the basic features of the new platform product lines; however there are still additional options to be developed within the current technical baseline.

These options include:

  • A number of basic components, so-called Building Blocks
  • Procurement of the first proto-flight models of key units, critical for market introduction
  • Ground support equipment (mechanical and electrical), including full implementation of European Ground Systems – Common Core (EGS-CC)


The latest market trends show that satellites with payload power in the range of 25 KW are becoming a requirement. The development of the two Neosat platforms to meet this demand in performance will be achieved with the current platform designs by enhancing payload accommodation, more efficient power generation, and improved thermal dissipation.


These options and the growth potential of the product line will be implemented based upon availability of additional funding.  Iterations with industry and the seventeen Neosat Participating States are ongoing in order to:

  • confirm adequacy of the activities with national priorities
  • ensure that amounts foreseen for the activities are in line with Participating States’ expectations

These activities are being put forward as part of the complementary Neosat funding request at the ESA Ministerial Council in December 2016.



Eurostar Neo satellite takes ‘selfies’ in geostationary orbit

The second Eurostar Neo spacecraft (Hotbird 13G), developed by Airbus Defense and Space in the frame of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, has arrived on-station and taken some ‘selfies’

First Eurostar Neo Completes Thermal Vacuum Test Campaign

The first Eurostar Neo spacecraft, developed by Airbus Defence and Space as part of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, has successfully completed its Thermal Vacuum Test Campaign.

Eurostar Neo Solar Array Drive Mechanism Completes Qualification Testing

The Eurostar Neo Solar Array Drive Mechanism, developed within the framework of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project by Airbus Defence and Space (UK) and incorporating a new Stepper Motor Gear from Reliance Precision (UK), is now qualified and ready…

Europe’s data-driven satellite launched

One of the largest telecommunications satellites ever built in Europe has been launched and is on its way to geostationary orbit.

Eurostar Neo Deployment and Pointing System Achieves Qualification

The Eurostar Neo Deployment and Pointing System, developed by Airbus Defense and Space (F) and Euro Heat Pipes (B) in the frame of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, is qualified and ready for flight.

Euro Heat Pipes (EHP) ready for Eurostar Neo and the Satcom market

Several thousand novel heat pipes are now being produced each year by Belgian company Euro Heat Pipes, following its participation in ESA’s Eurostar Neo Partnership Project. Working with satellite manufacturer Airbus, Eurostar Neo is dedicated to…

Game changing device for spacecraft thermal control on the horizon

The new Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) Eurostar Neo satellite product line offers one of the largest communications payload capacity on the world market. The amount of thermal dissipation created by such large communication payloads…

New Command and Data Management Unit from Airbus Defence & Space ready for flight

Under ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, Airbus Defence and Space has developed and qualified a new Command and Data Management Unit (CDMU), covering the needs for the full Eurostar Neo platform product range and potential platform derivatives.…

Eurostar Neo completes first half of its Mechanical Qualification campaign

As part of Neosat, one of ESA's Artes Partnership Projects, the Airbus Eurostar Neo platform began its mechanical qualification test campaign at the end of 2019.

Eurostar Neo on the move

Airbus Defence and Space makes its first shipment of Eurostar Neo flight hardware out of its Stevenage Factory. The massive Communications Module, or CM, is now in its Portsmouth site, where it will be equipped with communications equipment.

First Spacebus Neo satellite launched

Ariane 5’s first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou…

First Spacebus Neo satellite set for launch

The first satellite developed under an initiative to help European industry deliver competitive satellites for the commercial telecommunications market has entered its final phase before launch.