Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space Sign a Memorandum of Understanding to develop Optical Communication payload for Hellas Sat 5 satellite

Athens, 25th January 2024 

Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space, a joint-venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of an optical communication  payload for the upcoming new mission to be embarked on the future Hellas Sat 5 telecommunications satellite, operating in  geostationary orbit at 39 degrees East.

The partnership between Hellas Sat and Thales Alenia Space aims to provide cutting-edge communication services with very high data rates from geostationnary orbit. This innovative payload aims to connect with Optical Ground Station of the National Athens Observatory in Greece, Optical Ground Stations in France, Optical Ground Stations of ESA and Thales Alenia Space’s LEO HydRON telecommunication satellite.

After Vertigo H2020 programme, Thales Alenia Space is currently advancing the development of very high data rate capacities (up to 1 terabit/second) facing long distances from ground to geostationnary orbit and cross-atmospheric turbulence, with support from France Relance (CO-OP), CNES (DYSCO) and ESA (HydRON).

The MoU signing ceremony took place at Hellas Sat’s headquarters in Athens, Greece, with representatives from  the Prime Minister’s Office, the French embassy in Greece, ESA, CNES, Thales Alenia Space France, Italy and Switzerland, the National Athens Observatory, along with various Greek ministries and local authorities in attendance.

“We are honored to work once again with Thales Alenia Space in the realm of optical communication technology, introducing the optical connectivity communication services to the European and International market thus effectively achieving the implementation of new technologies and sealing a new era.”

Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas Sat stated

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Hellas Sat and all our partners to develop optical communications payload, a crucial step towards establishing a secure and very high data rate optical network. This marks the beginning of a new era in telecommunication services with a sustainable approach”

Marc-Henri Serre, Executive Vice President Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space

“Undoubtedly, this is a big step towards technological progress, which in fact strengthens the cooperation between Greece and France. The Hellas Sat 5 satellite which is to be constructed will provide us with new possibilities in fields such as early forecasting and the collection of scientific data” 
Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Mr. Vassilis Kikilias


About Free Space Optical Communications

Free Space Optical laser Communications are emerging as a space standard, offering significantly greater capacities compared to current satcom systems (terabit/sec vs. gigabit/sec). This technology is poised to revolutionize space telecommunication infrastructure, similar to the impact of optical fiber on the ground.

ESA HydRON and CNES DYSCO projects target high throughput optical space links R&D and demonstrations, addressing challenges in providing connectivity to multiple users across different orbits, ground assets and applications. The system showcases the capabilities of the optical communication technology in end-to-end system implementations.

Various use cases include universal internet access, direct data transmission from observation satellites at any time, private links to data center and optical fiber redundancy on the ground in case of crises.

Introducing optical fiber in space is expected to reduce the need for a high number of satellites in orbit, contributing to the sustainability of space infrastructure and minimizing sky pollution.

About Thales Alenia Space

Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 2.2 billion euros in 2022 and has around 8,500 employees in 17 sites in 10 countries across Europe and a plant in the USA.


About Hellas Sat

HELLAS SAT is a premium satellite services provider that owns and operates three satellites delivering high-quality, cost-effective video, broadband and data services in Europe, Middle East and Southern Africa. The Company also provides managed services such as digital broadcasting and connectivity to its customers from its own premises in Greece and Cyprus as well as through its network of partners around the world. Hellas Sat is a subsidiary of Arabsat and is based in Greece and Cyprus.