THE most sophisticated commercial communications satellite ever built is making its final journey before launch.
The Alphasat was designed and constructed by engineers at Astrium, with its intelligent payload core built at the firm’s facility in Anchorage Park, Hilsea.
It has been built for the European Space Agency and Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications services.
The payload can perform multiple operations at the same time, as it has eight new generation processors, which were designed and built in the dust-free clean rooms at Astrium’s Portsmouth base.
The satellite will also be carrying a laser communications terminal, which can transmit at high speeds between it and the Earth below.
It is assembled in Toulouse, France, where it is rigorously tested to ensure it will not break during its 15 years in orbit.
The satellite, which will have a wingspan of 40 metres, will be launched in Kourou, French Guyana, at the end of July.
No fixed date has been set.