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Israel Aerospace Industries announces new small GEO satellite bus

MCS will use the technology that IAI is developing for its communications satellite, Dror-1.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed a small geostationary orbit communications satellite bus intended to provide a low-cost spacecraft with an advanced payload to customers that don’t require a larger satellite.

The company announced its Mini Communications Satellite (MCS) design at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress. This MCS is an advanced communication satellite weighing roughly 700 kg upon its launch and includes a complete digital communication payload weighing up to 200 kg. Due to its light weight, the satellite can be launched together in rideshare with other satellites, significantly lowering launch costs. With an expected life span of no less than 14 years, the satellite is designed to provide multi-zone communication services to customers or countries with diverse communication needs.

The MCS was developed based on over thirty years of IAI’s experience with various satellites and on the capabilities developed initially for Dror 1, designed and built by IAI for Israel’s national communication needs. Most of these capabilities were developed in-house by IAI, including an advanced digital communication payload and “space smartphone” capabilities that provide the operators with flexibility throughout the satellite’s mission life.

In addition, the command programme and development architecture allow for applications loading from a ground station during the satellite’s in-space operation, to adjust and modify assignments in accordance with changing communication needs. The MCS is fully digital with a flexible communication payload and applications; has high performance; has multi-band capabilities, with up to four steerable antennas; cyber protected, and has at least 14 years mission life. The MCS enables scalability, modularity, redundancy, and short-term response to traffic demand.

Shlomi Sudri, General-Manager of IAI’s Space Division, said: “The development of the innovative MCS is a testament to IAI’s broad space capabilities. It features high-end space technology in a controlled-budget solution designed for countries and communication operators with no need for communication satellites of the more common size. The mini satellite MCS offers a new concept to the communication satellite market, serving as a complementary or a focused regional system. The MCS allows IAI to offer full satellite capabilities at a competitive price and expand into new satellite markets. IAI is in touch with a number of customers globally, and we are proud to unveil the new concept at the IAC in Dubai.”