Airbus satellite SYRACUSE 4B successfully launches on the final Ariane 5 mission

Arianespace Ariane 5

The SYRACUSE 4B communications satellite, built by Airbus and Thales Alenia Space, has been successfully launched from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. 

SYRACUSE 4B, which will be used by the French Ministry of Defense, was thrusted into space aboard the Ariane 5 heavy launcher, in its final ever mission.   

Ariane 5, operated by Airbus’ co-owned company Arianespace, successfully launched at 7pm, local time, on July 5, 2023, also carrying a second communications satellite by Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit for the German government. 

SYRACUSE 4B, along with SYRACUSE 4A already in orbit, constitutes the space segment of SYRACUSE IV, the fourth-generation secure military satellite communications system for the French Armament General Directorate (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement), the French Air and Space force and the French Space Command, built by the industrial consortium formed by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space. 

SYRACUSE 4A and 4B are designed to give the French armed forces “increased capacity and enhanced functionality” whether that is on land, in the air or at sea.  

SYRACUSE 4B features critical technologies such as anti-jamming, to guarantee service continuity and resilience, cyber-defense and data encryption technologies. 

In the frame of the global SYRACUSE co-contract, Airbus is responsible for the SYRACUSE 4B satellite. 

Thales Alenia Space was responsible for the SYRACUSE 4A satellite as well as both payloads with key components provided by Airbus. 

“Observation, signal intelligence, space situational awareness, and of course secure communications across key theatres of operation, are paramount for a nation’s autonomy and freedom of action. Airbus is proud to be a trusted partner of the French Armed Forces: thanks to SYRACUSE 4B, and other programs, we support our national ambitions and capabilities in all these fields, today and in the decades to come!” said Jean-Marc Nasr, head of Space Systems at Airbus. 

The launch was Ariane 5’s 117th to date, a number which includes the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in December 2021.   

Ariane 5’s first launch in June 1996 failed, but after the early setbacks it became Europe’s most iconic and successful space vehicle.  

“Ariane 5 is now taking its place in annals of global space history,” said Martin Sion, CEO of Arianespace

Ariane 6 will now take over from Ariane 5 in carrying out Europe’s institutional space missions and responding to the growing demands of the commercial market. 

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